February 1, 2010

The Longest, Most Comprehensive, Mid-Season TV Recap That I Have Ever Written

Print More

Darling, darling, reader people:

I have been a lazy, lazy bum. I know that seems counterintuitive, or at least extraordinarily lazy, since this blog’s very existence seems to chronicle my very lazyness as well as my lovely posting compatriots. After all, to watch a lot of the TV, you have to spend a lot of time, sitting on your ass and doing nothing.

Which I have done too much of … I spent the part of winter break I wasn’t stuck in airports not doing the thesis writing I was supposed to be doing, but rewatching Scrubs, and finally watching all those episodes of Lost I refused to watch because I thought the show had gotten too boring and had no trust that the writers understood things like continuity or how to tie up a story in a satisfying way. I still have no faith that Damon and Carlton understand these things, but I don’t care and am super excited for Tuesday night … which is what being sick for a week and watching about 100 hours of Matthew Fox making sad faces will do to you.

I joke. I love Lost. I may not be as compelled by the characters as in other ensemble dramas like, say, Battlestar Galactic, but you do have to give The Lindelof/Cuse props for ambitious storylines.

Aaaaanyhooo. I also watched other shows, caught up on old shows, and left the house sometimes. But now I am finally here to give you a taste of what’s going on these days on your TVs, Hulu, and Netflix Watch Instantly (which PS, truly is the awesomest of all awesome things, ever).

Let’s start with the Brit Occupation. I don’t think any of you biddies and gents watch Doctor Who, which is unfortunate, because it is awesome. Silly and campy and yet very big, intense idea, and then there’s David Tennant. Or rather, was, David Tennant … he aired his last episode after New Years, going out with a confused rattle of bangs, and then a dignified whimper, and leaving in his place This Guy, carrying on the legacy of freakishly good lookingness. If you have basic cable, which I hope you do, then the last few standalone episodes of David Tennant’s time is on BBC America On Demand.

Also on BBC America currently is a show really dear to my heart: The Inbetweeners. It’s already two seasons in, UK-side, but it’s now gracing America with its loveable presence. The Inbetweeners is about one really nerdy teenage boy and his ridiculously, socially awkward teenage friends, getting up to all those things that teenage boys get up to. They are weird, they are super uncomfortable, they are all very unique, and they talk and think mostly about sex, boobs and getting pissed. Imagine Arrested Development if Jason Bateman were about 16, could never get laid, and had a British accent. Or I guess, imagine a cross between Arrested Development and Skins. It’s hilarious, makes you kind of uncomfortable, and is also very sweet. It also reminds you why teenage boys are awful, awful creatures.

Speaking of Skins, season 4 has just begun. Not something that really matters since it isn’t airing here, but I managed to watch it, somehow, and it is not good. When TV makes you shift around uncomfortably for forty minutes and wish it were over, it’s time to stop watching. I did not, because I am a masochist. But now you know. It’s unfortunate, because the first few seasons of the show were really wonderful.

Last but not least, we have the return of Secret Diary of a Call Girl. The new season is airing to a lot of extra hype, since Belle de Jour, the ex-London call girl the series is based on, has finally revealed her true identity. She exists, people: she’s not a dude. She’s also pretty awesome. Anyway, Secret Diary is back on starting tonight at 10 on Showtime, with Belle now a published author, but still at the same old game. Bambi and Ben are back as well, and Ben, for once, does not seem as obsessed with Belle as usual; Bambi actually has her own plotline, which is excellent because for a somewhat chavtastic bimbo, she’s both hilarious and very genuine. I don’t want to spoil anything, but, suffice it to say, the third season so far has none of the romantic angst and sad, sad, songs that season 2 and Callum Blue, bless his beautiful, beautiful face, brought. Instead, Belle and Billie are much more upbeat, and the show is back to a much lighter, funnier tone so far, with Belle trying to soak up her newfound fame while remaining anonymous, and actually having enough material for book two. Also, James D’Arcy (who plays Belle’s editor) may be more beautiful than Iddo Goldberg and Callum Blue, combined. And that? Is saying something. Because, well … Callum Blue.

On the returning shows front, we have Lost, Grey’s Anatomy —which I have to admit I have started watching again, and is actually back to being silly but fun again, thank the lord. With a big heaping of angst and people being the usual assholishness. Particularly: Derek and Meredith, both of whom I’d rather not look at, but especially Patrick Dempsey and his judgmental hair, whoever this damn character Teddy is because I find her just annoying, and Sloane, who in about two minutes, became almost as much of a hypocritical douche as Derek’s hair. After some long lost teenage daughter shows up from out of nowhere, apparently preggers (seriously, what is it with all these damn pregnant teen mommies! Somebody, please, make it stop), and also named Sloane, Mark invites her to move in with him and Lexie Gray. Clearly this is what happens when you start watching a show after a year of not watching because people were having ghost sex, because I didn’t even know that Lexie and Mark were sexing it up, much less living together. As much as the Fall-Spring relationship thing gets overplayed (and she sort of seems like a stand in for Addison, with the red hair and everything), they’re actually sort of cute together, and it’s nice to see him grow up, so I buy it. Anyway, as I was saying, there is no reason to care about a TV couple since they are now over: Sloane decides to let his pregnant kid move in with him and Lexie, but Lexie’s 24 and does not want to be saddled down with kids and grandkids. Amen, sister – you should tell the rest of the teen mommies that. I have a show on MTV, and some semi-fictional characters on Lifetime I’d like you to go preach to. Anyway, so Mark heads off to Private Practice land, shtups Addison a few times, while Lexie, bereft over losing Mark Sloane (which, who wouldn’t miss that face?), gets it on with Alex.

All of this is leading up to McSteamy’s big McDouchey moment: He confronts Lexie, confesses he did Addison, does not confess he did Addison multiple times and was considering staying with her, and then, when Lexie expresses relief and admits to fornicating with Alex (just ONCE, I might add), Sloane goes all obnoxious, with the “you slept with Karev when I was hurting?”

Lexie, thankfully: Well, you weren’t hurting, you were sleeping. With Addison. (Multiple times, Lexie, he did it multiple times! And almost stayed with her!)

Mark: I just … can’t look at you. (Angry man is angry! Angry man thinks he has a soapbox to stand on, and is treating Lexie like he thinks she’s a whore!) Anyway, it seems like they are over, and I didn’t mean to dwell so much on that one storyline, but it just really, really bugged me. I can’t decide if Shonda thinks that her little male gods are actually in the right for being so damn judgmental all the damn time. It sure seems like it.

Woo, that was a tangent. Lots of other things: Dollhouse is now over. It’s funny, because the show went from having an interesting premise to being kinda boring, to getting super awesome, to going back to boring, to being silly and angsty but watchable and filled with candy of the manlike variety, and then winding back down into confusing-twist-ville. I think what it proves is that there is a place for Season 3 Torchwood-like short form event TV, and that Joss is actually really terrific at writing it. It’s too bad that he had such little space to wind everything up, which is actually why it felt so rushed. At the same time though, I actually don’t hate Eliza Dushku anymore, and it’s probably best that she quit while she’s ahead.

In it’s place, there are two awesome new shows to DVR on Friday nights: First, Caprica, Battlestar Galactica’s prequel, has finally begun. You may have seen the feature-length backdoor pilot last year, but if not, you can watch it now, and really should. The show, so far, is much slower than BSG, and is much more character drama than it is HolyShitTheWorldSheIsEnding every 33 minutes, but the acting is very strong and the ideas are very interesting. Quick summary: Before the Cylon war, Caprica City is very New Yorkish, except much crazier: Virtually reality exists, as do robots, and teens are going around doing crazy things like creating secret virtual “V” clubs and having virtual group sex and virtual human sacrifice. Also, there are robots named Serge. So essentially, the world is going to shit. Within this are two families, Eric Stolz as a freakishly attractive, evil genius Steve jobs type, and the patriarch of the Greystone clan, and Joseph Adams as well, Joseph Adama, really, Commander’s father, Lee’s grandfather, and that criminal/lawyer we used to hear so much about. Greystone and Adama tragically cross paths when the futuristic subway car thing explodes, killing Greystone’s daughter, Zoe, and Adama’s wife and teenage daughter.

Greystone is currently working on the initial prototype for a Cylon (which is not really a spoiler, nor the point), and it turns out his daughter was a tech genius who had managed to create a virtual copy of herself, who I will call Zoe2, since ZoeBot was already taken. (I may also call her, “Why do you only own one dress?” but that’s too many words.)

Zoe is also part of a monotheistic terrorism group called Soldiers of the One, and her boyfriend is the kid who blew up the lev shuttle. Greystone and Adama meet in their time of pain, and then clearly these two families are going to be at battle for the whole series, and we’re going to learn how Cylons were created, and evolved, etc. But the show is beautifully, beautifully shot and well acted, even by the teenagers (especially strong is Lacy Rand, played by Magda Apanowicz, who was terrific on Kyle XY and managed to be the first precocious teenager I didn’t hate). And it is probably going to turn ideas about family, girlhood, and morality on their heads in the same way BSG did with religion and terrorism.

Starz, on the other hand, just put out its new series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, or in other words, Gladiator, the Show: With this attractive Brit actor instead of Russell Crow and more nudity. Spartacus is exactly that: a captured Thracian who becomes a gladiator-slave, and is trying to find his wife, surrounded by Rome at its most decadent. Spartacus has a 300-like comic book aesthetic, which while at times visually arresting, gets tired when they feel the need to do the 360 frozen BLOOD! AHH! SPLASHY BLOOD! WOO BLOOD! shot, Every. Single. Time. It also has Xena, with freaky red hair, so I’m pretty happy, even if the script isn’t anything special. Also, lots of anachronistic swearing, which drives me crazy, and full frontal nudity, which is to be expected. Naked girls kissing is, I always think, why shows like this exist in the first place. Soft core porn isn’t really soft core porn when it’s set in ancient Rome where everybody got nekkid and kissed everybody, so who am I to complain?

Also, the CW, in another step closer to returning to its Dawson’s Creek-era, snarkily earnest teen-adult people taking care of themselves with no grownups, has started Life Unexpected, a show I did not expect to like, like Vampire Diaries, but actually am enamored of. Also like Vampire Diaries, Rabia will be covering the show soon, so I’m not going to say anymore of that.

I’m sure I missed a lot of other shows. If I did, or if I accidentally insulted your TV boyfriend, feel free to comment. Toodles.

Original Author: Julie Block