Late (oops) and developing thoughts on a TV show

No, I did not watch the Oscars last night. I didn’t watch because I’d actually only seen one film that was nominated for any Oscar at all (unless you count Pirates of the Caribbean 2, which was up for makeup of special effects or something) and that was Little Miss Sunshine. I am slowly becoming aware that, movie buff I am, Oscar-type movie buff I am not.

That being said, I am glad that Scorsese finally brought it home.

Speaking of film… so there this television show out there that everyone, but everyone, has told me that I must watch. It’s supposed to be brilliant and groundbreaking and political and so much deeper than one would expect of the channel that hosts its broadcasts (to which I say, whatever. TV networks aren’t the ones truly responsible for show quality. There are good shows and hack shows on every channel.). My friends are aghast that I don’t already watch it. Several of the more erudite magazines I read are similarly persuasive. The creators of two of my other favorite shows call it the best show on television. My brother thinks I’m nuts. The hype? Huge.

And it is the type of show I’d probably watch, if I had television. Historically, I love shows of this genre. I actually tried to watch it once, a few years ago, but the first episode was so unremittingly bleak that I didn’t know if I could do this particular show. And I watched Carnivale, so that pretty much means I’m up for anything.

But when it came out on DVD, we put it on our Netflix queue and now we are finally watching it (halfway through season one) and… I don’t get it. Does it not find its footing until later? Other fab shows, like Buffy, took a while to figure out where they were going, so I’m willing to give this supposedly brilliant show the benefit of the doubt, but… Rather than being blown away by excellent writing, unique plots, and intriguing and difficult philosophical and political questions, I am aghast that these characters stay alive from episode to episode, since pretty much all they do is act like idiots. I mean… idiots. For instance, say you are in a situation where you are alone with another person and discover that they are a spy. An evil evil evil spy. Do you:

A) Say, “Hey, you’re a spy!” and wait for them to kill you,
B) Say, “I would never think you are a spy,” and leave it at that, or
C) Say, “I would never think you are a spy, could you excuse me for a moment?” and then high tail it to your boss and go, “I’ve found a spy.”

I think that C would be the obvious answer, especially if you are supposedly the smartest person in the world, which this character is described as being. But the show posits not only that this smart person would not choose C, but that the only options are A and B. And though I’m totally willing to buy the usual stupid decisions that this character makes because of his or her pathological narcissism, nymphomania, and borderline psychosis, in this case, there was nothing to lose from option C.

In another episode, a couple committing a minor indiscretion accidentally allowed a major tragedy to occur, and instead of saying, “whoops, we are so sorry, we won’t let it happen again, please give us the appropriate punishment for our minor indiscretion, keeping in mind of course that we are two rare, highly trained technicians in our field and you need our expertise under these dire circumstances” which is, you know, logical and appropriate, they denied that the minor indiscretion took place, leading everyone to suspect that they’d actually purposely and maliciously caused the tragedy. You know, folks? It’s better to admit that you flouted some office-romance rules than to be branded a terrorist. Just saying.

In the end, the couple’s staff, loyal to a fault, actually chose to lie and say that one of them was the terrorist. Yeah. I almost stopped watching the show right there. And then, when one half of the couple’s boss says to him that he should think long and hard about how this other dude is now in major trouble because of him, and the guy agrees, does he tell the girl he’s doing it because they have more things to worry about, because they were responsible for the tragedy and they should learn from that, or any of the other very rational reasons that the relationship should end, not least because of all the rule breaking, or does he tell her that he doesn’t care very much about her? Well, if your this show’s character, you pick the latter.

And if you’re the girl in question, do you respond with, “You’re right. I’m sorry to lose you, but we’re all in a really, really dire situation here and we need to behave more responsibly?” Of course not. You fly off the handle and get all girly and pouty and refuse to even pause for a moment and think about the person in jail because you needed to get your freak on. (Though maybe I should give this girl a break, because I know that she’s not necessarily acting under a pure agenda, and besides, she appears to be incredibly, exhaustively oversexed, much like her, uh, sister. To the point that she has, in the space of a few episodes, gotten cozy with two main characters on the show, not to mention at least one dead/inanimate object.)

Yeah, that’s the other thing. The only woman on the show who is not portrayed as a total sexpot or sexless placeholder is supposed to be in a developing romantic relationship with a personality-free pretty boy that doesn’t act like he goes for the girls. I really wish they’d cast this other main guy as the pretty boy’s character, since he’s about ten times more heroic and has been since the very first scene I saw him in (even if he is sleeping with that weird chick above).

It’s getting to the point where I’m waiting for the bad guys to just come out and say that the real reason for their jihad is that the good guys are clearly TSTL. I mean, they have been making a similar point, but I’m looking for the catchphrase.

Now, all that being said, the last episode I saw was really good, mostly because we finally got screen time with the one bad guy whose major weapon isn’t the sexual weakness of the good guys. It had its weaknesses as well, but I did catch a glimmer of all supposed brilliance and philosophical mindbenders. Though perhaps I would have been more impressed by the theology if I never saw Joan of Arcadia. This isn’t the first show to talk about God, though it may be the first in its genre.

In conclusion, SB and I remain unsold, though we’re willing to keep going to the end of the season in hopes that it gets better. I’m really disappointed, whereas SB is only mildly so. He thinks that our expectations might have been set too high to start.

Ironically, there’s another cult fave show of this genre that once played on the same network. I loved it and found it groundbreaking and innovative and fabulous, while SB condemned it for not being as smart as he wanted it to be.

(I’ve tried to remove as many identifying details of this show as possible, because I don’t want to dissuade people who haven’t yet seen it. though let me tell you, it was hard, given the show’s premise. But if you have seen the show, you probably know what I’m talking about.)

I am giving away ONE book this week. Guess what it is. 😉

Posted in giveaway, SB, television, UTR

60 Responses to Late (oops) and developing thoughts on a TV show

  1. Bill Clark says:

    My brain is mush, Patrick – I think it’s been attacked by p-fish. I was trying to say that “larger half” is an oxymoron, which is why you won’t be getting that $55 million. Among other reasons, of course, such as my temporary shortage of funds at the 8- to 9-figure level….

  2. Mary says:

    Hehe. A post on piranhas would be great. Lol. This conversation on tv shows has been quite an entertaining read.

  3. Maureen McGowan says:

    Definitely BSG. Stick with it. The characters don’t always make the “right” decisions, but they always make interesting ones. And I like the gender reversals which get more pronounced as the show progresses and the characters come up against bigger challenges.

    So far I’ve only been really disappointed with one episode and it’s in the 2nd season. I can’t wait until season 3 comes out on DVD. Am I right? Am I right?

  4. Maureen McGowan says:

    Damn.
    Came to this too late. Even if I am right, other people guessed it ahead of me. Doh!

  5. Nicole says:

    ARC giveaway? Count me in 😉

    I’m betting that it’s LOST. Or maybe Alias.

  6. Melissa Haile-N says:

    I’ve no idea about the show. I guess I don’t watch enough TV.

  7. phyllis towzey says:

    Enter me, please, in the ARC drawing.

  8. May says:

    If you don’t tell me which TV show, I cannot watch it because I don’t watch TV and won’t be able to guess which one it is.

    And I really want that ARC.

  9. Amy S. says:

    UTR ARC?

    Count me in!

  10. Anonymous says:

    It’s got to be MI5. Terrible show! Couldn’t even make it through the first episode. Gave the second episode a try. It would be frightening if MI5 were actually run by these people. I can’t believe you made it as far as you have.