Since the world of freelance means PowerPoint presentations on Hong Kong time and novel writing at noon, I find myself more myself lately with DVR stints glued to the box that should be a flatscreen.
It's half over, fall 2010 television, and, as it should be, that's making me panic. I mean, we've already had the midseason, two-week breaks in shows, which make me want to grip the throats of the actors - push down the writers' pencils - and unleash my full wrath on the big wigs in charge of building intensity. (The people who need to come find me.)
Like Cary and I say, 'lock 'em in a room and make them create.'
To sate my appetite, and wet yours, these are the air wave polished gems that deserve full attention, no blogging or Facebooking.
The Big Bang Theory
Even if only the intro song played for me once a week, it would suffice as my happy pill. I entered the show at season 4, upon little bro-in-law's recommendation. I will not leave. I had to catch up. I had to find out why the elevator was broken. Why Kaley Cuoco was drawn to these boys with beautiful minds - man nerds. I had to hear every smart in more ways than one comment that Sheldon had to say. Let the nerd inside us all reign. Who doesn't understand why a world without USB ports isn't a world at all.
Need I say more. It goes like this...
Cool person: Did you watch 30 Rock last night? (This person really wants to share some funny lines like "Help! I need to get all these swears out of my system, you stupid assholes.")
Uncool person: No, I don't really watch it.
Cool person who's becoming annoying: What?! It's like the best show ever! ... Just watch it. From the beginning if you can. Like everything else.
Uncool person: I don't really watch T.V.
Cool person: Well, shit.
This new comedy's 30 minutes goes by much too fast. Will Arnette, Felicity, a girl named Puddle, and a next door neighbor named Fa'ad stir up a lesson in giving and taking every week. There's opulence and an ongoing game of existential hide-and-seek. There's a going green and a tree house, science projects and school dances. And Felicity wears really cute clothes. There's price fixing - a liter of soda costs $100 to Will, but he doesn't realize his heart-in-the-right-place butler is pocketing the change because Wilde Oil has made Will wealthy enough to make a dent in our debt. It wins the ALY for best new comedy series.
This is included even though the timing is a little off. But the trailers were off-putting. So in between the summer lull and fall TVbusters, I started TiVo-ing it with a TiVo. The shows were grizzly and surprisingly not too much. Well, sometimes they're too much. But it's okay. McDermott is back. And there's this kick-ass girl cop Jamie. And Dean, Ryan's brother Trey from The O.C., is the token hottie who's not too token-looking. Hottie-driven shows are important as you'll see. And Casting usually tries to please all orientations. (Mea culpe for all the references lost on TV haters and indifferencers, but you probably haven't read this far so nevermind.)
The Vampire Diaries
You new it was coming. WB slash CW and all. The vampire show that serves as fang-lover life support until True Blood returns next year, and the first installment of Breaking Dawn hits theaters. It is young. It is cheesy. But it's decently scary, full of surprises, and filled with shots of hot bodies, blue eyes, and black nail polish. The team gets credit for choosing veins and fangs over constant good looks - and alluding to werewolf nudity. The cherry is the fast becoming token bad boy hottie with funny or ominous lines. The true question is, how does Elena's hair get and stay that straight and shiny?
Oh, WB. I can't help but love you. Cary, keep your phfs to yourself. These people gave us the new Buffy and Dawson's Creek. Now they're giving us an old youth, er young adult, spy femme action drama. The star's name is Maggie Q. How cool is that? Add Dylan from Desperate Housewives as the tough, willful recruit with secrets shared and not; an all grown up Shane West; and a boss man from 24 - and you get a nice little piece of cake. The indulgence is in the suspended disbelief that good ol' Maggie Q wanders around in a tech-ridden loft wearing a J. Crew-ish nightgown between the operations her skinny minny legs carry her too. But the overall plot is intriguing. Because the more it moves along, the more I can see Dylan and Shane getting together. And having babies.
The Showtime show with a hunk and bite. It has blood without the gore. Cussing without the senselessness. There are twists and turns and guest stars with roles so intense you can't blink. The kicker is that it makes me wanna give up my firstborn for a writing gig on it. Any show that does this is a keeper. Season 5. Julia Stiles has me hooked on Lumen. Lumen and Dexter. Doesn't that sound cool together? More babies, please.
I feel like this show deserves a more substantial review, with substance. But the best I can think to convey at blogworthy length is that Michael C. Hall is it. Carries it. And I like how he dresses. Wow, I am not sounding critical at all. But once I know the writers and creator are in sync with what I and like fans want, it's a guaranteed good time. And isn't that what television is all about. We want a killer central character, writing that don't quit, and a storyline that indulges out every fantastical whim. As Liz Lemon would say, Blamo!
This won the ALY for best new Netflix 'Watch Instantly.' I remembered watching bits of it in college, admiring Veronica's ability to head to school and into a sleuthing stint head to toe in Brass Plum bling and string. But I'd forgotten how the whole glow of the show, the cool apartment and detective dad and office, the laptops and messenger bags, the courage and coyness of Veronica - was much enviable and admirable. It's a contemporary Nancy Drew with a believable convertible, friends that rally George and Bess, and, oh yeah, visuals.
This won the ALY for best movie channel debut. It didn't compre to the theater version because Sophia Coppola's colors and style, and arguably captivating quiet, need the big screen - but it was the best movie to watch while writing. Sophia inspires. From The Virgin Suicides to Lost in Translation. The best way to be distracted. There's something to be said about pink poker chips covered in champagne and frosting, high fashion, and girl power, that makes you want to write your own.
This season's run of Levi's commercials branded "go forth" is a little breath-catching and artsy fartsy American. Award!
My life as a mediocre sitcom...
The novel grocery cart; it corners like it's on rails.
The toothpaste is gone! Give it up.
What you get when you lose low card punishment games. 45 minutes. On your head.