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January 7th, 2012


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03:19 am - Awesome TV
Tonight, the three of us watched and loved the latest episode of The Vampire Diaries. It's a cheesy teenage soap opera with vampires, werewolves, and witches, but it does this awesomely, with excellent acting, intelligent & careful plots that don't rely on anyone being stupid or acting w/o motives, and an appreciation of details that is rare on any TV.

These days, my two favorite shows are Fringe (which teaotter & I started watching this season, and then watched all of seasons 2 & 3 in November & December), and The Vampire Diaries. Next down on my list of favorite shows are Leverage, which is much fun, but also total and complete fluff with plots that are typically ludicrous, and Alphas, which I loved, but is also new enough that I'm not certain if it will be as good next season as it became.

I also just realized in writing this that 3 of these shows all had the same problem - the first episode of Alphas was fairly dubious and treated Gary (who rapidly became the most interesting character) as an offensively bad Rain Man rip-off. The first 7 episodes of The Vampire Diaries ranged from eye-bleedingly horrible, to merely very bad, and the first three episodes of Fringe I saw were bad enough to put us off the show for several years, and from what I read about the entire first season, starting at the beginning of season 2, was a good choice. This fact makes me inclined to take a look at some recent shows like Once Upon A Time, Grimm, or The Secret Circle next season - We didn't find any of them watchable, but this fact can clearly change.

I'm also pleased to have found several shows that are not merely good, but also have awesome female characters and cause me to really look forward to watching them. Also, Fringe has several excellent characters of color as well as amusing oddities like the most on-screen positively portrayed recreational drug use of any show I've ever seen. Almost two years ago, Becca and I watched Birds of Prey, and while mediocre, it compared will to everything we were watching at the time. Now, we've found better TV.

So, what are your favorite shows?
Current Mood: pleasedpleased

(17 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:china_shop
Date:January 7th, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
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My current favourite shows are Parks & Recreation, Archer (which should come with a panoply of warnings), The Good Wife and In Plain Sight. I'm hoping to be able to add White Collar back to this list, but I can't say with any confidence that I will. And none of those are SF/F, so I don't know if they're your speed at all.

Also, if you guys haven't seen Farscape, I recommend that (the first season is patchy, but imo important for establishing the characters). I see from your profile page that you have. :-)
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:January 8th, 2012 12:03 am (UTC)
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Farscape was wonderful, the stuff they did with Crichton in the middle of Season 3 was quite impressive - I was both sad to see it canceled and that Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars wasn't nearly as good.

I love In Plain Sight - Here's my reaction to watching the first episode. My only concern is that I didn't think the last season was quite as good - not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but also not quite as awesome as before. Given that Burn Notice (at least for me) ran out of steam a in the last two season, I worry that something similar might happen with In Plain Sight, especially since White Collar is also looking pretty dubious and they are all shows with a similar demographic on the same network.

I've never tried Archer, it looks potentially interesting, if also odd. Parks & Recreation has the disadvantage (from my PoV) of being a comedy, and both Becca and I actively avoid most comedy.
[User Picture]
From:china_shop
Date:January 8th, 2012 07:09 am (UTC)
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and that Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars wasn't nearly as good.

Oh god, yes! The mini-series was rushed and dreadful. I was actually pretty happy with the supposed cliffhanger at the end of season 4 as a final and complete ending to the show. *fails at sentimentality and kidfic, either canonical or fanonical*

I've seen IPS to the end of season 3, and it definitely wobbled in the last half dozen or so episodes. I'm hoping with all my fingers crossed that it'll right itself in season 4, but it's one we wait to watch on DVD, so I don't know what's happened so far.

I think you're right that certain shows have a tendency to go off the rails around the season 3 mark -- personally, I put this down to turnover in the writing staff, where new people are brought in and either "don't get it" or write mediocre fanfic of the first two seasons. This seems especially true for many comedies, actually.

At least it makes me especially grateful for the shows for which this doesn't hold true. :-)
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:January 8th, 2012 09:13 am (UTC)
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Btw, have you seen Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles? It took a few episodes to really get going, and only lasted 2 seasons, but was very good. Also, Becca and I were both incredibly impressed with a very short-lived show of a couple years ago, called Journeyman. For some reason, it doesn't exist on DVD, but despite only lasting 13 episodes, it's well worth tracking down.
[User Picture]
From:china_shop
Date:January 9th, 2012 12:32 am (UTC)
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I didn't like TSSC. A friend and I made it to the end of season 2, but only through sheer force of will. I'll keep an eye out for Journeyman, though.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:January 27th, 2012 07:13 am (UTC)
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I meant to ask, what didn't you like about TSSC?
[User Picture]
From:china_shop
Date:February 1st, 2012 12:27 am (UTC)
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It was partly that the characters were in such a constant state of extreme stress, which they dealt with badly and without self-awareness. They lacked warmth. I didn't like any of them. Plus Sarah's relationship with John creeped me out in several places, especially wrt Riley.

And it was partly that the storytelling technique of withholding information, presumably to create tension, meant that I never knew enough to care what happened next (especially when it came to the entire Weaver subplot and Jesse's story).

Oh, and in the first season, all the fights were between two indestructible robots, so there was no tension, just lots of scenery smashing.

FWIW, I'm not particularly a fan of the franchise, so I didn't come in with any expectations or a predisposition to care, which probably didn't help.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:January 10th, 2012 10:01 pm (UTC)
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Btw, have you seen teaotter's In Plain Sight story that she wrote for Yuletide?
[User Picture]
From:china_shop
Date:January 10th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
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I hadn't, but I have now. That was awesome!
[User Picture]
From:mlerules
Date:January 8th, 2012 04:05 am (UTC)
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I watch very little TV, so have little on which to report. Downton Abbey last year was great though. I want to find a way to watch it this season, too (starts this Sun aka tomorrow at 9pm on PBS), but will probably have to wait for on-line or DVD. I also quite liked the first several seasons of Dexter, which I watched on NetFlix InstaView. Am watching 1st season of MadMen on 'n' off these days, but don't find it as compelling as it could be.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:January 10th, 2012 11:23 pm (UTC)
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*nods* From what I've heard, MadMen is too much of a downer for the level of interest it's likely to hold for me.
[User Picture]
From:bright_lilim
Date:January 8th, 2012 11:12 am (UTC)
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I'm still hooked on Criminal Minds. The only new show I found last year is Walking Dead which had a lot of surprising twists. I'm going to buy the second season on DVD when it comes out.

Have you watched Sanctuary? Is it any good?
[User Picture]
From:darkoshi
Date:January 9th, 2012 01:23 am (UTC)
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What aspects made Once Upon a Time feel unwatchable for you? I've been enjoying it.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:January 10th, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC)
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I can't stand the sections in the fairytale land, they feel clunky and don't interest me at all. I'd hoped that we'd only see them in the first episode, but when that proved not to be true, I stopped watching.
[User Picture]
From:mlerules
Date:January 10th, 2012 03:45 am (UTC)
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And now, Murdoch Mysteries, which I'm quite enjoying.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:January 10th, 2012 11:24 pm (UTC)
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Hmm, I'd not heard of that, and a quick glance a wikipedia definitely interests me. Thanks for the rec.
[User Picture]
From:aekiy
Date:January 16th, 2012 11:21 am (UTC)
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I think the only U.S. series I'm watching these days is Warehouse 13, not because it's amazing but because when they remember it's more of a character show than anything else, I find it quite enjoyable, and the third season had much smoother writing than previous seasons. Other than that, I watch Doctor Who and Misfits while they're on. (I'm not sure what got me hooked on the latter, but I guess it fills that gap left after the beginning of Heroes and the Writer's Guild strike that killed it.)

Beyond that, I mostly watch anime, and most of this new season and the last season has been shamefully bad. I enjoy Natsume Yujin-cho and Last Exile -Fam, the Silver Wing, and I recently caught Puella Magi Madoka Magica, which was amazing.

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