Well, the fall season is off to a start. It does not look promising.
Vampire Diaries—Part of the cast is shown above. As you might surmise it is a youth oriented show. Unfortunately, most young people are indistinguishable from one another, barring parental or amatory interest. As a man from Mars once said, they don’t have their own face. The cast consists for the most part of young hotties both male and female. The problem with the modern hottie, however, is that they are too blatant, and while the older stars may have been as beautiful, if not more so, they were also more interesting. The difference between a modern hottie, such as Megan Fox, and an earlier model, such as Veronica Lake, is that Megan is a flirtation while Veronica is a marriage. The storyline here focuses on the conflict between a good vampire (drinks squirrels’ blood, of course that’s bad if you’re a squirrel) and a bad vampire (drinks human blood). Interesting only if you swell with pride when you hear The Fugs sing Dirty Old Man.
For the DOM out there, here is a link to a shoot that is supposed to have stopped traffic in LA.
Update October 5, 2009 In the entry down below on Three Rivers I mentioned they got the place names right. In Vampire Diaries, there was some objection to using the place name from the novel, Falls Church, so they changed it to Mystic Falls. Now Mystic, Connecticut is a real place, but that’s in New England, so Mystic Falls sounds more Northern. Why not use Bumpass? That’s in Virginia. It’s a real place. Though I’ve never been sure whether it’s Bum-pass or Bump-ass. Surely, they could have added a little humor to the show with that name.
Accidentally on Purpose—What it is it with sluts and sluttish behavior? Rolling Stone puts out issue after issue touting porn stars, or someone like Megan Fox, who is proclaimed on the cover to be “America’s sexiest bad girl,” while she looks like an aging hooker trying to lure drunken johns into an alley. This series valorizes, to use a deconstructionist piece of jargon, sluttish behavior. A girl or woman is disappointed in her boyfriend and she has what’s supposed to be a one-night stand with a boy-toy. She becomes pregnant, and she chooses to have the baby, not because it is the right thing to do, or the moral thing, but because her biological clock is ticking, and she might not ever have a chance again. Naturally the father to be moves in with her, and even though she’s already given him everything, they apparently decide to live sexless lives, with each other. There were only a couple of laughs in the pilot episode. It is not worth watching.
NCIS: Los Angeles—Instead of tending towards a police procedural, as its older sibling does, this is more spy, undercover operative oriented. The Ducky role is now a psychologist. There is no apparent equivalent of Gibbs, Tony, or McGee, and no romance. The actors manage to do a decent job with fairly predictable material.
The Good Wife—This is about the wife of a sleazy politician. So that’s one strike against it. Not the wife part, the politician part. Then it has Julianna Margulies. I wasn’t impressed by her or by her series Canterbury Tales, which was more notable for the shots of her feet and her shoes, which suggested that someone on that show needed serious help, than for anything else. She plays another lawyer in this show, so that’s another strike against it. The story was moderately predictable. Good if you have nothing else to commit to.
Modern Family—Apparently about three families. This is shot in a documentary style. We meet one family that consists of an older man on his second marriage, and his Hispanic trophy wife and child. A man with a wife and several kids. A gay couple who have adopted a Vietnamese orphan. This latter part is rather old. The fad for Vietnamese orphans was in the ‘70s, now it’s changed to Sudanese or Somali orphans. In one scene a member of the gay couple starts to give a speech about tolerance after a fellow passenger on their plane makes a remark about the baby and the creampuffs. Since the baby has pastry creampuffs that allows the show to be politically correct while making fun of political correctness at the same time. This show, despite being hyped as very funny, was seriously unfunny. Avoid.
Cougar Town—For those of you who don’t get about much, a cougar in current slang is an older woman who chases younger men. There’s a hint of predatoriness here. In this show the valorization of sluttishness continues. Courtney Cox, who is 45, plays a divorced woman in her 40s. The cast includes a teenage son, an ex-husband, assorted girlfriends, and probably a different boy-toy each week. Only a couple of mild chuckles from this turkey.
CSI—This year Jorja Fox is back for what I hope are only guest appearances on CSI. Surely Jorja, along with Thomas Gibson on Criminal Minds, ranks with the dullest of the dull. She and Gibson are cheese pizza in a world filled with pepperoni, andouille, chorizo, mortadella, sopressata, culatello, poblanos, habaneros, and a million other tasty tidbits., That this slice of American cheese, which isn’t even a real cheese, is served up on CSI as a treat is ridiculous. Dump Jorja as fast as possible.
Grey’s Anatomy—This one delivered a tearjerker as George was buried. One problematic scene, which can be put down to emotion. Is Izzie really so ignorant that she didn’t recognize, or didn’t know that “To everything there is a season,” is from Ecclesiastes, and that the Byrds used the Bible for the song?
Flash Forward—According to Wikipedia the idea comes from a 1999 sci-fi novel of the same name. It has an intriguing premise, that everyone in the world loses consciousness for 2 minutes 17 seconds and sees a vision of events 6 months ahead. This one may be worth watching, and may grow on you. Of course, if it does, the pointy-haired types that inhabit the network will probably cancel it.
￼Mercy—Slutty nurses. The primary character here is a nurse who served in Iraq. Now it is liberal dogma that everyone who served in Iraq, or who is currently serving is a traumatized wreck, if they weren’t a murdering SOB, and Mercy stays true to that dogma. They also do that a bit on Grey’s Anatomy. Now, while it’s true that there have been 5,000 casualties in Iraq, that is extremely small in relation to the WW II, which had 400,000 dead, or the Civil War, aka The War of Northern Aggression if you want to tick off your liberal friends, which had 600,000. Popular lore holds that 7,000 men were killed in 15 minutes at Cold Harbor in late May, early June 1864. (That figure is put in doubt by Gordon Rhea’s book on Cold Harbor.) The people are not likable, and there is nothing to care about in the characters. Avoid like it’s yersinia pestis (plague).
The Forgotten—I’ve liked Christian Slater since early in his career when he was in Heathers. Another point in his favor is what he did to John Travolta in Broken Arrow. The show got some criticism on IMDB because the team, a group of civilians who try to give identities to the Jane and John Does of the country, does what the police should have been doing. Granted, but it’s not the only show that does that. Cold Case has its team solving murders that are up to 75 years old by going back and asking the basic questions that the police should have asked the first time around. Now I’m not a great fan of Cold Case, but the bumbling cop vs. the talented amateur or private detective has been a staple of crime writing since at least Conan Doyle, if not Poe. The characters seem to be fairly likable, and the plot was intriguing with an unexpected twist. It’s worth watching.
Eastwick—Slutty witches. This is based on the John Updike novel The Witches of Eastwick. The novel was made into a movie with Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Jack Nicholson. Their characters in the series are played by Rebecca Romjin, Lindsay Price, Jaime Ray Newman, and Paul Gross. Unlike other series about witches, such as Bewitched and Charmed, this one recognizes that there is an unpleasant aspect to the practice of witchcraft, and that there is an openness to evil, that is personified in the Van Horne character. There are some amusing moments, and it may be worth watching to see if the show goes in a decent direction. If it’s merely another version of Charmed, watch something else.
Obligatory note to Harry Potter fans, including myself, I’m not putting down the Potter series. The witches and wizards there exist in a different realm than the witches of Eastwick.
Hank—OMG! This is so bad I feel like a teenaged girl sending text messages to her BFF. Hank is a CEO who gets fired in a hostile takeover and loses everything. Evidently Hank failed to ensure that his parachute was gold, not lead. First, silly thing. Then he and his family relocate to rural Virginia. Now I understand that Kelsey Grammer is a conservative Republican, so I hate to say bad things about a show that keeps one of us gainfully employed in Hollywood, but implying that life in Virginia is bad is strikes two and three. Believe it or not life in rural Virginia is a lot better than life in NoVa or the DC suburbs. We moved to Spotsylvania in 2002, it’s about as rural as you can get without being exclusively farms. We do get water from a well, but it’s not like in the Bible where the little old lady has to go down and lower a bucket before she can hand Jesus some water. It’s a sophisticated mechanism that pumps water into the house, and handles showers, washing, cooking, etc. Other than that we have cable, schools, shopping malls etc. We moved out of a 1,500 sq. ft townhouse on .03 acres to a 4,000 sq. ft. detached house on 3 acres. Almost 3 times as much house on 100 times the amount of land. When I was checking houses back in 2002, I looked at housing in NYC. $250-300,000 would get you a 500 sq. ft. apartment, and no land. So no, I don’t think moving from NYC to VA is a hardship. The show is unfunny. The sole redeeming feature is Jordan Hinson, who plays Zoe Carter on Eureka. Other than her, or Kelsey Grammer, if you’re a fan, and I’m not, there’s no reason to watch.
The Middle—This one has Patricia Heaton, another conservative. The opening mocked the idea of “flyover country,” and there were some mildly amusing things, but over all it was repellent. The kids were phenomenally ugly. What is it with conservatives in Hollywood? Can’t they pick decent shows?
Three Rivers—Hurray! A medical show that is not about slutty nurses, traumatized doctors, or incompetence. It’s set in Pittsburgh, and unlike the vampire show, uses real geographical names in the area. It actually refers to Beaver Falls, which is in the area. (I know this because my wife is a reformed Yankee from that area.) The series opener was a tear-jerker. There was a bit of a bow to political correctness in dealing with one donor, who was of Middle Eastern origin. On the other hand, it has to be admitted that many innocent people are probably viewed suspiciously by jerks such as myself. Alex O’Loughlin, the vampire from Moonlight, plays a transplant surgeon. Alfre Woodard is an administrator in the hospital. The only improbable piece of casting is the youngest member of the cast, who looks to be about 18, as an assistant to the administrator, or something like that. He looks too young to even have a driver’s license.