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the island of conclusions

TV round-up (of the opinionated variety)

the island of conclusions

bright star

TV round-up (of the opinionated variety)

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bright star
There is too much to watch on TV! Some things have already been regulated to the status of “okay, I’ll watch it with the boys if they feel like it after dinner” (sadly, this seems to mean that H50 and Elementary and Arrow are duking it out with Dr. Who, Alphas and Psych).

Here’s what’s rising above that at the moment (idiosyncratic, I admit):

Last Resort:

I continue to like this show, though I’m not at all sure it’s going to succeed. It has far too much going on. Its attitude seems to be: throw a jillion sub-plots into the wind and let God sort them out. Some fare better than others:

Anything involving Andre Braugher and Robert Patrick throwing down is gold.

Anything involving Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman holding hands (no, really) or staring soulfully at each other isn’t quite gold, but it’s certainly silver.

Anything involving Scott Speedman and the French lady (imbd tells me her name is Sophie Girard) is silver too; they have great chemistry. The plot involving Scott Speedman’s wet blanket of a wife sucks.

Also sucky, sadly, is the plot involving the gorgeous Dichen Lachman. The series seems to want to use her and her Navy SEAL friend as nothing but eye candy, which is silly, since there’s a global political crisis going on.

I think I can live with the Autumn Reeser plot, if it gets better. Bruce Davison is good.

And I love Cortez—I hope she gets more to do.

You can see why something is going to have to go, yeah? But 1x03 was quite convincingly brutal, and managed to end on a genuinely affecting note. And I still want to learn more about the backstory of all the (interesting) characters, so I’m in.

Merlin: Yeah, who would’ve thought that Merlin would have such staying power? But I continue to really enjoy it on both the cheesy (shirtless knights, anyone?) and emotional fronts (stories of good leaders are my number one bullet proof kink).

I know people continue to be upset and disheartened by the lack of a magical reveal, and I can understand that. I’m not too bothered, though. Surprisingly, the show has produced something even rarer for TV than satisfying plot resolution, imo: genuine character change and growth. The relationship between Merlin and Arthur seems to have actually changed and deepened since the end of the benighted S3 and the beginning of S5, and Arthur, especially, has matured (and Colin Morgan appears to have achieved a life-sustaining weight, so, hey, I’m happy).

I know this character growth is straight out of canon, but it doesn’t make it any less gratifying to me. I like that Arthur’s loyalty (and love for) his knights isn’t just lip service to an ideal: they have all demonstrated extraordinary loyalty to him, and he is paying them back in kind. In other words, the plots laid down since the end of S3 are now adding depth to the show.

S5 promises added pleasures, too, like a newly queenly Gwen and a very well-cast Mordred.

Plus, bless Bradley James for being able to toggle back and forth so easily between goofy slapstick and convincing nobility.

(Son #2: Why does it always switch to slow motion when Arthur fights?
Me: It’s not slow motion. That’s just the way he fights. Everyone is so cowed by it they slow down too.)

I blame tumblr for this

but after not watching since the beginning of S6, I have now watched the first two episodes of SPN S8. IKR? But apparently gifs of muddy!Dean are my kryptonite. I have only the vaguest idea of what happened in S6-7, but you know what? I don’t really want to know, so please don’t tell me. Sacrilegious as it is, I don’t care about brotherly amity, I don’t even care that much about Cas (though I do a little). I am just in it for the pretty.

Homeland: I’m not sure what’s going to happen now that the “is he or isn’t he?” question has been answered. But I don’t care, because I’m still mesmerized by Carrie, Saul and Brody (only halfway through 2x02 on this one)

I have also, thanks to [personal profile] garryowen’s persuasive abilities, been watching Wallander. I watched the third, most recent, series first, because it was streaming on PBS (yes, this is one of the simple pleasures of sad souls like me that Mitt Romney would take away). I usually associate Kenneth Branagh with bombast, but he’s lovely and restrained and vastly appealing in this—middle-aged and poignant and tough and smart (and a hot mess). Also: Sweden is beautiful. I’m making my way through S1 now, which is grimmer and shot with a lot of surprise!close-ups and surprise!blurriness which bug me, but still well worth watching, if you like your procedurals with a lot of angst.

And that's more than enough!
  • I love the way Arthur has grown as a character - as my son said, at first he came across as a bit of an immature and privileged stuck up prick (but there were still flashes that made you like him all the same), but the show has shown him growing into his responsibilities, and it works. And the shirtlessness doesn't hurt, either.

    As for Wallander - I adore Sweden (we have friends there that we visit occasionally), and coupled with the fact that I am a sucker for anything (fiction or film/TV) that has a strong sense of place, my love of Sweden has undoubtedly very positively influenced my enjoyment of both reading and watching Wallander (and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo).
    • Me too! I think your son is spot on about it--and I find it so satisfying. The show is sometime so clunky, but this they've done a great job with--I'm always poking my sons and saying look, Arthur is taking responsibility not only for his people, but for mistakes he's made in the past--and they are usually like, oh, mama, just watch the fighting. But I like to think some of it sinks in. and, no, indeed, the shirtlessness doesn't hurt at all

      How cool that you've been to Sweden--it looks lovely. I agree about the sense of place--they must film in Sweden, because the interiors, also, don't look anything like English houses, I don't think.
  • but after not watching since the beginning of S6, I have now watched the first two episodes of SPN S8. IKR? But apparently gifs of muddy!Dean are my kryptonite.

    Yay! ;DDD This is me too. I did watch a couple eps of s6 and 7, but I had some huge problems with the seasons as a whole. But with s8 I just have all these Deeeeean feelings. <3
    • Yay! I'm glad I'm not the only one! Feelings, yes, but also just aesthetic appreciation of how he wears that mud. Bring it on!
  • (no subject) - frackin_sweet
    • oh man, I feel like that about so many shows! Including H50, which I have a genuine attachment to.

      There is too much TV, okay, and not nearly enough time in the day.

      (anyway, I expect Last Resort won't last that long, and will be wrapped up in a package you can watch on Netlfix on a rainy afternoon next year)
  • Not sure if it's available to you, but the Swedish version of Wallander (the original) is excellent. We watched with subtitles, although for some reason OH insists we still have to watch with the sound turned up in case he misses something, when he doesn't speak a word of Swedish.
    • OH insists we still have to watch with the sound turned up in case he misses something, when he doesn't speak a word of Swedish.
      lol--I know how he feels! You need to hear the voices--it's the intonation, okay?

      I'd love to watch that, but I've never seen it around anywhere...there are some other Swedish series I'd like to watch too (Johan Falk, with Joel Kinnaman), but I can't seem to find them. Are they on DVD in Britain?
      • Yes, they've been brought out fairly recently as DVDs in Britain. Quite expensive, but each episode is two hours long.
        • huh! I shall have to keep an eye out in case they come out here, too. Or try to watch them next time I'm in the UK. Thanks for letting me know about them!
  • I'm also watching SPN for the pretty and could care less about the backstory - although it's for an entirely different pretty. Put a scruffy Mark Sheppard onscreen and I am one happy person :)
    • *fistbump of solidarity* I'm glad there are a few of us out there!

      Mark Sheppard is pretty awesome, I can see why you'd tune in for him. He's welded in my mind to Lucy now. We saw him in some other show (Grimm, maybe?), where he was playing a straightforward, kinda clueless, good guy, and...it was hard to accept (though he did a nice job).
  • Me: It’s not slow motion. That’s just the way he fights. Everyone is so cowed by it they slow down too.

    *dies* That's the best answer ever. :D

    And I love Arthur, too, and the growth of the relationship between him and Merlin. It's so lovely to see. Arthur is my favorite, because I am all about the development of excellent leaders as they learn from their mistakes and find out what's required to lead well. His character arc is that from start to finish; looking back, it's so easy to see the arc that I mistook for shallow writing in seasons 2 and 3 (where they were letting him struggle with and come to terms with being his own man).
    • Arthur is my favorite, too, for all those reasons! And I love that they have had him learn from his mistakes (and from acknowledging his mistakes) rather than him just suddenly becoming more mature. I love that the respect that characters like Gwaine and Elyan have for him has been earned in canon, and vice versa.

      (S3 was a kinda crappy season, but it was actually important, it turns out)

      *happy sigh*

      all this, plus nets and shirtlessness!
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