gwyn: (teevee jim ward morris)
Today's question from [personal profile] dine: which is your favourite character from an old TV show, and why?

Ha ha ha ha. I mean, I'm so fucking old that I can't remember half the TV shows I loved when I was a kid. I suppose the easiest answer would be Spock, but I honestly don't think that happened until a bit later, when I was thinking in terms of characterization and tropes and all that metatextual stuff that I didn't examine for a long time. And I'm gonna cut off at the mid-'70s for the definition of old here, because I just don't want to include things like The Professionals and other major fandoms the came after I found media fandom as a lifestyle choice.

I think if I had to pick one, and I don't go for the obvious Star Trek choices because that's the show that's come down through history as THE old TV show for everything, it might be Samantha from Bewitched. I always thought Elizabeth Montgomery was just the shit and I thought she was so cool in a sophisticated, actressy way, I suppose, and I wanted to be like her so much. And a lot of that image was probably due to the Samantha character--she was married to an idiot who patronized her and didn't want her to be what she really was, and my little proto-feminist heart identified with that so much; I was outraged on her behalf and the words feminism and women's lib had never even been uttered outside of intellectual and academic circles at that point in history. She was willing to sacrifice and only use her magic when she had to because she loved a mortal guy, and I love a good love story, but I never once understood why anyone would love Darrin. Either actor who played him--he was a perfect example of white male patriarchal entitlement, and it spread its oily hooks into her mother, who was this delicious agent of chaos, and Serena, who was an even bigger, more delish agent of chaos. Because she looked like Samantha and was also played by super cool Elizabeth Montgomery! He was constantly at war with them, they knew he was beneath Sam, and I just…I was so awed by that.

I actually hate villians and agents of chaos, but the fact that I confusingly loved Endora and Serena meant, I think, that I appreciated Sam's calm and capability and common sense even more. I'm sure that had a lot to do with the person I became as I grew up--my friends called me Mom because I was usually the only one who had any fucking common sense, but I was deceptively responsible and "good" and hid really well the fact that I was always coming up with plans and schemes that were totally forbidden and getting my friends into situations they could be in serious trouble for and just generally being a Naughty Girl. Samantha and Endora and Serena were role models without me even understanding they were. I also thought that whole advertising world, parties and swinging midcentury modern lifestyle was pretty cool, though I often couldn't grok why, when she could twitch her nose and be anywhere she wanted to be doing anything she wanted to, Samantha chose to be a housewife. It's such a perfect encapsulation of that post-war life, isn't it? Women stayed home and made babies and tended house, they wanted us to believe that was the only way the world worked, and they lauded the profession of advertising, selling us stuff we didn't need to become a consumerist culture and Darrin's boss being obsessed with profit--and there was this woman who could transcend all that yet chose not to because reasons. It was frustrating, even if I couldn't understand why, but also really fascinating and subversive.

I loved the witchcraft-wielding people around her because they were chic and wild and entertaining and flamboyant and Samantha, while exasperated by them all, clearly loved them. If it had been even halfway true to what women really are like and not some patriarchal white guy view of what women are supposed to be, Samantha would never have given up being with them, because they were so fucking fun. Even though I didn't know what a gay person was--and no one in my life believed they did, either, back then--I recognized that Uncle Arthur was not what he seemed, not "average" in the way most men I knew were, and Dr. Bombay, her dad, Maurice, all those people were just…they were the societal shifts that were happening in the mid to late '60s and '70s, right there on my TV. Sam was young and hip even though she married a square who demanded she not be herself, she was surrounded by these insane people, she was smart and collected and had special powers…damn, I just adored Samantha Stephens.

Also, the coolest of credits.
gwyn: (teevee jim ward morris)
No, not the famous midcentury modern house. Just in case some of you tend to keep up with TV via others' posts, I thought I'd mention the fall premiere I'm most looking forward to, Falling Water on USA. It technically starts on October 13, although I believe the premiere ep is already out there, I'm a little confused by this. You can also watch the first ten minutes here. (Warning for some disturbing images and child loss/birth horror.)

It's canonical dreamsharing: three unrelated people realize they are dreaming separate parts of a single common dream. As is probably obvious from my last Steve/Bucky story, I loooove dreamsharing, and this has a really fantastic hallucinatory effect going on here, very mysterious and, well, dreamlike. In some ways it reminded me of certain parts of Charlie Jade. Gale Ann Hurd is one of the showrunners, and she usually does quality work. Of course since it's American TV there's what sounds like the fate of the world at stake and possibly a conspiracy, but I'm just really excited about the dreamscapes.

The best part for me is that the three main characters are played by Will Yun Lee (my heart!!! I'm so thrilled that he'll be a lead and not just someone's Asian sidekick!), David Ajala, and Lizzie Brochere, which means the story will be focused on an Asian man, a black man, and a white woman, which, let's face it, in dramas outside of Netflix is a racial makeup that's in pretty short supply. It looks like it might be filmed in New York so maybe we can hope for more in that respect, too, I'm keeping fingers crossed.

TeeVee

Feb. 14th, 2009 01:44 pm
gwyn: (penguinsucks infinitemonkeys)
I am watching a LOT of TV. With the three free months of HBO, Starz, and Showtime, I've managed to get close to maxing out my HD tifaux, and I have to watch my regular network stuff in order to keep making room for more movies to pile up that I can watch when the three free months run out. Not to complain or anything, since really, I love TV.

My big problem is that a lot of the things I love have really disappointed me lately (Life, you're on notice!), some for a long time (BSG, I'm looking at you!), and I liked what [livejournal.com profile] sherrold said when I was describing how BSG had jumped the shark for me a long time ago and I didn't know why I was watching it other than to see how it finally ends: "It's just there." I prefer to be excited by new episodes, myself, rather than watch because they are there.

So with needing more new stimulus, I decided to try two new series that premiered this month: Lie to Me and Trust Me.

Lie to me or trust me, either way, I don't care )
gwyn: (01-kinky)
I'm behind on viewing because I had a proof job come in early this week, so I still have a few things to catch up on. But this is the consumption so far: (spoilers, I'm sure)

Project Runway )

Prison Break )

Bones )

Fringe )

Flashpoint )

Sons of Anarchy and The Shield )

I haven't had a chance to see new Burn Notice from last night, and this is getting long enough, so that's probably a good thing!
gwyn: (painscary  impetus_icons)
Ooo, [livejournal.com profile] sdwolfpup had a great TV meme today that I am gakking and filling out, because I don't want to think about things like impending joblessness and etc. I'm sure it will contain spoilers because so many people think even your opinion is a spoiler, so you are warned.

Also, there is still time to send me anonymous comments in her vidding truth meme -- you can say nice things or tan my hide, or both, and stay hidden!
http://sdwolfpup.livejournal.com/406338.html?thread=8385090#t8385090

TV watching memes are always fun )
gwyn: (mack daddy)
I have had to accept, especially since I got the TiVo a number of years ago, that there's just no way I can watch as much of the new shows to test them out as I would like -- so I whittle down my list more and more each fall and attempt to pick what I think will a) be worth my time, or at least be semi-interesting, and b) last longer than 4 eps. I still haven't mastered the art of b) yet. And I still have too much TV on my TiVo, which, now that I'm watching a soap again and have an addiction to HGTV, has become quite unmanageable. This year, I've got about five new shows on the season pass list, and I still can't keep up, between my older series (Heroes, Numb3rs, The Unit -- what can I say? Hot men, bad TV, and so on) and the new stuff.

I adored Chuck, but couldn't watch it after the first episode, because they teasingly showed it on every network NBC owns for only the pilot, no other episodes, and NBC's player works so suckily on my Mac I haven't tried to watch them online. But at some point, I will catch up. Because Adam Baldwin in a Best Buy-type-store polo shirt? Won't ever not be funny.

Speaking of losers who are funny, Reaper )

Life )

Journeyman )

Pushing Daisies )

Moonlight )

Bionic Woman )

And then there are the returning shows, though mostly what I could say about those is that there are fetching new hair styles on both the Unit and Numb3rs for a few people, and Don has standup hair again, thank god, though Charlie's facial hair scares me a bit. They are still silly and I like them, but I'd rather watch Reaper than the Unit, for however long that lasts. The big two, for me, though, are Heroes and Dexter. I haven't had the chance to watch more than the first two eps of second season Dexter so I'm behind in that respect, but...

Dexter )

Heroes )

Prison Break )
gwyn: (mcnulty alexandral)
I've been wanting to write a bit about this fall's Yanqui tv season for a while now, but it keeps changing -- both the landscape of what's on, and my feelings about the new (and old) shows. So, maybe I will tackle the new ones first (one of which is already off the air). Warning: Long-ass post ahead.

New shows: Heroes, Studio 60, The Nine, Six Degrees, Smith, Dexter, and why I can't watch Jericho or Ugly Betty )

Returning shows:
BSG, Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, The Wire, Numb3rs, Prison Break, and ETA MI-5/Spooks )
gwyn: (sonny crockett)
Ever since I heard that Michael Mann was making a Miami Vice movie, I have been gritting my teeth in agony. The show was so iconic of its time, so indelible to the '80s, its ethos and mindset, so groundbreaking in so many ways (seriously -- I could count the ways, but you probably don't want to read my dissertation on why it changed the face of TV any more than you want to hear my list of things I have to do on the house), that the idea of it becoming a two-hour movie just to capitalize on the nostalgia craze for remaking old TV shows into theatrical movies just makes my blood boil. And that it was the series' producer doing it just kind of made me even sicker.

The worst part, the nail in the coffin, though, was casting the execrable Jamie Foxx as Ricardo Tubbs. I could almost kind of handle the fact that Mann was redoing his own creation (and I want to point out that even though he's the name most heavily associated with it, the person who really did the creating and the development was Anthony Yerkovich), and honestly, Colin Farrell might not have been my first choice to update Sonny Crockett, but he's not a bad choice, and he certainly has the acting chops needed to portray a guy whose undercover life is slowly destroying him mentally and emotionally. But I have never been that impressed with Foxx and have in fact actively come to loathe him -- I don't like his face, I hate the fact that he's there more for the party than for the acting, and so this story from Slate yesterday made me ridiculously, schadenfreudily happy. Poor widdle Jamie and his entourage got scared by macho Michael Mann. It makes my heart happy.

I'm one of Mann's biggest fans, but yes, anyone who works with him has to know going in that he can be a bully and an ass. He flies totally by the seat of his pants, but that's part of his genius, and like most movie geniuses, he fails as often as he succeeds. His visual virtuosity is what made the series so successful -- it was like nothing anyone had ever seen back then, and in a lot of ways, people are still mimicking what he did on a TV series 20 years ago in movies today. And I guess it's both a testament to his creativity and grudgingly a testament to Foxx that they're gearing up for a third movie together. I will be the first person to stand up and say that although Philip Michael Thomas, who played Tubbs, was really not a good actor, he was very believable as the character and he definitely had his moments. And Jamie Foxx just isn't Tubbs. He simply isn't. Farrell can be a decent simulacrum of Crockett, but Foxx is just never going to embody the softer qualities of Tubbs.

I won't watch MV the movie. I certainly am not going to pay for it -- though if Foxx hadn't been in it, I might have, at least when it shows up on TV. I can see some of Mann's standard shots in it in the commercials (I haven't seen the trailer, and don't really want to) -- including the helicopter over the city shot from above, sliding down through the frame, sparkling light below it, which he used in both Collateral and Robbery Homicide Division, his short-lived return to TV a couple years ago and the show [livejournal.com profile] feochadn and I made our vid Streets on Fire to. (Still one of my favorite things we've ever done, and never downloaded off my site. Sigh.)

Miami Vice the series was just way, way too important to me. It was the first thing after the Professionals had stopped airing on Canadian TV, back around 1980, that perked up that fannish gene in me ( four-year dry period!) and made the radar go beep beep beep. When I first met feochadn, in fact, I'd just rediscovered the fannish feelings that had been dormant for such a long time, so I'd made an effort to try to get copies of the old eps (sadly, my partner at the time recorded over all the old Vice eps we had on tape, the bastard), and we would go on, shouting at each other over our excited memories of the series. And it's stayed that way for me -- I have written fic, and may someday write more, and I have about four vids in my head but can't make them because there are only two seasons on DVD, and I'm not sure if there will be more. It appears that Universal is abandoning it, though it's hard to tell, they are such a stupid studio when it comes to TV shows on disc.

And the basic truth is, I don't understand this desire to keep mining television shows for "udpates" with new actors. It just makes no sense to me at all. I know there were people who enjoyed the Starsky & Hutch movie, but I can't help thinking it's because it was a spoof of the series more than anything. But the hash of Wild Wild West, the joke that was Lost in Space, the bomb of Bewitched, and so on and so on and so on, just leaves me gobsmacked at the total failure of creativity and shallow greed. And yet, more of these will be made, even though they often bomb, because one hit like the S&H movie with a good opening weekend keeps the brainless execs coming back for more in the hopes they'll have that one good opening weekend.

And I have no idea what to even make of it when one of those execs is, like Mann, an integral part of what made the series so spectacular in the first place. These days, all people think about Vice is the clothes and the cars. They focus on the cheese. They don't even really understand, because they dismiss it as just a relic of the '80s, how amazing the series was. It had started to decline in its third season, when it was all about hipster guest stars, but by the end of fourth season they pulled it back (largely because Mann came back) with a shocking and incredibly written story arc that had Sonny shooting a (for all we knew, unarmed) guy in cold blood, then being subsumed into his undercover identity so far he almost didn't come out -- and nearly killed his best friend and partner. The series ended badly (with Ian McShane, of all people, playing a Latin American bad guy), and I think, not as true to its nature as it should have, but even at that point, it was still miles above the rest of the stuff on TV. And it should be allowed to rest in peace that way, and not get "updated" with today's flavors of the month just to line someone's pockets.

LFN news

Jul. 13th, 2006 11:06 am
gwyn: (nikita fatale sinecure)
Behind a bit in the LFN news dept., sorry. It looks like S4 is still on schedule for the 25th of this month, though I'm not holding my breath, considering the even more significant amount of music they used on the series that season, not to mention some of the unpublished music used exclusively on the show, like Unglued. But I will hope, anyway.

And there's news about S5 -- at least they're not going to yank our chain and make us wait another year and a half for the final 8 eps:

LA FEMME NIKITA: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON

Available on DVD October 17, 2006

BURBANK, CA. (June 19, 2006) - The October 17 release of La Femme Nikita: The Complete Fifth Season from Warner Home Video marks the final DVD set of this popular action TV series. In this final season, beautiful and deadly Nikita - wrongly accused of murder and sentenced to life in prison only to be enlisted as a top secret agent by a clandestine government organization known as Section One - uncovers the mole inside Section One and also discovers why she was enlisted as an assassin. The three-disc collector's set contains all final eight episodes from the fifth season of this cult hit TV show plus never-before-seen a bonus featurette and unaired scenes. . La Femme Nikita: The Complete Fifth Season DVD is priced at $39.98 SRP and has an order due date of September 12, 2006.

"The successful action franchise La Femme Nikita concludes with the DVD release of its fifth and final season," says Rosemary Markson, WHV Vice President, TV Marketing. "We believe that this DVD release has an immense appeal to fans of action series as it was produced and written by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, the creators of the highly popular TV show 24.

Based on the characters created for Luc Besson's film of the same name, La Femme Nikita was rated as the number-one drama for adults on USA network during its five year run. From acclaimed producers/writers Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran (currently working on TV's hit action drama 24), the sleek, chic and powerful adventures of the agent codenamed Josephine conclude in this fifth and final season of the intrigued-filled series La Femme Nikita that stars Peta Wilson (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) in the provocative title role.

La Femme Nikita:The Complete Fifth Season includes the following DVD special features:

*Unaired scenes from select episodes
*Season 5 Internet teaser
*Declassified" -- a lowdown on Season 5 as the creative minds behind the series and select cast members discuss the show's last 8 episodes

BASICS
Priced: $39.98 SRP
Street Date: October 17, 2006
Language: English
Subtitles: English (CC), French, Spanish
Running time: 352 Minutes


I miss this show so much. I miss Angel, and Buffy, and Firefly. I feel like I'm stuck in the past, but nothing has the same zing for me as my older fandoms. I fear becoming this tiresome person who keeps vidding and writing dead shows and dried-up old fandoms forever, but... it was the older things on my list of Gone, but not forgotten on the sidebar that really made me happy.

I think I need some serious remember whening... preferably with a drink in hand. Remember when me, people!
gwyn: (don and coop raeyashi)
Last Friday, [livejournal.com profile] feochadn told me that the names of my two currently running fave bad shows are both names of gay porn mags. Or maybe just regular porn for guys obsessed with size. I didn't ask. I should feel ashamed. Numb3rs has become increasingly lame and formulaic, lacking even the really striking visual scenarios of first season, but I don't care because they give me the huge family love and terse Don angst that I crave, so I suffer the dumbassness for the hit of the good.

Also on CBS, which seems to specialize in the lamest of lame shows with lame dialog and cardboard casts and lame acting, I now have The Unit, which sucks like a wormhole inside a black hole and by gum, I love it. It has Dennis Haysbert, whom most folks think of as President Palmer on 24 (or hell, the Allstate guy), but who will always be the mercurial, whimsical, satanic, brilliant, arrogant, and sexy Dr. Theo Morris from Now and Again (with Eric Close, and let me tell you, that show made my eyeballs very happy indeed). It has Robert Patrick, my little T-1000, who's been in everything, it seems, but who recently knocked my socks off with his performance in Walk the Line, and he goes around yelling macho things and giving us arm porn every single week (man is in *good* shape). But most of all it has Max Martini, my new obsession, best known to Numb3rs fans as Special Agent Smokin' HottieBilly Cooper.

Even if you're busy with whatever the hell else is on Tuesdays at 9, (Wah! Scrubs! I miss you), you should find a way to watch this show just for the quien es mas machoness of each week. It is so lame and pathetic and I love it so. I'm ashamed. But I'm not. If people aren't ashamed of SGA or House or whatever, then I'm not going to be ashamed of The Unit! Or, well, maybe just a little bit. Because of the b-plots and the wives, who are all heinous.

But the next best thing to being there is [livejournal.com profile] mspooh's screencap reviews. She has the same love hate I do. This week's is, as usual, stellar. If you don't know the guys, she calls Bob, lead newbie guy (Scott Foley), Noel because that's who he played on Felicity; Haysbert (Jonas, team leader) the Prez from 24, and Patrick she calls Col. ArmPorn, because he is. And Max is always HotGuy, because, well, he is what he is, too. We share a mutual appreciation for HotGuy. The two guys who seem to be in and out of the series and who have names but I can't remember them are Thing 1 and Thing 2. Even if you never plan to watch it, the reviews are hilarious and you should read them. Pretty much gives you a good idea of the show and its lameness, but you still get eye candy. The only thing missing is HotGuy's voice, which is low and sexy and primal, and the Prez's stentorian, sexy rumble. Sometimes it's fun to listen to Col. ArmPorn bellow at the dumbass wives.

At some point I need to hunker down and make a Unit icon (of HotGuy, why do you ask?), but in the meantime it feeds my Max obsession in a way those awful Lifetime movies and multiple viewings of "Man Hunt" from Numb3rs cannot.
gwyn: (nikita fatale sinecure)
It is hard not to get my hopes up, but I'm trying to remain distanced from this news that La Femme Nikita season 4 will finally arrive at the end of July.

Because, dude, it's the end of freaking July, well over a year since S3 came out, and because it's nearly a year since Warner promised us that we'd see S4, and because S4 has my most favoritist Michael and Nikita moments ever, and because some of the music in it is not available on any recordings so whether they include some of those gorgeous songs is questionable. And god only knows what that means for the release of S5, which was an 8-episode coda season after the series had been cancelled at the end of S4.

I will believe it when I see it. Warner has jerked us around so much over the course of four years (and that's not even counting the fan campaigns before that) that I can't get too hopeful.
gwyn: (kirk iconziconz)
I'm sorry I haven't posted much of anything lately except stupid stuff. No usage posts in ages, no movies, no reviews, no nothin' except mostly vids. I am just really struggling. Someone actually said to me that now that the date of my sister's death was past, I should be on a better track. Yeah. That actually makes it all better. I've been thinking a lot lately about things, and it finally hit me, the one thing I was never able to explain to people, who think this is just about grief or loss and that you get over it with time -- that it's PTSD, and that goes away a lot harder, if ever. I don't think most people know what it's like to watch someone die in especially gruesome circumstances, let alone someone who is literally part of you, shares your DNA and was born with you. So, yeah, it's kind of lingering trauma. But I never really get the chance to explain that to people.

Making things worse, weirdly, are my TV shows. See, I've always liked dark and dramatic and gloomy and people die and you can't expect that everything will come up roses. I mean, I live for that kind of thing in a lot of ways. But since sis_r died, I've found my ability to suck that up is declining to a point where I'm going to be forced to stop watching the stuff I love in favor of crap like SGA or the awful procedurals because the lead characters never die and you don't get confronted by reminders of what you've been through in your own life over and over. Thank god for Numb3rs or I might have accidentally downed that whole bottle of Atavan by now. Between the finale of BSG and the past two eps of 24, I'm about ready to throw in the towel. I know they're just shows, but they hurt. I'm invested in these people overcoming adversity, but the relentless death and sacrifice and loss and suffering is just getting under my skin in a pernicious way that I'm not sure I can keep coming back for. That they are both excellently written and acted works makes it even harder. If they were cheestastic and predictable, it might be a bit easier. I have no idea what to expect when Veronica Mars finally returns, but I'm scared of the possibilities.

Thoughts on BSG and the finale of S2 )

And 24 is only making it worse )

I'm sure people who haven't been dealing with their own losses probably think I'm nuts. To be this uptight about mere characters is... sure, I know, silly. But they represent something for me, a world where people's problems are worse than my own, but where they have the possibility of righting the very things I could never fix in my own life. Humanity has to have some hope that they can survive the terrible things thrown at them by evil, the superagents of CTU have to be able to hurt the bad guys and save the good guys. I couldn't help my mom or my sister or my friends. I couldn't save their lives or ease their suffering. And to have to watch people who can't rise above those same inabilities, week after week, watching them go through much of what I've felt and endured recently, just feels like rubbing salt in wounds. I know I'm being a doof, but... I'm a tired, emotionally bruised doof who's going to have to start filtering her entertainments for the first time ever.
gwyn: (pete sdwolfpup)
Today I finished watching the latest Dr. Who series. I have always, always disliked this program as I have a terrible time with cheesy '70s British sci-fi, but I was intrigued by my beloved Christopher Eccleston's presence. Initially not quite enough to try it out, even Paul McGann hadn't made me like it before. But my friends went nuts for it, so I thought I'd give it a shot when [livejournal.com profile] alexfandra got the British dvds recently, and we've gotten together on Sunday afternoons to indoctrinate me.

What a joy. I really loved Rose, which surprised me, and while people constantly had to explain to me some of the doctor's behavioral mannerisms, I really enjoyed him, so, so much, especially when he was weighed by guilt or remorse or fear. But Captain Jack blew me away. I didn't think I'd fall for him quite as much as all my friends did, but in the end, I succumbed to Captain Jack fever. I just can't say enough how much I loved that they had an overtly bisexual character on a series like this. I'm sure there are tons of fans who think it's terrible; for me, it was the highlight of a wonderful series. I don't know if I'll stick with it with the next Doctor, because CE had a lot to do with my enjoyment, but if Rose is still around, and there's any hope of ever seeing Jack again, I'm there. Some of the stories were up or down, but overall, it had a resonance for me it previously did not hold, it was much easier to speedbump any cheesiness (the Daleks still make me laugh, despite everything), and I just enjoyed the heck out of it, enough that I'm thinking I might get some discs for myself.

I feel the need for a Jack/Doctor icon...
gwyn: (whatever scarymime)
There were two shows I've checked out that a couple of friends mentioned I didn't include in my list yesterday. It's true, I did check them out, but in the case of Bones, it's up against Gilmore Girls, and so I've only seen the pilot, because they repeated it on a Friday. (I wish all TV broadcast channels did this, or repurposed their shows on cable channels later.) And like I said, I like to watch at least a couple eps, unless the show is so heinous I can't stand it again, before I decide what I think. I liked Bones more than others on my flist did, but not so much that I'd give up GG for it (I've lost my ability to record on one channel and watch on another). Though the way GG is going, that may be possible. The worst thing about Bones was its desperation in trying to create a cool chick heroine who's more a corpse person than people person -- they were working so hard on it that the seams were frayed and the pilot severely suffered for it. But David Boreanaz can win my heart at pretty much anything, and I identified with the misanthropic lead character a lot -- I just didn't like how they'd overplayed everything in regard to setting her up. I hope it's settled down by now, but I won't know till I get a chance to catch the other eps. I'm sick unto death of procedurals, though, so I hope they don't rely on that for the formula.

The other show was Night Stalker, which I hadn't seen enough of yet to form an opinion much. I didn't like most of what I saw in the pilot; I felt the plot was just recycled X-Files and everything else, and the other characters around Kolchak were simply grating and/or boring. It didn't even have a cool visual style, like Threshold, to make up the difference. It could be, though, that I'm prejudiced -- I was a huge fan of the TV movies in the '70s and the short-lived series, and to me, it just seemed like they could have either stuck with the basic premise or just done their own new show, and not tried to somehow tangentially connect it to a couple of great movies with a wonderful, eccentric lead character. I couldn't tell what the point of the series was, or in keeping Kolchak's name in name only, but I have last night's on the TiVo and will give it another shot, since maybe the second ep is better.
gwyn: (Default)
I usually try to give a series at least a couple episodes before I decide whether or not to keep watching -- most series pilots are shot long before the rest of the show and frequently they betray their cast and crew by trying to find a rhythm or discover the characters. I go carefully through the TV Guide and EW and online resources, too, marking off what I'm interested in. I'm an early adopter; I gotta start watching on the ground floor or I tend not to ever get hooked (Due South being the only time that didn't hold true for me).

So these were the ones I decided to give a try to.
The new series this fall, including My Name is Earl, Prison Break, Threshold, Surface, Invasion, Commander in Chief, Everybody Hates Chris, Kitchen Confidential, E Ring, and Rome )

The very few returning shows I love: VM, Numb3rs, Gilmore Girls, Alias, Without a Trace )
gwyn: (fichtner mlyn)
With Invasion set to premiere tomorrow night (my TiVo better not fail me, which it has been doing lately constantly and of course there's no way to tell TiVo how unhappy I am because they no longer have any way to reach them except by the worst voice mail system on the planet), I am reminded that I've been remiss in singing the praises of one of my favorite actors... largely because whenever I do sing his praises, most of the time I'm met with either "Who?" or "Ew!" As you can imagine, this tends to discourage me from saying much about William Fichtner.

Fichtner's (and yes, I almost always call him that, and it's pronounced fik-ner, with the T only barely sounded) one of those journeymen actors who rarely ever gets a lead role, and has only once been in a romantic leading role in a movie (an awful film with Demi Moore but it makes me happy nonetheless), but is always in the main cast, doing good work, stealing scenes from the leads. Sadly, the most well-known movies he's been in he's usually playing a bad guy, but his looks are not the standard hottie Hollywood type, so of course he plays bad guys. He's very, very good at being sinister in a polite, charming, insinuating way, so movies like The Longest Yard remake or Strange Days (where he said nearly nothing but was one creepy dude) will usually pick up on that. He's tall, too, with a kind of pointy face, high forehead, and goggly eyes, and that will say "bad guy" to the suits in Hollywood like nothing else.

But he's used that ability to play really weird and off-kilter guys to great advantage in a lot of indie movies, especially the pervy, freaky cop in Go, and the place I first saw him, the TV sitcom Grace Under Fire, where he played Grace's mad-scientist type boyfriend, Ryan Sparks. They really amped up his weirdness factor with crazy wardrobe choices and standup Eraserhead hair, and the character was so odd and edgy and funny that I fell madly in love, and have followed his career ever since. (Also, he reminded me in that role of a cleaned-up, nearly normal brother of the hissing creepy guy with the president's finger in Escape from New York, and how can you resist someone who reminds you of creepy finger hissing guy? I ask you.) Some folks discovered him even earlier on the soap As the World Turns. What I think most people would remember him from are two space-themed blockbusters, one that I despise -- Armageddon -- and one that I love -- Contact. In Armageddon, he gets what I consider one of the best lines ever ("Boy, talk about the wrong stuff!") and IMO, the single worst line of dialog ever on film when he tells Liv Tyler he wants to shake the hand of the daughter of the bravest man he's ever known (seriously, it hurts me to write that). That he could deliver both those lines in such a crapfest with such aplomb made me love him all the more.

And even though he's the saintly blind guy in Contact, it picks up on something about him that many other movies (Black Hawk Down, Perfect Storm, The Underneath, Crash, Go, Equilibrium) have as well, which is a kind of ambiguity about what he really is: good or bad. In Black Hawk Down, one of my favorites of his roles, he has a very heroic, almost sweet quality, but there's also that little bit of cowboy in him when he's facing off with Jason Isaacs's character. He gives off a vibe that says you never really know where he's going to go -- maybe he'll continue to smile at you, or maybe he will gut you with a hidden knife. And I think Invasion is playing off that, even though I've seen only one clip so far with him in it. He plays the sort of bad guy sheriff, a role he's definitely played before, but it will be interesting to see what he does with it.

One of my biggest heartbreaks a few years ago, in a season of television that I think might have been the best fall ever and was filled with heartbreak cancellations, was the series he did with John Hannah (the two of them in my icon are the characters) called MDs, which ABC promptly cancelled with six remaining eps we've never seen. To say it was a slasher's dream come true would be putting it mildly; it was so slashy that the TWoP recappers and message boards were filled with things like "Why can't Fichtner and Hannah have a shower scene every week?" answered by "That's a question that keeps us up at nights, too." They had showers together, they had random scenes together for no reason other than that the powers felt they needed to constantly put the two together, even if their jobs had nothing to do with each other, and there seemed to be some kind of obligation to end each episode with the two of them having a deeply felt talk in the locker room or on the building roof... just because. When one of them was done with surgery for the day, the other would just step in and help him, because then they could spend more time together. It was almost comical in its slashiness. And someone on the production team at least had the sense to recognize that maybe Fichtner doesn't have the most drop-dead good looks, but he does have a drop-dead bod, because they frequently featured him in various stages of undress, or in drapey sweats that showed off his assets, and of course the scrubs with the short sleeves so we could see his muscles. Which are lovely. Trust me.

He loves playing weird characters, though, so it's something I have to weigh when I see his stuff -- do I want to watch him playing a freaky detective who looks and acts like a cross between Carol Channing and Truman Capote? Can I handle it if he's playing yet another racist, vicious cop who's going to try to kill the hero? It's always a crapshoot with Fichtner! I'm glad that he's back on weekly TV, and this is a series that nearly everyone has said is sure to be a standout of the season, so I'm hopeful that maybe his character will get more depth. I have no love for ABC, and until Lost became a hit, their support for genre was... crappy doesn't begin to describe it. I will keep my fingers crossed. It's going to be the young studly guy who gets all the media attention, but I'm willing to wager that such a professional scene-stealer as Fichtner will end up being the character the viewers talk about most.
gwyn: (keith mars infinitemonkeys)
I don't normally talk about articles we publish or the magazine here, but I proofread a story yesterday that I think everyone interested in the arguments for/against staying in Iraq should read. A lot of times, I shake my head at the crap we publish, but the past few weeks I've been proud of the range of topics and the questions people ask in their pieces, and this one really blew me away in how carefully he stays away from an opinion on the overarching issue, while focusing his piece on one specific problem. It's a psychologist's take on The Sunk-Cost Fallacy of Bush's latest idiotic statement on Iraq.

******

I have been remiss in my birthday greetings this week: I wish to rain felicitations down on the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] monanotlisa, [livejournal.com profile] nandibble, and [livejournal.com profile] justacat.

******

Three really different TV shows, one connecting theme: family. Read at your own risk because I don't care about spoilers if you haven't watched Veronica Mars, Numb3rs, or Battlestar Galactica )
gwyn: (Default)
Review of the Wonderfalls complete series DVDs )

Thanks again to everyone who's sent me wishes about my sister. Things have gotten very bad very suddenly, and I don't know what's going to happen just yet, but they're not looking good right now. If you can spare her some more prayers, we need them.
gwyn: (mal gun)
I have this long-standing kink for competent men (and women, one reason I love Mace in Strange Days, Ripley, and Sarah Connor so much) -- nothing endears a character to me more than competency. Even if they make the wrong decisions, they are capable and dauntless in the pursuit of getting things done. They know how to improvise. They know their tools, their weapons. They know their shit. Jack Bauer of 24 is turning out to be my World's Most Competent Man hero -- I never much liked Kiefer Sutherland before 24 came on, but right away I recognized Jack Bauer as a defining Competent Man kinkfest. I loved that he shot an unarmed guy in the end of first season because it was the expedient thing to do and also revenge; I loved that second season opened with him shooting an actual handcuffed suspect, killing him daid, right there in the interrogation room, and then asking for a hacksaw so he could cut the guy's head off. Because they needed the head. Jack does not fuck around.

So I loved Monday night's episode with him just being all "fuck your missile strikes, I'm going in to save my girlfriend and my boss." Go, Jack. And he and the defense secretary were so great together! Competency to the max! They had their maneuvers down perfectly, right down to the back-to-back sneak down the hallway -- no untoward surprises for them. They were just a fantastic team together, both of them knew their weapons and how to handle them, knew hand signals and how to use them... yeah, baby. Plus, Jack is hot in a flak vest. 24 lost my interest last year, but I'm loving this season, especially because Jack is just so amazingly competent once again. (And Arnold Vosloo's coming up soon, so they better get this party started, whoo-hoo!) I need a competent Jack Bauer don't fuck with me icon sort of like this Mal icon that [livejournal.com profile] boniblithe made. Because he is just... so... cool.

Kiefer's ability with a gun reminds me of something that makes me crazy about The Fast and the Furious -- every time I see Brian pointing that gun at Dom, I want to yank it out of his hand, bitch-slap him, and then pistol whip him with the damn gun he doesn't know how to hold. Whoever let Paul Walker decide to hold that gun in such a pussy way, and so bizarrely (no cop would ever hold a gun like that; hell, no normal person would, either), should also be bitch-slapped. The next vid I wanted to make for F&F would involve a lot of the gun scenes, so I'm dreading having to look at that idiotic stance for long periods of time. Brian, you're pretty, but you're an idiot.
gwyn: (angel end awmp)
My long overdue Angel season 4 disc review, which at this point is kinda moot, but I feel I must write anyway because I must.
Angel Season 4 DVD review )

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