Other than getting a pretty good start on the year long project, I haven't done much. Last week, I was thrilled at being reminded sdwolfpup's is initiating another More Joy Day for tomorrow, January 13th. This gave me time to finish up on something I was working on for New Year's, but, between some frustration and the cleaning, I failed to get it done. Of course, what have I done with it since I went, "Yay! I have almost two extra weeks to work on this!" Nothing until last night. And the frustration came back. Sigh. I do hope to kick it's ass tonight. I also realize I'm making this sound much bigger than it actually is. :p
Oh, I also semi-resolved to alter my TV viewing habits. First, stop watching TV I don't care about. After last night's episode of V, I feel it's made it's way to the chopping block. And, second, stop spending so much time flipping channels in a desperate attemptto find something to watch when I have DVDs, On Demand and Netflix. On the DVD front, I'm currently watching Season 4 of Ally McBeal or, as I like to call it, The Season Robert Downey Jr. was on and was Awesome. To be clear, he's the ONLY reason I am watching the show. As I had recalled (and it seems to remain true) he somehow managed to tone down, it not eradicate, the WTF of the show that season. Sadly, I'm still distracted by Calista's skeletal frame (no eating disorder my ass) and questioning how we're to believe men are falling for her left and right.
I 'acquired' the first episode of Rufus Sewell's new series, Zen. I'll probably check out the next two episodes, but it doesn't bring anything new to the detective/crime genre and I found the characters rather boring. I also found it odd that the series is set in Italy and all the characters are supposed to be Italian, yet the cast is mostly British.
I checked out two of Showtime's new series and found one to be a keeper. I had read some positive reviews of Episodes, but I didn't laugh once during the pilot and found it's supposed skewering of Hollywood both lame and insulting. Maybe it didn't help that I recently caught some repeats of The Larry Sanders Show, which did an awesome job of going after celebs and industry executives and their idiocy and neurosis. Heck, I even think Entourage, which I'm no fan of, does a better job of going after their own.
Shameless I had read mixed reviews of and I can't say the critics were entirely off base. I have not seen the original British series (it's now on my Netflix queue), yet I can still see the claims the pilot is too true to the original source material and how it's problematic. There were moments (particularly in how the Chicago neighborhood is depicted) which felt more true to council estates in the UK than the low income section of Chicago or any US city. And as much as I love William H Macy (and he's the main reason I wanted to see the series), I have to agree with those who say he doesn't seem right for the role of Frank Gallagher. On the other hand, I was VERY impressed by Emmy Rossum as Fiona, Frank's eldest, and was surprised by Justin Chatwin, Fiona's boyfriend Steve, who I had previously only seen in some crappy productions. The kids in the series are also all well cast.
Southland continues to be awesome (and hopefully remains on air for some time to haunt NBC), but I never feel I have much to say about it. Other than, I no longer think of Ryan Atwood every time I see Ben Mackenzie onscreen and Regina King is extremely underrated. But because 10:00pm Tuesday night is the busiest hour of television, Southland get bumped to the No. 2 position (DVR/late night viewing) when White Collar returns next week. WOO!
Even though I hate boxing, I did give Lights Out a try, again, because I had read good things about it. I'm not entirely sure I'm going to be able to get into it because of the subject matter, but the quality was sufficient and the story just intriguing enough for me to pick it up on repeats or Hulu.
Downton Abbey didn't quite live up to the hype for me. It's very good TV, and I will continue to watch, but aspects of it seemed overly familiar. My guess is I've seen too much of Julian Fellowes previous work and he can be a bit redundant in terms of subject matter and characterization. But excellent cast and it's refreshing to see the aristocracy not portrayed as nothing more than privileged, oblivious assholes. ;)
I've spent many episodes this season going, "Oh, JULIE". I haven't always liked Julie. She went through a bratty, self-involved phase, but I could attribute that to being a teenager. So even when I didn't like her, I got her, and what the writers were trying to do with the character. But her affair with her married TA I've had trouble understanding. It's not the TA part of the equation, it's that Derek was married and she knew it. Given her upbringing and the kind of person she is when she's at her best, I just couldn't see her being the other woman. Or buying into Derek's 'I'm in a loveless marriage/we're almost separated' crap. Maybe Matt will get her to open up and it will become clear why she made the choices she did.
MATT! He's back! OK, I knew Zach would be returning, but not this soon or under these circumstances. I really thought Julie was turning the car around to go see The Asshole. But, on second viewing, I saw Julie's expression change when Derek admitted over the phone that he had not, in fact, come back to get her to return to school, but to get her back. He didn't want what was best for her, but what was best for himself and she finally got that. So she
I have no idea what is going to happen between the two, but my hope is (and my guess is) they are back to being a couple by series end. They've been apart, but they haven't gotten over each other. And high school sweethearts do go on to live long, happy lives together, so why not them?
Tami and Eric continue to be awesome, but I'm waiting for Eric to have a meltdown. What is important to Eric is being a good husband, father and coach. And, right now, he believes he's failing at two out of the three. I read a write-up the other night attributing the Lions current fracturing and on field posturing to Eric's desire to give the Panthers the big f*** you for the way they treated him. I can't say the author is totally wrong. Who wouldn't want a bit of payback? But I also feel the show is depicting how high school sports is changing, for the worse, and how Eric is struggling to deal with it. How can Eric reign in Vince when countless colleges are wooing him and there's a father pushing to cash in on his son's talent?
Vince. A season and a half of pulling for him has given way to wanting to see him fall, hard. That's not to say I want to see him injured, suspended or in any way failing to go onto college, but he needs a wake up call. I was appalled when he used his mother's past drug abuse as an excuse for missing class. I can only imagine how hurt and angry she'd be if she knew. I wish she was taking a more active role in her son's future, but given she's still working on rebuilding her life and just being there for Vince (he now comes home every night to a clean apartment and hot meal on the table), I can understand why she's leaving the big decisions up to others. And it's not that Vince's father doesn't want his son to go to college and have a career in football and do better than he did, it's just that he's too ill-equipped and too short-sighted to see the harm he's doing.
Becky. I could not stand her last season. Who could have imagined moving in with Billy and Mindy would make her tolerable?! Who thought Billy would start being responsible?! Who would have thought Mindy could be awesome?! I really enjoy watching the family unit they are building.
As much as I've loved this season (really, I've loved them all accept Season 2, which even Zach Gilford made light of at the TCA's yesterday :), there have been some balls dropped. Whatever happened to JD and his dad? They played a significant part in seasons 3 and 4, yet we didn't see them at all during the Panthers/Lions game. I'd forgotten about Epic until she reappeared this week. While we know how awesome Tami is, we've only seen sporadic interaction between she and Epic so the bond formed feels false and, dare I saw, made-for-TV to me. Although, I will give points to the writers for choosing to show Epic living in a good foster home with a foster mother that cares. And the storyline involving Buddy and his son seems shoehorned in at this point. I have trouble buying into the healing power of football, but in two weeks? Now, Buddy Jr is sidelined with a broken leg and looking as unhappy as ever.