Friday, October 26, 2007

Previously on TV:

More and more of our shows are just not being recorded by our DVR, and Time Warner really needs to look into this problem. (Hear that, Time Warner? Of course you don't. You hear nothng.)

Luckily, at least a few things have escaped this fate. For every lost Chuck and Gossip Girl episode, there's a full Big Shots and 35 minutes of the Mad Men season finale... Oh, wait, that kind of sucks too. But at least we got whole epiosodes of Pushing Daisies, Dexter, Ugly Betty and...Damages.

Was that a finale or was that a finale? (Answer: It was and hopefully it wasn't.)

A hallmark of this first season, the Damages finale kept the twists and turns coming until the very end. Even better, they were twists and turns that not only made total sense, but actually made earlier things we'd seen better. Now that's damn good writing. TVguide.com has a great piece up about the finale (and possible next season), but I wouldn't read it until you've gotten through every episode from this year. Don't say I didn't warn you. I'd have to say, once all was said and done, the season was a solid A- for me. Please FX, give it another year to gain traction with viewers. I promise I'll hound everyone I know.

Mad Men is a bit of a different beast. I know people that I respect who absolutely love it, and I am definitely drawn to it because everything feels purposeful and high quality and just...intelligent...but I have yet to truly like an episode. Jill Golick has written a couple of very interesting and insightful posts about the show that I highly recommend checking out; they've made me grudgingly respect the show more than I already did, but I still stand by my feelings. She says that the show highlights how different the characters are from us by emphasizing their unthinking sexism and racism (among other things), then finds ways to remind us that we are just like them. It's this second part that I haven't felt yet. I don't really like or feel connected to a single character on the show. And I don't think the show cares that much. Which I'm fine with. I absolutely believe that Matt Weiner is creating a piece of art here, it's just not art that I connect with. I've found that when I really do force myself to engage with the show (something that it demands from its viewers if you want to understand it at all), the rewards are less than I hoped for. Regardless, I'll probably keep watching because it's one of those things that, as an intelligent person, you feel like you should watch. Like a Citizen Kane or a Raging Bull--other examples of art that I completely respect but, to varying degrees, don't necessarily like all that much.

On the Dexter spec front, good news and bad news for Jul and I. The good news is that it seems like we really understand the characters. The bad news is that so do the writers on the show. The last episode severely damaged (and may have ruined) our B-story, because the main character of that plotline seems to have already moved past the point where we had them. Such is life in speccing TV, though.

And speaking of Life, why isn't anybody watching it? Seriously, people, it's one of the best new shows of the year.

2 comments:

Jane said...

I think Mad Men is (gasp!) boring. There, I said it.

So what if it's arty and well researched and meaningful? If it's not entertaining then the rest of that stuff just doesn't matter.

xJ

Josh said...

Though I will say... When's the last time you could complain that TV was so arty it was boring?