There seem to be more good TV shows around these days than I have time to watch, and I don’t think it’s because my standards have dropped. My favorites of late:
I love this show. I love that it is vaguely historical. I love that it contains more swearing than every other show combined. I love that the dialogue as well as being vulgar is also complex and indirect, so that I often have trouble following it. Deadwood is full of desperation and brutality, but it’s also incredibly rich and satisfying. Three seasons of filthy mud-soaked blood-stained goodness.
Two guys framed for a bombing go on the run and have to try to clear their name by solving the crime. Not the most original premise for a show, but a pretty reliable one leading to nice drama and suspense and who-do-you-trust type themes. Now that I type this it sounds pretty ordinary, but I was really starting to like it… oh until it was CANCELLED of course, after a short season of only 8 episodes. At least the creator was nice enough to reveal on his blog the plans for the follow up seasons which were not to be.
I really like this one, because it’s just like Quantum Leap only without Dean Stockwell and the terrible 80′s acting, writing & production values. None of that "Ziggy says…" crap here; it’s all time travelling action adventure, with some fun central themes, eg our hero sees his ex when he goes back in time, gets a better perspective on his own past, and his spontaneous and inconvenient temporal jumps are presaged by something which resembles a panic attack (or perhaps the furtive anxiety of an IBD sufferer), so there’s this level of tension when he is making plans, spending time with his kid, driving etc where he knows he may have to disappear with only a few seconds notice. Also I like that the lead is played by a guy who looks like he would normally be cast as an Aryan thug.
Unfortunately Journeyman was also passed over for a second season, so there are only 13 episodes.
That Mitchell and Webb Look
Only just discovered this sketch comedy show, and nearly wet myself laughing at "The Surprising Adventures of Sir Digby Chicken Caesar"
Stuff that doesn’t make my cut
Flash Gordon – what a pile of poo. It’s not like I expected much, but I did expect to see at least one goddamn rocket ship! Instead we get a crummy dimensional rift, and so it’s just like a stupid camp version of Stargate (I think, I never really watched SG), and Ming is just a boring white guy, which feels just a bit too PC even to me.
Bionic Woman – note the absence of the definite article. Also note that the cast, production values and even title font have been borrowed from Battlestar Galactica. This show just sucks, with BW bitching about being given brand new super limbs which she didn’t ask for (she would presumably prefer to be a triple amputee). Oh boo hoo she is so troubled, but not as troubled as Starbu… I mean, other bionic woman. Just like Buffy their super strength seems to be proportional to whoever they are fighting at any given time (so a well trained but otherwise ordinary man can hold his own in a fight, which is just dopey). There’s this long boring training sequence with her doing one-armed pushups. Wow. She could be bending lamp-posts and we’re watching her do pushups.
Man Stroke Woman – British sketch show with not enough quality control, a shame because I wanted to like it. It has that one-joke-per-sketch feel about it. Really stilted compared to Mitchell and Webb.
Reaper - Yet another supernaturally themed show, and just like Dead Like Me and later seasons of Buffy it relies on this annoying idea that even if you have superpowers you will still need to hold down a crummy day job and some semblance of a normal life. Haha hilarity ensues. I’ve seen a few episodes of this and the obvious hand of Kevin Smith kind of annoys me, manifested here as amazingly hot babe who wants to do nothing more than hang out and drink beer with slacker guys (and has no other friends of her own). It makes the will-they-get-together question totally pointless because she appears to have been created as the ultimate male fantasy, and the question just becomes so-why-aren’t-they-having-sex? See Rosario Dawson in Clerks II for another example of Smith’s improbable fantasy girl, who’s incredibly hot, sympathetic to flabby slackers, and totally up-for-it.