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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
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I have really been sleeping on Modern Family. I've watched just over half of the first season so far and it's easily one of the funniest shows on television. Everything about it is so good and on point. What's so weird to me is that creators and writers Levitan and Lloyd had a totally different sort of humor in shows like Just Shoot Me and Frasier. I think going with the documentary/confessional style is to the greater benefit of the viewer.[/i]
Post Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:32 am
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2019
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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I watch a lot of TV but haven't posted in these threads much.

Here's the current list of TV I'm either currently watching or planning to watch in the next year or two:
The Killing - 2 episodes left this season. I started watching it on the strength of other AMC original series, especially Rubicon which deserved more life than it got. I watch this one with friends and they're all pretty much saying that if this isn't over after this season they may quit watching on principle. I guess it remains to be seen whether they're going for a miniseries style production or if they are going to do what Damages did and move toward season-long story arcs.

Lost Girl - This is pretty schlocky but I watch pretty much everything in the "Powerful Mondays" block these days. Parts of the production make me nostalgic for The Industry/Made in Canada, which is probably not the desired effect. I don't care enough about this show to have a love/hate relationship with it but that 's what I would have if I cared more.

Eureka - In the home stretch now, it was cancelled before the first episode of the season aired and after most of the season was in the can. This has actually been a better season than the last couple were, in some ways--but the characters are starting to get kind of tired. I'm bummed that it's going away but it may just be time. This used to be an event show for me and my friends but at this point only one of them is still watching with me.

Falling Skies - I'm right in the wheelhouse for this sort of setting, much more so than I was/am with The Walking Dead. Unfortunately this show isn't as objectively good as the Walking Dead: the characters are less fully realized, and I think there's a focus on action and minute-to-minute tension that sometimes comes at the expense of thoughtful narrative about the people living through these experiences. The first season was just so-so from my perspective, but between this and Terra Nova I'm really glad that this was the one that got a second season.

Louie - I was late to the game on this show, having only started watching during the second season. This reminds me that I have yet to finish watching the first season on DVD. Episode 6 of season two is one of the most brilliant pieces of art I've ever seen in any media. I love this show.

Wilfred - I'm really impressed that this got on the air, and got Elijah Wood to star. The writing is clever and manages to walk a pretty complex line between farce-like fantasy and poignant exploration of depression in a rudderless life. I think I like it more than my friends do, though.

Anger Management - I didn't like the movie much and I don't like Charlie Sheen much, but I'm giving this a chance when it airs later this month, basically entirely on the strength of other FX comedy programming.

Warehouse 13 - Another Syfy Powerful Mondays show, but this one is pretty much my favorite of all of them. It has much better female characters than Eureka had, and Saul Rubinek's portrayal of Arty filled a hole in my pop culture life that opened up when Aaron Sorkin stopped writing Toby Zeigler in the West Wing. I hate myself for even having written that last sentence, but it's how I feel. This show is geeky and lighthearted and funny and just character-driven enough to keep me from hating the generally procedural structure of most episodes. It got way better after the first season, too.

Alphas - I like this one a lot, too. It's got a slightly more adult tone than Warehouse 13 but fairly similar structure in terms of cast composition, plot, pacing, etc. I think Gary is hilarious and I really like Malik Yoba's character portrayal. The fact that it occurs in the same universe as Warehouse 13 and Eureka is also fun. I came into this show with low expectations in the first season and they were exceeded handily.

Hell on Wheels - I thought the first season of this show was brilliant. Something that has gotten lost in a lot of frontier fiction is what attracts many pioneers to the frontier in the first place: they fit badly in the culture they emigrated from. Hell on Wheels got that part exactly right, and it's very fertile ground for a slow-paced, dark, character-driven drama. I started watching it right after I finished watching the collected Deadwood on DVD, and the two shows are an interesting contrast. I'm terrified that this show will be cancelled before the storylines have a chance to get paid off.

Haven - This is a serious guilty pleasure. Terrible writing, weak casting, low budget special effects. I'm amazed it's made it to a third season; the whole thing somehow manages to hang together pretty well in spite of a lot of initial strikes against it. The presence of TV's Eric Balfour in the principal cast didn't help. He should play the were-swan if there is ever a live-action adaptation of that Penny Arcade strip. This is why my friends often shout "Haunk!" when his character appears on screen.

Being Human - I thought this would be another Haven-esque guilty pleasure but it isn't. It's great. Good cast, good writing, not overly ambitious plot scope, and so far not falling too deeply into the same traps that plagued similar "present-day similar shows in things like Highlander: The Series and Blade: The Series.

The Walking Dead - One of the best things going on TV, in spite of being about life during a zombie plague.

New Girl - Another guilty pleasure, but surprisingly funny writing and the cast has a decent chemistry. Lines like "he smells like strong coffee and seeing a man about a horse" just come out of nowhere and break my brain.

Parenthood - I'm ashamed to admit I even watch this. It's not even a guilty pleasure at this point; I just have a friend with Asperger syndrome who sort of likes it because of what he likes to call "aut-sploitation." He finally got his own DVR this summer and so I should consider having a talk with him about recording and watching this on his own time. I'm not sure how many more years I can watch a show where almost every problem could be solved by people actually taking turns talking instead of shouting over each other. There are about 5 minutes of awesome moments in this show per three episodes, but it's getting increasingly difficult to hang on waiting for the next one.

Sons of Anarchy - I actually have posted in one of the forum's threads about this show. I really like the writing, cast, and production. I thought the Ireland stuff was painfully boring in places, and the slow building-up of outside pressure on the club is sometimes wearying to deal with--but pay-offs like the one at the end of the third season make it feel totally worthwhile. I might feel more ashamed of watching this show, except there is a tiny part of me which is still the five year old kid who watched A-Team and Dukes of Hazzard in the early 80s.

The Office - This is another one like Parenthood: a few minutes of great in every large block of episodes, but it's getting increasingly hard to watch in between those moments. In the grand scheme of TV sitcoms, I'm sort of picturing Louie coming in like a giant dinosaur foot and leaving this style of show behind like a splat in the middle of a deep footprint.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - This show has started to overstay its welcome, but it has had moments of pure comedic genius over the years. I'm waiting around for more.

Justified - I like this show a lot. The only recent show on TV that I've seen which has better, more memorable villains than this one is The Wire--and much like that show, the villains here are occasionally people you start wanting to root for. This thread has recently talked about how we shouldn't be comparing this show to Deadwood and in some ways that's true but one thing the two shows have in common is that singular voice comes out in the dialogue. That voice was almost Shakespearean in Deadwood where it's much more deadpan in this show, but either way the writing is either genuinely good or a peculiarly addictive and gratifying form of bad. It's hard to tell which is which. Either way, I'll probably keep watching this as long as they keep making it.

Archer - My hands-down favorite show currently in production, and possibly my favorite 30-minute animated series format show ever. The show is visually iconic, but more importantly than that it's laugh-until-I'm-crying funny. The writing is just as unflinchingly crass and dirty as it is smart, and it embraces its own flaws in a way almost nothing else on TV does, or could even get away with.

Southland - I was hoping this police procedural would pick up where Boomtown left off. It got about two thirds of the way there and then moved to TNT, where budget restructuring came close to killing it. This is a deeply depressing show, but one that's well-written, well-produced, and well-acted. I'm not sure it's going anywhere but it's good enough to be worth my time until they run out of money to keep making it.

Mad Men - I watch this by myself, usually in the dark. Going through the first three seasons on DVD just before the fourth season came out on AMC briefly led me in the direction of a real daytime drinking problem. This show isn't as good as the critics say it is but there's still some real substance to it, the kind of stuff that occasionally gives me chills or just leaves me sitting there shaking my head and saying "wow" to myself as the credits roll. It reminds me of the old bromide that "the politics in [foo] are so brutal because the stakes are so low."

Touch - I tend to watch TV with friends in three-hour blocks once or twice a week, and I had two one-hour gaps in that schedule this spring. I filled one of those gaps with Awake, which I won't discuss here because it's already been cancelled. I filled the other gaps with Touch in spite of genuine misgivings about anything that had either Tim Kring or Kiefer Sutherland attached to it. It's a decent show but I think it's very badly cast, and cloyingly pretentious in places. One of the two friends who was watching this with me announced that he was quitting at the end of season 1 because that was where the show should have ended--effectively on the basis of an interview with Tim Kring saying that all he really wanted to write for Heroes was origin stories. Kiefer Sutherland calling adolescent boys things like "sweetheart" may never stop being creepy. I'm glad work of this style is getting on the air but I'd ideally prefer for them them to replace this particular series with a new show made using a different madlib from the same book.

The Boondocks - This is so far from being a real fourth season that I don't feel like I need to talk about it yet. Ask me again in 2013 or whatever.

Luther - This is a great show but I have a sense that it only has another dozen episodes ago before they're out of runway, either in cost models or in places to take the characters.

I also watch a few shows that are in current or recently-concluded production exclusively on DVD:
- Dexter
- Breaking Bad
- Treme
- Doctor Who (although I may switch to watching this live, given that BBC America now has an HD edition).

Stuff I've decided to start watching in backlog but have not yet:
- Game of Thrones (already bought season 1 on DVD, I'll probably watch it on vacation next month).
- Sherlock
- Person of Interest
- _maybe_: Fringe
Post Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:52 pm
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Jesse Custer



Joined: 01 Dec 2006
Posts: 1258
Location: London
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Holy shit, you really do watch a lot of TV.

Between TV and movies, video games and internet and working... how much time do you spend not looking at a screen of some kind?



I just finished Eastbound and Down finally... without any spoilers, I just gotta say that was a great ending.

And of the show in general. Man it's well written. How do they make me care about Kenny and actually get behind him despite him being such an unrelenting asshole all the time?

Will Ferrell was great as well. I really enjoy him in bit parts a lot more than when he is the sole focus of attention.
Post Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:39 am
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
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A few things bugged me about the first season of The Killing.

1) Why, in Seattle of all places, is everyone using a goddamn flip-phone?

2) I think it was the second to last episode, the one where Linden's son is missing. This is well and good to develop a bit of back story and create some additional points of tension, but the ENTIRE episode was spent on this. All other episodes allot time to all of the characters to show how everything is interwoven.

3) Linden frequently made decisions that no seasoned or well-respected cop would make, i.e. disclosing the identity of a suspect to the victim's family and claiming "We'll have [this person] tonight."

4) Characters frequently travel unnecessarily to make one or two sentence claims or statements when a phone call would have sufficed. It's weird and unrealistic. Are their flip-phones so unreliable? Time for an upgrade.

I really enjoyed the first season though, despite these flaws. They are small things individually but they add up for me in the long run. What's most aggravating is that they are simple things that either make for cheap plot devices or production value, but terrible realism. It's frustrating to me when good shows make dumb choices.
Post Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:51 am
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Neuro
A champion of Kurtis SP


Joined: 19 Jul 2002
Posts: 7789
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wouldnt being out in the rain all the time damage a touch screen phone?

youll find out why linden makes some of her choices, in the 2nd season,


im ready for the second season to end the show finally, one more episode!

great show and everything but they cannot stretch this out any longer
Post Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:51 am
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2019
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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To be clear, that list is about a year's worth of TV watching. Other than a few minutes a week of channel flipping before bed and some irregularly scheduled stuff like UFC events, that's essentially all the TV I watch. It tends to shake out into about two 3-hour blocks per week, and except for Mad Men I watch essentially all of it on "TV nights" with friends. It averages out to less than an hour a day. My understanding of my TV habits is that I use my DVR more than the average viewer but actually watch fewer total hours of TV than the average viewer. My video game habit is much more excessive by comparison.

I did forget one program in that last list: Castle. Normally I wouldn't watch a police procedural like this but one of those TV night friends was a pretty passionate Firefly fan and Nathan Fillion's starring role interested her. She convinced me to give it a try and we've kept watching it. The show is extremely predictable, both in the solutions to the episodic cases, and in the overall advancement of the show's romantic angle. The writing is pretty funny, though--and the main cast all have some genuine chemistry, so it's not painful to watch.
Post Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:00 am
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
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Nathan Fillion is great! I've never watched more than one or two episodes of Castle, but that guy has so much natural charisma and affability it's absurd. He's put in a lot of work so it's nice to see him on an enduring primetime show. How awesome was he in Slither?
Post Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:31 am
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Neuro
A champion of Kurtis SP


Joined: 19 Jul 2002
Posts: 7789
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The Killing:

finally over, great ending, show is done, so glad they didnt stretch it any longer



bring on BREAKING BAD
Post Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:23 pm
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GrantherBirdly
D&D addict


Joined: 05 Jun 2004
Posts: 3145
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yeah the ending to the killing was highly satisfying. the show had a great run, some of the best all-around acting I've ever seen on television.
Post Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:20 pm
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Neuro
A champion of Kurtis SP


Joined: 19 Jul 2002
Posts: 7789
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you are lying to yourself if you dont wanna know how this turns out
Post Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:21 pm
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Brynjar



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 1474
Location: Rivertown
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After Mark's rave about Archer I check it out yesterday and I've watced 15 eps.

It's great.
Post Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:14 pm
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2019
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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TRUCK-A-SAUR-US.
Post Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:35 pm
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xGasPricesx



Joined: 23 May 2008
Posts: 1552
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This pretty much sums up how I already feel about Sorkin's new show, "The Newsroom". Except for the whole "approaching the show with the highest of hopes" thing.

http://www.npr.org/2012/06/21/155501538/the-newsroom-caught-up-in-a-partisan-divide
Post Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:56 am
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2019
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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I feel like someone was supposed to tell me about Loiter Squad.
Post Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:11 pm
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ROTTY



Joined: 28 Apr 2005
Posts: 1407
Location: London
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Im enjoying Hit & Miss. Its only 6 episodes so short n sweet.

Hit & Miss is a British television series created by Paul Abbott.

It stars ChloŽ Sevigny as a transsexual contract killer who discovers she has a child with her former lover. She struggles between caring for her newfound family and maintaining her job as an assassin. The series premiered on May 22, 2012 in the United Kingdom.
Post Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:41 am
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