Monday, September 13, 2010

Summer Series Scorecard

Why, when I was a kid, you didn't watch TV in the summer. You actually had to go outside and do things, like dangerous bike stunts, or putting on a show in the barn. Cable TV has shot all that to hell. In addition to the returning shows (like Burn Notice, Leverage, and The Closer) there was a whole slew of new summer shows. Some of them were even -- gasp! -- on network TV. Rundown:

Haven, SciFi*: A -- Only partially through the season on the DVR, but it's one of those shows that just makes me feel all warm and happy inside.

The Glades, A&E: A -- Matt Passmore is seriously charming. Even though it's a bit like all the other crime procedural/detective shows I watch, the writing and delivery are top-notch. And there's not a bunch of side characters to drag things down.

Persons Unknown, NBC: A- -- Haven't finished it yet, but am thoroughly enjoying it so far. Either they pull it off, or it falls like a souffle when the oven door shuts. Whichever, I'll find out soon.

Rizzoli & Isles, TNT: B -- I was prepared to hate this. In fact, I don't even know why I watched an episode in the first place. For one thing, the books by Tess Gerritsen were awful, at the least the ones I read. Maybe they got better. But just hackneyed dialogue, horrible character development. Blegh. And I have a hard time thinking of Angie Harmon without wanting to kick her in the shin. So that was a lot to overcome. But really quite an entertaining show. Harmon is quite good -- and you don't know how much it pains me to say that. With the added plus of Bruce McGill who is good in anything. Falls under the category of TV comfort food.

Covert Affairs, USA: B --Very catchy opening credits/song. Enjoy the show. Piper Perabo is good at walking the line between vulnerable and badass. The only downside is that guy who used to be on Heroes. I refuse to even look up the correct spelling of his name. I just know that I hated him with the white hot intensity of a thousand incandescent suns on Heroes and nothing has washed that taste out yet. That's how bad he was on Heroes: I'm still blinded by the horror of it. I really, really hope he's a bad guy and is dispatched in some heinous way.

Good Guys, Fox: B -- Really pretty hilarious, although it never quite lived up to the first episode. Looking forward to it coming back in the fall.

Rubicon, AMC: ? -- Sitting on the DVR, staring at me. Will probably get around to it after the full season of The Closer and Mad Men, and the remainder of Haven and Persons Unknown.

That was the good -- now for the bad and the ugly.

The Gates, ABC: D+ -- The only thing that put that plus there was Paul Blackthorne. And you had vampires and werewolves and witches and succubi, but no zombies? WTF?

Memphis Beat, TNT: D -- I tried, I really tried. I wanted to like it, honest. But I actually deleted the final three episodes off the DVR, unwatched. Just to give you an idea of what was wrong with the show, two glaring problems. One, they didn't let Jason Lee do his own singing. Look, if the singing is that important, let the actor sing. If you don't think his singing is good enough, either find a way to cut the singing, or get an actor whose singing you like! Don't go the road of lip-synching. That's just a big, fat cheat.

Also, the show wasn't even fucking filmed in Memphis. It was filmed in New Orleans. Pardon? That's just stupid, stupid, stupid. If you're not going for authenticity, why base it in an iconic city? Why not just call it "Des Moines"?

Also, it made Alfre Woodard just seem annoying, which is a feat. She wasn't quirky or interesting, just breathtakingly annoying. That's not character development, that's the LACK of character development. And Jason Lee was like some know-it-all savant, like someday he'd be a grandpa on a porch, dispensing platitudes from around his corn-cob pipe. Again, NOT CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.

Moment that made me delete the remaining episodes? Jason Lee -- whose dad was a cop and who has been a cop his entire adult life and who knows everything about cops -- finds a bunch of money cut in half in some of his dad's old books. Being totally flummoxed, he goes to a cute ADA to ask her what this means. She blithely tells him, "Oh, that means it was a crooked cop with a crooked partner. They took their ill-gotten gains and cut them in half so that neither one would be tempted to spend the money until the heat is off." She spits this out like it's the most common knowledge in the world.

And yet Jason Lee -- whose dad was a cop and who has been a cop his entire life and who knows everything about cops -- does not know this. He has no fucking clue. And you know why he has no fucking clue?? Because the writers wanted to take a shortcut and have it explained to the audience right away what the cut-up money meant. So he had to immediately run across town in the pouring rain and ask some 27-year-old prosecutor what it meant. I HATE FUCKING LAZY WRITING.

Happy Town, ABC : F- -- Why, Happy Town was so long ago now, it seems like a dream, a terrible, hazy dream from which you wake up screaming. It was so bad it was good. It was like a parody wrapped in a satire then rolled in crunchy bacon bits and soft, soft mini-marshmallows. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.... Wait, where was I?

Happy Town made no sense. It was filled with characters who made no sense, characters who made up their own slang and talked in riddles. It was like Twin Peaks, if Twin Peaks was an expensive cashmere sweater that had been put through the wash cycle on hot, dried on high, and then been thrown out into the yard and trampled by goats. It was written by mentally deficient woodchucks high on jimson weed.

On the plus side it had Amy Acker, who I'm sure still wakes up screaming.

*Yes, I refuse to use "SyFy" because that's just stupid. Forry Ackerman would be rolling in his grave.

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