Monday, August 10, 2009

My Non-Reality Summer Shows

In only a few weeks time, the regular TV fall season will be upon us. But before that happens, I just wanted to highlight the non-reality TV shows I have been watching this summer.

Being Human (BBC America, Saturdays 9PM)

What do you get when you have three 20-somethings trying to get by and make them roommates? Pretty standard fare for a show. But what if they were a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost? Sounds like a beginning of some joke, but its actuality the setup of a very good BBC show. It works in a lot of levels because it mixes the pathos of the three preternatural beings trying to just fit in (and deal with their individual monsters) with wit and humor as befitting regular British 20-somethings. The characters themselves are to be commended because their disparate personalities allow the viewers to relate to at least one of them and the resulting chemistry between all three work. The standout for me is Russell Tovey playing the neurotic George who struggles with his werewolf and more savage side. I may do a separate post on this show later on, because it's just that good. The mix of drama and humor and the witty dialogue reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. High praise indeed.

Merlin (NBC, Sundays 8PM)

It's another BBC production, but this one is airing on NBC. The show basically takes the Merlin/Arthur/Camelot legends and shows us what happened BEFORE all of that. It's a reimagining of the story because we see a young Merlin and a young Arthur still in the process of finding out their destinies. This show works because the two actors playing Merlin and Arthur have good chemistry (to the point where I actually think Merlin has a mad crush on Arthur). It's also really nice to see bits and pieces of the Camelot/Merlin legends tweaked for newer generations. Plus the show features a Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum in Anthony Stewart Head who played Rupert Giles. Here, he plays the stern king of Camelot, King Uther, father of Arthur. He's so deliciously conflicted, it's fascinating to watch.

Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime, Sundays 9PM)

Finally, here's a show that's not connected to BBC nor are there any BtVS connections. In fact what am I doing watching a Lifetime show? The basic gist of the series is that a pretty (but dumb) girl was killed and when the wires got crossed up in heaven she was sent back down in the body of an overweight lawyer. She has to deal with her new body and new intellect all the way trying to juggle the fun world of being a lawyer. It's a crazy concept to be sure, but if you get pass that, it truthfully is a heartwarming show. Brooke Elliott plays lawyer Jane and the energy and nuance she puts into the character is pretty great. Oh and did I mention that Margaret Cho plays her assistant? Come on now.


  1. I really need to catch up on Being Human. (Machel watched the original pilot by accident and was really confused that the ghost girl was white ^_^) I caught up on Merlin this weekend (by first watching all the episodes that NBC had up, then going to youtube to watch the earlier ones I'd missed, and then watching to the end because I couldn't help it, and now I flail for season 2). I love the complexity they give it. Uther is a bad guy, but not because he's just plain evil. Hell, I agree with him sometimes. And how they play with the lore! I love how, especially in the beginning, there is literally nothing between Arthur and Guinevere (except her saying it's a shame that to become queen, Morgana will have to marry Arthur), but then in The Moment of Truth they have that moment and Arthur really sees her for the first time and is...amazed. And then in the final episode! Shan't say in case you are unspoiled. But yeah, how they're going about that relationship, I LOVE! I'm always a sucker for slowly built epic love tragedies. ;) And Morgana! (and to a lesser extent, Mordred) The way they play with the original legends' antagonists is brilliant! All the characters, hugely complex! It's fabulous! The Moment of Truth has to be my favorite episode, though, not only because it was such a big episode in terms of character development (Merlin showing hands down that his role is more than saving Arthur from dying; Gwen showing that as shy a servant she is, when needed she has what it takes to stand against a king) but also because of our glimpse into Merlin's former life (he and Will were SO much more than friends) and how far we've still to come (Merlin being unable to completely trust Arthur so saddens me). Gah, yeah, love it all. Although I think they could have done a better unicorn than just plopping a horn on a white horse. XP

    And I saw a couple of episodes of DDD, quite liked it, just have troubles keeping up with it. The person sleeping in my living room doesn't help. ^_^

  2. "The Moment of Truth" is SO totally one of my favorite episodes as well! The Ho!Yay between Will and Merlin (and the Ho!Yay between Merlin and Arthur THE WHOLE SEASON) has been such a delight to see.

    I also love how they are playing with the lore. Actually other than the really basic stuff, I didn't know much about the lore so it seems like every other episode I go to Wikipedia to learn about the lore and what they've done to play with it.

    And as of tonight, I've seen S1. Yay!

    As for Being Human, I saw the penultimate episode this weekend and it was sooo good. I can't wait for the finale next week.


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