08-27-10 - TV Reviews

"Red Riding" is outrageously good. Like maybe the best short series ever on TV good.

"Treme" is outrageously bad. Like so bad that it makes me lose all faith in Simon, and makes me wonder if "The Wire" actually is good or if I was part of some collective delusion. It's a mess of characters I don't really care about, each with their own uninteresting unrealistic story. It's just awful writing, and everything feels so forced, it's just screaming "look how new orleans this is" all the time.

Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex (the series) is really damn good. I like it way better than the movies, for example; the movies are obviously prettier, but also pretty vapid. The series is meaty, and totally sucks you in. Especially in "2nd Gig" it really gets rolling where after each episode you just have to immediately watch the next one to see what happens next. Every once in a while there's an episode that's not part of the main story line which is supposed to flesh out one of the side characters (Pozu, Saito, Tokosa) and those can be real stinkers. The episodes on the main story line are the good ones.

I rather enjoyed the "Jesse Stone" series, I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit. It's definitely very cheesy, mild, CBS fare that would please your grandma, but I found it had a really nice tone, a quietness, a really well crafted mood. There's a slowness to it, the camera hangs on scenery. In many ways it reminds me of the "Wallander" series which I also liked (though Wallander is much better). Both are basically terrible stereotypical cop stories. Oh, the cop is an alcoholic, has emotional demons, trouble with his ex-wife, he doesn't follow the rules, has trouble with the chief, has hunches, but he's great at what he does. How fucking cliche and boring. Both shows are saved by the light. The light is like another actor, a presence that pervades everything. In Wallander it's the thin, bright, sideways Swedish light. In Jesse Stone it's the clouds and fog and darkness, with shafts breaking through. The first few Jesse Stones are the good ones, the later ones are pretty weak.

Yikes, one nightmare I'd like to forget is "Gavin and Stacey". Sometimes I randomly grab something because it is high rated on Metacritic TV. Lately I have not been doing well with the British imports. "Gavin and Stacey" is like some awful modern Married with Children, where they're just crass awful people and that's supposed to be funny for some reason. "Ideal" was about some fat guy who talks with his mouth closed and smokes pot a lot and nothing funny ever happens.

I've been watching a bit of "Twin Peaks" ; I never saw it originally. It holds up surprisingly well. I think it's because the show always had a sort of weird cheesy sitcom/soap-opera gone horribly wrong vibe to it, and the dated production and video look go along with that. It's very inconsistent. I find that the episodes that were actually directed by David Lynch are really good, really creepy and ominous and exciting, but then the other episodes just get really boring. Lynch crafts these moments that are just so weird, but they're actually really little things that he does. One scene that really struck me was when Cooper is lying on the floor and the old man waiter at the hotel comes in and just keeps talking about the glass of milk, and the scene just keeps going and going and Lynch draws it out and nothing is really happening but you get more and more creeped out.

1 comment:

Gilles said...

God bless you, now I have some material to pass the time. Probably I will start with Red Riding. Thanks.

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