Thursday, 1 March 2012

Watching lots, reviewing little: Being Human USA, Luck, Smash, Spartacus, Whitechapel, and more catch-ups...


I know. Things haven't bounced back as I'd have liked it to at Dan's Media Digest. The truth is, I'm watching a variety of things on TV still, but my enthusiasm to review most of it has waned since my dad's funeral. (A close family bereavement takes time to get over, so I'm not really feeling myself right now.) But I'm slowly getting caught up, although I'm giving serious thought to radically changing how I write and organize my time with this blog. Episodic reviews may be less common, for one thing, or maybe specific to shows I really enjoy and have lots I'm eager to talk about.

As some kind of recompense for the recent drought (which is going to get worse this month, for reasons I'll explain in a post for the weekend), below are brief comments about shows I'm still watching, slowly catching up on, and/or probably going to review less often:

Being Human. You know what I think by now. Normal service on this show, for now.

Being Human USA. I'm seriously considering giving up on this. BH:USA's become one of the few shows where the soundtrack now irritates me so much, I almost have to turn it off. (The twangy guitars make my ears bleed!) I keep hearing there's a great episode to come, or a really effective twist on the horizon, but every time I actually sit down and watch this... I find myself rather bored by it all. I'm about three episodes into season 2, if that helps.

Fringe. I'm still covering this sci-fi drama here, albeit in bite-sized format just now, and the last episode suggests we're in for a good homestretch this season. So, naturally, it's gone off-air for a whole month! God bless America and their protracted network-season system. And they wonder why audiences lose track of shows and ratings plummet!

Glee. I still have this series-linked for its UK airings on Sky1, which resumed this week. It's now firmly the kind of show I don't feel guilty about for fast-forwarding through (a) any bad songs, or (b) any subplot that threatens to stink. I can probably squeeze 15-mins of enjoyment out of the average episode now; mostly Jane Lynch one-liners and Heather Morris dance moves. (And okay, the occasional dance number can still be quite effective and toe-tapping.)

Luck. I'll get around to this HBO horse racing drama at some point, if only to sample the first few episodes during a quiet spring month. The problem here is that I've heard (from so many people) that it's a struggle to get into, and I can't be doing with a show that depends on you actively working at it. I'm not in that frame of mind right now.

The River. I haven't journeyed past episode 3 yet, as I can't summon the enthusiasm to do so. Is this worth sticking with, folks? I quite liked the first three episodes, with caveats, but they didn't really make this must-see TV in my mind.

Smash. I recently saw and quite enjoyed the pilot, but not as much as I wanted to. Maybe I'll continue for awhile, but this is an easy one to just wash my hands of early. It didn't strike me as essential viewing. Any thoughts from those further ahead?

Spartacus: Vengeance. I'm enjoying this second (or third?) season, but it doesn't fill me with the same deep joy as Blood & Sand or Gods Of The Arena did. Maybe the novelty's worn off? Ttat said, I thought the fifth episode was really great, with the return of Gannicus and the destruction of the Capua arena, with a direct nod to 300 when Spartacus threw a spear as villainous Glaber's head. Hopefully Vengeance about to break into a spring, because B&S also took awhile to build narrative steam.

Whitechapel. I reviewed the premiere with a certain despair, but I have to admit series 3 has improved since then. Why did they start with the weakest story? It's definitely better than series 2's "modern-day Kray twins" tosh, and there were some nice ideas floating around the second and third stories. It's still too stupid and inept for my tastes, but in ITV drama terms it's a decent modern-day "penny dreadful" with lots of clashing cymbals, cheesy edits, OTT montages, fake dead bodies, and drama school acting.

The Walking Dead. As I said last time, regular reviews have ceased because I was beginning to bore myself... let alone you guys reading. I don't regret anything so far. It's a bore, really. One day the 8m viewers of this will wake up and smell the coffee. There's a chance showrunner Frank Darabont's dismissal will see an improvement and draw me back, or the rot will spread in less capable hands. We'll see.

So that's what I'm watching and where I'm at with things. Yours thoughts on the above are welcome; especially if you can talk me into sticking with a show I'm close to ditching.
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