Friday, February 16, 2007

Five TV shows that own the moment

I'm continuing from the last HEROES blog. We've been chatting about how this program has slowed down for some of us, and how we wish it'd get back up to thrilling speed. This got me to thinking about TV programs that are working right now--the ones I would stay up to watch, even with commercials. I thought of five that are hitting it for me....

Not too long ago, Karm commented that this is the show to watch for its pacing. I agree. Alliances don't take forever to develop; in fact, they can be broken within the same episode,which makes for a twisty experience. At the same time, I never feel cheated by the quicksilver pacing of ROME: many of the characters are already so well developed and the acting is so deft that we know, with even just a fleeting look between two characters, what an entire paragraph of dialog might otherwise reveal. This show is fascinating for its low human moments as well as the sublime.

I am addicted...and not just because of the whopper of a plot twist that happened a few weeks ago. I like to see what these characters are up to, even if they're secondary characters. While Betty is lovable in herself, supporting players like "Evil Mark" and "Amanda" are worthy of affection, too. Vanessa Williams is awesome, presenting a villainess who should be one-dimensional, but isn't. Even Betty's seemingly vapid playboy boss grabs my heart and won't let go sometimes. Like in ROME, the acting is a huge plus with this show. I want to hang out with these characters because they're always fun and always on the move.

There are some who'll disagree, but based on the return-from-hiatus episode last week, I'm excited to watch again. In a previous blog, I had noted that LOST seemed to have a definite lack of urgency. The show stagnated while on the Others' island, with some of the main characters in captivity. I had stopped caring about what happened to them--not a good sign. However, I remained intrigued with Juliette. Well, last week took me back to Season One, when every week seemed fresh and terrifying. The CLOCKWORK ORANGE images, Juliette's backstory and the revelation that she's being held captive by Ben--all of them drew me right back in. I haven't had a chance to see this week's episode yet, but I'm chomping at the bit to watch.

This show started out with a "meh" sort of vibe. I wasn't particularly compelled by any of the characters, and I outright despised Sally Field's mother. I thought she was much too passive-aggressive. However, something happened to this show, and it's one of the most enjoyable hours on TV now. I love this family--even the much more balanced mom. And I even like Ms. Calista! She's good in this program! There are many laugh out loud moments, thanks to plots that rely on the characters for humor rather than forced situations.

I don't know if anyone else is watching this, but...OMG. I crack up pretty regularly during each episode. Even though this show is about a semi-inept gang intent on robbing Mick Jagger's home, the methodical build-up to the actual robbery doesn't feel stalled. Every step in reaching their goal is an episode filled with character moments and hilarity.

So what's the problem with HEROES for some of us? Are we not connecting with the characters as we used to...?


Karmela Johnson said...

My top five for pacing and continuity:

1. ROME. Your #1 is my #1. This show is, as you put it, sublime. Superb. Stupendous. I'm loving Atia again. I hated her last week when she seemed to relish in Servilia's torture. Couldn't she flinch just *once*? She so redeemed herself by quietly engineering the alliance of her son and lover. Best line from last week: "I'm not sure the beard works for me." And that entrance? How can Mark Antony leave her for Cleo? THAT particular twist better be completely justified.

2. Supernatural. Wow. The brothers are hawt. The continuity/mytharc is superb. The standalone episodes are exciting and don't come off as "fillers." The writers' imagination is out of this world. The dialogue between the brothers totally works for me (especially last night's episode). And did I mention the brothers are hawt?

3. The Unit. This show is brainy. You wouldn't have expected me to say that about a military show, eh? But week after week, it delivers twists and turns in the missions. Plus it gives us glimpses from the home front. The men aren't perfect and neither are their wives. Compelling drama. Great characterization. Even though I think Scott Foley is miscast.

4. NUMB3RS. This show almost lost me because the brothers seemed to have emotionally stagnated. I started to regain interest once they got girlfriends. I like it the way they can make math exciting.

5. ROME. First, last, forever.

GeminiWisdom said...

I wish I had shows, but I don't. I just have Heroes, Smallville, Supernatural (totally diggin' the brothers, too, Karmela, and last night's episode was hysterical) and Bones. I've been a huge fan of David Boreanaz since Buffy, and then I faithfully watched the spin-off of Angel (I'm still waiting for closure on that one)and was hoping he'd show up again. I still see the humor he had on Angel and was totally blown away when I saw his smile for the first time. (He hardly ever smiled on Angel)

GeminiWisdom said...

I meant to say I wish I had 5 shows, but I only got 4.

Y said...

Cool post C!

My fave must-watch shows at the moment are:






I just HAVE to watch these every single week!!! :)

Oh, and on a side note, guess what? My second ebook is released today from Cobblestone Press. Yay. I'm so excited!!!! :D

Crystal Green's Blog said...

Karm, you hit something about ROME right on the head: even when we hate the characters, we can go right back to loving them the next week. Theat goes a long way in make them absolutely compelling for me. Even when they're doing something hateful, their actions always makes sense because the characterization is that rich. It's not really the plots that surprise me--it's the characters. (And it's going to be majorly interesting to see what happens with Cleo versus Atia! Same with Antony and Octavia....)

Gemini, I love David B., too. Such charisma. I had to stop watching BONES because I was done with crime procedurals, LOL. Too many for me. Now I'm missing out. And I'm still not on the ball with SUPERNATURAL, which I should clearly be watching, too!

Y, what's HARRY DRESDEN? (Is it the same as the DRESDEN FILES out here?) And congrats on your *second* book!!!!!!! You are on fire. I haven't even been able to read the first yet. (But I'm excited to! I'm still reading my RITA contest books.)

Hope you guys have an awesome weekend. :)

Y said...

Thanks C!

Yep, and sorry, the right name is the DRESDEN FILES! It's on the SciFi channel! It's based on the books, though they've changed a bunch of stuff.

The guy that plays Harry Dresden's very cool. Really fits the role!

You'll have to let me know what you think of FD when you get to it, okay? :) There's no rush.

Crystal Green's Blog said...

Will do, Y--I'm looking forward to reading your work!!! :)

Angela/SciFiChick said...

My shows, in order:
Stargate SG1 & Atlantis
The 4400
The Dead Zone
The Dresden Files
Psych & Monk
The Office
Desperate Housewives

Good thing the season's are spread out! Only half of those are on at the same time. The other half are over the summer.