Thursday, June 21, 2012

TV I've been watching

I never watch TV programs (or movies) during their regular broadcast time. I'm always catching up on Netflix, DVD, or DVR. Most of the shows I want to watch are on during my writing time, so I catch up on them later. HBO To Go and Netflix have made it really easy to watch programs wherever I happen to be.

So here's what I've been watching (in no particular order):


A friend put me up to this one. Really, a protagonist serial killer who kills killers? It took me a while but I finally started streaming it on Netflix. How do I feel about it? Well, two of the things I most look for in fiction (movies, tv, books) are tension and the ability to sustain the willing suspension of disbelief. Dexter does a phenominal job at creating tension. However, I admit to feeling a little off about rooting for a serial killer. Sure, he's killing bad guys, but it's how he does it. Grisly business. Will he get caught? There's the tension generator for you. The willing suspension of disbelief gets stretched a bit, but doesn't break.

Speaking of breaking... Breaking Bad

A cancer stricken high school teacher turns to cooking meth to make certain his family is taken care of after he dies. Dark, dark, dark. Which is why I like it. I'm not a fan of horror, but I do like dark fiction where the protagonist gets beaten up. Again, I find myself wondering who I am rooting for. Instead of a "good guy" serial killer I have a morally questionable meth cooker.  No, I don't like the protagonist, but I am very curious about what will happen to him.

Let's lighten things up with Avatar, the Last Airbender

Re-re-re-re watching the entire series with my daughter. This is the best animated program I have ever seen. What I most love about this show was that it was written with a definite beginning and end. The show was planned and written for three seasons, and that was it. Why am I applauding the fact that they only gave me three seasons of a wonderful show? Unlike most animated shows that are meant to run for indeterminate (interminable) amount of time, Avatar had a true story arc. There was genuine character development and growth over the three seasons. Action, humor, romance, drama, Avatar has it all. I cannot praise this show enough and will watch it over and over again.

The Big Bang Theory

I am a geek. It is possible to be a geek and not love The Big Bang Theory? It has to rank as one of the funniest programs that I have ever watched.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I didn't watch Buffy when it originally aired, but I caught a few episodes on rerun shortly after it ended. As a big Joss Whedon fan I thought I'd take a look at the series that made him famous. Buffy is very well written, including a lot of humor and drama. It certainly passes the tension test, as Whedon was certainly willing to hurt his protagonists. Willing suspension of disbelief is a little bit tougher to take. In the case of Buffy I've given the suspension of disbelief a bit of a pass because of the good writing.

Keeping on an undead thread... The Walking Dead

I love this show! Talk about tension! You can't crank it up any higher. Yes, it is a bit on the gory side, but that comes with the zombie genre. Great characters, great story, great writing. Willing suspension of disbelief? Not bad. Sometimes the characters are a little too relaxed about their situation (mostly in season two) and I would certainly arm myself with some better melee weapons (a spear or pollaxe would certainly be better than a knife or machete), but nothing I can't get over. I have some questions about how the disease spread so quickly. I also want to know why the military wasn't capable of taking down the zombie hordes. But I am willing to let the show develop and hopefully answer those questions in time.

Game of Thrones

Excellent! HBO has done a great job with the novels, in fact I think it is one of the best novel to screen adaptations I have ever seen. HBO has masterfully captured the feel of the novels. When I watch (the wonderful) Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies there are a few parts where my vision of Tolkien's world is different than Jacksons. Not bad, just different. This is not the case with Game of Thrones. What I see on the screen is exactly what I envisioned when I read the novels. Tension and willing suspension of disbelief? Aces on both!