Tag Archives: BSG

Last Week in TV

Random musings about what I’ve been watching for the last few days. Oh, any many spoilers below.

The Amazing Race – NOOOOOO! Mel and Mike are gone. Part of me doesn’t want to watch it any more. They were smart, funny, and nice.

The MentalistArchie MacDonald is back! Still cute. Gosh, I’m a sucker for that voice. And he’s still cute. I hope this means that he will pick up some more acting gigs. I need more Archie in my life.

Speaking of The Mentalist, I have a casting suggestion. Please cast Jeffrey Pierce as Owain Yeomnan’s brother, for at least one episode if not as a recurring guest. Why? Well, Owen and Jeffrey played brothers in the show The Nine. Then Owain played the original Cromartie in the pilot for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Now Jeffrey is playing a different terminator on that show. Obviously, these two actors need to share some screentime together in The Mentalist, then guest star in another TV show at different times, and finally share more screentime together as brothers in yet another show. Let’s make this pattern happen.

Life on Mars v. Battlestar Galactica finales. This may be blasphemy, but I actually preferred the resolution of LOM (both versions) over BSG. I just couldn’t buy all the colonists and cylons dispersing themselves around the world in ones and twos. Humans (and cylons?) are herd animals. Wasn’t that abundantly clear in the first season of the show, if not the premise? We group together despite our differences in order to survive. After years of war and journeys, I can see them wanting to spread out and get space away from each other. But I think that would have only lasted for a few years. And we wants our toys. I don’t believe that everyone could give up their creature comfots. And the montage of dancing robots at the end seemed to reinforce the idea that technology is evil. I’ve read that the creators did not intend that interpretation, but that’s the nature of literature. You can’t control how your work will be interpreted, and you may add themes unconsciously and unknowingly.

LOM (US) also had a WTF twist. Sam and the other cops are really astronauts on their way to Mars, using virtual reality while in hibernation to keep from going insane or somesuch. The show actually brought life to Mars with a shot of a white loafer stepping onto red dust. (By the way – that dust was the worst f/x of the series.) Literal, but the twist made sense and explained the prevalence of robots. As much as I loved the British original, I didn’t like the suicide ending. Maybe it was the US editing, but I needed a few more scenes to fill out his post-coma life, especially one with Sam researching whether Gene, Annie, Ray, Chris, and the others actually existed. Something to make Sam account for the details of him comatose dream. And I needed him to explore another way to return to 1973 before killing himself. The decision happened too abruptly. That said, I loved LOM.

I didn’t watch the ER series finale. Yes, I was once a loyal viewer. Saw the pilot and loved it. Kept watching even when Carter went to Africa. I gave it up, though, a couple of years ago when they de-legged Ray and bad things happened to every other character in the season finale. The show seemed to hate its characters, and the events seemed so contrived. So I stopped watching. Adding Angela Bassett to the cast couldn’t even bring me back. I hope that the finale was satisfying, but I just didn’t want to take the chance that the show would screw over its characters once again. Or give them all happy endings.

Last but not least My Boys is back. PJ and Bobby are finally together! All is right in the world.

Of Comedy and Tragey

This morning I watched the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica, “A Disquiet Follows My Soul,” followed by an apertif of Psych and The Game. I like all 3 shows (though I’m not sure how much of cross-over there is between audiences*) though they are so different in tone. BSG is all tragedy, with no comic relief, whereas Psych is full of maniac energy and surprisingly small bits of seriousness, despite being a detective show. The Game, somehow, does manage to balance stereotypes and serious issues consistently and entertainingly.

Spoiler alert! Plot points revealed ahead.

After last week’s BSG episode, how could this week’s not disappoint? The reveals – Tyrol is not the father, Zarek is corrupt – weren’t on the same level as Ellen is the Fith Cylon. Instead, it felt like a scene from act two of a five act tragedy. Plans are in motion, hurlting towards a climax (act three) and resolution (act five). I’d call it Shakespearean if there moments — scenes — of humour in the show. But the tone is unrelentingly bleak. There’s not even much gallows humour. When I rewatch the show, I enjoy the intricate plotting more than its world. That saddens me.

psych3Psych, on the other hand, is a wacky procedural cop show with little character development. The same sorts of things happen every week: a murder or two, Shawn sees details that others miss, behaves manically, he hits on a girl and solves the case. The show is chock full of silliness. The characters don’t progress that much. Each time a new woman is introduced, Shawn hits on her because he can and/or to make Jules jealous. I live for the moment for Shawn and Jules get together. I am tired of being teased. In one episode, they hold hands; in the next, they have no spark. I understand that their sexual tension is part of the show; having them get together could kill the fun. After all, they’ve had an object lesson on set —  Cybil Shepherd of Moonlighting plays Shawn’s mom. I just wish that the showrunners would take a look at Ed or other shows where the couple did get it on without killing the chemistry.

In this week’s episode, Shawn hit on an arson investigator, Morgan Conrad. It seemed like he was doing it because that’s what he always does, not because he was interested in her or wanted to make Jules jealous. I wanted Lassiter to step up – he and Morgan has chemistry, plus they have matching hair color**! Alas, there were no movement forward or backward on the Shawn-Juliet hook-up.

The Game, though, is adept at having consistent plot and character development with moments of humour and gravity. Shocking, I know, especially for a weekly sitcom. The main couple, Melanie and Derwin, are going through infidelity issues; he’s fathered a child on a groupie, she’s sleeping with her boss. Though the show began focused on them, the other couples — married, but separated Kelly and Jason, and mother/son pair Tasha and Malik — are much more compelling characters. In fact the Kelly and Jason break-up has taken center stage in recent episodes. Yay! And the three women get together for booze and trash talk, the best scenes of women-liberating inebriation since Cybil. [Yep, another reference to La Shepherd. Now I need to find a link between her and BSG.]

The show does have its share of stereotypes – single-mom Tasha speaks “ghetto;” Malik is the playboy football star/aspiring rapper who dates celebrities and strippers while wearing lots of bling; Kelly is the boozy, ditzy, blonde gold-digging ex-cheerleader; and Derwin is a God-fearing Christian good boy. And yet the show manages to acknowledge and tweak  these stereotypes and grow them into compelling characters.  For instance, we’ve gathered that Tasha developed that hard shell to protect herself and her son. When Melanie imitated her speech in the episode, Tasha responded with “Do I really sound like that?” in disbelief. Kelly might have married her husband for money, but she really loves him despite his being a tightwad that could out-Scrooge Scrooge. Their break-up is heart-wrenching.

game-mallik1Best of all, this episode about the private lives of NFL football players finally had a gay subplot. Malik’s ex-wife intimates that their marriage failed because he was really gay. His team members ride him, complete with a musical interlude in the locker room: disco ball and high-kicking dancers in lycra football uniforms frolicking to the tune of “It’s Raining Men.” Ha-ha. The guys play up the fey stereotypes – lisping, preening, gold lame and short shorts. Later, alone at dinner, Clay, another team member, hits on Malik, thinking that he is actually gay. Surprised, Malik throws Clay out of his aparment. During the next game, Malik accidentally outs him to the rest of the team. The episode ends with the coach (played by Lee Majors) benching Clay for the rest of the game. Clay sits in the empty locker room angry, sad, betrayed.

And this is why I love this show. The flirting scene was taken seriously. Malik is somehwat metrosexual; his responses could credibly confuse Clay’s gaydar. Lee Majors surprised me with his acting: the coach’s decision to bench Clay was ambiguous. Did he put in a sub because he is homophobic, because he is afraid that the other players will hurt Clay on the field because they are homophobic, or because Malik was obviously so uncomfortable around Clay that he couldn’t quarterback effectively? It could any or all of these reasons. Whether or not the reason(s) are revealed in the next epsidoes, l’ll keep watching, enjoying its deepening blend of comedy and tragedy.

*And to make matters more bizarre, USA ran an ad for The Getty during the last few minutes of Psych. How much cross-over of Psych fans and museum-goers are there? I am one, may there be more because of this commercial. but the ad is surreal and the pairing of the two is bizarre.

**My friend Jason has a theory that all couples on TV shows have the same color of hair; blondes end up with other blondes, brunettes end up with other brunettes, etc. Though they may date outside their color, the hair of their true love’s hair will match their own. Oh no! Shawn is a brunette and Jules is a blonde! May this exception prove the rule.