Monday, February 06, 2012

[TV] TV Roundup

TV Roundup: I really begin to wonder how long TV, as it were, will continue to be relevant. I have about a year left in my subscription to Charter. Nothing would make me happier than to go to a totally on-demand set-up -- get everything off Netflix/Amazon/Hulu/Apple TV/Whatever whenever I want them and not worry about paying for shows and channels in which I have zero interest. At some point your delivery method of choice will be irrelevant (phone, pad, plasma screen, brain implant) and the only thing of concern will be the content. I know that day is coming, probably in my lifetime, but I doubt we'll reach it in a year. Which means I'll probably end up with another subscription.

That's not to say Charter is a lock for a re-up. They have turned out to be at least as expensive as Comcast, for less content. I may have to check out DirectTV, although I have heard conflicting stories about its reliability. The one I would really like to try is FIOS from Verizon, but since they currently only cover about 15% of the country the chances of them reaching Dexter, MI in the next year are approximately zero.

Anyway, here's my latest tube impressions. Evidently, I continue to be attracted to shows that with stand-out dialogue.

Justified - the plots are wonderfully twisty, if somewhat contrived, and border on black comedy. Which is to say it aptly channels the soul of Elmore Leonard. But what I really love is the dry drawly wordplay. It virtually musical. Any conversation between the Timothy Olyphant and Walter Goggins is worth rewatching. They really catch the wily country boy rhythms.

Spartacus: Blood and Sand - This series, completed and replaced by the just beginning Spartcus: Vengence, is pretty much the ultimate in exploitation of sex and gore in the service of attracting attention. But a funny thing happened on the way to the orgy. They managed to create some excellent and affecting stories and characters, all couched in a heavily-styled quasi-Elizabethan dialogue that's really quite delightful. It's an odd juxtaposition, kind of like Milch's uses of profanity in Deadwood. It raises the show above its own lurid presentation. It is everything the old HBO series Rome tried to be and failed.

Luck - Oh yeah, baby. The master of awesome dialogue seems to be in good form. It's still early, but I think The Milch is going to nail this one. Like all his work, it's clearly going to be a slow build. Probably multiple episodes before you even have a full grip on the universe. But it's going to be beautiful. Watching Milch after watching any other show is like hearing Brahms after leaving a loud nightclub. It's already been picked up for a second seaosn. Did I mention that I'm reading all about the art and science of gambling on thoroughbreds just so I can keep up?

30 Rock - On the downside we have this show. It's pretty abd. I've only seen a few episodes, mostly because the reruns come on right after Big Bang Theory, and I am occasionally too slothful to reach for the remote. The acting is atrocious. The comedy completely unfunny. From what I've seen it's a bad show with bad ratings yet it creates all kinds of journalistic buzz, apparently because of the numerous US Magazine-level celebrities who play roles. In that sense it bears a strong similarity to Jersey Shore. This is what I mean when I say I hate paying for things I don't watch.