Thursday, August 05, 2010

Television Update: 8/5/10

The quest to find suitable replacements for "Lost" and "24" in our TV lineup is on! This summer, we've been adding a few "trial" shows that we've never seen before to the "Always Record" list in our DVR. Some have become regular viewing; others didn't fare so well and were removed from our DVR's memory immediately (as well as our own memory, if possible).

So...here are the "trial" shows we've been recording so far this summer:

"It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia": Comedy Central recently started showing reruns of this "mature audiences only" FX comedy. I've heard good things about it, and it appears to have quite a "cult following". So now is a good time to give it a shot, right?

VERDICT: Pass. This show is yet another example that comedies about uneducated losers are much better than comedies than responsible or otherwise normal people. It's hit and miss at times, but it's frequently funny. And, it's been getting better as we've progressed through the series.

"Louie": On an episode of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" a while back, Jon's guest was some comedian I had never heard of before named "Louis C.K.", advertising some new show (also on FX) called "Louie" that I had never heard of before, either. But after the "Daily Show" interview, we both concluded that this show had serious potential.

VERDICT: Fail. Boring, and really not that funny. Kind of disappointing.

"Burn Notice": Jack Bauer's career is done. Looking to fill the "kick-ass action hero void" he's left behind, we've began watching "Burn Notice", a USA action drama.

VERDICT: Pass. Michael Weston is no Jack Bauer (who is?), and the show tends to be really over the top at times, but that's actually what makes it entertaining. It's so over the top, it's good. Don't take it too seriously or think too hard; just enjoy all the explosions.

"Psych": USA has a lot of popular shows. Amber has watched "Psych" a time or two and said it was funny. But what about me?

VERDICT: Fail. Funny or not, I didn't realize that this was just another "whodunit" crime show. We both liked "Monk" a lot, but I think I've had my fill of this genre. Next.

"Mad Men": I've heard a lot about this show from the intellectual types, along the lines of critically acclaimed, etc. But aside from a brief glimpse of the show's Wikipedia page, I didn't really have any idea what it was about before I started watching.

VERDICT: Fail. We only made it through the first 10 minutes before we decided that this was a boring family drama. Whether that's true or not, I didn't see anything in those 10 minutes that gave me any reason to think that I would enjoy watching it. Either this show isn't really our genre, or I just completely missed the point. What's so good about "Mad Men", anyway? Anyone?

"Breaking Bad": This is my dad's favorite show (at least as of a few months ago). It's about a terminally-ill chemistry teacher who has turned to selling meth as a way to secure his family's financial future. Now that's a premise!

VERDICT: TBD, because we haven't watched it yet. Given that there won't be any more new episodes until next summer, I think we might be better off starting this series from the beginning, either by waiting for reruns to air (which AMC isn't really doing at all right now) or renting the first two seasons on DVD or something.

"James May's Toy Stories": Chances are, you have no idea what this is. We're big fans of the BBC show "Top Gear", and the nerdiest of the three "Top Gear" presenters - James May - will occasionally do a side project or two. I'm having a hard time describing the six episode show's premise in my own words, so I'll just copy Wikipedia: "The premise of the 6-part show [is] to bring favourite toys of the past into the modern era, by using the toys in real life large scale enterprises."

VERDICT: Pass. Nerdy documentary shows almost always pass in our book, especially silly ones, and especially ones involving James May. Speaking of which...why are we watching so many sitcoms and dramas, anyway? Perhaps we should be watching more Discovery Channel and less USA.

Quiz: what do the above shows all have in common? They're all on cable! Once we get to the Fall and the networks make it out of rerun/network reality mode, we'll have some more options. Among the shows I plan to try are ABC's "Modern Family", one of NBC's other Thursday night comedies (besides "The Office", which we already watch), and at least one serial drama type show.

6 comments:

Jeff said...

I've only heard of one of those shows - but do you remember me dreading the TV category every Friday night at trivia?

Ryan said...

I agree with you on everything but Louie. The stand-up parts of the show make up for the slow parts. I really hope some American idiot doesn't try to do a US version of Top Gear.

Chris Allen said...

Bad news, Ryan...

http://transmission.blogs.topgear.com/2010/04/21/topgear-usa-alive/

Tabby said...

Woo! We love Burn Notice... it's kind of a blast. We also like The Colony... you should check it out. Not really a sitcom or drama or anything though.

Erik said...

I say you give up on TV and turn to Netflix. You can get good shows on DVD w/o commercials and their instant watch stuff is viewable through your new Xbox.

As for Mad Men... I 'think' I like it. I've only gone through the first 6 episodes. It's a look back in time when everyone smoked, hated on the Jews, treated women like objects, and drank whiskey at work. Just about everything they do would be frowned upon in todays "modern" world. I try and picture my Grandparents and wonder if that's how life really was for them. That's what I like about it.

Spartangoogle said...

We really enjoyed "Damages" but it was canceled, only to be saved with exclusive showing on Direct TV. But you need to watch a season from start to finish - no jumping in in the middle or you'll be lost. Glenn Close stars as a ruthless attorney.