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Musing on new TV - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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October 10th, 2008

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12:57 am - Musing on new TV
I've tried 4 new of this seasons TV shows. As I mention here, Fringe was too silly and insufficiently good enough to be worth watching, but I got through the first episode. It's not horrible, but it's a very long way from good, or even acceptable.

After that I tried the new HBO series True Blood, which is not only brilliant, but is (surprisingly enough) considerably better, richer, and deeper than Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse/"Southern Vampire" series. The books are enjoyable light fluff, the series so far holds exceptionally true to the first book, but stretches it out over what looks to be an entire season, and in the interstices, adds in a far more complicated and fascinating picture of a small Southern town that avoids parody and addresses issues of race and sexuality in a fairly impressive fashion. The three of us are still watching it, and it's one of the two series I'm now avidly watching (the other being Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I cannot recommend this show enough.

Then, teaotter and I tried the new SF Channel series Sanctuary - it seem to be a mash-up of Torchwood and the X-Men, with an immortal doctor running a combination zoo and halfway house for mutants and monsters. The premier was 2 hours long, and we got through 30 minutes. There were point of interest, and the fact that it was made essentially without sets (all outdoor and most indoor shots were done using CGI) was interesting, but the protagonist was the typical hapless modern hero, and if he and the doctor had both been done in a more edgy noir-mode it might have been good. Instead, it was insipid and dull. Once again, not totally horrible (which is definitely better than many things on the SF Channel), but it's a very long way from good, or even acceptable.

We watched the most recent new show tonight – The Eleventh Hour, which seems to be a US remake of a British series that was similar to Fringe, but being set in something a bit like our world, rather than in a setting where Science! Works like it does in the Marvel Comics universe. We barely managed to make it through 10 minutes. In addition to the protagonists being mostly devoid of acting talent, when the two protagonists were FBI agents who repeatedly demonstrated themselves to be brutal thugs, and the villains seems considerably more sympathetic than the heroes. We turned it off in disgust. This is definitely a show where the heroes are attempting to be portrayed as heroic, and they were nothing more than pointlessly violent and brutal thugs. I don't know if the protagonists were also brutal thugs in the British version (and am in fact curious to know if they were) and if they were, if this was acknowledge or if they were supposed to be heroes despite being brutal thugs. However, regardless of what the British version was like, the US version was ill-done and utterly vile. It's definitely in the category of shows that I'd only watch if someone paid me significant sums of money to do so.
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