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Recent Fluffy but Quite Good TV - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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August 5th, 2011

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02:44 am - Recent Fluffy but Quite Good TV
After writing my recent post about race issues in Captain America, I saw it last weekend and was quite pleased. It was a genuinely good film, about as good as X-Men: First Class, a generally humane and inoffensive film that was also fun and well done. Then, I came home and twice so far this week again discovered the truth of Vito Russo's claim in The Celluloid Closet, that TV is inherently more progressive than movies, because it costs sufficiently much less that the economic risk of doing so is far less.

After the movie, I watched an episode of Leverage we had on our Tivo, "The Van Gogh Job", which was all about racial issues in the past (in fact, in the exact same era as Captain America), which was both fun and wonderful. Leverage is the fluffiest show I watch, and while the episode was not in any way one of the best things I've seen about race on TV, it was well done and not overtly cheap or stupid, which is rather more than I expect from a show that is largely the video equivalent of cotton candy.

I've also been watching the new SyFy show Alphas - the first episode was barely watchable (which sadly puts it well above most shows created by SyFy). In the first episode, the young autistic character was played like either the actor or the director had seen Rain Man far too many times and knew nothing else about autism, the young woman with the sensory powers was a complete non-entity, and the bitter 30-something white guy who joined the team was ludicrously stereotypical of that type of character. However, as is often the case, the show was considerably better in the second episode, especially with the autistic character being more of a character than a caricature, and the bitter & still annoying white guy not being fore-grounded or used as a PoV character nearly as much as I expected him to be. Instead, he remains a fairly minor character who mostly exists to deliver a few pithy comments and then perform some physically impressive feat once or twice in the show.

Instead, after four episodes, the woman with vocal mind control, the semi-ex FBI agent with super-strength, the wise but naïve white-guy Doctor who is in charge, and the autistic teen with wide spectrum EM senses are all roughly equally major characters who all have considerably more screen time than any of the other characters. The most recent episode focused on the teen, and especially on his interactions with someone else with autism. It was shockingly well done, especially in how humane it was, and to a degree, how clever it was, with two active, highly motivated characters who are both autistic, and with each being quite different from one another in many ways. The show is nothing groundbreaking or amazing, but it is now well more than I expected, especially if future episodes prove as well-done as the most recent one.
Current Mood: tiredtired

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