Thursday, September 16, 2010

TV's Summer 2010 Report Card

I'm back with another comprehensive recap of the past few months of my television viewing. Looking back, it was an excellent summer for TV. I mean, when the David Simon entry is the amongst the least interesting shows you've watched, I believe that's a sign you've surrounded yourself in some quality programming.
This edition covers shows having ended after June 1st, when my last recap was published, through September 12th.
Breaking Bad
(Season 3, AMC)
Is this now the best show on television? In my mind, only Mad Men gives it a run for it's money. Season 3 was THAT good. A horse with no name. Gustavo. Hank slamming the SUV into reverse. The tortoise. Saul. Leg blood on a hospital floor. Motherfucking Badger's voice. The Chicken Brothers. Mike the PI/hitman. That one god-damned fly. And those are just the ancillary bits of Breaking Bad I get jacked up for. I don't think Mad Men, as phenomenal as it is, is constructed in a way that I can enjoy it as I now enjoy the trials of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.  A+

Doctor Who
(Series 31, BBC)
What a blast this latest incarnation of Doctor Who turned out to be. Even if you prefer David Tennant as the Doctor, I think you have to admit Matt Smith did an admirable job taking over the reigns of the series. I feel he did a fantastic job and accepted him by the time the second episode of the season rolled around. And of course, there's the mega-crushable Karen Gilliam as Amy Pond, who is easily my favorite companion not only because she's a cutie pie, but also because she's intelligent, mischievous and . Rory was also a nice addition, and was in perfect doses. But let us not forget Steven Moffat, who I justifiable praise on this site constantly, taking over the show's direction from Russell T. Davies. A fabulously entertaining season resulted from mixing high concept science fiction, simple humor, and repeatedly tugging and tearing at our heartstrings as each week's story progressed. As much as I enjoyed this season, I expect 2011 to bring an even better one.  A-
After the jump, you'll find the nine other shows I watched to completion this summer, including Entourage, True Blood and some more fantastic imports from overseas.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Summer 2010's TV Supplement

There are only a handful of shows worth watching during the summer (a recap of those will arrive once True Blood and the other HBO shows wrap up). Compound that with the fact that other than Inception and Iron Man 2, I had zero interest in the cinema these past few months, I embarked on a massive TV binge this year, catching up on loads of shows I'd been recommended by friends and acquaintances, or just plain wanted to check out. Behold.
Being Human
(Series 2, BBC)
This show continued to show great balance between horror, drama and humor wrapped into a well-crafted universe of the supernatural, and provided another strong season. For those of you who are not familiar, Being Human revolves around the lives of a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost who live together in a flat (hey, it's British), and deal with everyday problems of existence in modern society in realistic, yet interesting ways relative to the show's context. They gave us a very nice cliffhanger this season, and series 3 is amongst the shows I'm most looking forward to return. In addition, there's an American version on the horizon via SyFy at some point, although I'm sure they'll find a way to f it up.

Charlie Jade
(Season 1, Canadian Space Channel)
A parallel universe jumping version of Blade Runner? While it certainly gave off that vibe in the early episodes, Charlie Jade didn't quite live up to my initial lofty expectations. Revolving through a trio of universes, this sci-fi tale had all the grand hallmarks of modern noir, while simultaneously warning of the dangers of big-brother commerce. Making its premiere the same year that brought us LOST (2004), this joint project from Canadian and South African companies probably was a bit ahead of its time in terms of widespread audience acceptance.Also, its inconsistent level of engaging stories during the middle portion of its lone season wouldn't have helped its changes of success much. However, it ended rather triumphantly, and had some nice little tales in spots. I wish the second season, which was written, had been produced. There was a lot of potential in those three universes, not to mention all the others they could've explored and exploited down the line.

(Season 1, NBC)
As you'll see later on in this column, this was a very good year for new comedies, as Community joined the ranks of my favorites this year. I always enjoyed Joel McHale on The Soup, but he's even better in this format. Add in a rejuvenated Chevy Chase, Pittsburgh's own Gillian Jacobs (who I dare you not to develop a TV crush on), and Ken Jeong's Senor Chang who all highlight the cast, but certainly don't overshadow the ones I haven't taken the time to list, and I'm constantly laughing out loud. Easily graduated to must-watch status for me.
After the jump, I liked some of what I saw from the highly recommend list of Dexter, Modern Family, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Arrested Development. But not all of them.