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Archive for the ‘Boob Tube’ Category

Firefly (2002-2003)

I can officially say now that at the age of 30, I am a nerd!  I am a huge Star Wars fan, I am perfectly content watching a matinée of Iron Man with a bunch of 16-year-old boy geeks, I have seen almost all of the Underworld movies (with no Kate Beckinsale or Bill Nighy in the last one, I figured what was the point?) and I desperately want to go to comic con someday.  Too bad it took me 30 years to fully embrace this aspect of myself, but now I shall revel in it!

A few months back I had the pleasure of viewing the awesome film Serenity, which I had known was based on a short-lived series Firefly.  I have only seen one episode of the television series so far, but I just had to do a post.  What an amazing idea, cowboys in space!  The last frontier in many way is space, so the concept makes complete sense to me.  Firefly takes place in  the distant future, where Captain Malcolm ‘Mal’ Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), a former galactic war veteran, who after being on the losing side of a war, six years later is the captain of the transport ship “Serenity with a loyal hand-picked crew made up of first mate Zoe Warren, pilot Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburn,  grunt Jayne Cobb, mechanic Kaylee Frye and a few surprise  fugitives to spice things up a bit, Doctor Simon Tam and his psychic sister River.  They all travel together to the  far reaches of space in search of food, money, and anything to live off, while still trying to stay out-of-the-way of the Alliance.

From the music, to the visual imagery (example, when they are attempting to get the cargo in space for the first time on-screen, beautiful), this is a science fiction series that was before it’s time.  With Battlestar Gallactica being such a hit with modern audiences, I wonder if it wouldn’t do better today?  One can always hope (I will always feel that way about you Arrested Development).  My only recommendation is to watch the series first, not the way I did it, otherwise you already know too much at the start of the series.  4 out of 5 monkeys.

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I just wanted to do a quick posting about the show Glee on Fox.  I was super stoked after seeing the pilot episode last spring (they need to be bring the Glee humming back, great transition/way to create silly tension) and waited patiently for the second episode to air this fall.  Although I enjoyed the second episode, until last night’s episode (October 7th), I have been disappointed.  Lately the episodes have been taking on a serious tone, trying to up the teen angst, but not in a funny way.  The musical numbers are always entertaining, but what makes the show really great is the absurd aspects of it.  For example, the crazy antics between the cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (the always funny Jane Lynch – check out Party Down or almost every Christopher Guest movie) and the head of Glee, Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison).  If they include her character in at least 80% of the show they will be golden.  A good way of dealing with teen angst is by giving it a goofy side like they did in last nights episode.  Finn (Cory Monteith) is completely overwhelmed with being the captain of the football team (I love it that they suck by the way), a lead in Glee Club, a good boyfriend and popular (a running gag that I love – it take so much energy to be popular!), but they show it by him losing in the second level of his video game (Halo I think) and not even caring – trust me, it was brilliant.  So Glee, no more seriousness, stick with the funny, it’s what you do best!

Update on November 23rd:  They did NOT follow my advise and stick with the absurd.  It is now craptastic.  The rendition of Lean on Me, was the last straw for me.

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Bones (2005-present)

bones13I don’t normally get into forensic shows, but a few of the writers at EW were practically drooling over these characters, so I decided to give the series a try.  After a few episodes I became hooked.  Yes, the bones and decomposing bodies are creepy, but the characters are actually quite well-rounded and interesting.  Here is the premise according to IMDB:  “Brilliant, but socially inept, forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperence Brennan (Emily Deschanel) works at the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington DC. After consulting for him on a FBI case, she is approached by cocky yet charming ex-Army Ranger turned Special Agent, Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) to help the Bureau solve crimes by identifying human remains that are too far gone for standard FBI forensic investigations. Brennan’s empirical, literal view of the world causes friction with Booths emotive, instinctive attitude creating a volatile relationship. However as their case load increases the symbiotic partnership produces results and with the support of Brennan’s “Squint Squad”, murderers, past and present should be on the look out.”

I believe that the show gives good insight into the world of very intelligent and often social-inept people such as the character of Dr. Brennan and many of her colleagues.  The character of Booth gives a nice contrast and challenge to their world as the Philistine type character that many nerds resent from their pasts (usually high school) and often their present.  This series will not change your life, but it is fun to watch, if a bit gruesome.  They are investigating corpses after all.  4 out of 5 monkeys

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The State

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The State is a group of ten artists who have created comedy together in various media forms since 1988.  Many of you will recognize them from their sketch comedy show that aired on MTV in 1994 called simply The State.  Clearly influenced by Monty Python (just look at the flow between sketches), the State was sketch comedy for a new generation.  Bizarre and over-the-top, The State will keep your attention and often have you asking, “what the heck just happened?!”, not allowing you to look away. This type of sketch comedy focuses on issues that people can relate too:  who hasn’t met that guy that says the same catch phrase over and over again?  We all know what are hormones feel like, but when have we ever seen them displayed with such abandon by men dressed in full body blue and pink sweat-suites?

Modern-day comedy audiences will recognize member of the state from such comedy central shows as Reno 911! and Stella, as well as the new series Michael and Michael Have Issues. My favorite collaboration other than the show is Wet Hot American Summer, again dealing with characters and themes that most of us can relate too, summer camp and the idiots you have to deal with when you attend.  If you are fan of any of these collaborations, give The State a try.  Now available on DVD!  4 out of 5 monkeys

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DcotorWhos“The further adventures of the time traveling alien adventurer and his companions.”  There have been many incarnations of Doctor Who, starting with the first in 1963, but the one that I get a kick out of is the reboot that started in 2005.  The first season had some good and bad episodes, but the doctor is always entertaining.  The Doctor is the last of a race known as the Time Lords, who along with his companion (generally a young girl from planet earth) engages in adventures through the time/space continuum where they travel to distant planets, through Earth’s history (past and future). The Doctor and his assistants do battle with the galaxy’s most evil beings and menacing aliens and encountering all sorts of people and life forms on their adventures.  Many of the aliens are cheesy, but the humor is so British in nature that one can’t help but smile and enjoy the ride.  Having just finished season one, I am enjoying season two even more with a new doctor played by David Tennant (incidentally the only other time I had seen this actor prior to the series was in a small role in one of the Harry Potter films).  He is rascally and charming at the same time.  Billie Piper is fine as Rose Tyler as long as you don’t have her crying in a scene and then she is ghastly.  Such adventures of science fiction/nerdy awesomeness this show will take you on if you only let it!  Don’t be afraid to explore the galaxy!

Season one:  4 out of 5 monkeys; Season 2:  5 out of 5 monkeys

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30-rockBased on some real life experiences that Tina Fey had while working as a writer for SNL, 30 Rock is the story of Liz Lemon, head writer of the sketch comedy show “TGS with Tracy Jordan”, who must deal with an arrogant boss (Alec Baldwin), crazy stars (such as Tracy Morgan doing a parody of himself and Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney, a needy starlet with a love of singing show-tunes), and idiotic mostly male writers – all without losing her mind.

I love 30 Rock for it’s clever one liners – “I hate it when people say that I smoke crack, that’s racist.  I am straight up mentally ill!”, while still allowing for more subtle humor at times (mostly obscure references to historical figures – watch the  show for an example).  The characters are all well written and performed, including Kenneth the Page (who doesn’t like hick jokes) and Jack Donaghey (got to the love the references to his extremely thick hair).  I also love 30 Rock for Tina Fey and her love of food and star wars.  She is a nerd and I love her awkwardness.  If only we had more role models like her on television.  Then less people would get boob jobs and would read more books.  5 out of 5 monkeys

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breaking_bad_05You know that I like a series when I spend three hours watching all of the episodes available on the disk.  So is how it went for the amazing series Breaking Bad. Not only does it have great characters and great actors portraying them, but it is also very visual.  Instead of lamenting about the main characters diagnosis of lung cancer (Bryan Cranston as Walter H. White), the show decides to present the information visually, which is my opinion makes much more of an impact on the audience.  And it does this a lot – telling you the story through images instead of words (the very end of the third episode does this extremely well).  And what a concept for the show – a once seemingly brilliant, but now haggard high school chemistry teacher who has been beaten down by life (by his students, his bosses, money and even his wife at times), gets a sentence of death and makes an unbelievable choice.  The main character in Breaking Bad chooses to be a drug dealer out of a sense of desperation (much like the series Weeds, although one could argue that Nancy’s reasoning is much more superficial than William’s), relying on his chemistry skills to help him “succeed”.  Gripping, yet sometimes hard to watch, Breaking Bad is a series well worth checking out.  5 out of 5 monkeys

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