Cultureguru's Weblog

Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy

Of cougars, flashforwards, 30 rocks, and californication

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Usually, after coming back from vacation, there is a daunting pile of TV programming stored in the PVR.

This year, not so much, because our time away corresponded with many shows winding down their season. This means that I haven’t spent all my time back watching television, and can therefore write about it.

Sitcom-land

You know what sitcom I’ve actually enjoyed most this season? This one:

This program has evolved a great deal from its original premise of 40-year-old woman chasing hot young guys (a premise I never found quite as offensive as I was apparently) to an ensemble show about said woman, yes, but now focusing on other relationships in her life: her son, her ex-husband, her friend, her neighbor (and now age-appropriate boyfriend). It’s evolved so much, in fact, they’re considering changing the title.

But the main thing about it is, it’s funny! The occasional episode doesn’t quite work, but it’s when popping, it’s really popping. The cast play off each other wonderfully well.

Unfortunately, two sitcoms I used to really enjoy haven’t had such great seasons. How I Met Your Mother started the season with Robin and Barney together, broke them up in record time—which really disappointed me, as they’d built this up over quite some time—then seemed at a loss for storylines for the rest of the season. Earlier seasons of this show were very enjoyable, but I don’t know if I’ll be tuning in next season.

Similarly, 30 Rock. Unlike Mother, I wasn’t that invested in any particular character or what happened to them. Just found the show often wickedly funny. But it’s often been bordering on dull this season, with Jack’s love triangle and Liz’s lack of love situation and Kenneth not really having much to do.

I don’t know. Maybe I should check out Parks and Recreation. I hear that’s good.

High-concept dramas

I never watched Lost, and I dropped 24, so I can’t comment on either of those high-profile programs. But I have mostly been sticking with Flashforward.

At least, mostly. I don’t know what it is about this show, but I can’t seem to watch it until I have a bunch of episodes stacked for viewing. And the program has really been criticized, but I’ve mostly enjoyed it. Maybe because I watch several in a row? It’s an interesting premise, and it seems to me they’ve been moving it along well and reasonably keeping all their threads in order.

However. It has been cancelled, but that news did not reach the producers until after they shot the final episode. Which, I’ve read, has resulted in a season finale that ties up many loose ends, yes, but also introduces mountains of confusing new complications to set up the then-expected season 2.

So what do I do now, me with my remaining pile of episodes as yet unwatched? Do I see it through even knowing I’ll just be disappointed in the end? Or do I cut my losses now? Oh, such dilemmas.

Glee!

How can I write about TV and not mention Glee, right? Although the amount of hype around its return has been just absurd. And the show has taken some time to find its footing again. The first half-season, though I mostly loved it, was nevertheless marred by some really stupid plotlines, dragged out far too long. The second half had almost an opposite problem: plotlines going by quickly, you could barely see them as they whooshed by. It’s like the show was in a frenzy, trying to cram in as many hit songs and Sue zingers as possible, forgetting that the show really needs to have some heart.

But recent outings have been better. The Joss Whedon-directed episode was almost as great as hoped, the Lady Gaga episode has some really stunning, subtle (of all things) scenes. And it still makes me laugh, and I still like the songs, and Britanny may be the best dumb blonde character ever. Glee!

And over on the cable channels

I somehow miraculously managed to notice that:

  1. Space channel is playing True Blood
  2. Showcase is running Californication

In time to actually watch both shows from episode 1 (or nearly). And so far (I’m near the start of season 1 of both), while I like True Blood, I was kind of expecting to love it. And to be totally into the Sookie and Bill thing–which I’m not. It’s fine that they’re together, but I don’t feel too invested in it. (Plus, I read the first novel, so now I think I know who the killer is.) But I’ll keep watching. Perhaps the love will develop later.

As for Californication–that’s fun! Who knew David Duchovney could be so lively. And damn if he doesn’t still look really sexy.

2 thoughts on “Of cougars, flashforwards, 30 rocks, and californication

  1. Big Bang Theory!!!! Best sitcom on TV. We downloaded the first two seasons and the first half of the third season so we could catch up with it once it came back after the xmas break. Total geek/nerd fun.

    Finish watching FF. It’s good. And they did know it would be cancelled and had an alternate ending. It doesn’t really leave a bazillion things up in the air – unlike Lost which answered NONE of the questions that had built up over 6 seasons.

    • “Big Bang Theory”! That’s a good suggestion. I’ve heard good things about it, and it sounds like something I would find funny (whereas I don’t really know what “Parks and Recreation” is about, actually).

      Thanks for the FF comment, too. That’s a relief, since I was certainly leaning toward watching it. I didn’t realize “Lost” left everything so up in the air.

      Happy that “So You Can Think You Dance” is back, too, though they’re making a bunch of changes to it this year (top 10 only, pairing with past contestants). The first audition episode was particularly good, I thought, in focusing on the good dancers. The second showed a little much of the bad, plus a little too much “heartwarming” back story.

      (And I know you don’t care, but this is a really good article on what has and hasn’t been working on “Glee” in the latest episodes. What I said, only said much, much better… http://www.avclub.com/articles/funk,41701/ )

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