Since I’ve in NJ, I’ve had access to live cable for the first time. I try not to feel pressure to watch television as it airs, but with the current crop of shows, I’ve felt compelled. And since some of my favorite television shows have recently premiered, I figured I would get in from the beginning. Since there will be some mild spoilers, you might not want to read beyond the cut if you’re not up to date.
Note: This was written before the most recent episodes aired.
Who has returned for another season on BBC America with a new companion, Clara Oswald. I like Clara just fine, though I worry that she will become the new Rose to Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor. I think the writing this season has been tighter, but the sentimentality remains, which, to me, is the biggest problem with new Who. Look, I watched the show back when I was a kid, and while I’m not the biggest fan in the world, I do love the character. I’m aware of his history, of the multitude of adventures he’s been on and the threats he’s defended against. I don’t need to have it yelled back at me in practically every episode. I feel like the show puts the Doctor on a pedestal, when it should be trying to crack that pedestal to pieces. And yes, you can make the Doctor badass or godlike or superhumanly clever, but show us that, don’t tell us all the time. I get weary of it. Still, I’m liking the mystery of Clara so far. I just hope there’s something more than that.
I wanted to give Community a chance without Dan Harmon, but I feel like we’ve jumped into one of the alternate timelines from Remedial Chaos Theory. Not the Darkest Timeline, but the Most Boring Timeline. I was watching the show out of habit, I think, and it was three or four episodes into the latest season that I realized I wasn’t laughing. I was just going through the motions because that’s what the show seems to do. Its certainly lacking something and it’s hard not to label that as whatever Dan Harmon did. The best comment I saw about this came from someone else who said that they felt as if it were Community fanfiction rather than the real show. And I agree. Sad because this was once my favorite comedy on television.
Game of Thrones
Continues to be awesome. I have read all the books. Some of them twice, but my memory being what it is, the show still surprises me. And then there’s the places where it diverges from the book. I will always champion books over television–there’s just so much more on the written page, and television (like film) removes the great power of the imagination. However, I will say that seeing some of the scenes depicted in full color with capable actors is quite powerful, the best example being the most recent episode and Dany’s scene in Astapor. I loved that scene in the book, but watching it on television gave me chills. The show continues to be wildly popular, so I hope that it manages to continue through the end of the series (whenever that may be).
I know Mad Men isn’t for everyone, but this is one of my favorite shows on television. It’s pretty much unlike everything else being broadcast these days. It’s the closest thing to a novel, in terms of structure and pacing, that I’ve seen on television. And while the symbolism and meaning can sometimes be obvious, each episode seems layered so that you can continue to peel through those layers after the episode ends. Like every television show there are missteps, but Mad Men, for me, is a finely crafted series and you can see the care that goes into each episode. This season seems to be no different so far.
Say what you will about this series, but I’ve been a fan since I started watching it on DVD. I recently read something that said it should have ended with Season 5, and indeed that was a fitting ending for the series. However, with the possible exception of Season 6, the writers have managed to do an amazing job in my opinion of crafting interesting seasons since that build on what came before and expand and flesh out the world in interesting ways. And they have great opening titles. The last few episodes have been really great. And this season’s arc involves angels, and I think the angel mythology has been a really interesting part of the show.