Friday, February 04, 2011

I like to watch

I'm back, and let me apologize in advance for the rusty prose to follow. For the past four months, I have been obsessed with weight loss and television. But, enough about my back fat. Here's some of what I've watched since October:
  • "Top Gear" - Who could have predicted that I would love a car show? I've never even owned a car. Yet, the tomfoolery of hosts, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May have made me very, very happy. I still chuckle when I reminisce about Jeremy and Richard propping up James's crippled baby grand with a stack of porno magazines, right before James unknowingly backs a truck onto his precious piano. I can't recommend this show enough, even with the current anti-Mexican controversy.
  • "Being Human" - I was prompted to watch the original BBC show, currently in its third season, after the American series premiere ended on a cliffhanger. Whereas the American version has felt forced, the UK series has been easy to watch, with great actors and a more charming approach to the exact same storyline as the US show. It just proves the adage that the difference is in the details.
  • "Mad Men" - After absorbing the hype for years, we finally gave in, and now, I know why busty women are back in vogue and everyone thinks Jon Hamm is hot. The complexity of the characters, and their varying moods and intentions, are what make the show so fascinating. The most recent fourth season was a gamble, and has cooled my enthusiasm for the show. Still, the first three seasons were very watchable.
  • "The Cape" - The production values are high, and the actors are decent (Summer Glau is working again!), but the show is hindered by a formulaic storyline, and the survival of the hero's family. While the hero is pining for his living wife and son, he is not inflicting violent vengeance, struggling with his morals, nor developing sexual tension with Summer Glau. The jerky circus midget character should get his own show. Such a waste of a good production budget.
  • "Damages" - This was the drama series that I felt the most ambivalent towards, despite tearing through the first season. Glenn Close's character veers too much into pure villainy, and it is hard to sympathize with a character as naive and bland as Rose Byrne's ingenue lawyer. The first season's dramatic plot twists kept me going, but the second season has failed to latch onto me, despite the hardening of Byrne's character, accompanied by a much improved wardrobe.
I've just started watching "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena", a mini-series created while Season 1 lead, Andy Whitfield was being treated for cancer. Since then, Whitfield has had to withdraw from the show to focus on his health, and I must admit that "Gods of the Arena" is missing a spark without him. All the sex and violence are present, but without a sad gladiator with tiny, leather shorts to anchor them. I can only hope that when Season 2 returns with Whitfield's replacement, the magic will return.

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