Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Recent TV - the good and the bad

When "Fringe" started, I heard some negative reviews, but determined to watch it for myself and make up my own mind. Sadly, those negative reviews were pretty much accurate.

On the one hand, "Fringe" is somewhat like "X-Files", only less good. On the other hand, it purports to be about the fringes of science. What this actually means is "stuff we make up, but pretend sounds good".

But what really bugs me about "Fringe" is not so much that the 'science' is utter tosh, but rather that every single week Pacey explains that the science is utter tosh, and then gets harrangued by Denethor for his lack of imagination. That really doesn't help with the show's credibility.

Typical "Fringe" script excert:

Blonde FBI Agent: Oh no, we've hit a dead end in our investigation. Whatever shall we do?
Denethor: Not to worry, I'll just technobabble a bit. If my hypothesis is right, we might just be saved.
Pacey: You do realise that that it utter tosh, right?
Denethor: When did you lose your imagination? Was it when Joey married Tom Cruise instead of you?
Blonde FBI Agent: Can we just focus on the technobabble, please? I want to go home and try to work out whether I'm upset because my boyfriend died, or because he turned out to be eeeevil.
Denethor: It worked!
Blonde FBI Agent: Huzzah, we're saved! We get to use some entirely different technobabble next week!
Pacey: Huzzah!
Denethor: Huzzah! Ice cream for everyone!

Or something like that.

Meanwhile, also in TV land, Heroes is well into its third season, and unfortunately really really sucks. Too many characters, too many plots going in too many directions, not enough focus, and no clear idea where the story is going. A lot of people said that the second season was where it all went wrong, but I actually liked the second season (although it was too slow at the start, and too rushed at the end due to the strike). Season three, though, isn't even worth watching at the present time.

Fortunately, not all is doom and gloom, for Terminator is back for its second season, and it is excellent. They've really managed to capture the menace of the terminators, and actually do seem to have a plot arc that they're unfolding. Nice. (Naturally, it's apparently set to be cancelled.)

And then there is Clone Wars, which I am enjoying a great deal. Episode 4 was on this weekend, and for the first time it really felt like they'd captured the spirit of Star Wars. I presume that the episode number was just a coincidence. Regardless, this is a fun show.

Finally, there's Merlin from the BBC, a sort-of retelling of the Arthur story. This is the show that has succeeded Robin Hood in the "Doctor Who" slot on Saturdays, and it's thankfully much much better than Robin Hood (not that that's terribly difficult). Although it's strange trying to work out which bits of the Arthur story they've kept, and which they've discarded, and I'm not sure why they chose to make Gwen the blacksmith's daughter, when they could have used a different name for that character and done better. However, of particular note is Anthony Head's Uther Pendragon, who is a marvellously nasty piece of work, and yet probably a good king.

So, TV just now isn't bad. Still, I'm eagerly awaiting the return of 24, and the last half-season of Battlestar Galactica.

Oh, also, although it's not TV: "Saw IV" is rubbish. Truly, truly bad.


Chris said...

Ha ha, you watched Dawson's Creek.

Steph/ven said...

Not really. I saw parts of a couple of early episodes (just enough to know I wouldn't like it). But I'm quite well-informed about things, and have the mighty power of Google to fill me in when I need information for comedy purposes.

Chris said...