Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Film Fest - Rediscovering TV

For 15 years I didn't watch TV.

I'd watched all the lame television I could stand: episodic, formulaic, stupid... Total waste of time.  So, for a decade and a half, I only watched movies on the cinema's big screen or my small screen courtesy of VCR tapes, then DVDs.

What changed my mind?

I went to see the movie Serenity.  (I see any science fiction film that has the least hope of being watchable.  I root for sci-fi.)  I loved Serenity - especially its characters.  I was told there was a previous TV show, Firefly, that concentrated on the characters.  Watched it.  Loved it.

I thought, if this TV show is so good by this Whedon guy who did Buffy the Vampire Slayer... maybe I should try that?  Slippery, slippery slope...  I've now followed various actors or writers or show creators or critic's recommendations to a whole galaxy of enjoyable shows (and a few that faltered).

Here are my favorites:

Firefly - humanistic space-saga/western with snappy dialogue and terrific characters.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - snappy teen-speak  plus monster-of-the-week... that grows deeper over its run.  This is long-form TV that rewards the dedicated viewer.
Angel - a spin-off from Buffy with a darker tone.  Must-see if you liked Buffy (just slog through Evil Cordy)
Battlestar Galactica - superior sci-fi with an operatic feeling and scope.  (Earlier post here.)
Veronica Mars - teen detective show that reminded me of Buffy minus vampires. (Earlier post.)
Castle - mystery writer plus cops, formulaic idea, yet good fun
Bones - forensic mystery with character development
Dead Like Me - weird premise cable show
Sherlock - present day version of Holmes.  Terrific!
Dr. Who - gotta watch the latest Doctor
Torchwood - a spin-off from Dr. Who with a dark, sexy tone.

The enjoyed-until-it-faded or didn't-quite-work shows I'm glad I watched:
Glee I heard so much from theater folk I had to watch.  Liked it until I decided Will wasn't a nice man.
Chuck - unlikely spy story (fun until Chuck turned pro.)
Moonlight - cheesy vampire detective (Angel-lite)... Guilty pleasure.
True Blood - a heck of a lot of fun until I found I didn't like the characters anymore.  (Earlier post.)
Dexter - dark, dark, dark to find yourself rooting for a serial killer, yet fascinating.  I lost heart after the Rita thing.
Dollhouse - Whedon's latest TV venture, interesting but uneven (at the beginning... just... huh?!)

I suppose I'll end up watching "classic" shows I missed during my self-imposed exile.  Sopranos maybe? Twin Peaks?  There's a real advantage to catching shows later: sure you miss the watercooler chat, but you weed out worthless shows and watch good ones at your own pace - able to rush to resolve cliff-hangers (a real bonus on Battlestar Galactica!). 

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