Friday, May 24, 2013

Short form TV diary, part 3

I forgot to say I watched The Secret Circle for a while last year. I pretty much forgot everything about it. Was it that bad? Objectively, I'm sure it was better than Grimm.

*The girls on the show were good looking. They were playing teenagers so maybe I should feel bad but I'm sure they were all very old.

*There was this one girl Diana who was supposed to be sort of the nice responsible one but she was a lot more intimidating and interesting than you would expect from that character.

*One of the main characters died in the first few episodes.

*This guy came and tried to seduce all the girls on the show but secretly wanted to kill the main characters for being witches.

*The main plotline was about how all the kids were witches combined their powers to be more powerful and Diana kept saying that they shouldn't do it because it was bad but they did it anyway and pretty soon it didn't seem to matter very much and the plot was about something else.

*Some of their parents were evil and they were all witches. The most confusing thing about the show was that the 6 (?) main characters were all descended from 6 witches but it seemed like all the witches were married to each other or something, were they all related? It also seemed like this line of witches had existed for a long time and there had always been 6 witches and they usually all dated each other? I didn't understand.

*I also remember a part where this woman didn't move or talk for 15 years because of magic and the main girl used magic to try and save her, but it turned out that her parents had actually frozen her on purpose because she was possessed by a monster. The monster started taking over the main characters and it was okay.

From my description the show sounds watchable and maybe I'll try it again soon, but I can't help but think it means something that I can hardly remember anything about it.

True Blood. Clayton and I were watching the last season of True Blood but why. I just don't care anymore.

Mad Men. I tried to watch the last season of Mad Men but again I just didn't care anymore. I think it was mostly because of Pete, who I used to love. I liked how in the first season he was a jerk, in the second season he went through a lot, and by the third season he was still a jerk but sort of had a good relationship with his wife and was wanting to be a better person. I don't just mean I want everyone to become nice but I liked that his character was developing. This season I started to feel like Pete was just becoming a jerk again and all the characters were being put through the same arcs and loops and it didn't feel meaningful anymore. JUST LIKE LIFE. Is this what Matthew Weiner is trying to tell us? Probably and maybe I'll be interested again someday, but not soon.

Bedlam. I can't believe I forgot this! The second season of Bedlam was amazing. Jed, who you would expect to be alive, is dead. Molly, who you would expect to have been kidnapped and murdered, actually just went to another country to hang out. I forget what happened to Ryan and Kate briefly appears only to leave again. John Foster remains, and actually was a good character who I had feelings about. Some of the ghosts were actually scary. All the bad characters were replaced by good ones! SPOILERS (I decided it's worth warning for them because I respect the show now.)

*Ellie, the Jed replacement. Just better at everything.

*Max, a Nice Guy who is a bartender and is played by an actor who is really appealing. He Nice Guys all over Ellie, while writing a secret blog about her ghost hunting. She finds out and is mad.

*Keira, a young woman who is having an affair with John Foster and he is terrible to her.

*Dan, John Foster's secret son. For the first few episodes, Dan was just a guy who worked for John Foster and was hitting on girls. Then it turned out that he was John Foster's son and JF didn't even know.

Now, my feelings about this are that I like when actors of different races are cast as relatives. John Foster is white and Dan is brown. But the weird thing about this is that when Dan revealed that he was John Foster's son, Max actually YELLED at Dan and was like, "Dan that's not possible, you're not white," and Dan had to painstakingly explain that a person who's white can have a non-white child. Then when Dan told John Foster, John Foster ALSO yelled the same thing at him, even though he presumably remembered that he dated a brown woman. So we had a weird situation where the casting director knew that people can have a relative of a different race, but the characters didn't.

I would consider reviewing this season more in depth because I really enjoyed it. We'll see.

Dog With a Blog, Jessie, ANT Farm, Austin & Ally, Shake It Up, Wizards of Waverly Place, Good Luck Charlie. Not that there's anyone who reads this who doesn't know me, but for the past 8 months I've worked for a severely disabled girl who spends a lot of time resting in her bed and watching the Disney channel. I know all of these shows back to front and am planning on reviewing all of them, the short version is Austin & Ally is the best and Shake It Up is the worst.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Short form TV diary, part 2

I was excited about this blog but I haven't really been keeping it up. As always I've been watching TV though, so here's some stuff I've watched in the last year:

Grimm season two was better than season one. They sidelined Juliette, the worst character. They let Hank, Nick's partner, find out about the animal people so he just wasn't awkwardly wondering what was going on all the time. Towards the end of season one they introduced Rosalee, a fox person who is a love interest for Monroe, the only charismatic character in the first season. Monroe is a wolfman who has decided not to hunt and kill humans, instead going in the other direction of repairing clocks, setting up elaborate Christmas and Halloween decorations, and drinking craft beer. Silas Weir Mitchell, who plays Monroe, is really cute but has something slightly awkward and creepy about him.

I guess I should have mentioned him when I reviewed the show before but I don't think I did. The short version is that the concept and execution of Monroe is the only thing on the show that ever got my attention and it doesn't take a lot to get my attention. Rosalee isn't quite as good as Monroe, but she's appealing and very pretty, and their relationship increases the amount of the show that isn't about really boring characters doing really boring things. Also did I mention the show now sort of has arcs and isn't just about Nick finding out that all murderers are actually snakes?

I'm not saying Grimm has become good, but there have been times that I was sorry the episode was over and I genuinely was frustrated during the midseason hiatus. It also has all the wonderful moments Grimm has always had, like when a woman is on a date with a guy and says, "I'm sorry I'm always crying," and the guy says, "But I want you to cry," grows a giant tongue, licks her tears, blinds her, says, "It's better if you can't see this," and then turns into a giant fly and kills her.

Lost Girl. I watched seasons one and two last year and loved them. The first episode of season three was like the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival in the form of a genre TV show, although I will give the writers some credit for sort of apologizing when people were mad about it, but they didn't really apologize that much. "I'm sorry you thought this 'demon,' who looks like a woman but has a penis and stubble and is trying to get into female-only spaces in order to rape women, was supposed to be a trans woman. Obviously it's just an imaginary demon." (It was also really sad to see queer cis women on implying that no one should criticize Lost Girl because it portrays queer cis women positively.)

Anyway that put me off the show for a while. When I started watching again, all the other episodes in the season were pretty good. The best part was Tamsin, a new love interest for Bo who is actually likable. I know I'm the only person in the world who hates Lauren, Bo's first female love interest, but I just think she is the worst and it was so great to get a character like Tamsin.

Also just really appreciate how much of the show is given over to female characters, female friendships, and lesbian relationships.

Community. Haven't watched season four, don't care, never will. I can't believe I've never written about this show on here because I've been seriously in love with it a year now? It really meets all my ideals of what an ensemble show should be by trying to compassionately portray people who are really different from each other. I think Shirley (the character who is most different from the most central character, Jeff, and also probably from most of the viewers) is written kind of weakly though and could be better.

Obviously the pop culture references are one of the most notable things about the show and I love them, but I got into it because I heard good things about Abed, the Autistic character. I have a whole lot to say about Abed so I will say it some other time. Basically I like how the show inverts so many tropes about how to portray Autistic, crazy, or disabled characters though. Abed is often portrayed as smarter, more in the know, etc. than the other characters--he's not othered so much by them and when he is, they're usually shown to be wrong--and the show makes constant sneaky references to his disability, without talking about it so bluntly that it seems like they're trying to be educational or define him by his disability. I don't know. It's really classy.

Game of Thrones. Watched the first season, read the first book, spoiled myself for EVERYTHING and got really into reading theories and analyses by fans, started reading the second book, watched the second season, and got so overwhelmed by the length of the book and so offended by the crappiness of the adaptation that I just gave up on everything. Then in the last few months, I started reading the books again and this time am really enjoying the length and density and kind of appreciating the show as a chance to relive the books, even though the show fundamentally misses the point of the books.

I won't go on about this because lots of people have written about it much better than me, but just an example. In both the show and the books, a guy gets married to a woman who, for political reasons, he shouldn't marry. To avoid spoilers let's call the guy Donald. In the book, Donald is a 15- or 16-year-old who had sex with a girl because he was stressed out, and now he wants to marry her because he ruined her life by taking her virginity. He announces this out of nowhere and is freaking out about what an idiot he is. In the narrative, this event isn't even treated as that important because Donald isn't a POV character, even though forbidden love is usually this dramatic, world-altering thing, especially in fantasy fiction.

In the show, Donald is the hero and is an adult, and his girlfriend is elevated to a much more major character who shocks him by standing up to him even though he's really powerful (something that would be really unsafe to do in that society!) and travels around the world doing awesome heroic things (something that would be really unsafe to do in that society!) and even kind of snarks about other women who aren't cool enough to travel around the world being heroic and sticking it to powerful men. The book series has smart, talented women characters accomplishing what they can in a patriarchal structure, and this character is a complete fuck you to that by implicitly blaming them for their own oppression. There's also sort of an implication that Donald and his girlfriend are just getting married because Donald decides it's lame to take political consequences into account. The show version of the romance undoes the cleverness of the book version, where instead of being super-romantic and the main thread of the story, the forbidden love happens off to the side and everyone feels like an idiot.

So, yeah. And then this kind of thing is about 50% of the show. The ASOIAF books subvert expectations for fantasy fiction and then the people adapting it for TV are just like, "But fantasy fiction isn't supposed to be like this! Let's make it more like he should have written it, i.e. more stereotyped!"

I probably watched some more shows but now I'm bored. Oh I watched Parks and Recreation. It's fine/would watch again.