Thursday, September 04, 2008

PCB's Television Round-Up 2008. Part 4

Better late than never....


Ok I know this is technically from last year as season 2 is soon to begin airing in the US and its run finished in the UK a while ago, but this is a show worthy of inclusion. If ever a show were to be defined as "classy", it's this one. An intelligent thriller with a complex, nay labyrinthine plot, each week's episode was a masterclass is acting, writing and direction. Glenn Close has started to resemble Mr Punch with the amount of work she's had done and this was occasionally a distraction but other than that I didn't have a single complaint about this show. Some people found the revelations in the finale a little hard to swallow, arguing that the sudden volte face to focus on Patty was just a way to drag the show out to more seasons. I do not agree, as Ellen was very clearly playing Patty at her own game and now will be playing both ends against the middle. If the writing stays as strong and focused, then the next season could be delicious.


Why do I watch this show? Now in its fifth season, I actually gave up on this show a few episodes into season four. I swear the show was cancelled at the end of that season and so I think what drew me back in to the show was to find out exactly what was so brilliant that it had been brought back from the dead. Answer; NOTHING. Relocated to LA, the show spent season five moving ever further into Sunset Beach territory with unbelievably over the top story lines that broke the suspension of my disbelief far too many times. And yet for some reason, I watched the entire season (except for the one episode that was done in a reality show style, that episode I had to switch off it was so godfuckingawful). It was a frustrating experience as the writing constantly undermined what could have been a fun watch. The issues and themes of each episode are writ large with such a heavy hand that it all ends up feeling forced and desperate. And it's a shame because they had some fine guest spots this season, most notably Sharon Gless's batshit crazy turn as Sean's stalker.

Battlestar Galactica

Talk about coitus interruptus. I finally got round to catching up with all things Battlestar and mainlined the miniseries pilot right up to the end of season three in the space of a month, in time for the airing of episode 6 of this current season. As the show had not really been on my radar up to that point, I was not up to date with what was going on with it, production wise. So imagine my surprise to find out that season 4 had been split in half, with 10 episodes airing this year and 10 episodes in 2009. What the fuck? Stupid writer's strike.

Anyway, I personally think season 4 is very very strong. It is one of the best shows around full stop, pretty much. It doesn't try to be glamourous, it doesn't pull a single punch and it doesn't care about killing people off, which is nice as it means nobody is safe. Also, after season three's Cylon revealing finale, the elusive twelfth Cylon could be just about anybody. The show is getting darker and darker as it goes on (season 3 was so relentlessly downbeat that watching it all back to back was very trying) and the mid season cliffhanger of earth being discovered only to find it's in ruins would indicate that season 4 part 2 won't be a barrel of laughs either. And when everything about a show is a flawless as it is on Battlestar, then that is a VERY good thing.


I loved this show. Loved it. It's geektastically ridiculous and in less committed hands a premise as shaky as this would be a disaster. But everyone in the show quite obviously believes in it 110% and it shows. Zachary Levi is both fantastic and super hot in the title role of the nerd who becomes an unwitting super computer and has to be guarded 24/7 by the CIA. The first season was so strong that when the writer's strike stopped this show like it did every other, a full second season was ordered. And I say brava.


I never expected this show to a) last as long as it has or b) be as good as it's become. Did anyone? I mean, McG (about to drive the final nail into the Terminator franchise) is the show's producer. But the easy chemistry between the two leads and the humour that the show never loses sight of are just two of the things that managed to elevate this into "must watch" territory. This season seemed to lose focus of its central premise (Dean's deal for his soul) and introduced an important character far too late, but once again I'm blaming the writer's strike for that. And I am hoping that the massively incoherent ending to the season finale will be explained in the beginning of the imminent 4th season. This season really wasn't afraid of going to some dark places with some seriously creepy storylines. And the final shot of the finale was truly the nastiest this show has ever been. Keep it up!

Gossip Girl

I know I know. I'm not the show's demographic, but do you forget I'm also reading the Twilight books? Anyway, in full disclosure, I only watched the show because I know someone who works on it. But that didn't stop me thoroughly and guiltily enjoying the show. Superficial, bitchy, glossy, tons of fun and packed with ridiculously pretty people, what's not to like? I did like that when the show called for it, it didn't shy away from adapting a more serious tone too. But for the most part, this was Dynasty in high school and I just loved every minute of it. I know that season 2 has just started airing in the US, it won't start here until 2009 I don't think.

That is currently that for 2008. Ugly Betty's second season finally picks back up in the UK this week, and season 4 of both Medium and Grey's Anatomy start up in a couple of weeks. Breaking Bad and Burn Notice make their UK debuts pretty soon too. Is there nothing I won't watch? Yes. Private Practice. What a pile of shit.


Jerby said...

I so love that you love Battlestar. One of my all-time faves.

Alex said...

Ha ha. I like that line about Dynasty in high school --- Dynasty is waay before my time, and I've only seen a couple episodes of Gossip Girl, but I've seen enough to know that's a stunningly fitting metaphor.

I take it you don't like Terminator: SC? I loved the first season-- good writing, Lena Headey, and good acting--, even though I hated all the movies with a passion, but the premiere a couple nights ago was a big disappointment.

I haven't seen a single episode, since unfortunately I don't have cable (how I miss my SciFi channel), but I'll definitely have to catch up on BSG, after hearing all these good things about it.

Popcultureboy said...

I gave up with Sarah Connor Chronicles after three or four episodes. I didn't hate it but it didn't grab me either. I'm toying with renting the DVDs in time for Season 2 though.

YOU MUST watch Battlestar. I can't believe I ignored it for so long.

Alex said...

I just added the entire first season of BSG to the top of my Netflix queue. Hope it's worth it :)

Popcultureboy said...

It will totally be worth it. It's intense viewing so by the time you get to seasons 2 and 3 I recommend interspersing them with episodes of something like Family Guy otherwise you might implode.