The Renaissance of Television.

We are living in an amazing time, television-wise. For the first time in maybe ever, everyone I know isn’t talking about any of the films coming out, only the TV shows, and specifically the TV shows on cable, not network. I don’t think anyone predicted this. I would like to talk about some of the shows I have seen recently, but because everyone watches shows in their own time the issues of spoilers is a big problem. I think if I put this here, I should be covered. No one can accuse me of springing surprise endings on them.


Since there are so many channels, I think executives are starting to allow the creatives to be creative. Creativity was never the issue. It was executives being scared of alienating viewers or losing sponsors. First there was late-night stuff, like Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, and that’s proven to be wildly popular. And then there’s the way Louie is handled, which is genius. FX said to Louie C.K. that if he could make a show for $250,000 an episode, which is not very much money when you consider how many people work on that show (approximately 70 people per episode), then he could do pretty much whatever he wanted. And Louie did, and it’s worked out well for everyone. That should be the system for tons of shows. I’m surprised they haven’t done an MST3K-type show yet. The budget on that must have been minute. It was really just funny people being funny, which is always entertaining. Anyway, my point being television right now is amazing. And I’m going to talk about a bunch of shows that I think have been amazing recently.


Breaking Bad

I know everyone and their cat has been waxing poetic on the awesomeness of this show, but I’m going to join them. Damn, this show is so good. I feel bad that Jon Hamm hasn’t been getting the Golden Globe and Emmy nods because Bryan Cranston keeps taking them, but (sorry Jon) Bryan deserves them. That role is crazy. The cinematography is fantastic. Hell, the songs they pick to go with different scenes is freaking great. I watch each episode like I’m watching a work of art being painted right in front of me. For crying out loud, did you see that train heist? I don’t think I drew a breath once during that. (Also, hey Bill Burr, one of my favorite comedians!) Now, this doesn’t mean the show is perfect. I know I’m in the minority, but I hate Jesse Pinkman. I have always hated him. I think he’s a useless tool. You know how some women are attracted to damaged men because they want to fix them or heal them or mommy them or whatever? I am not that woman. If I was Walter White, as soon as I had my connections set up and ready to go I would have dropped Pinkman like a Pizza Bite fresh from the microwave (they can be very hot). My other problem with the show is they keep killing off the characters I like. I liked Gale, the weird-music-listening-to, exceptional-coffee-drinking, vegan chemist. They killed him. I loved Gus Fring and he psycho OCD whatnot. Y’all know what happened to him. I thought Mike was a hell of a character. Surprise! Dead. POINTLESSLY dead. Totally did not need to die. I’m glad the next eight episodes are the last because I can’t deal with them introducing another super-dope character only to off him.

Will there be a Breaking Bad CD? I hope so. I would like all their musical selections in one place. Vince Gilligan, work on that.


Orange is the New Black

Yet another awesome TV thing that’s happening. Netflix is making their own shows. They made Lilyhammer, which I haven’t seen but is supposed to be great. Then there was House of Cards, which I also still haven’t seen but is supposed to also be great. I saw the original British series on PBS and that was dope, so when I get a chance I’m going to hunker down and watch the whole series in one day. There’s those episodes of Arrested Development that I need to see as well. A month ago Orange is the New Black came out on Netflix and I watched all thirteen hour-long episodes in basically a day and a half. So good. None of the actors are really famous. It’s mostly unknowns and character actors. And they are fantastic, I love them all. I can’t even name my favorite character because I enjoy so many of them. I guess my super-favorites might be Crazy Eyes, Miss Claudette and Tastee. And the old Chinese woman with the mustache. I did come to the sad realization that my personality would fit perfectly on that show. My spirit animal is an incarcerated woman in America. Wonderful realization to come to. Hooray for me. Also, there’s a prison guard that I have all kinds of feelings for. He is adorable. He ends up hooking up with an inmate who has full lips, a substantial rump and a wack dye job. I could totally be his girl. And oh? What’s that now?





Game of Thrones

I just watched the latest season of Game of Thrones. It was a bit underwhelming. Not bad mind you, far from it, but I have come to expect a certain amount of incest and rape per episode, and this season just did not deliver. No one accidentally touches their sister, or intentionally touches their sister. Frankly, there’s a profound lack of sister-touching. Theon gets tortured a whole lot (I called this season, “Wow, Theon’s having a crappy time, isn’t he”), and then there’s the Red Wedding, which interestingly I did not find to be the most horrible thing to happen. Don’t get me wrong, it was awful and horrendous, but the next episode when they cut off Robb’s head and sewed his direwolf’s head on his torso and then paraded around with it, that just gross and disrespectful to both man and beast. It made me feel unwell. I found out later that the producers/directors split one book into two seasons, so this season was diluted by half. People are concerned that George R. R. Martin isn’t writing these books fast enough. It takes him about five to ten years to crank out one of these tomes. In fact, at the most recent Comic Con Paul and Storm (a comedic band that I’m a fan of) sang this song live on stage:

And then this happened.

Which personally, I think is just the bee’s knees.


Now, not everything on TV is glorious, blessed by the tears of the angels. There’s an irritating trend right now of making crime shows based on Swedish and Danish originals. There’s The Bridge and The Killing and Broadchurch and Wallander. Here’s a breakdown of every single one of those shows. Dead body in the village. Anyone could be a suspect. Cops do some investigating. Everyone looks serious all the time. Eyebrows are perpetually furrowed. At least twenty minutes an hour is devoted to someone pensively staring out onto the beach/the moors/the desert. And the pace must be mind-bendingly slow. They could cram so much more stuff into an episode if they didn’t take for-freakin-ever to do anything. I am presently trying to watch Broadchurch and The Bridge because I have high hopes that the closer it gets to the end, the more exciting it will get, but I think I will be let down. I shall heed the words of my co-worker Børkke, “High hopes and low expectations.”

Leave a Reply