Parks and Recreation
While I'll agree with the consensus that it's not nearly as good as it should be -- and is too much of an Office clone so far -- I have a soft spot for this one. Maybe because of my Amy Poehler (Wife of GOB!) love, or because I've have this odd crush on Aziz Ansari ever since he wouldn't sell Bret an apple. (BTW, check out his hilarious vendetta against "IMAX fraud".) Oops, back to P&R. In fact, I like the whole cast. They seem perfect for their specific roles, down to the teenaged intern who is pretty bland in the way I would imagine for a girl in that position. I liked Rashida Jones on The Office, despite her annoying role (and I'm not even a huge Pam/Jim shipper) but she plays quite well as the straight woman here. I also appreciate the genuine friendship that has sprung up between her and Leslie, even if I don't wholly buy into it. Poehler and the writers still haven't found their stride with Leslie, but I'm willing to wait because she seems like a genuinely good person who is just clueless and doesn't have a deliberately cruel bone in her body. Like Michael Scott, sure, but without that darker edge. I do like edginess, but it wouldn't work as well here. So, yeah. I'm not in love with the show or blind to its faults, but I'd like to see how it develops in the second season.
Better Off Ted
No, I never saw Andy Richter Controls the Universe, though maybe I'll track it down someday. The buzz was that this was an heir to my beloved Arrested Development. Hmm. I see shades of it, just like 30 Rock has also taken up the AD mantle, but both in different directions. So far, it's not a great show, but it's fairly enjoyable. Wish the characters were memorable enough for me to remember their names! I like the wicked -- but sometimes not wicked enough -- humor and sheer randomness of the workplace jokes, which was one thing I loved about AD. Portia de Rossi is great, of course. I'm still not 100% sold on it, but I'm glad it was renewed. I'll be watching in the fall.
How I Met Your Mother
I'm still mostly a casual watcher of this one, but it really is fun and has evolved into a darn good sitcom. These days, the multi-camera format seems so stale and dead, but HIMYM shows that it might just have a place in the current comedy climate. Ted continues to be kind of a jackass, but he has moments of showing that he's a good guy worthy of being the center of a sitcom. I like Robin just fine. Aly Hannigan's cutesiness has always annoyed me -- yes, I was a Willow hater -- and she's not much better here, though at least she's mostly tolerable while playing off the others. I'm glad she's been gone lately because the focus has been on Marshall and Barney, who are fantabulous. Also glad that Sarah Chalke isn't the mother. And... I really don't have much more to say, except that I'm looking forward to the finale!
Ah, my little X-Files wannabe, down to the opening credits! Except it's not even quite at that level, because nearly everything with Fringe is on the surface. I want to believe (heh) that it's just first season floundering, but the bland plotlines and characterization of everyone not named "Walter" are too big a problem to be excused by newness. Er... this sounds like I hate the show. Quite the contrary! I found myself enjoying it more and more as the season went on, especially after the twisty-cool WTFery of the season finale. Hey, flist, can I let you in on a little secret? (Come closer so I don't have to talk too loudly.) While I can write 4,000 words of BSG meta each week, I only get that way with fandom shows. Most of the time, I ... uh ... don't really think about what I'm watching. Deep insight? Meh. I watch a metric frakton of television, and with most shows, I set the bar very low: "Am I entertained?" With Fringe, the answer is "yes". It doesn't have a lot of substance, but it was fun to watch.
Guess I have some street cred with this show in that I've been watching since before S1 (I downloaded the pilot that summer.) Halfway through S2 I gave up on trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Too many characters and convoluted plot arcs. As I said above, I watched because it was entertaining. Now I think I'm just watching out of habit. It's still a good show, but I think it's overrated. I'm tired of seeing all the rapturous praise in the media. I wonder, though, if that has less to do with quality than with complexity, along with my own personal tastes. Lost generally uses characters to serve the situations, which is the opposite of how I approach a show. You almost have to watch it for the plot arcs without getting invested in the characters' interior lives, and that's just not my style. But if you love rich, detailed mysteries, then you're all set. I do believe that the creators have a specific plan that is now falling into place; I'm just not all that interested in the plan.
As for the finale... one particular moment is emblematic of why the show annoys me. Early on, a character (who? does it matter?) opens a box, the music screeches, a guy says "terrific", and then cut to commercial. It's all about the big dramatic moment. Also, I've seen so much praise for the music, and I just don't get it. Maybe the problem is in how the music is used. Various tunes are great, but they get SO repetitive. I was also annoyed by the big moral debate over nuking the island in order to prevent the plane from crashing. Juliet argues that they can't let all those people die, just to save those on the plane. Maybe I'm missing something here, but nearly everyone on the island is complicit in this whole thing, either promoting or preventing it. If the island is nuked, then some innocent or "good" people will die, yes. But it will be in the service of saving a planeload of people who are *innocent* and are not yet involved in this mess. Seems to me that morality comes out on the side of preventing the crash. All those who are killed in the explosion will probably rise again like cockroaches, given the way this island seems to work! But, again, I might be interpreting all this wrong. I'll fully admit that I don't pay much attention to what the hell is going on with this show, so mine is a surface reading. ;)
Also, do any of you have links to analysis of women's roles on this show? I'm sure much has been said about them, but I don't have any good insight so far. I've always vaguely liked Juliet, in part because she seems like a truly *strong* woman, compared to Kate's somewhat wishy-washy "strength". (I don't hate Kate. I don't think she's stupid or pointless. I'm just ambivalent about her and feel like she holds too much wasted potential.) But Juliet's characterization in the finale really bothered me, especially in her big scene with Sawyer. In my very surface watching of the show, I'd thought she had a strong investment in this island for numerous reasons. Yet in the finale, she changes her mind because she realizes her man doesn't love her and actually says that she'd rather never know him than lose him again? Please tell me I'm missing something here.
I do like Rose and Bernard, though, even if them living in bliss on the island is a bit convenient (and it reminded me of the fic I just posted. ;) And I also liked the implications of Ben's actions at the end. He's easily the most interesting character on the show, with the most complex interior life. He's spent all his life serving Jacob, only to be confronted with a man who doesn't give a damn about him. Ouch. I can't see him just giving up, but he can't really get any more dangerous than he already is. I'll definitely be watching the last season, and I want to see how he reacts to this.
Wow, didn't realize I had so much to say about this show!
And some one-liners about ....
Idol: Not all that interested in singing, but every season I find myself tuning in to the last couple of weeks. Read a media blog post about how Adam Lambert seems to be too theatrical and unmarketable to the masses, but he could carve out a niche as a male version of Pink. Works for me.
Bones: I've seen comments about how the characterization is way off this season, but I don't pay enough attention to judge that. I just watch because it's a fun show, and the leads have great chemistry; I love Boreanaz much more here than on Angel. The season finale's fakeout was kinda silly, but it didn't really upset me. I know the show can't play the UST forever, and I do think Brennan and Booth would be a great couple, but I'm not sure I want to see it yet. And Booth's potential amnesia feels way too convenient.
The Office: As I told Elly... see, TV executives? A couple CAN get together and still be awesome.
In Treatment: I'm keeping HBO just because this show is so addictive. It makes me want to try therapy, which is probably a good thing. ;)