Friday, October 28, 2011

Attack of the Fussbudget: West Wing s5e1

I don't want to be negative, but I hate everything, which presents a problem.  'Everything' is a (slight) exaggeration, though, because I have been known to occasionally like things.  For example, The West Wing, an examination of the executive branch of our own United States government, written for the first four seasons by Aaron Sorkin, who also penned the long-running, critically acclaimed Studio 60 and a little art-house movie called The Social Network, which I think was about Friendster.

The West Wing is actually one of my favorite shows, but I always have to say that with a caveat.  You see, the first four seasons are brilliant television.  The acting is wonderful, and the writing is top-notch, addressing comedic and dramatic moments with an even hand.  Sorkin's dialogue is distinctive, like art or pornography, and when it became known that he would be leaving (along with Thomas Schlamme, who specialized in the "walk and talk" style that was part of the series' signature look) I'm sure the nascent blogosphere of '03 was all a-twitter (sans Twitter) about just what would happen.  Well, here's what happened; one of the most brilliant shows on television started to fucking suck, that's what.

For a while I didn't pursue this too hard, mentally speaking, simply chalking it up to the fact that Sorkin had left and, because Sorkin is not a very nurturing person by all accounts, no proto-Sorkins had learned his ways sufficiently to take over.  Therefore, executive producer John Wells, of ER fame, was left to do what he did best, which was do fairly average, by-the-numbers TV drama.  I had planned never to revisit the bad seasons again, but I had gotten Brynne into the show and she, rightly, wanted to know what the hell happened after season four's agonizing multiple cliffhangers.  My warnings were insufficient and so we watched the first episode of season five.  And you know what?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More like Breaking Good, am I right?

Hey, shocker, Breaking Bad is a good show.  I am not the first person to say this, obviously; I am saying it this late in the game because for a while I was like most people who have not yet seen it.  You have likely absorbed some kind of message from the collective unconscious/your favorite social media outlet/whatever TV reviews you may or may not be reading that let you know before this point that Breaking Bad is incredible, and you should be watching it.  And, like me, you probably thought, "I'll get around to it, God, stop hassling me."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Explaining the Unexplainable

"Okay, explain to me what you're doing," she asked.  And I was stymied, because what I was doing was so far down the rabbit-hole.  Novelists talk about starting your story as close to the end as possible, filling in the blanks with exposition as necessary, but every start/end point I could think of necessitated exposition.

"I'm playing Super Robot Wars: A Portable," I replied, after a time.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Death and The Wire: "One Arrest" and "Lessons"

If I said, "the violence is starting to ramp up on The Wire," and you had watched "One Arrest" without then watching "Lessons" you might well wonder what the hell I'm talking about, given that no one dies in "One Arrest," and not even in the Brandon sense of no one dies.  If you take them as a piece, however, especially when viewing the Omar plotline, you start to see that things are starting to get very serious between Omar and those Barksdale boys.  To say nothing of a poor young stripper rolled up in a rug and thrown out with the trash.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Death and The Wire: "The Pager" and "The Wire"

I would be remiss as someone writing about death as it relates to the particular television show if I didn't point out that the first meeting between Omar, McNulty and Greggs takes place in a cemetery.

I would also be remiss if I did not warn you that Omar comin'.