Saturday, July 10, 2010

Shows To Watch Over The Summer Break (Part II)

OK it’s summer and it is hot. What you should be doing is getting out there and enjoying the weather, doing those things that you have been putting off because it has just been too cold outside… or not. If you are an “or not” person, there are options to all of those summer reruns and loads of reality shows being crammed down your throat.
 Such as:
The Inbetweeners - Series 1 & 2 [REGION 2 IMPORT-NON USA FORMAT]The Inbetweeners (Series 1-2)
As a show set about a group of teen boys trying to survive their high school years you may find yourself immediately uninterested, but The Inbetweeners is a classic story with a nice British twist. You know how all American shows about teens are bullshit, and are obviously written by 50 year olds who don’t want parents yelling at them over the shows content? The Inbetweeners, though over the top, depicts teeniness as it really can be. What do these boys want? Beer, Sex and good times, unlike American shows their attempts to get these things are done in a manner that is incredibly funny and true to life (and vulgar). There is definitely no pandering to the more reserved members of the TV watching community, who believe children will act out anything they see on TV.  A great half hour show loaded with original funny material.

The League: Season One [Blu-ray]The League (Season 1)
Comedies are great for summer viewing especially when they are based around an obscure and nerdy pastime. The League follows a group of friends and their annual quest of creating a NFL fantasy football league. The premise of this show doesn’t sound very funny but the league and the men (and secretly some of their wives) who constitute it make it funny. None of the actors are exactly well known but that is all part of the charm to this basically unknown show.

JustifiedJustified (Season 1)
Justified is one of those great FX shows that combines a simple premise with great actors and a solid story arch. The show focuses on the life of a US Marshal who has to return to his home town after leaving many years earlier deep in the heart of Kentucky. Sounds hallmark right? Elements within this show really make it interesting such as the use of Jim Beam bourbon.  It can be anything from a solution to a hostage situation to a coffee sweetener… who knew. The playful manner of addressing aspects of the show would make casual onlookers scoff, like the cowboy hat that the main character proudly sports for most of the season. The writers of the show make no bones about pointing that fact out and using it as point of contention, admiration and a few cheap laughs thrown in for good measure. Justified was one of the new best shows to come out this year and if you missed it when it first aired you should check it out during the summer.    

The Wire: The Complete First SeasonThe Wire (Season 1-3)
Everyone references this show for a reason, as a cop drama that traces the steps of both the lives of drug dealers and the police who try and catch them. But unlike most similar shows this one follows the strategies and inner working of both organizations’ to an unprecedented level.  Bottom line is that The Wire took what you thought could be accomplished with a conventional television show and turned that on its head. Not to be accused of praising The Wire too much, that is to say, you have to understand that after the third season the show The Wire was only a shadow of its former self. That being said, seasons 1 – 3 are some of the most intricate and rewarding seasons of television ever made. The creators of this show do not pander to the audience as though those watching are incapable o following a complex multifaceted story.  A great show you have to pay attention to in order to keep the story straight.  

Futurama, Vol. 1Futurama (Vol.1)
As one of the best adult cartoons ever made Futurama is great for the Saturday morning cereal munching sci-fi geek in all of us. Season 1 of the series is by far the most creative and contains many great episodes. But you could also continue with Futurama in its 6th season on the Cartoon Network which is airing over the summer months. And despite what the naysayers have been saying, season six is shaping up to be one of the series best. Fry, Leela, The Professor, Amy, Bender, Zapp all of the characters are in top form, (“You forgot to mention ZOIDBERG!” [weeping]).   

Party Down: Season 1Party Down (Season 1-2)
After being canceled only recently Party Down can be grouped together with some of those other great comedies that were prematurely ended such as Arrested Development and Futurama. The show is about a catering service crew who work in Hollywood, most of the people who work for the service are failed or aspiring actors. The interactions of the servicers and the party attends were hilarious. There is also a subtle romance between two characters and in Season 1 the word Supercrackers gets thrown around a lot to great affect. The seasons are very short but that makes them all the better, the best episode from season 1 has to be Celebrate Ricky Sargulesh. Steven Weber of Wings fame, guest stars in this episode as a psychopathic with trust issues concerning his girlfriend and strange eye wound. The Second Season’s best episode was Steve Guttenberg's Birthday, where the cast ends up parting with the Goot on his birthday and acting out a science fiction screenplay written by one of the service team. It was funny and this episode served as a reminder that Steve Guttenberg (Cocoon, Three Men and a Baby) is still alive. 

What do you think of this list? 

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