What’s on my DVR

Posted on March 27, 2013

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I haven’t done a review post since last October (10/10/12). Rather than focusing on categories (Sticking, On the Bubble, or Dropped) or on negativity, let me give you a list of what’s on my DVR.

Also, I will not bore you with repetition. If I have written a recent column, I will just point you to it.

The Shows

Archer – This is another of those shows that I thought was awful and I would never watch…and then, one day, I got bored and started watching it OnDemand. It is hilarious. My wife and I both watch. Awful, dysfunctional, people try to run a spy agency, and calamity ensues.

Bones – It looks like I have never written a column about this show, but last October I mentioned the baby. Sure enough, both kids are pretty much out of the series except when the plot requires them to show up. The show still makes us laugh, but it’s getting stale for me.

Bunheads – A Las Vegas showgirl marries a man, who then dies. She moves to his hometown, and meets his disapproving mother – who owns a ballet studio. The showgirl starts teaching dance, and helping the adolescent girls understand the risks and consequences of their choices. I have watched parts of episodes, but my wife loves this show so it stays on the DVR. I’ve seen enough to believe that it’s a good show that’s just not my area of interest.

Burn Notice – Last season hit the big, red, re-set button. Michael is burned (again). I will certainly watch the beginning of the next season, but this show is definitely on the bubble for me.

Castle – It remains to be seen whether the consummation of the Castle/Beckett romance was the moment when this series jumped the shark. It’s been awhile since I saw an episode that was either suspenseful or pop culture funny. Maybe I’m just being too critical.

Community – The fourth season of Community, and the first without creator Dan Harmon, has been hit-or-miss for me. Some of the episodes have great moments, but so far most of the characters seem flatter than they used to be. They seem like caricatures, and that’s disappointing. Waiting to see if this is the season that nukes the fridge.

Continuum – I have no idea why I’m still watching the show. The main character, Kiera Cameron, is too cold and professional except for those calculated moments when the script calls for over-emoting. In fact, my whole problem with the show is that its premise is too finely calculated. Kiera only knows the history that she was taught, and history is written by the victors. She can’t know whether she is changing things, wiping out her own timeline, or keeping history on track. She misses her son in her present/our future. Cue tearful scene. I know, back in January, I said I was sticking with this show, but it keeps disappointing me.

Covert Affairs – Piper Perabo’s Annie is the losing her innocence, while still being the plucky kid that we want to see succeed. We are really looking forward to the next season.

Cult – Just wrote about this on 3/13/13. I’ve watched two more episodes since then, and really enjoyed both. This show is what The Following wants to be, but is too dumb to manage.

Doctor Who – What, are you kidding me? Of course we’re still watching the new Doctor Who. We’re also really enjoying the BBCA specials where they amalgamate classic episodes into a movie. Stephen Moffat, David Tennant, and others provide commentary and explain why the storylines and characters are significant. For Whovians, these are must-see TV.

Elementary – When I read about the TV Upfronts last year, I was sure this show would be awful. I thought it was like a train wreck or an avalanche, where you know it will be terrible but you can’t look away. Boy, was I ever wrong. This show is startlingly loyal to Holmes canon, from the drug use to the beekeeping, and from the obsessive attention to physical evidence to the violin. I can see why not everyone likes it, but we do.

Franklin & Bash – Keep us laughing and we’ll keep watching. When I first wrote about this show, I was concerned that they could not maintain the courtroom hijinks, season after season. What they did was develop their secondary characters, and move some of the clowning outside the courtroom. The writers are keeping this show fresh enough that I look forward to next season.

Grimm – I often enjoy this show. As it gathers toward a season-end, I find myself struggling to keep up with the details. Who is the police captain calling? Why are they speaking French? What happened to that witch? Why does she have it out for the main character? They lost me, somewhere. Too much genre TV watching on my part, I’m sure.

Haven – Is there anything left to learn? Have they hit the big magic reset button somehow? That sounds really bad, but the truth is that this show has consistently developed characters over time, and worked in some surprises. The context has grown richer and deeper season by season. The conflicts have grown out of the characters – which is the right way to do things. I’m glad that my wife wanted to keep watching. I’m just a little fuzzy on how last season ended.

Justified – Consistently one of my favorite shows. Justified has had an excellent season, with performances by guests Jim Beaver and Patton Oswalt raising the bar. Almost every episode has come with a gut-punch of a surprise. This is the show that has us waiting with baited breath for each new season.

Lost Girl – This show is a guilty pleasure. It’s pretty to watch, there’s lots of sexuality, and I agree with the reviewer who called it Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the 21st Century. On the other hand, any time they want to complicate things or up the stakes, they add some new piece of lore without any build-up. Everything is great? Okay, Bo is devolving unless she passes some major test that we’ll take all season to prepare her for. It’s TV snack food.

The Mentalist – Will the hunt for Red John never end? Sorry, writers, but you lost all credibility with me when the guy we thought was Red John turned out not to be. That’s cowardly. It says you have no faith in yourselves or your actors to carry the show once you resolve Patrick Jane’s primary motive for helping the police. My wife still likes it. I think Tim Kang should get a spin-off series where he plays Kimball Cho.

Once Upon a Time – I need to write a whole column about this show and where it goes wrong. It is definitely On the Bubble with me.

Person of Interest – This show started out On the Bubble, and has consistently ramped things up. I haven’t written a column about it since 2011, when it was On the Bubble. I should write another one, if only to try and promote the show further.

Psych – So there’s a new season, and I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I love how they are developing Shawn and Jules. It feels like a unique relationship based on their characters and their shared pasts. On the other hand, I hate that Gus has been reduced to a clown. Where is the competent, down-to-earth, Burton Guster who held a complicated job as a pharmaceutical sales rep? On the Bubble.

Ripper Street – Just wrote a column on 1/30/13. The season ended with a non-revelation, which was disappointing. However, I still enjoy the characters and the context. If there is another season, I will watch it.

Rizzoli & Isles – This is a show that so far has delivered some powerful emotional moments. That said, it does so inconsistently. It may be that I just don’t get a show that pivots around a female platonic friendship since I’m a middle-aged white male. This one is On the Bubble with me, but my wife enjoys it so we will watch next season and see what happens.

Supernatural – Wrote a column on 2/17/13. My feelings haven’t changed.

Touch – The first season of Touch kept delivering powerful emotional moments each episode. Typically, these involved minor characters whose lives only briefly intersected those of the main characters. This season, those moments have been rare. Instead, the show has focused on a major conspiracy and a kidnapped girl. Kiefer Sutherland got to act alongside the wonderful Maria Bello, and Lukas Haas got a terrific, grown-up, role. However, I miss those cathartic moments. I am On the Bubble about this one.

The Walking Dead – Still don’t watch it. Still on my DVR because my wife still does. If you’re wondering why I don’t watch, you can read my column from June, 2012.

Warehouse 13 – So there was this prophetic vision that Claudia would kill Artie, and everyone thought that meant Claudia would go crazy, overwhelmed by her role as the new avatar for the warehouse. Then it turned out that Artie was evil because of a choice that he made to save the world. Now the teaser trailers for the new season show Claudia stabbing Artie, and I want to know how the heck the writers are going to resolve this one. Dragged in, and onward, by my own curiosity.

White Collar – This show has focused on developing the main characters, making them truer, bolder, versions of themselves. Unfortunately, that has meant less screen time for Diana, Jonesy, and June. They made it up a little bit to Diahann Carroll (June), though, when they needed her to infiltrate a jazz club and we got to hear her sing. I hope the ensemble becomes a bit more even-handed.

Thoughts?

What do you think? Do I watch too much TV, or not enough?

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Posted in: television