A True and Accurate Account of Some Things I Have Been Watching Lately II

It has been almost a year since I gave a quick rundown of all of the shit that I watch. How times have changed. This time I thought I’d include a whole bunch of little clips and stuff as well. You’re welcome.

Heroes, Fringe and Smallville

Heroes is dead, thank God. My concerns about Fringe being constrained by only having two universes haven’t borne any evil fruit quite yet, and I’m still enjoying it. This is Smallville‘s final season, and probably the best thing that can be said about it is that it’s nice to have the cast from the previous nine years returning for it, even if only for an episode here and there. Can’t get enough of John Glover’s Lionel Luthor, though. Right, that’s out of the way. Now the good stuff.

 

Community

Anyone who had seen this show before about a month ago and didn’t tell me to watch it is on notice. Community is the best comedy America has produced since Arrested Development. Great writing, perfectly cast, pop-culture references to rival Spaced, and Richard Ayoade has directed an episode or two. I cannot recommend it enough.

Hard to pick a clip, so I’ve picked two.

 

Supernatural

After the perfectly acceptable ending to the series in season 6, Supernatural was still rating too highly to die a natural death. Much like basically every single character in Supernatural, the show itself returns from the grave. But I don’t care, because it’s so fucking entertaining.

Supernatural has taken self-referential meta-jokes to a whole new level. It should have jumped the shark, but it just keeps being fun. So far, in the story, there is a series of books called Supernatural that describes the events of our TV show; there is an active fan base within the story that mirrors and parodies real-life fans (with references to “Wincest” fan fiction); and in this season we even had an episode where an angel sends the Winchester brothers to a parallel universe – ours – where they have to pretend to be the actors who play them in the show.

Seriously.

But I’m still watching. It’s still funny. Highlight this season: Misha Collins playing himself tweeting to his fans, which turned up on Collins’ real-life Twitter as the show aired.

 

The Trip

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play slightly exaggerated versions of themselves in this road trip through North England restaurants. Rob Brydon’s no stranger to taking the piss out of himself, having created the very excellent Annually Retentive a few years back, and Steve Coogan seems to channel the sad desperation of Alan Partridge to good effect. Unsurprisingly, the two spend a lot of time in subtle competition that involves brilliant and apparently ad-libbed impression-offs. Great show.

 

Episodes

I can’t find a good clip for this, and that’s possibly because of the show’s extremely frustrating name. Or perhaps it’s a very clever name, putting off would-be torrenters. Try searching for that shit. Anyway, Stephen Mangan (Green Wing, Armando Ianucci Show) and Tamsin Greig (Green Wing, Black Books) play a husband-and-wife screenwriting duo who have won mulitple BAFTAs for their British sitcom. An American producer woos them over to Los Angeles to make an American version of the British sitcom, which goes exactly as you’d expect it to. Not brilliant, but worth the watch and has the potential to get great. Watch the clip to learn who plays the starring role in their American version.

 

Game of Thrones

George R R Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series is the best fantasy I’ve ever read. You don’t have to have read them to appreciate the new HBO adaptation, and if you have read them, let’s face it, you’ve already seen the new HBO adaptation.

Martin left screenwriting to pursue novels after budgetary restraints in The Twilight Zone pissed him off too much. Now that he has the budget, the story, a few ex-Buffy writers and Sean Bean, he’s finally getting what he wanted: a great story told onscreen. The biggest win in the screen adaptation so far is the casting, which was the one place it could have really fallen. Sean Bean’s perfectly adequate as Ned Stark, sure. But Lena Headey was genetically engineered to play Cersei, Mark Addy’s perfect as King Robert, and Jason Momoa apparently decided to practise his role in Conan by playing Khal Drogo.

My one casting complaint is Iain Glen playing Jorah Mormont, because he was the one thing about the brilliant Doctor Who two-parter “Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone” that pissed me off. That can’t be your normal voice, Iain. That’s no one’s normal voice, Iain. I’ll get used to it once I stop hearing, “Tell me, khaleesi, what do you know of the Weeping Angels?” in my head all the fucking time.

Which reminds me.

 

Doctor Who

It’s back! New season! It seems to me that arguments for an omniscient, omnipotent, loving God are laid waste by the simple fact that I have to wait for 39 weeks a year to see the new Doctor Who season. The first episode of the season was the first part of a two-parter, which is intensely frustrating, but I enjoyed the shit out of it. The only question is, without spoilers, what did we actually see happen at the start when you-know-what happened to you-know-who? All of the obvious explanations were precluded by Amy listing them. You know?

Also, the incredible Mark Sheppard is in the episode as FBI agent Canton Everett Delaware III, who’d make a better spin-off actors/character than fucking Jack Harkness ever did. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, think the lawyer from Battlestar Galactica or Crowley from Supernatural or Badger from Firefly.

DOCTOR! DOC-DOC DOC-DOC-TOR! That’s how the choral music sounds in my head.

 

Californication

I finally got around to watching this show, and I did enjoy it. There’s a real downer element to it that bugs me, I think. Not enough wins, and when there’s a win, you know it’s going to be punched in the balls by karma. I got to the end of season three and basically had to start watching season four just in the hopes that it would go back to being light-hearted and I wouldn’t feel fucking desolate inside.

It would easily be just as good and watchable without the gratuitous sex scenes and blue humour, though they might have to find something else to pad it out. The inclusion of Hank’s fatherly love for Becca and her tragic unavoidable repeated disappointment is both a redeeming feature of the show and something that makes me want to stop watching. He’s never as much of a villain as everyone around him thinks, but he’s always just enough of a villain to deserve how shit he feels for failing as a father.

I would kind of like for the series to end with the finale of season four, which felt about as up as Californication is ever going to get.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X921CZQeqlk

 

Stargate Universe

The chance of an American TV show being cancelled is directly proportional to how good it is, and so as SGU got better and better, its demise became inevitable. The final bastard son of the Stargate franchise is, in its own way, better than the rest of them, achieving its goal of being a darker, grittier, slower story after the upbeat and funny nineties-naughties SG-1 and Atlantis. The show can only end up either leaving too many questions unanswered or too many… answers… unquestioned? Something like that. Dying before its time. Loving it until then.

 

How I Met Your Mother

Still a great comedy, though eclipsed by Community now. The writers are finally moving the characters forward, presumably realising that this can’t go on forever. Barney will settle down, Marshall and Lily will have a kid, Robin will get back together with that other guy or whatever, and Ted’s going to meet his wife properly on the 200th episode or something, and the writers are going to have all kinds of hurdles when that happens.

The funeral episode was fucking dark, and actually had me in tears, which isn’t as hard as you might think, but not so easy that it’s not an accomplishment for a sitcom. Mixing drama with comedy isn’t new (I’ve been rewatching M*A*S*H), but well done, well done, I still look forward to every episode.

I leave you with a HIMYM clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf4qTxALRKU

 

No, I’ll leave you with a Community clip.

2 Comments A True and Accurate Account of Some Things I Have Been Watching Lately II

    1. Ryan Sproull

      I haven’t, but I’ll add it to my list. Someone has also suggested “Breaking In”.

      I realised last night I left The Office off the list, but I think that might speak volumes by its absence. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it a lot. I just plain forgot about it.

      Reply

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