Sunday, September 21, 2014

Short form TV diary.

I realized I haven't written in this blog for a whole year. A lot has happened. Well, not really. But I watched a lot of TV.

Lost Girl--a new season started. I was loving it so much I rewatched it from the beginning and luxuriated in what a great show it is and I was so happy. Towards the end of the season, they killed off a character in such a stupid way that it ruined the whole show for me, but I'll probably get over it.

I also found this amazing website, mehlsbells, that writes about the show. Melanie is a filmmaker so she doesn't just review the episodes and do meta, she also talks about the editing and camera angles and things like that, and she points out things the show does to save money. I'm making it sound boring but it is really interesting to learn about and see the show from that perspective.

Speaking of, and this is all out of order, but this summer I watched Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe. I love it so much that I already watched all the episodes two or three times. It is about 7 years old and British, and it always starts with the tagline, "I'm Charlie Brooker and you're watching Screenwipe, a program all about television."

Image description: a man fucking a TV. Image description: the way I feel 100% of the time.

I guess the show is known for Charlie's angry reviews and criticisms of famous people, but the best parts are the educational parts, like when he explains how much a TV show costs, who works on it, and why people who are making TV shows have to make a lot of compromises. It all has kind of a whiny tone, because that's the tone of the show, but it's not at all just a show about reviews or complaining. Also, there are a lot of guests on the show who talk about pretty much every subject, like why "science" on TV is not scientific, the best credit sequences of all time, kids' shows they ironically watch, and how TV reporters have changed.

Charlie's actual reviews are nothing to sneeze at, of course; they're some of the funniest reviews I've ever seen. He comes at the most inconsequentially bad shows with an attitude of frothing, inarticulate rage which is especially funny because it isn't very convincing. He usually starts smiling a little bit, and basically comes off as very nice when he isn't yelling.

I tried to watch some of his more recent shows, like Newswipe, and that particular brand of comedy just stopped. It was watchable, but I was really disappointed because I enjoyed the persona so much. I guess a lot of angry nerds are mad at him for not being angry anymore, but honestly he never seemed genuinely angry to me, just very committed and over the top in his humor? So I don't think it can really have to do with him mellowing out or becoming a less angry person. I don't know what happened, but at least I'll always have Screenwipe.

Anyway, back to the spring.

Dracula. I watched a tiny bit of this show. It was terrible, terrible, terrible. I also tried to watch Penny Dreadful, also at Clayton's suggestion. I liked when Frankenstein and the monster seemed like they were going to make out but I just couldn't stick around very long. I feel like Clayton has almost never recommended a good TV show to me. I think he's the person who originally got me to watch Grimm! And Clayton, if you are reading this, we were supposed to talk on the phone ONE WEEK AGO!

Dead Like Me. I marathoned this show while playing 2048. It's very good. I love all the characters, the style, acting, writing, blah blah. It's weird because it is older than Wonderfalls, I think, and you remember my complaints about Wonderfalls. Actually, I think Bryan Fuller had to leave this show in a really awful way only a few episodes in, so I should be mad and think that the rest of the show sucks and doesn't live up to the first few episodes, but I am just a philistine and I really like it. The movie is fucking horrible though. Don't do that to yourself, ever.

Sometimes I pretend that Mason and Daisy are Josh and me even though we aren't funny or attractive. ACCEPTABLE!

American Horror Story. I regret watching season three.

Adventure Time. I got really into this show! I love the art style, the music, the characters, and the humor. I love when the episodes end on a really strange beat--that might be my favorite thing about the show. I also got really sick and spent several days in a haze of Bubbline fanfiction on tumblr. I wrote meta, recorded a cover of "Oh Bubblegum" trying to sound like Olivia Olson, and then returned to my day to day life.

Aside from the Bubbline-related episodes, my favorite is "Dream of Love," where an elderly, tiny elephant and a pig fall in love with each other and everyone yells at them for holding hands and kissing in public--not because they are different species, but just because people think public displays of affection are gross. The couple start making out in different places like sandwiches, a baby carriage, and a projector. At the climax of the episode they are separated and start bellowing out a song that has lyrics like, "In my dreams, your love is just a dream to me, but in my heart it lives and breathes and grows!" while the pig is drinking at a bar and the elephant is baking a pie. Okay that summary pretty much contains why I love the show, although you might need to see the art and hear the performances to understand what's so awesome about it.

Sleepy Hollow. This show is wonderful. It sucks when I review something I watched such a long time ago, because it's not really fresh in my mind, and I wish I was able to write a lot about this show. It's about a cop named Abbie who lives in Sleepy Hollow and then Ichabod Crane comes to the present day and acts really angry about the fact that he has to pay $1.99 for donuts. He and Abbie are a delight. So is ORLANDO JONES, whose character name I forget, but he loves being on Sleepy Hollow so much that the background of his tumblr is a picture of him, Abbie, and Ichabod in front of an American flag.

The show is genuinely really scary sometimes and also funny, and has wonderful characters. When I complain about Nick being bland on Grimm and how he's not a real character...well, I am just thinking of characters like the ones in Sleepy Hollow. Abbie has been in way fewer episodes of TV than Nick Burkhardt, but I am so much more excited about her and could tell you so much more about her than I could about Nick. Same goes for every main character, except stupid Katrina--well, that's not true, she is dumb compared to the other characters, but she is still more interesting than Nick Burkhardt.

Also, Sleepy Hollow has a lot more female characters, and black and Asian characters, than most TV shows. That's another thing that makes it more interesting to watch and it is starting up again in ONLY TWO DAYS!!!

Teen Wolf. Never admirable, always watchable. Plus Shelley Hennig, who I used to have a crush on in The Secret Circle--the show I could never remember anything about except that it had hot girls in it?--has ambled over to here and is making out with Stiles and acting in a way that I can claim is crypto-disabled, which is good, because if she was canonically disabled, she'd be a villain.

Community. The REAL season four was great! Shame on you, other season four! (Just kidding, I barely even watched it, except like 3 episodes where the plot of EVERY episode was "Abed compares something to a TV show or movie! Look! This is exactly like Community actually is, except for being well written and doing a good job with the characters!")

Now, this is probably just about half the shows I watched, so I got to dig around in my brain a little.

Drunk History was as good as last year--maybe even more consistently good. It's a really fun show.

I watched Catherine, which isn't actually a real TV show--it's on YouTube--but I like it. Yet I am too lazy to even look up the link for you. You'll just have to do your own Googling. I am a monster.

Broad City. This is a comedy show with maybe 10 episodes about two friends, Abby and Ilana, who live in New York. Again, this is something I remember really liking but it's been such a long time that I don't remember that much about it. Fuck my life! Hannibal Buress is also in it, playing a dentist who is in love with Ilana. By the way, Ilana is one of the most attractive women I've ever seen. I think I might not have found it that funny in the first few episodes but it really picked up. Only quote I remember:

Hannibal Buress: I'm at the dog shelter.
Ilana: When are you going to get your own dog?
Hannibal Buress: I could never subject a dog to the crazy life of a dentist.

Now I am remembering a lot more great dentistry moments in the show. Cool! Maybe I should rewatch it.

Hannibal. I can't believe I was talking about Hannibal Buress but I forgot this show! Okay, I'm going to say the first season was AMAZING but then, like, something happened? Okay warning you should stop reading if you don't want me to post an awesome gory screencap from Hannibal.

First of all, what's kind of exciting about this show is that we have a mentally ill, crazy, crypto-Autistic main character who everyone sort of suspects is a serial killer, but he's not, he's actually super ethical--but all the doubts that other people have about him and all the doubts he has about himself contribute to him being the perfect patsy for an actual serial killer. I know I know, I'm about to say a Bryan Fuller show is realistic, but just shut up okay, I feel like it is a realistic portrayal of mental disability and violence, i.e. that mentally disabled people are seen as violent because of stereotypes, but meanwhile, we actually are disproportionately victims because we're more vulnerable and we're also taught to be more compliant and doubt ourselves and stuff. Good job Bryan Fuller!

I also like that he changed some of the male characters from the books to be female in the show so there would be more female characters.

And most of all (well, maybe not most of all) I love the gore and what Fuller calls "purpleness." We're supposed to believe that there are about one billion really artistic serial killers who do things like killing people and then taking their lungs out and putting their lungs on their back to look like wings:

Or killing people and then turning their bodies into a giant totem pole thing. Or taking diabetic people, putting them into comas, and planting them in a garden and growing plants in them. It is awesome. There was only one scene in the show that actually grossed me out, otherwise all the murders were so dreamlike and just super Bryan Fuller that they were nothing but cool.

The second season wasn't bad or anything but it just didn't appeal to me the same way. First of all, they had understandably moved on from the plot of the first season which, like I said, was very meaningful and exciting to me. So it got more boring. Also Caroline Dhavernas, who I've mentioned I love, was acting really DUMB in season two. No Caroline Dhavernas! Don't do it! Here's a screencap I took of her looking really wonderful though:

And she was walking some dogs too.

I liked it, but I DIDN'T like her being so stupid and also the show just got a lot less case of the week which made me sad because I really liked all the gory art murders so much! Oh well. It's not that I won't watch the show anymore or something but it was just crazy how fast it went from being something I absolutely ADORED and was obsessed with, to something that was just like "well it looks good, good actors, Bryan Fuller, okay."

Orange is the New Black. I'm not sure I reviewed this last year. I love it. It's a great show. I wish I had a husband so I could break up with him for Samira Wiley. But I'm getting tired of writing this post and how short form is it anyway?

Image description: the scrollbar. This post is really fucking long is what I'm trying to say.

Orphan Black. Holy shit am I forgetting a lot of shows! It just means I'm really lucky to have watched so many amazing things this year. Okay at this point I'm going to have to come back to some of these because I'm BURNED OUT.

The Michael J. Fox Show. YES did you know someone could have a disability and be on a TV show and make jokes about it?? YES!!!! But why didn't they do anything else in the show? Like there was literally an episode about how the mom and dad don't want their, like, 17-year-old daughter to take an art class where she draws pictures of nude men. Or maybe she was taking photos, I don't remember, but it just made it seem like the show was taking place in the 1920s and basically everything seems very unoriginal except for the concept. Even though I did really appreciate the concept.

Those are all the shows I can remember right now that I watched this year. I only watched like 18 of them, so I really need to step up my game. Gross.

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