It’s Toni’s day today, but she’s helping her brother Mike get settled. He’s been released from the hospital (yeah!) and she’s been working double time to make sure he has everything he needs to recover. I know she has a lot to share, so come back in two weeks for an update. AND continue sending Mike and Toni your prayers and positive thoughts.
In the meantime …
For those of you who have been following Murder She Writes for a few years, you know that I love television. I love television more than going to the movies. Sure, there are some stories you just HAVE to see on the big screen (AVENGERS anyone?) but television is my first love.
Television didn’t always used to be so great. Acting was mediocre, story lines blah, and pacing was off. Just watch anything from the 70s and you’ll see what I mean. (As an aside, I don’t watch most sitcoms, reality shows, or soap operas. I used to watch soap operas, but that ended once I had kids and no time. Once a decade there’s a sitcom I like — SEINFELD, for one; NEW GIRL for a recent example.)
But I think that the rise of cable television — cable television that actually invests in its shows — has proven that television is a terrific medium for smart storytelling.
Rather than lament the shows I loved that network television killed on me (LIFE, DETROIT 187, PRIME SUSPECT) I thought I’d review what I’m watching now and my gut reaction.
Hands down, my favorite show this season. I loved the first season, and this is even better. Fun, dark, original. I can’t believe the show was on the cusp after six episodes last year … thank God the powers that be (NBC) realized they had a great commodity and infused it with life. Acting is strong, love Nick & Monroe and their odd friendship and trust. The secondary characters are better developed, and Hank no longer annoys me like he did last season. Rosalie (Bree Turner) was a great addition halfway through season one, so glad she’s returned! Out of all the shows I watch (which are way, way too many …), this is the one I anticipate each week. I watched season one again while waiting for season two to begin.
I wasn’t impressed with season one, but it grew on me. Loved season two. Season three? It was okay, but the whole who killed Beckett’s mother storyline grew tiresome. It lost it’s fun. The new season? WOW. Season four is a winning season, and I love it. It’s fun, it’s light, it makes fun of itself while also taking the cases seriously, and I feel that Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic have grown together as actors. Fillion has always carried the show, IMO, but now I feel they are more equals and she’s not so “hard” without losing her strong female independence which I like. I love how they get writers (hmm, writers writing about a writer — I love inside jokes, and I can’t wait until Castle’s next poker game. I think Sandra Brown, Lisa Gardner and J.D. Robb should be at the table … though I certainly wouldn’t say no if I were invited … hahaha.) As a writer, I love it, Lee Lofland’s blog of police errors notwithstanding. (I mean COME ONE! I write romantic thrillers, what wouldn’t I love about a perpetual ride-along with a hot copy … of course, my hot cop would look more like Jeremy Renner than Stana Katic …) I like how they’ve fleshed out Ryan and Esposito so they’re not just, “Yes, Beckett” lackeys. Still secondary, but not as knee-jerk. And the last episode, Murder He Wrote, was fantastic. Lee didn’t think so, but hey, I liked it!
My daughters and I started watching SUPERNATURAL together eight years ago, and we’ve been hooked ever since. The first five seasons were fantastic. Seasons 6 and 7, not so much. But we’re so invested in the show that we can’t stop watching. Season 8 has started out much stronger than the last two, so I’m cautiously optimistic. The acting has always been strong and I love the chemistry between Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. Sam — lose the sideburns and get a haircut. Long hair is great, just not THAT long.
AMERICAN HORROR STORY
My 16 year old daughter and I watched it last season and were hooked. Loved the originality, the premise, the acting, the story, the writing … all brilliant. Not for the faint of heart … but rather than being gory or bloody, it’s intensely (and I mean INTENSE!!) psychologically suspenseful. It’s a smart show. Season two, which is a completely different setting and story arc than season one, is called AHS: ASYLUM and again, they have top actors and a riveting premise. I’m a little hesitant only in that there are a lot of religious overtones and it seems to be heavily anti-religion and anti-Catholic specifically (evil nuns and priest, possibly) but because the creator Steven Sondheim sold me with the first season, I’m willing to give it a try. (No spoilers! Kelly and I can’t watch it until this weekend. It’s on my DVR …)
I really enjoyed the first two seasons of this show, and I have season three recorded … but I haven’t been compelled to watch it yet. I don’t know why. Haven’t been in the mood yet … will probably have a marathon when I get my Lucy & Sean short story done!
I had mixed feelings about ARROW after watching the previews, but based largely on the recommendation of people on my Facebook page, and specifically Anna Stewart from my local chapter, I decided to watch it. I will continue to watch it primarily because of the last ten minutes of the show, which made up for a heavy-handed, “The audience is stupid so we’ll over-explain everything” first thirty minutes. I also thought all the characters were stereotypes. All rich people are bad, the legal aid lawyers are all good and only want to help people, the rich best friend who is sleeping with Oliver’s former girlfriend, yada yada. But what I didn’t see coming was what happened on the lifeboat with Oliver’s father. Wow. Talk about intense motivation for Oliver. THAT sold me. I don’t know the story of ARROW (DC Comics) so maybe this isn’t new to anyone but me. I think this could be a really good show, so I’ll continue to watch.
Much better than season six and seven (hmm, do I sense a trend here? See SUPERNATURAL above.) What’s with David Boreanaz’s hair? First episode, totally noticed the dye job or whatever. Much better by the fourth episode. THEN I find out that there are no new shows until December 8th! What’s with that? Seriously, I can see them taking a week or two off because of the baseball playoffs, but two months? The only thing that saves the show for me is that they seem to have gotten back to the core story lines. Didn’t like the tiger episode because it got way too preachy for me. I hate when a perfectly good show decides to be a make a “statement.” I want to be entertained, if you want to make a statement be subtle. Though I loved the subplot of Bones running for President … that was well done.
Just as strong as ever. While there are a few “dud” episodes over the ten seasons, there has never (for me) been a “dud” season. The only thing that scratches at the back of my head is that I get the sense that Mark Harmon is getting tired of the part. Just a little less … Anyway, I watched the first nine seasons one after the other earlier this spring. I was so addicted … I watched the entire season three while I was sick over President’s Day Weekend! LOL. Characters are strong, smart, well-developed. I love all the regulars. Even McGee has grown on me. Ziva is smart, tough, believable with vulnerabilities that fit her character–one of the best female characters on television today (IMO.) The ONLY hint of trouble on the horizon is a few more sly political comments. I hate that. Fortunately, they haven’t gotten too preachy and they’re still pro-military.
NCIS: Los Angeles
This is one of those shows that I know is bad, but I can’t help but watch. Okay, maybe it’s not BAD, but the pacing is just off in the dialogue. It got better by season three, and some of the storylines are compelling, but it’s just not *quite* right. Still, I’m compelled to watch, so it’s not all bad. And I like Deeks.
My guilty pleasure. I can’t help myself.
LAW & ORDER: SVU
I have it recorded, but haven’t seen any of the new episodes. I was very happy with the last season in how they handled Stabler’s departure. I really loved his character, but I really love Amaro, too — and having fresh faces is a good thing, I think, for a show that is now in 14 seasons. I’ve always felt the writing was sharp, and can overlook any problems. (Shh–don’t tell Allison Leotta that!) I don’t know why I haven’t wanted to watch the new season yet … I think partly because of my writing schedule. Which makes me wonder exactly what ARE my favorite shows? It seems, to me, that even though I enjoy SVU, it’s further down on the list. I will NOT miss GRIMM. SVU? Hmm … maybe I’ve just been watching too many crime shows.
Again, recorded, haven’t watched it, but that’s because it’s one of the shows I watch with my two older daughters, and their schedules are hectic. But since Katie is coming home for the weekend from college, maybe we’ll have a marathon …
I shouldn’t include this show because I’m only in the middle of Season Two. Kelly and I watched Season One and really liked it–it was dark, suspenseful, different … and we both liked Rick and Gary. Then we watched the first episode of season two and didn’t like it. So put it aside. But it’s still recorded, and now that all of Kelly’s friends are watching it, she wants to catch up. Unfortunately, this show gives me nightmares. I shit you not. I rarely get scared from shows. American Horror Story is far more suspenseful and psychologically terrifying when I’m watching it, but I never had a nightmare about it. Walking Dead? Wow — the other night, after watching an episode, I woke up at 2 in the morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. I think it’s the sound the zombies make … nonetheless, I’ll suffer for my 16 year old.
WOW! That’s a lot of shows. I’m not even going to count them up. And this doesn’t even include shows that start in the Winter or Summer … like JUSTIFIED and LONGMIRE and WAREHOUSE 13 … or the BBC shows I’m anticipating, LUTHER and SHERLOCK.
No wonder I’m sleep-deprived …
What show do you love the most (I know, it’s hard to choose … for me it’s GRIMM with NCIS a close second, but GRIMM is new and fresh, what can I say?) But I’m going to make you choose. OR tell me what show you’re anticipating. Or just gossip about David Boreanaz’s hair or Jared Padalecki’s sideburns or Stephen Amell’s abs. AND I’m giving away a copy of my soon-to-be-released book STALKED. Yep! Comment and share anything about television today and you’ll be entered in the drawing for STALKED, the winner to be announced this weekend.