Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Episode 848: Six Hours Of TV!

Watched about six hours of TV today. Would've gone to the library in Warwick (the town, not the university) to borrow Justin Cronin's The Passage, but someone's already taken it out. So instead, a marathon TV session. First up was the premiere of the American remake of Skins, which slavishly copies its British predecessor, while throwing in a weak jibe or two at Gossip Girl. If MTV wants to create a new cultural phenomenon though, one that's somewhere just above Jersey Shore in its trash value, it needs to diverge from the British storylines, and fast. This premiere episode felt way too contrived, and James Newman's Tony came off as a caricature rather than someone believably superior to the rabble he moves among. Speaking of superiority, House is back with new episodes, but sadly, the punchlines are getting a bit flat after seven seasons. Look, Jesse Spencer is reasonably attractive, but the repeated mentions of his pretty mug are getting really tedious. I liked Amber Tamblyn's character when she first showed up, but the writers aren't doing anything with her, and now she's just boring because she isn't adding anything new to the dynamic of the team. (Olivia Wilde was bland, but at least she was very attractive.) Brilliant moment for Lisa Edelstein in this episode though: 'Yes, you will be in hell, but I will feel better having you there. That is what a relationship is. We average our misery.'

Followed that with back-to-back episodes of Hawaii Five-0, since I completely missed its return last week. I started out feeling quite indifferent about this, but it's grown to become one of my favourite new shows from the 2010-11 season. It's another remake, but I'm too young to have seen the original, so I don't really care about that. Masi Oka's recurring coroner character is awesome, by the way. Hearing Alex O'Loughlin mangle Mandarin, not so much. I will say, the overall plot development in each episode is pretty standard, and the larger story arc regarding Steve McGarrett's father is developing quite slowly, but the banter being Steve and Danny is great fun. (Randomly, Scott Caan looks a lot like his father.) Moving on, I watched the pilot for Harry's Law. It's been ages since I've seen anything by David E. Kelley, famous for legal dramas The Practice, Ally McBeal and Boston Legal, so I've been looking forward to this. The pilot apparently did great in the ratings, despite being savaged by critics. I'm ambivalent myself. I think it's trying too hard and at some points was a tad preachy, like Harry's closing argument scene. I'll give it one more week, and if nothing grabs me, I'm striking this one off my list.

To round things off, new episodes of Lie To Me, Pretty Little Liars, and the American remake of Being Human. I maintain that Lightman is basically House-lite. I mean, their shows even share a network, this fact in itself a bit of an oddity, given that Fox's other hot properties are American Idol and Glee. (I don't know if Fringe can be considered in the same league, even if it's from J. J. Abrams.) Then again, Fox has always seemed to be the most bizarre of the broadcast networks. As for Pretty Little Liars, it's my other favourite new show, but can I just say, it's funny how Ian Harding plays a teacher on the show, when in real life, he's younger than one of his students (Brant Daugherty). American television and its penchant for casting people in their twenties as teenagers! (Case in point: Gossip Girl.) I'm really curious to see how the whole first season pans out because this was a 13-episode summer series that then got picked up for a full 22-episode order, as well as being 'promoted' to the autumn/winter schedule. If that's not success in TV terms, I don't know what is. I don't know if the show has a life beyond the revelation of the identity of 'A', so I'm betting that's not going to happen this season. As for the remake of Being Human, it's okay, but same caveat. It needs to get away from the British storylines, and with the ending of the premiere, it's already heading in that direction.

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