It’s been a long time since I’ve written one of my Entertainment Review posts, with the last one being back in February, and with the US TV Season drawing to a close for another year, it’s time to catch up.
Here are my thoughts on some of the shows I’ve been watching lately…
24: Live Another Day
Yes, Jack is back (three words that have probably been used together in just about every single review of the show since it made its return last week) and this time he’s in London.
On hearing the news that Kate Ramsay, with her smug smile and Auton-like face had been killed off in Neighbours, I watched it again
What can you say? Well it’s the tried, tested and a little bit tired formula all over again, with the first three episodes focusing on the Level One villains who will ultimately be killed off by someone higher up than them on the food chain.
But it’s been a while since 24 was on our screens and so even though it’s not breaking any new ground, it’s still entertaining.
I’m gutted about Maurice being killed off between seasons though.
The Big Bang Theory
As much of a fan of this show as I am, there’s no doubt the quality is going downhill. It’s not going downhill as fast as Kaley Cuoco’s appearance (cue angry feminist comments being left), but it’s still suffering from a drop in quality. Much of that has to do with the repetitiveness of it all, but with some level of character development in the past few weeks, I’m still confident that this is a show that will still be worth watching next year.
Castle, meanwhile, is a show that is going from strength to strength. But for one episode in the 2012/13 season that was a rushed clip episode, it has remained one of the most consistently entertaining shows on TV.
The recent instalment with the mobster who still believed it was the late 1970s was well written and superbly funny.
If you’ve not given this show a go yet, do so ASAP.
It’s been cancelled! Nooooooooo!!!
Creatively, you could argue that it was time for it to go, because it finished on a happy ending and for the characters to still be hanging around Greendale for another year would just seem tenuous.
But I’m still disappointed as I’ve been mostly enjoying this latest season. With the exception of the episode centring around the phone app – which turned into yet another post-apocalyptic, Hunger-Games style war – it was of a high standard throughout.
My favourite episode – and one that I would implore you to watch, even though it didn’t get the ratings in the US – is the GI Joe one. By presenting most of the episode in an authentic GI Joe cartoon from the 80s, it was just one of the smartest/coolest/geekiest things I’ve ever seen.
Now here’s a show I’ve just recently starting watching.
And better yet, Doug Willis is back!
A Canadian Time Travel/Police Drama that is somewhere between Life on Mars and The Butterfly Effect, I have been thoroughly enjoying this, and would recommend it highly.
Starring Rachel Nichols from the final season of Alias, it has had me hooked for the past week of binge watching. Now I’ve read some people say it’s a bit too complex for them, and I can sympathise with that, but I’ve had no problems keeping up.
After a few episodes, I was wondering how they would keep the show fresh and interesting, but they’ve managed that by developing the storylines and characters and not being afraid of making key changes to the dynamic.
What I also like about it is the location. Because the show is made in Vancouver and primarily uses lesser known Canadian actors in the cast, it gives the show a different look and feel to the majority of shows from across the pond filmed in New York or Los Angeles.
On the whole, I’d give this a hearty thumbs up.
Game of Thrones
I just don’t get the hype.
I’m a few episodes behind on this, and that says it all about my desire to see this show.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Game of Thrones is bad – indeed I think it’s quite good – but the way you read people fawning all over it on social media baffles me.
It especially baffles me that some of the people who think it’s the coolest thing going are the sorts of people who’ll go out of their way to criticise shows like Doctor Who as being “sad”. It’s apparently acceptable geekery.
Personally, I do think it’s a case of style over substance, and has several issues, including a cast that is too expansive for the average viewer to fully invest in or even recognise the characters they play, and a narrative flow that is uneven at best.
There are some episodes where nothing happens, and if people weren’t willing the show to do so well, you would be right to say that the storyline with Daenerys Targaryen (I had to look her name up there despite watching this from the start) is moving at far too slow a pace.
Maybe I’m being too critical here, but I think there are plenty of more entertaining TV shows out there and that this is the classic example of a show that is best watched in bulk rather than episode by episode.
But it looks nice.
p.s. Don’t get upset…this is just my opinion. If you like it then good for you 😉
The GI Joe Episode of Community was one of the most inventive episodes of a TV show I’ve seen. Class.
I can just see the anger on the faces of some blokey readers getting past my entry about Game of Thrones and then seeing me praise Grey’s Anatomy. How dare I!
It’s been a decent season of Grey’s, although probably the weakest one they’ve done.
Like a couple more programmes I plan on discussing, this is one show that could probably have finished for good here, with most of the story arcs of the characters being wrapped up nicely.
With original cast-member Sandra Oh leaving, and potential storyline exits for the likes of Meredith, Derek and Alex also hinted at in the last few episodes, it could well have ended here and nobody could complain from a creative standpoint.
But it will continue, and that’s not a bad thing. My only concern is that the end of season cliffhanger – that the new Head of Cardio is Meredith’s half-sister and the Chief’s long-lost daughter – feels like a Jumping The Shark moment.
Let’s hope it’s not.
I’ve got back into Neighbours!! Well..sort of.
Continuum – Well worth your time
Having read that one of the characters that put me off the show so much that I stopped watching it was getting killed off (the horribly smug Kate Ramsey with her Auton-like head), while the Living Legend, Doug Willis, was making a comeback, I decided to give it another go.
It’s been ok. It turns out that there’s been an almost entire turnover of cast since I stopped watching, but I’ve picked it up again.
I’m not hooked, but my brother and I are having a sort of ironic laugh watching it again.
Oh, and quite clearly Susan and Karl Kennedy are immortals. They just don’t age.
Another show that probably should have ended this year is Revenge.
As hilariously bad, yet weirdly engrossing as it is, the whole point of the show was for an undercover Emily to avenge her father’s death and to bring those responsible for his incarceration to justice. And she did that.
And now everyone knows exactly who she is, removing that element from it too.
And yet it was renewed for another season.
Probably because it makes money, and that seems to be more important than making a creatively satisfying show.
The season ended with Conrad and Aiden murdered, Victoria in a mental institution and most ridiculously of all, David Clarke returning from the dead.
As much as I’m sure I’ll have a laugh when it returns, this show should have ended by now.
And so should Scandal.
Olivia Pope from Scandal – a deeply unpleasant woman
Here’s a show that has long outlived its welcome, despite only running for three seasons.
Unlike Grey’s Anatomy and Revenge, what’s even more ridiculous about Scandal getting a new season is that every storyline was wrapped up at the conclusion of the last episode. Why would it need to come back, and how can it come back without it seeming ridiculous?
The problem is that over the last season and a half, it moved away from being a show about a team of political fixers taking on a new case every week and put all its eggs into the one basket – Olivia’s relationship with the President.
And though I did watch the season all the way through, it got really fucking boring by the end. Every single episode had a scene shoe-horned in where Olivia and the President – a man who she’s having an affair with – talk about their feelings while that incongruous incidental music that makes me want to slam my fist through the TV played over it. Just awful.
But what gets me about Scandal the most is that – not unlike Shonda Rhimes other shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice – the lead character is supremely unlikable. Olivia Pope is – I think – written to be a strong and independent black woman (with the “black” part being important, hence why I highlighted it), presumably because that’s how the show’s creator sees herself, but what she actually comes across as is an overconfident, hypocritical and deeply unlikable bitch. Meanwhile, the First Lady, who I imagine is written to be a villain, comes across as someone who is victimized and more often than not in the right.
The scene where Olivia tells the guy having an affair with the First Lady that he has to stop sleeping with her or she’ll destroy him – while she herself is openly having a relationship with the President in front of his wife – took the cake.
This is one show I may not return to.
Two and a Half Men
This is not so much a TV show that I’m watching at US Pace, but one that I decided to get into recently by watching the DVDs from the start.
I feel quite underwhelmed by it, and it amazes me that it’s still on TV now.
A bit like when I watched the boxed set of NCIS, I just sort of drifted away from it by the third season.
It made me smile, but not laugh, and I found myself frustrated, hoping that Alan’s ex-wife would get some level of comeuppance. I even googled it to find out if she did.
But she didn’t as far as I can see.
WWE Legends House
Hillbilly Jim is back on our screens in 2014. Result!
Finally, as a fan of WWE going back years, the idea of the likes of Hacksaw Duggan, Hillbilly Jim, Mean Gene, Roddy Piper and Jimmy Hart living in a house together is the perfect show.
Filmed years ago (as evidenced by the now UK based Ashley Roberts working as the host) but never picked up by any TV network, this has finally seen the light of day on the WWE Network.
And it’s crap, but a great laugh.
If you don’t know the characters, you won’t get it, but if you do, you will.
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