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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

TV So Far

Of course, this is a very exciting time in television.  It seems like just about every new TV show is premiering this week, and returning shows are having their season premieres, and I've been able to catch a lot of it.  So, just wanted to share my thoughts on what I've caught so far.

First up, as part of the kitchy, gimmicky stuff I love so much, had to sit down on Monday night and watch the big CBC special The Queen in 3D.  As the legend goes, the only existing footage of the coronoation of Queen Elizabeth II is the grainy, early black and white TV footage.  Well, as it turned out, the Queen's coronation was actually filmed in 3D, with the intent of showing it in theatres shortly after her coronation so you could have the experience of actually being there.  Well, what actually happened, back in 1953, once it was announced that the Queen's coronation would be televised, the whole of the UK actually experienced a massive boom in TV sales so people could watch it on TV.  With darn near everyone having watched the coronation on TV, the 3D footage was filed away in an archive and forgotten....

...Until last year, when some heroic archivists discovered it.  So of course, the footage was cleaned up, they shot some new 3D footage of the Queen when she visited Canada earlier this year, and the CBC made a 1-hour documentary about the Queen's previous visits to Canada.

I don't know about this one.  First complaint:  the 3D didn't look too good on my TV.  Seriously.  Even with the 3D glasses on, the whole thing looked as 2-dimensional as regular TV.  Second complaint:  they were advertising how it would be full of rare footage of the Queen's previous visits, such as visiting Expo 67.  All that rare footage was crammed into a 2-minute montage in the middle of the show.  Third complaint:  that 15-minute section about the history of 3D film was out of place. 

All in all, a good try, CBC, but it came off as too gimicky. 

Next up, it was what surveys said is the most anticipated new TV sereis of the fall season...the remake of the classic cop show, Hawaii Five-0.  Part of the appeal to me is the creators of this remake are Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.  These two are currently some of the hottest writers in Hollywood, having written the big screen versions of Transformers and the new Star Trek.  (They also wrote Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but I still blame director Michael Bay for that one being so bad.) 

So, yeah, basic detective show set-up.  Steve McGarrett is a dedicated Navy SEAL fighting terrorists around the world.  When the terrorists kills his father in an act of retaliation, McGarrett returns home to Honolulu, where he's appointed the head of a new police task force to take down terrorists and all other kinds of dastardly criminals setting up shop in Hawaii.  He's quickly joined on his task force by Detective Dan "Dano" Williams, a New Jersey detective who recently moved to Hawaii to be closer to his ex-wife and daughter; Detective Chin Ho Kelly, a childhood friend of McGarrett's who was drummed out of the police force on false charges of bribery; and Detective Kono Kalakaua, a recent police academy grad, and Kelly's hot surfer girl cousin.  In addition to creators Orci and Kurzman, it gets geek cred by having Kono played by Grace Park, who played Boomer on the recent Battlestar: Galactica remake. 

The pilot was your basic cop show action/drama formula.  Nothing really too remarkable.  They uncover the plot thread that McGarrett's father -- also a Honolulu detective -- was investigating some massive conspiracy that may have contributed to him getting killed, so that'll be our recurring "mytharc" to be sure.  But yeah.  Despite the hype, I found it to be a fairly routine action show. 

From there, it was on to the season premiere of House.  For those just tuning in, the season finale cliffhanger for House, saw longtime characters House and Cuddy finally hooking up after six season of some rather antagonistic flirting.  I'm a little wary of this.  Seeing characters hook up like this is usually seen as a "shark-jumping" moment for a longrunning TV show, so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out this season. 

I know that House usually gets a lot of flak for being a farily formulaic show and sticking to its episode formula pretty closely, so I'm always glad to see episodes completely break from its formula.  And that's what the season premiere was.  A complete break from the formula as House and Cuddy decided to take the day off work, just hang out, indulge in some passionate lovemaking, and just talk about their feelings and figure out if a relationship between the two could work.  Some great character stuff.

And the subplot brought some good comic relief, as Cuddy's absence and a few remarks from House result in the hospital almost being shut down, and House's staff frantically working to keep the hospital open.  It also generated some mystery, as the season finale saw Thirteen requesting a leave of absence, and staying mum on her reasons why. 

The real reson why Thirteen is taking a leave of absence is because the actress who plays Thirteen, Olivia Wilde, needs some to finish up Tron: Legacy and Cowboys and Aliens.  She is not leaving the show.  In the episodes ahead, Amber Tamblyn, still best remembered as Joan on Joan of Arcadia, will be joining the show as a sharp medical intern that House takes on his team as Thirteen's substitute.  Big changes this season!

And that brings us Tuesday, where I caught the season premiere of The Rick Mercer Report.  Always solidly funny.  And, as always, it'll be fun to watch The Rick Mercer Report devolve throughout the season as Mercer burns through his travel budget.  The first few episodes of the season are always in some exotic, far off location, and by the end, he's stuck to places in the Greater Toronto Area.

Last night's season premiere:  "Tonight, on The Mercer Report, we're in Shanghai for Expo 2010!"

$5 says this is the season finale:  "Tonight, on The Mercer Report, we're in the CBC break room playing foozeball with George Strombolopolis." 

And then after Rick Mercer I made the mistake of watching This Hour has 22 Minutes.  I'm sorry, but I find This Hour has 22 Minutes to be one of those TV shows that stopped being funny a LONG time ago.  I blame Mark Critch.  I find Mark Critch so unfunny I want to punch him in the face.  I just find him too bitter and cynical.  I have this theory about Mark Critch.  Critch was just a writer for 22 Minutes back in its glory days of the late-90s/early-00s, when Rick Mercer was on the show.  I think Critch and Mercer had some kind of falling out, and Critch is trying to show the world he was the brains behind Mercer.  But sadly, Critch just comes across as a bitter jerk trying to do Mercer's act.  All I'm really trying to say is Mark Critch sucks. 

And that's the new TV season so far.  This Wednesday night, we've got the season premiere of Law & Order: SVU, which I still watch even though I think it's starting to get ridiculous and sensational.  We've also got the season premiere of Cougar Town, which I actually find pretty funny, and my reality TV show addication, Hell's Kitchen.  Stay tuned....

1 comment:

Patti said...

I thought the big budget showed on Hawaii 5-0...the scenery and explosions were good. AND I LOVE Scott Caan, since a story years ago about him taking a baseball bat to his old man's dr...ug dealer.

And I feel for you with the 22 Minutes thing--I feel about Gavin Crawford the same way you do about Mark Critch. And Geri with her always-got-a-cold voice is tiresome, but boys love her.