Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Summer Shows Review, Part 1

I haven't said much about the TV shows I've been watching this summer, but as most of them been reality TV shows, you're not really missing much. With that said, there were scripted shows I checked out though unfortunately for a couple of them I never got pass the first few episodes (Newsroom, Bunheads). For those I did end up watching to their completion, just a few words.

Girls - Lena Dunham's hit new show seemed to have a polarizing effect on everyone. You either loved it, hated it, or loved it then hated it. I can see how this show is not for everyone. Dunham has a strong point of view and voice that is all her own and it's an acquired one. I admit that I wasn't quite sold on the whole package of the show from the get go, but the more I watched, the more I enjoyed it. Dunham's protagonist Hannah was the most problematic for me mostly because she comes across as a character with muddled motivations. It's probably why I gravitated towards the guys (notably Adam) and Shoshanna characters since their personalities were clearly defined early and carried through a clear arc. With that said, I think this is an important show. Not important with a capital I, but just a show that is refreshing to see on the air. B

Veep - Not really sure what I expected out of this show, but in the end I came out really respecting and admiring Julia Louis-Dreyfus' comedic skills. I was never a fan of Seinfeld and didn't watch The New Adventures of Old Christine so Dreyfus' appeal was lost on me until she impressed with her performance as Selina. It helped that she was surrounded by a wonderfully amassed ensemble (Chlumsky is my favorite) and had her words written by creator Armando Iannucci who was responsible for the hilarious film In the Loop. In fact, Veep's tone and sentiments really borrowed from Iannucci's film and it worked magnificently. Making people laugh uncomfortably is the main force of the show and I can't think of a better way to react towards the whole game of politics they so effortlessly satirize. B+

Political Animals - Perhaps I just had super high expectations regarding this show and they were just impossible to meet regardless of what the show did. You really can't blame me especially with the cast consisting of Sigourney Weaver, Sebastian Stan, Ellen Burstyn, Carla Gugino, James Wolk, and Ciaran Hinds. The latter was the weak link for me at first, but even his character grew shades of interesting as the miniseries progressed. In fact there wasn't technically anything wrong with the miniseries--Weaver kicked ass, Stan and Wolk looked pretty, Gugino was fierce, Burstyn was hilarious. So why did it feel like there was something missing? I think maybe it was the show trying to be different things every other minute. One minute we get two people smoking weed while the next a montage of someone trying to commit suicide. I don't mean to say that shows can't have super serious moments at the same time as super fun moments, but it needs to be handled well and this show wasn't that great in that regard. With that said I WOULD WATCH A SECOND SEASON of this crazy soap. Just give it to me, USA Network. B

True Blood - The weird thing about this show is despite all of its ups and downs and more downs, I never really get frustrated with it. I've just come to expect that every season will be INSANE AND CRAZY and there will be many plots I hate/ignore/get bored by while there'll be other plots I like/look forward to/get excited by. For me, it's all about appreciating those latter plots and shrugging off the bad ones. This season I've enjoyed Pam and Tara's interactions as well as that whole Jason/Jessica/Hoyt triangle that culminated in heartbreaking fashion. I also initially appreciated bringing in the Authority, but the more we spent time there and the more religious the plots became (Lilith? Seriously?), the more quickly I tuned out. And still, it seems the show isn't doing faeries real justice considering their main character is one! All of the werewolf stuff (in spite of Dale Dickey and a shirtless Manganiello) bored me and the less said about the Ifrit and Lafayette's non-story the better. C+

Glee Project - I was going to just talk about scripted shows, but I wanted to quickly speak on the finale of this show which saw Blake Jenner win the whole thing. I mean there's a joke that Ryan Murphy only hires people he'd like to fuck and this choice isn't really making that joke go away. Now nothing against Blake. I saw the entire season and he IS good and probably was the most consistent contestant throughout. BUT his voice was nothing special and the star quality was lacking at least compared to some of his fellow contestants. His final opponents, Ali and Aylin, had that x-factor I thought the Glee producers were looking for especially with both of them opening up new possibilities for the show (Ali is wheelchair-bound and Aylin is Muslim). Instead, they picked the safe choice. A bit of an anti-climactic end to a reality show that is pretty damn good. All in all though the "prize" is to be on Glee and in that way everyone kind of still lose, right? D/B+/whatever

The Part 2 of this post will most likely be written after the series finale of Weeds in a few weeks or much sooner if I can't wait that long to talk about the mid-season finale of Breaking Bad, which has been on fire.

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