Wednesday, September 24, 2008

episodes: monday night explosion

I know. I'm providing a wealth of opinions that you couldn't care less about. But at least there are pictures... yeah?

The Big Bang Theory: While I enjoy my time spent with this show, I really just enjoy Sheldon. I don't care for Leonard (he's not particularly relatable, and he doesn't have a gimmick or any of the good jokes), but Penny is growing on me. Regardless of the simple episodic plots, I like this show and laugh every time I watch it. I will enjoy the friendship-relationship dynamic better when Sara Gilbert joins the cast later, but it's definitely worth watching. And Sheldon has secured a spot on my "characters I love but would hate in real life" list. He moves out of his apartment because he doesn't know how to keep a secret from his roommate? Oh, Sheldon. You're so hilariously weird.

How I Met Your Mother: First of all, the B-storyline was how important it was for Ted and Marshall that Stella like Star Wars, which she had never seen before. (Is that even possible?) And we all know how I love Star Wars. Her impression of a Wookie was pee-in-the-pants hilarious, and the whole conversation between she and Marshall could only work on this show. "Ted loves Star Wars for better or worse, in sickness and in health. Do you think you could pretend to love this movie for the rest of your life?" She replies, "I do." And you know, it wasn't corny. It was sweet. Honest to God sweet. Second, the Barney-Robin A-storyline was really fantastic. Neil Patrick Harris steals every scene he's in, so the writing was true to the character when Barney admitted to feelings for Robin but still slept with other bimbos. (He justifies to Lily, "Bimbos make me pretend to be a better man," and damn if I didn't think he was going to burst into song.) On a semi-date where Barney planned to tell Robin of his feelings, my heart sank when Robin introduced a waitress, "Have you met Barney?" Not the funniest episode of the series, but still a quality half-hour with tons of laughs and a heck of a lot of heart. But certainly Marshall and Lily had the moment of the evening when it was announced that their code word for sex was "rhinoceros."

Gossip Girl: During the commercials for Big Bang and Mother, I switched over to Gossip Girl and finally started to understand why I don't like the show. It's not the sex -- because honestly, there isn't that much sex. Sometimes I think sexual innuendos on ABC Family's Greek are dirtier than some of the visuals on GG. So I made two newfound discoveries. One, I shouldn't be able to catch sporadic 5-minute sequences and understand the A, B, and even C storyline. Not enough time is really devoted to singular characters. I understand that it's an ensemble show, but not every single character needs to be highlighted. (This show goes into D, E, and F storyline territory, which is a big no-no in Scriptwriting 101.) Two, I don't understand any of the character's motivations. True, I only saw maybe 15 minutes total of this episode, but I've seen entire episodes before, and I don't understand why they do the things that they do. Sometimes I understand Blair, but I will never understand any of the reasons Serena and Dan broke up or subsequently got back together and then subsequently broke up again. It's like the world of GG is inconsequential. They just do what they want. And by they, I mean the writers. Give me a rational understanding of the characters, and perhaps I can at least accept the appeal of the show. Or is that too much to ask for? Should people just like it because the characters look pretty?

Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles: This is by no means a good show. I will admit to that right away. The two leads are completely uninteresting. John is whiney and a bit too eager to have responsibility, but I guess that's the problem with having a teenager as a lead. However, he should take initiative beyond his mother because he's ambitious, not because he's rebelling against her authority. And as for Sarah Connor, she's supposed to be bad-ass. Remember Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2? She bulked up. She was ready for the Terminators to come back for her. She was prepared. Lena Headey's Sarah, beyond only having one apathetic, overly cautious facial expression, is really boring. She has no real direction. The writers need to give her a specific purpose, a goal to achieve by the end of the season. This show will not work as an episodic adventure. It should have multiple arcs that are under the umbrella of a season-long theme. The A-storyline should not -- I repeat, should not -- be that a Terminator is chasing them. In fact, that should be the B or C storyline. They need to do something other than running. So with these criticisms, why do I still watch this show? Because I will always defend science-fiction (even Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter), and because I really do enjoy Summer Glau and Brian Austin Green. I even like the character Charlie, played by Dean Winters (the Beeper King from 30 Rock), and I hope they find a way to keep him around. Well, now that (spoiler!) his wife is dead, he doesn't have a reason to stay away... By the way, his wife's death means actress Sonya Walger has more time to play Penny on Lost...

Heroes: What can I say other than I was really disappointed and that I remembered why I stopped watching in the first place. Let's see if I can organize my thoughts:
1. It was predictable. The storylines, the characters' actions, and especially the dialogue. I think my fellow Heroes-watcher and I predicted a good ten lines of dialogue, including this real gem, "I'm from a different future."
2. Same problem as Gossip Girl: too many characters. And why don't any of them die? Why should I care about them being in danger if I know they'll survive? Like Sylar. I love the character -- I do -- but he should have died at the end of Season 1. The fact that he didn't die diminishes the grandiose gesture of all the heroes coming together. And what about Linderman and Nikki/Jessica? They like the actors so the writers have found ridiculous ways to keep them on the show? Nikki/Jessica was a horrible character with an ambiguous power (multiple-personalities? ohh, strength...), so what did they do? They started from scratch. New identity.
3. All of the heroes are the same. The show is missing a real opportunity to present subtle metaphors and social commentary. The show is supposed to be about ordinary people coming to terms with being extraordinary, with being different. Different people should have reacted differently to their situations, but it seems like everyone has now accepted their powers and are all determined to fight evil. Why aren't any of them hiding? Why are they all ready to pick up a sword and seek out evil? And especially with the whole Heroes vs. Villains binary, the characters have become one-note characters. The show says the characters will teeter on the border between good and evil, but I think the exposition will be so overloaded that the grey area won't be so grey. And (spoiler!) in case anyone wasn't paying attention, Ando isn't evil. He kills Hiro in the future because Hiro switched sides. Know how I know? Because it's predictable, and because I wrote Heroes.
4. Peter has way too many powers. The awesomeness of Sylar was that he was unstoppable and had multiple powers, so by giving Peter all of these powers, it devalues Sylar as a superpower. It's like in Iron Man -- who can be the foe for a flying robot except for a bigger, badder flying robot?
5. Speaking of Sylar... he's a Petrelli? This goes back to a lack of originality on the writer's part. The show already pulled this trick with Claire and Nathan/Peter. They wanted to keep Sylar around so they made him related to Nathan, Peter, and Claire.
6. Kill the cheerleader, save the show.
To quote Alan Sepinwall's column, "It acts like something out of Joseph Campbell when it's really a Spark Notes take on '80s comic book stories." Brilliantly and concisely put.