Monday, April 19, 2010

Southland | You are Getting Less Gritty and More Corny

Maximum DeploymentAfter Southland was resurrected by TNT, fans of the show were very excited to see the second season of the show air. But here is the problem: what we were promised was a gritty cop show, rough streets and human cops. In fact, if you are so inclined you can watch the special feature on the show’s season one DVD box set where the word gritty is used in practically every cast/crew interview, as though the higher-ups told everyone to use it in their interview. So, season one was good in fact much better than your average cop drama on network TV, but now that it is apart of the TNT lineup it has to contend with the cable cop shows that are so superior to the average CSI type of show, it is hard to even draw a fair comparison between the two. Shows like The Shield or The Wire stand in a class above Network TV, they were actually gritty, intricate and well executed. But as you probably know those shows are long gone, relegated to reruns and DVD. So, does this mean that Southland is the only gritty cop show currently on the air? Does it now hold the title of the gritty cop drama? It’s hard to keep high drama from turning to cornball drama. And that is just what the fifth episode of season two of Southland delivered. In it one of the detectives that the show follows has a mentoring session with a young gang banger that later ends with the shooting of another gang member. An Over The Top type crying hugging moment between the juvenile and the detective right before he cuffs the kid and puts him in the curser. Thank god for corny Sylvester Stallone movies otherwise that scene might have come off as sincere. (If you don’t know what Over The Top is, it’s a Stallone movie about a sappy father and son relationship, driving a big rig and an international arm wrestling competition. HA.) This episode was the worst of the season because it went Over The Top, and hopefully will not again for the rest of the season otherwise another show might prove itself to be TV’s grittiest cop show. The condensers are: Justified, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cancel Family Guy

It has become apparent that Family Guy should end its run before it gets any worse, and take the Cleveland Show with it. While Family Guy was resurrected from the ashes and brought back to television, it seems that there wasn’t much life in it after all. Family Guy was originally a darkly funny, clever cartoon which was very funny, but it has moved from darkly funny to just weird, crude, mean, and kind of lowbrow. Maybe this is because Seth McFarlane is stretched too thin with three shows, but the effort isn’t there anymore. Some episodes seem like his mouth piece to say terrible things that he couldn’t get away with otherwise. The other episodes are just dirty, and not funny dirty, awkward dirty. It’s seen its best days and the writers should drop it so they can focus on the much superior American Dad, which has kept up the quality and is actually coherent. American Dad surpassed Family Guy a long time ago, and they should focus their attentions on it before the problems of Family Guy migrate to American Dad.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Is Treme Good Enough To Succeed The Wire?


The very underrated and now finally appreciated show The Wire has been over for a while now, but the creators of this acclaimed series have now brought us Treme, (pronounced Tre-May) the story of the people of New Orleans as they attempt rebuild their live and their town after the hurricane Katrina disaster. Although it’s fantastic news that people behind the wire are back with something new, it’s not clear how it can measure up to its predecessor. The survival of the show is even in question. The people behind these shows have always been unconventional. The Wire was too intricate, too smart, too slow moving for most people, but was a strong commentary and exploration of Baltimore with the disguise of a police drama. And that disguise allowed it to stay grounded, directed, and, well, watchable as a series. But Treme doesn’t have a direction or a purpose. It is only focused on the exploration of the New Orleans culture. It’s like writers said we don’t need any conventional stories.

Treme is a full blown study of New Orleans life that has no focus other than the day to day lives of various characters, and it doesn’t seem to have a purpose other than to show the greatness of this city. I think people are going to be disappointed with Treme as the succeeding show to The Wire. That’s not to say it isn’t good. It’s an interesting show and I reserve judgment until much more of it is seen, but it’s no The Wire. The self-important nature and fixation of the New Orleans people and music is, ironically, it’s down fall even though it’s an interest of the show. The characters, while interesting, are not that interesting. Watching them live cannot hold your interest. You need something in-between, but it isn’t there. The music is too time consuming for the show. You can tell the creators wanted to showcase the music, but it drains time and story from the show. And it’s just too slow. Very little happens in an episode, which would be fine if there was some conceivable payoff in the future like there was with The Wire. Treme does not have that. One of the redeeming qualities of the show is John Goodman, who seems in his element as a loud, fiery mayor passionate about his town. All that can be said about Treme is that New Orleans and its people better get really interesting if they want to continue with this format, or if they want to be even close to as good as its predecessor.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happy Town – A Show with Promise


Last year there was a well liked show called Harpers Island, which was a horror-drama that played like a slasher movie. It was a very fun show and had a horror concept that is seldom seen or done properly on television. On April 28th 2010, Happy Town premieres on ABC, a new show with a similar premise that looks promising, and anyone who enjoyed Harpers Island should check it out. It centers on a small town named Haplin which has been tormented by a mysterious killer who made one person disappear every year until he stopped for five years but now suddenly kills again with the arrival of a young woman. It is made by same people who made Twin Peaks. It has very well known actors in the cult television world, Amy Acker (who played Doctor Saunders on Dollhouse) and Robert Wisdom (who was in The Wire as the police commander who legalized drugs). The promotion hasn’t been very heavy with this show, so I wouldn’t be surprised if people pass it by. It’s one of the very few horror based shows that isn’t an anthology. Although there is no guarantee that it’s good, it does look promising enough to check out. So here are some pros and cons for the show, from what we’ve seen so far.

Pros:

1. The killer’s name is “The Magic Man”. Best name ever.
2. The horror genre for television has always been less than great until the last few years. Since Harper’s Island and Supernatural they’ve seen some leaps in quality. This has the makings of a good horror series.
3. The Creators of Twin Peaks are behind Happy Town.
4. Cool death scenes: a victim is killed by nailing a railroad spike into his head in the first episode.

Cons:

1. The killer’s name is “The Magic Man”. Gayest name ever.
2. It might be too weird like Twin Peaks.
3. 1 out of 10 is any good. For every great addition to the horror genre, there’s a laundry list terrible additions. There are very few good horror centered TV series in existence, and that’s stretching back over 30 years.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lost Fans - The Three Types

Lost: The Complete Sixth And Final SeasonMost people are or know fans of the TV show Lost. It has been the subject of so much water cooler talk it has taken on some of the substances, characteristics, in that you can enjoy it three different ways (vapor, ice, liquid), freaky right? Well, no. It’s an odd observation, not unlike those made by people who watch lost.


Lost is coming to a close soon and those who watch it need to realize that the whole story is about to be told. All of the theories put to rest once and for all and the conclusion of the series is at hand. But before we find out why the statue foot on the beach only has four toes it is time to take a look at yourself and ask: what type of Lost fan was I? The three different ways you can view yourselves are as a gawker, a theorist or a worshiper. A Lost gawker has watched periodically over the past six years to see what all of the talk is about. Less concerned with what is happening in the show itself the gawker looks for elements to make fun of and then banks them in hopes of pulling them out the next time he/she is faced with a Lost-centric conversation. They are the ones who usually say something smarmy and about dinosaurs or polar bears being on the island or more presently about the confusion over time travel and how the show has spun into a sort of Twilight Zone.

But then there are the theorists who only watch the show in order to create far reaching theories about what is actually happening on the show week to week and season to season. They have the tendency to bring up aspects of the show which most can’t remember in order to further their theories agenda. The underlining reason why these theorists theorize is to illustrate just how clever they are and you are not. The more all encompassing and complex your Lost theory is, the more you sound clever, but in reality the more you try to make it sound like you came up with this masterful reason behind whether the hatch really needed its button pressed every so often only reveals just how long you have been trying to work it out and that you could be Lost crazed. Finally there are the worshipers who believe in the opaque nature of the show is warranted and has no affect on their desire to watch the show. They look at the theorists as potential spoilers of the weekly dose of mystery island and prefer to not think too much on the intricacies of Lost. Never look a worshiper directly in the eyes when speaking about Lost otherwise you will witness the look of utter devotion in their eyes that is usually reserved for cult member and people who believe angels speak to them through house hold appliances. There are different variations of the three types of Lost fans but they all find their roots within these distinct characteristics outlined above.