Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Let's talk TV!

So --
Atticus is all-but-complete (I'm just putting in a few finishing touches and waiting for the review bloggers to finish their work), and I haven't started The Void yet 'cause I've been busy with the day job  and working on some promotional stuff. So I don't have any writing-related things to talk about. As such, I thought I'd give my takes on some new shows that have come on this season.

Feel free to leave comments. I'm always happy to discuss my TV habit. :)

Terra Nova
So, does Steven Spielberg have a dinosaur fetish, or what?

But seriously, the prehistoric-time-travel premise has never been particularly exciting to me, so I wasn't really expecting to enjoy this show. Imagine my surprise, then, when I ended up enjoying it quite a lot. It has most of the elements I crave in my fantasy fiction: interesting characters, moral ambiguity, a complex mythology/backstory that's slowly being teased out, and touches of camp to soften the show's more serious content.

It hasn't gotten too dark -- yet -- but all the signs are that that will change. Taylor and Mira are complex characters who are well acted, and the actors play off of each other beautifully. I like most of the Shannon family, except for Josh, and it looks like he's being an idiot now so he can be a badass later. Skye is currently a bit one-dimensional, but the actress is adorable.

All in all, a very strong show that's off to a very promising start.

Once Upon A Time
I'm probably one of the only people in America who wasn't enthralled by the pilot episode of this show. Incredibly cheesy scenes in the fairy tale world combined with one too many unbelievable decisions from protagonist Emma Swan nearly had me switching channels for good.

Since then, however, the show has gotten much better. Among the highlights are the dimensions the writers have brought to the Queen, who is still unmistakably evil, but also has a tragic element to her that you can't help feeling strangely sorry for. Or at least I couldn't. Also, the actor who plays Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold is brilliant and the writers know just how to write his dialogue. It's tight, to the point, and vaguely ominous. And Emma herself, as she proved in the first episode before she started making bad decisions, is a raging badass. No damsels in distress here. I've seen a lot of shows (including some true greats, like Dollhouse) in which the main characters were the weakest and the joy of the show was in the supporting cast. Not OUAT. Emma's solid gold.

All in all, I'm glad I gave the show a second chance, and I think I can safely say that I've moved into the "fan" category.

The Nine Lives of Chloe King
Yes, I watch it.

This is another show whose pilot nearly lost me for good. I realize it's a tween show, but I come from the Whedon school of strong female characters, and the portrayal of Chloe as boy crazy (and willing to even talk to a guy who shoved her into a wall on first meeting) struck me as almost offensive.

Once again, however, this is a show that got better with time. Mostly, anyway. The main joy of Chloe King for me is the antagonist (or at least, one of the antagonists), Whitley Rezza, and his evolving relationship with his son Brian. Whitley leads a double life -- on one hand, he's a powerful member of a group called the Order, which works to kill Chloe and others like her (the Mai, a group of part-humans, part-gods). On the other hand, he's Brian's distant and demanding father, a single parent in the wake of Whitley's wife's death. As a father, Whitley is somewhere between Lionel Luthor on Smallville and HRG on Heroes. He's not nearly as warm as HRG was to Claire, and yet he's much more protective of Brian than Lionel was of Lex. Both sides have secrets: Whitley is trying to kill the girl Brian likes, while Brian is investigating his mother's death.

Also, many of the supporting characters are very enjoyable, particularly Paul, the archetypal comic book nerd and the perfect person to keep the show from taking itself too seriously. Even Alek, who has been my least favorite character so far, is starting to show some signs of growth.

Occasionally this one still makes me want to throw the remote at the screen, mostly when it deals with the love triangle. The show's creators are apparently trying to set "Team Brian" against "Team Alek," but I always find myself on Team "Why The Hell Do Either Of Them Put Up With Her???" I truly find it unbelievable that both of them, and particularly Brian, haven't just given up and walked away several times over.

Having said that, if you can hit the "mute" button during those scenes, there's fun to be had here.

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