Saturday, January 24, 2009

What I'm Watching: Oz, Lost, Bad CW Shows

I didn't get a chance to watch much this week -- no movies of any sort, and very little TV. I'm working on a project that requires a lot of research for what will end up being little reward, but that's what has taken up most of my time over the past few days.

Anyway, one new thing I did start watching this week was "Oz: Season One." I'm only one episode into it so far, but I have to ask: does it get any better? I have seen one of the later episodes -- probably from Season Two or Three -- when it originally aired (I was in a hotel room, staying overnight to play in the Magic: The Gathering Regional Championship, because I that's how I used to roll), and I liked it okay. And I liked Episode One okay, too, but it was really, annoyingly, on-the-nose with the narration. Everyone's dialogue was pretty on-the-nose too, now that I think about it, and maybe I'm used to better writing from well-regarded HBO shows, but I wasn't super impressed like I expected to be.

Maybe it gets better written in later episodes?

I also watched last week's "Smallville" Legion of Super-Heroes episode finally, and, yeah, I really don't like "Smallville." It was cool to see and hear some of the Legion allusions, and at least the overall storyline has moved beyond the sappy Lana/Clark teen dullness, but it's still an ultra-cheesy CW show, and for every fun/engaging/interesting moment there were a dozen embarrassing bits. I can't imagine how adults can watch this stuff.

But I read superhero comic books, so what do I know?

"Lost" returned this week, and I watched that. All I have to say is Thank God for Jeremy Davies. He made the two-hour return more than just watchable. It's a good show, and I'm glad it's back, but the super-ponderous mysteries are really not all that super or ponderous. Obviously Locke has faked his death using that poison that led to the buried-alive incident of that eurotrash guy and the annoying "movie star." I really can't be bothered to look up their names.

And in addition to reading the Narnia books, Lindelof and Cuse must know their Billy Pilgrim. Unstuck in time, indeed.

There's no way the Grand Unified Theory of Lost, whenever it's revealed, will take into account all the silliness that went on with the child-stealing, fake-beard-wearing "Others" and all the other red herrings that have been thrown at viewers over the years. But it's still a compelling show.

So "Lost" is fine, it's good. I like it. But it's still not up there with "The Office."

What are YOU watching?


Bill Reed said...

Of course you want to know, because I'm so damn fascinating. Well, Timothy, I am watching:

House-- continuing its slow downward spiral in quality.

Scrubs-- the move to ABC has given it a slight uptick in quality! The end is near.

Leverage-- a really damn fun con/heist-y show. I love that genre. The scripts are breezy, the cast is awesome... I dig it. From John Rogers, the guy who made Blue Beetle awesome.

Nip/Tuck-- I lost count of how many times this jumped the shark. And yet, I watch. Well, I'm bored.

Burn Notice-- Woot! It's back. And it has the Chin. I am sated.

Batman: Brave & the Bold-- this cartoon is so much goddamn fun with the goddamn Batman.

Psych-- still entertaining, even if they don't care about the premise anymore.

And I catch Family Guy when it's new, which is apparently a rare thing these days, and it's certainly not nearly as good as it used to be, but I'm a comic nerd; we stick with things till one of us dies.

Preston said...

I hear you on the Smallville Legion episode. The actors were all pretty good choices, but really, I think Johns can write better than this. I'm just going to assume that the show producers had him follow a specific storyline, because everythign just felt force. And while some Legion allusions were pretty cool fanbiy moments, I swear some of the lines were ripped straight out of some of Johns' Legion comics (Action, L3W). The thing that bothered me most was, ok you have the Legion, but you don't even show a glimpse of the future and just use them as surrogate villains for part of the episode. Plus, the dialogue and acting really is just too cheesy, I've seen maybe a few other Smallville episodes before years ago and I think this will be my first and last one in awhile.

What I'm watching:

-Fringe; trying to catch up on it, but damn is this an intriguing show. Plus I gotta get my J.J. Abrams fix somewhere since I'm waaay behind on Lost.

-Batman: Brave and the Bold; just straight up old school animation quality, plus watching it with my little brother makes it less weird.

-Robot Chicken; sporatically here and then, good little shots of comedy.

-How I Met Your Mother; this show is so funny and adorable, I'd go so far as to say that this is my generation's Friends (and having seen some episodes of Friends I can say that I enjoy HIYM vastly more).

Marc Caputo said...

Desperate Housewives - yes, trash. But so engaging.

Brothers and Sisters - because my wife likes it and I LOVE TO WATCH THESE PEOPLE WALLOW in their self-made misery.

24 - genre-porn. But Sutherland makes it awesome.

LOST - the greatest TV show ever.

ER - because it's the last season and I just can't give it up.

Battlestar Galactica - the 2nd greatest show of all time.

Watching HIMYM on DVD - have seen S1 and S2 - yes, Friends is the obvious reference point, but avoids (at this point it has) the sentimentality of the former show. NPH - comic gold.

Lamenting the demise of My Own Worst Enemy, Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money (though the latter sank itself 4 eps back)

Awaiting the return of Reaper and Life on Mars. Intrigued by Dollhouse and Castle (with Nathan Fillion of Firefly)

Marc Caputo said...

Actually, Tim, I think Cuse and Lindelof are EXACTLY the type pf guys to fit the whole damn mythology into one explanation. I think they've surveyed the carcasses of Twin Peaks and the X-Files and learned from those shows' mistakes as well as their own.

Andrew Wales said...

Fringe is the absolute best show ever. Office is my second favorite. Lost is the show I wish I could give up on.

I watched this documentary about the history of comedy movies starting with Charlie Chaplin and Buster KEaton on PBS. Wow -- that was really cool. I had never paid much attention to any of those silent movies but they were hilarious. They've obviously restored them and made theme easier to watch.

marcwrz said...

Currently watching:

Supernatural (Angel meets X-Files, extremely solid)
Weeds whenever season 4 hits dvd.
The Shield was fantastic but that ended a few months ago.

Ultimate Matt said...

I'm halfway through the 4th season of the Wire, and it's one of the three best shows I've ever seen. (The Wire, Lost, UK Office)

Lost, obviously. Honestly, I don't expect a grand theory that explains everything - that would ultimately be dissapointing, since everyone loves their own interpretation best. I want them to explain the nature of the island, definetively, by the final episode. Everything else can be made to flow logically from that, if you want it to. And half the fun of Lost is discussing it with others, so who wants it all handed to you anyway?

I watch The Office out of habit and because it is still a decent show, but it doesn;t come near the first few seasons and isnt even in the same dimension as the real one. They're starying too far from what made it special - the realism, the subtlety. Dwight is comedy gold 99% of the time, though.

30 Rock cracks me up on the strength of Tracey Morgan and Alec Baldwin alone. I could watch the show with only those two on it.

House is good only for the characters of House and Wilson, who are the only reasons I watch it.

Oz gets pretty good during seasons 2-3 or thereabouts - it realy get sridiculous by the final two seasons, though. It never really attains greatness, though it does become a very good and entertaining show at one point.

Preston said...


Good to knwow you're enjoying HIMYM on DVD, it's the kind of show that's almost made for dvd viewing, because of the continuity and set-up of their lives. I caught up through the DVDs too awhile ago. I don't know too much about Friends to make any more indepth comparisons, but all I hope is that HIMYM gains the kind of audience and popularity that Friends did.

And man, all of you guys are making me want to go out and get the Lost sets so I can actually watch it properly.

Vanja said...

Well, I watched 4 complete seasons of "Oz" in the last two years. The first season is the best, in my opinion, and perhaps they should have let it go at that. As time went on, the body count got so high that it ceased to be anything resembling reality. It was a very unique TV show, that never lacked ambition. If they managed to pull it off, which seems almost impossible, it would no doubt have remained as the best serialized drama for some time. Doing things this way was still good, but at times very sick and unconvincing.

Tucker Stone said...

I used to watch Oz with a whole bunch of other people in college, and we would all yell at the screen the whole time, a couple of times a guy would go into the bathroom and have sex with a girl who wasn't his girlfriend, one guys drinking turned into full blown alcoholism, a couple of fights happened, and it eventually fell apart because some girl started bringing her fucking guitar and singing terrible songs she thought were really great, but nobody wanted her to leave because she was hot and real slutty.

I remember it was a mildly entertaining soap opera, but I can't imagine it's that fun to watch on your own. I did have a lot of fun when I was in a class taught by this actor and I spent half the class trying to figure out why I knew what his penis looked like. 30 minutes I realized oh shit, I saw this guy fuck some dude in a shower on Oz!

I guess what I'm saying is: You're Watching It Wrong.

Bryce Menard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryce Menard said...

(I was in a hotel room, staying overnight to play in the Magic: The Gathering Regional Championship, because I that's how I used to roll)

You should still roll like this.

What I'm watching:

The Office. Still the best show on television? Probably.

Robot Chicken. I don't actually watch this on television. I just pick up the DVDs when they come out.

Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. Same as Robot Chicken.

Batman The Bold And The Brave. I simultaneously hate and love this show. The first episode I saw was with Aquaman, and I almost died of laughter many times.

Repo! The Genetic Opera. A rock opera comic book movie. Enough said. Go watch it.

Neon Genesis Evangelion. I found my DVDs of this fantastic show buried in my room when I was cleaning it this weekend so I'm re-watching the series.

And last, but most certainly not least, Oldboy. I finally found this movie on DVD and I've watched it three times already this weekend.

And that is what I am watching.

Firas said...

Lost and a bunch of cables shows like
Flight of the Conchords and Big Love. I think I'm going to stick with United States of Tara, at least for a few more weeks. And most importantly Battlestar Galactica 'cause its got me all Truman Show like "how's it going to end?"

Tim and Eric are pretty great, but all my friends refuse to watch it. They prefer How I Met Your Mother, which is a pretty kick ass show too. I never got into Friends so I don't see the resemblance, I certainly think the characters on HIMYM are less annoying.

Timothy Callahan said...

Tucker, you realize that your life is a sitcom -- a sitcom on Fox, maybe from the late 1990s.

Tucker Stone said...

Well, I do have my hand down my pants most evenings.

slasherfan said...

For me, Smallville is entertaining in a very camp way, and it's also full of cute guys doing superhero stuff, which I am pretty partial to. It is a guilty pleasure, definitely--fun to watch with others.

Otherwise, I still watch Heroes for the time being, as well as Ugly Betty, Dexter, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

I just watched season one of Madmen on DVD, and I'll watch the next season when it comes out. I'm planning on watching Life on Mars when it comes out on DVD. One day I will also watch all of Supernatural, but it conflicts with other things the roommate wants to watch right now (The Office, which I like, and CSI, which I can take or leave). I enjoyed the first episode of The United States of Tara, so tentatively I'm watching it! I also plan on checking out Burn Notice on DVD. I'm looking forward to Dollhouse, Kings, and Southland.

Chad Nevett said...

Let's see...

On Monday, I watched How I Met Your Mother and Monday Night Raw. The former because it's funny as hell, the latter because I love wrestling.

On Tuesday, I saw Gran Torino and dug it quite a bit. I watched American Idol with the girlfriend, because she likes it--and mocked it quite a bit.

On Wednesday, I watched The Royal Tenenbaums with my friend Melissa. I'd seen it before and still enjoyed it.

On Thursday, watched NBC's usual Thursday night line-up save Kath and Kim, which is fucking awful. My Name is Earl is still my favourite out of those shows as The Office tends to just annoy me by this point and 30 Rock has the odd moment of funny.

On Friday, watched Friday Night Smackdown! and True Lies with the girlfriend.

On Saturday, watched another episode of The Prisoner, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and some of Saturday Night Live with the girlfriend.

On Sunday, watched The Royal Rumble in person in Detrot with the girlfriend.

Pretty typical week as far as watching stuff goes.