I watch far too much television. This has probably been established over and over if you’re a continual visitor of this blog. But, I can’t expect everyone to be an avid reader of my drivel so I’ll reiterate; I watch far too much television. What’s more, once I have started watching something I have a very hard time stopping. Oh sure, it may slight, well… suck, in some instances, but I still can’t stop watching. It’s an impossibility. This is coming from the girl who read all the Gossip Girl books just cause I couldn’t stop. (That being said, I am currently watching The Hard Times of RJ Berger On Demand as background noise, and I can not imagine there will be a second viewing of the absolute crap. MTV has a production quality all of its own, I swear.) Anyway, the point being, it’s not so rare that a show I’ve started watching gets cancelled. Especially this year, as the television studio’s committed what J described as a “massacre”. I can’t disagree, but it happens. Sometimes it’s unjustly (Firefly, Pushing Daisies anyone?), and sometimes even I agree. Here’s are a few that I spent my completely invaluable time watching and no one else did.
I started watching Eastwick because I like supernatural dramas with sparks of comedy. I mean, come on, Buffy was my favorite show for seven years after all. I don’t mind John Updike either. And this wasn’t really all that awful. It wasn’t great, but I’ve seen much worse. The characters were a little cliché and the plot’s been seen before, but of course the plot’s been seen before. It’s a television show of a movie of a book. Still, I wasn’t surprised by it’s cancellation. What was annoying was the fact that instead of either a) just stopping to show it or b) showing the remaining three episodes they decide to briefly show a weird scene of Rebecca Romijn remembering short scenes of what happened, and then continuing on with an episode that introduces a new plot arch. Luckily, they showed the unaired eleventh and thirteenth episodes in the UK, and since I know how to find such things floating around on the internet I got a bit of closure. Well, as much as I was ever going to get.
I am actually happy this finally got cancelled. I watched Heroes from the beginning, and even though I knew it was going downhill and that things were getting more and more absurd I just could not stop watching it. It suffered from what I called “Heroes Syndrome”, yes named after the show. Every week we would plod through the five hundred plots at a turtles pace until the last five minutes of the episode, which would be so explosive that you couldn’t wait until the next week. Then the next week whatever it was would resolve immediately and then the same thing would have, rinse repeat. It would drive me crazy. I kept thinking that maybe, once Pushing Daises was cancelled, Bryan Fuller would come back and make it better. I think it was too late, though in the final season the villain was actually pretty good. Still, characters flew out of nowhere, spoke, and then disappeared just as quickly. If anyone died it didn’t seem to be that big a deal cause you could just grab some of the indestructible cheerleader’s blood and everything would be hunky dory again. Once, Claire (said indestructible cheerleader) tracked down a man with an extra dangerous ability; he could open portals into other dimensions. He had absolutely no point except the fact that he got to kill himself in a very spectacular way; opening said portal and sucking himself into a different dimension. And, Heroes was famous for that sort of thing. Basically, I liked it just enough so that it would enslave me to my television for an extra hour every week, wishing that they would just cancel it already. Prayers answered. That being said; I did like the first season quite a bit, and there were elements I liked going beyond that. But, in so many ways, I wish this would have burned brightly and fast, rather than be given the drawn out death it got.
This was a mixed back from the start, but I generally liked it. It felt, at times, like it was meant to fill the hole that would be left behind by Lost. It was a high concept mystery/drama, relying heavily on intermingling character development, and to boot it featured a lot of the same actors. The main problem with this, as far as I was concerned, was that Lost hadn’t finished yet. But I’ll be fair, it wasn’t Lost, and far too many people tried to compare the two of them. It’s main problem was that it suffered from Heroesitis, meaning it was a little slow, until the last five minutes of the episodes when you couldn’t wait for more. I thought the pace was better than some seasons of Heroes, but still. There were things to love; watching the characters get closer to fulfilling the very futures they are trying to avoid, completely over the top scientific theories, Jack Davenport… But there were also things to hate, like completely over the top scientific theories (someone please buy me a quantum entanglement ring?). I think the main problem for FlashForward lies in mistakes made by ABC. They aired, like, ten episodes before ripping it off the air for three months. Hell, I liked it well enough and I almost forgot it existed. But when it came back I sort of liked it better than I had before, mostly cause the plot moved forward a bit more rapidly, like they realized they might get canceled and upped the pace. Oh and that guy who played Gaius Baltar on Battlestar Galactica. Sadly, it didn’t end well, and while we got a few answers the rest of them will probably be lost in the ether. Until one of the writers (possibly the one Carton Cuse tweeted about sitting in the writer’s room with a parrot in their shoulder?) writes an essay.
Better Off Ted
This show I will dearly miss. Basically, I started watching it because Portia di Rossi was in it, and basically… she’s hilarious. Better Off Ted is about employees at one of those ridiculous corportations that specialize in “innovation” and are basically completely evil, despite introducing some pretty awesome things to the public. Ms di Rossi plays Veronica the uptight, bun wearing team manager of a team that consists of middle manager Ted, the heart of the series Linda, and two fucking hysterical scientists named Lem and Phil. The scientists were my favorite characters, if you couldn’t tell. Or you couldn’t guess. It was a half hour sitcom sort of show, the sort that I used to banish from my view schedule (damn you 30 Rock for ruining everything) but have somehow managed to work their way back in. Pretty much, it thrived on taking ridiculous people and throwing them into ridiculous situations, only propagated by the ridiculous corporation for which they all work. Hey it’s not easy working for Evil, capital E, I should know, but it certainly creates great comedy. Like so many shows before it Better Off Ted never found its feet with the public. Not that many people watched it, which is a shame because it was downright hysterical.
Happy Town was obviously supposed to be Twin Peaks. I mean… they don’t even attempt to make many bones about it. It’s about a small Minnesota town, Haplin, where every year someone disappears without a trace. Until five years ago when the disappearances stopped. Some of the locals have moved on, and others are still frantically searching for the “Magic Man”. When a new girl arrives in town with a mysterious past the disappearances start up again. Presumably. I mean, this show has aired five episodes of it’s eight that were filmed and slated to air so it’s not over yet. But it’s been cancelled. There’s no way we’ll learn all the stuff that is going on, which is a shame; cause I want to know. It’s nowhere as good as Twin Peaks, of course, very few things are, but it’s intriguing enough that I want to know where it’s headed. It might’ve faired better as a mini-series with a conclusion, I don’t know. It might just we too weird to be successful. It’s not brilliant, but it’s good enough. Certainly better than the cheesy advertisements they aired beforehand. Then again, it is a bit cheesy, and it can’t be denied that they do try a bit too hard, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to know the secrets behind this complicated little town.
The Beautiful Life
This show was awful. I mean, really god awful. The only reason I watched the both of the two episodes that aired was because I like to give everything a second chance. It wasn’t worth it. I’m not sure if this was supposed to be Mischa Barton’s comeback or whatever, but she chose poorly. I wont blame a post High School Musical Corbin Bleu, the British Ashley Madekewe, or the rest of the no name cast for appearing in this rubbish, but Sara Paxton should have known better and producer Ashton Kutcher only has his irrelevant career to blame. It was about a bunch of struggling models, fledgling and otherwise mostly living in this giant boarding house for models. Chris is the new guy who arrives on vacation from Iowa and decides to stay when an agent says he’d be a decent model. He immediately falls into a relationship with Paxton’s Raina, who gets a Calvin Klein campaign a couple episodes later but has to pretend she’s in a relationship with Cole. They kiss at one point. It’s all very dramatic. Barton plays Sonja, a popular model who’s been gone from the scene for awhile and comes back having a hissy fit, then tries to build her career up again. She was gone approximately six months and no one guesses where she was. Except maybe her agent’s husband, aka her baby daddy. Seriously, it was as bad as it sounds and it definitely deserved its cancellation. The only shame is that it maybe should have gotten a little more of a chance, like four aired episodes, so that the five people who enjoyed it could think it got at least a little bit of a chance and stop complaining so loudly over the internet. Oh, and by the way, Kutcher is trying to revive this tripe via YouTube.
This show was billed as Grey’s Anatomy in space. Let me state something quickly; I hate Grey’s Anatomy. I seriously think it might be the worst thing to ever be broadcast over the airwaves. Really. It makes The Beautiful Life look like an Oscar winner. The characters are all stupid even though they are supposed to be doctors and in the few episodes I have seen they are actually chastised by patient’s families for not paying attention to their job. Quite rightly too. I’ve heard Grey’s is the most accurate portrayal of doctor’s relationships. Well, I seriously hope that’s not true, but if it is I seriously hope I don’t get seriously ill. Sidebar aside, Defying Gravity is nothing like Grey’s Anatomy in space. It was far from perfect. There was a lot of lovey dovey at times, but that’s every show. Set in 2052, it was about a group of astronauts setting out for a six year tour of the solar system. It started out fine with a group locked into a small space for a long period of time with no means of escape. They’re varying levels of friends, and ex lovers, etc. That sort of thing. They flash back to their time when they all first started at the program that would eventually lead them to the stars, so we get their backstories that way, a la Lost. But somewhere after a few episodes it became quite clear that there was more going on here, with some sort of… thing on board the ship making its own rules, changing the astronaut’s DNA and causing hallucinations. It’s also clear that those on land know more than they are letting on. I can see how it could have rubbed someone the wrong way. It was weird, and there were a lot of questions that no one knew the answers to. But, I don’t have a problem with not knowing the answers to questions right way, and I was intrigued. ABC cancelled it midway through, unsurprising since most people didn’t even know this show existed in the first place, due to low ratings, but I watched the rest of the season online. I was interested to see where it might have gone, but sometimes you just don’t get to know.
I think I have talked about Dollhouse before. But that doesn’t mean that you, whoever you are reading this, read it. So, I will say; I really loved this show. When it first started out a friend of mine asked about it and all I really had to say was that it was good, but not Whedon good. Which, according to me and his five thousands million other crazy people, I mean fans is pretty much better than anything else. But after Fox’s initial request that the first five episodes be self contained the show really found its feet. Rundown: the Dollhouse is an underground corporation, owned by another corporation called Rossum, where people can be programmed for just about anything. Rich people can then rent them out for whatever it is they want to rent them out for. The premise is a little creepy. I mean… they’re prostitutes, pretty much. And possibly unwilling ones. But that’s the world that Dollhouse lives in. Echo’s the main characters, she’s a doll, but she starts to remember things from, not only her own life, but the lives she was programmed to live. Her brain just works differently, and Whedon doesn’t insult us enough to explain exactly why. Still, despite what the networks might want you to believe, this is an ensemble piece. The Dollhouse staff was some of my favorite characters, always teetering between right and wrong, and two other dolls; Victor and Sierra, find ways to reconcile who they are in real life with their doll-state. But the part I loved the best was that no one was what they seemed because anyone could, literally, be anyone. I loved it and, while not surprised, I was dearly sorry to see it go. I was happy that we got everything more or less wrapped up, with a flash forward to ten years in the future where the technology has ruined society as we know it, but it can’t be denied that that all seemed a bit fast. Well, cancellation doesn’t help anyone. Dollhouse never got the ratings it deserved, but it happens.
10 Things I Hate About You
The main problem with this show, for me, was that it was for teenagers. Not even teenagers. Probably more like the tween set. But, still, I liked it. I started watching it because I loved the movie when I was younger. Hell, I still love the movie but I haven’t watched it in ages. Another problem was that for people who started watching 10 Things I Hate About You because they loved the movie could potentially be disappointed. They are nothing alike. In the film of the same name a guy named Cameron moves to town and immediately falls for Bianca Stratford, who’s not allowed to date until her sister does. Problem is, her sister’s a shrew who has no interest in dating or being social in general. So, Cameron finds someone to woo Kat while he wins Bianca’s affections. Used as a sort of patsy is Joey, the rich guy/sometimes model who also wants Bianca. Cameron convinces him to pay Patrick Verona for said Kat wooing. Yes, it’s The Taming of the Shrew, basically. In the show Kat and Bianca are new to town. Their father is still overbearing, but the dating thing is hardly mentioned. Cameron immediately falls for Bianca but Bianca falls for Joey, who’s dating the popular girl, Chastity. Kat engages in one of those antagonistic relationships with local bad boy, Patrick, since they’re the only two people in the school who are different. Well, that’s a generalization. The show was inconsequential, and I wont be ultra sad that it’s gone, but it was fun. And twenty minutes a week. The characters were charming. And while they used different actors and different circumstances from the film, you could sort of see how they were the same. How if the characters from the film were transported into these circumstances then it would all work out the same. I don’t know, maybe it could have been something better if it wasn’t ABC Family, but it was fun just the same. Plus, I’ve always kind of liked stories about sisters who are completely different, fight all the time, but will probably always stand by each other. Wonder why.
I don’t entirely know what to say about this one. Did I know it was going to be trashy? Obviously. That’s why I tuned in. It’s not as if I hadn’t seen the original series of the same name. Plus, it’s general CW fare. They have enough of them; Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, 90210, even Life Unexpected (which is new and hardly counts, but still…). The problem with this version of Melrose Place is that it didn’t have any heart. Even the characters that we were supposed to like, the down home American ones, were really conniving and bitchy. Now, now, don’t misunderstand me, I love some conniving and bitchy. In fact some of my favorite books, shows, movies, whatever involve people that do bad things and are unapologetic about it. Still, you need something to hold on to. My favorite character was Lauren. She was played by the actress who got it on with Brian Austin Green in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Which I also liked, judge as you will. She played a girl in medical school who suddenly discovers her father didn’t mention he can’t foot her tuiton payments and she owes somewhere around thirty thousand dollars. So, she does what any other Ohio girl would do, she turns to high class prostitution. Honestly, I was totally on board, until they did what they always do. She fell in love, confessed, and bitched and moaned for a few episodes before he took her back. Actually, I don’t even know if her story was concluded. Actually, I don’t know if anything was… and I didn’t even notice. I think that says it all.
Survivors I liked. A lot. It wasn’t perfect, I think its largest flaw was that it was slow paced, but it was also somewhat realistic for its subject matter. The show got two seasons of six episodes each on BBC One. And it was about the one percent of people who were left over after a global flu pandemic killed everyone else off. Basically, it’s pretty much a post-apocalyptic show about people trying to survive once society, and thus everything they have ever known, is gone. Unsurprisingly, people make up territories, reverting back to the baser human instincts. Lives, that should be sacred with so few left of them, become cheap and the group of survivors we follow learn they have to stick together in order to keep themselves alive. Easily the best part, however, is that the character played by Freema Agyeman dies within twenty minutes of the beginning of the first episode. Yeah, that was sort of a spoiler, but I doubt anyone of you know who she is, and if you do…. Sorry.
I was always a casual watcher of Ugly Betty so I’m not horribly sad to see it go. It was always the sort of show that I’d put on the DVDs of and end up watching the whole season in about three days. I never had to pay too much attention, and Marc and Amanda always cracked me right up (they are both totally the best part of the show). I can’t rightly say if it was time for this one to go, since I wasn’t an avid fan, but I was satisfied with the way they played it all out. It was always overdramatic and unrealistic, but seriously, that was exactly what I wanted from this show. I need my dose of ridiculous and Ugly Betty had it in spades. Everyone was ridiculous from the eccentric employees of Mode Magazine to her exuberant Mexican family… who were sometimes a little too obsessed with unabashed goodness. All mixed with Betty’s genuine likeability. And the plotlines, oh my god, the plotlines. It was like a full fledged smorgasbord of plump absurdity to gorge yourself on. In the end… Betty wasn’t weighty or important in any real way, but then again, it was never supposed to be.
It was time for this to go too. It got a good three seasons of thirteen episodes each, and for a BBC One show (where it’s common to air successful shows with either six or eight episodes each), that ain’t bad. It was a lush costume drama with a quick wit and feisty characters. It took a well known folk legend and made him real, with real friends, real loves, and real problems. What’s more, it wasn’t afraid to deviate from legend and kill off important characters, which… without being too spoilery, might have been a problem had they decided to continue. I don’t believe they made any wrong choices in the deaths either, I think they only added to the weight and drama of a show that was often funny. I mean, really, one or more of the “merry men” were captured in pretty much every episode. It got to be so that it hardly mattered anymore. You knew Robin would save them, cause that’s what Robin does. People get angry when characters they care for die, I can understand that, but when it betters the story I don’t think they have any room to complain. The deaths in Robin Hood gave it a modicrim of realism. A much needed bit, because when you’re fighting with swords, bows and arrows, and people’s lives sometimes those lives don’t fare so well. And while life always goes on, it’s not the same life. And the story of Robin Hood can’t go on forever, so it was probably best it didn’t.