Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer TV: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Summer TV is well underway, with just a few series left to roll out their new seasons. It's time to weigh in on what's working and what's tanking for me.


--Breaking Bad: OK, it doesn't officially start until this Sunday (July 17th) but the anticipation is almost making me high. This show is so good, it would be nearly impossible for them to screw it up at this point. Furthermore, it is most likely the last season, so I can imagine the producers will want to go out with a bang. It's a Southwest existential morality tale on AMC. I will be there with bells on.

--Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations: Premiered this past Monday at 9pm on the Travel Channel, this is my favorite food/adventure/travel show in the whole world. Anthony Bourdain is perfect. He's handsome...he's funny...he's adventurous. I think he makes it cool to be American these days (God knows we could use it). At the very least, he makes it extra cool to be a traveling New York Foodie. This week's new season opened with a trip to Cuba. Light on politics, heavy on baseball and black beans. Mmmmm, the tastiest treat on TV.

--Louie on fX: Season two kicked off a couple of weeks ago (Thursdays at 10:30pm). I am so very happy to say that it still enthralls. Brilliant, uncomfortable, tragic, beautiful and sometimes (because yeah, technically it is a comedy) balls to the wall funny. There is absolutely nobody like Louie ck on television. Nobody. I have to hand it to Fox for not meddling with this gem so far. Maybe they forgot it was on. It is mesmerizing. Last week's pregnant sister episode gave a whole new spin on the good Samaritan neighbor theme. This show is my obsession.

Rescue Me: Rescue Me returns tonight (July 13th) on fX at 10pm. This is the last season for Denis Leary's firehouse opus and it is timed perfectly to coincide with the 10th anniversary of 9-11. I want to see how he resolves his ghosts and demons and I think Leary's Tommy Gavin character is always interesting and funny, although incredibly messed up. I have never doubted the sincerity of Rescue Me and have great faith that they will do something profound before the FDNY crew is closed down forever.


--True Blood: Everybody knows how much I love HBO, but this series has seriously gone bonkers. Someday I will write of Alan Ball's Six Feet Under saga about the L.A. Fisher family and how it was the greatest television show in the history of the universe. But he's gone crazy with True Blood and I'm about to abandon ship. I don't care about the over the top sex or violence or the fact that in the season premier they used a fake boulder and sand desert background set that looked like it was straight out a 1960's episode of Star Trek. What I care about it that I'm bored. Bored to death with Sookie and Tara and Bill and Eric. Well maybe not so much with Eric. Don't want to see Jason raped by a pack of trailer trash zombies. I like Marnie the witch's dead parrot...I hate Marnie the witch. You know how every year you have to sort out the Christmas lights that have mysteriously mated like a pile of snakes in the garage? That's what this feels like. The story line is a hot tangled mess.

--Falling Skies: I had high hopes for this TNT series. Sci Fi, original, Steven Spielberg, lavish production, cool scary aliens taking over (we'll call them Skitters). I've watched the first couple of episodes and I don't think I'll be coming back. It's just not compelling. We never get to see the aliens, so the threat seems very remote. And the survivors in this post apocalyptic world are way...way too clean. Why would they all be so fashion model clean? Even the kids look like they've been air brushed! I don't know why but it really bothers me. I can't go on a day long road trip without looking like a refugee, and these people have been without electricity, washing machines and running water for quite some time. They should at least be a little smudged. Note to Falling Skies the movie Road Warrior. You can make your end of the world characters stylish AND dirty! And show a few aliens eating little kids with their tentacles or something!


Curb Your Enthusiasm: Larry has a long conversation with a 13 year old girl scout about her first period and tampons. Really? What planet is this creepy scene even remotely funny on? Anyway, I only like Jeff Garlin and Susie. If someone wants to make a clip show of them, I'll still watch. Otherwise...buh bye Larry!

Here's a little taste of Breaking Bad. Oh my, can't wait for Sunday!


Jane said...

I have to leave a comment on my own post to say CONGRATULATIONS to Louie CK, who just received an Emmy nomination this morning. How very well deserved. Also, I predicted on the Nose a few weeks ago that Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) would be Emmy bound and that was confirmed with the release of the nominations this morning too!

Lisa said...

I was thrilled to see Louis C.K. get a nomination for his brilliant acting job in "Louie" -- I find his work the most touching of all, as good as Brian Cranston's gut-wrenching dramatic work in "Breaking Bad" which isn't in the running this year due to Emmy deadlines. I agree about "True Blood" -- hot tangled mess indeed, and it was exactly Vasquez Rocks where Sookie had the fairy rumble, which is where Kirk met the Gorn, and I'll take the Gorn anyday. Actually tried "Falling Skies" for a little bit but dull, too many kids, didn't like the aliens...meh. Lots to watch, though, everywhere! New reality show from Roseanne -- hate reality, like Roseanne -- more "Hot in Cleveland" -- plenty to try out!

I haven't caught the first "Curb Your Enthusiasm" yet and I hope it's funnier than you described. Somehow I could imagine Louie C.K. discussing periods with a kid, but not Larry David. Louie has a heart and a soul...Larry David not so much. Will watch it soon!

Also can't get into "The Big C" which I didn't like so much last season and I just can't buy Linney and Platt as a couple. Something more annoyin gthan amusing about Linney's portrayal though I always like her in everything. Too cutesy overall.

Oh well -- summer means more than reruns these days! (Though I always LOVE reruns!)

Great post, Jane!

Jane said...

LOL, I thought that fairy world scene was Vasquez Rocks! Ha, it was the best part of the whole mis-guided show! Is it up by Chatsworth somewhere? We have to go visit my sister Leslie someday and re-enact the Gorn episode. Actually (this is so sick) the very first Star Trek episode I ever staged was with my neighbors when I was 10 and I made some girl be the Gorn (I was Kirk) and she never forgave me! :)

Jane said...

I have to make one more comment about Louie CK and why I love him so much. I've always thought the true mark of brilliance for a comic is when they can make you cry just as easily as make you laugh. Louie has this extraordinary quality, to a greater degree than anyone since Richard Pryor. He is a genius.

Lisa said...

I think that Louis C.K. is coming close to absolutely genius level, ala Chaplin, with his incredible performance and brilliant writing of his series. It's amazing. I just caught up on the "Bummer/Blueberries" and the "Joan" latest one -- both are almost unbelievable, surreal yet utterly real. Completely human and humane. The show is unlike anything else. I agree -- he is completely a genius. I love him so much!