Summer 2011, Part 2: TV Reviews

TV Quote: "Who leaves a dead body lying around to be discovered? We never do and we're not exactly the most competent killers." Nathan on Misfits

Favorite Shows That Were New to Me:
Misfits, seasons 1 & 2 (*** 1/2) – Misfits turned out to be a fun show. Five young offenders are doing community service when a freak thunderstorm gives them each a different superpower that deals with their biggest insecurity. So the shy guy can turn invisible and the girl who has trouble getting along with others can now read minds. The show never takes itself too seriously and the fun is more in hanging out with the characters than a "save the world" plot.

The show has a definite British feel to it. The characters are more realistic than in an American show. No one is rich, super smart, drop-dead gorgeous, or super witty, instead they're all realistic young people grappling with how to make friends, date, figure out who they are, and survive difficult times. The humor tends to be more crude and irreverent too.

Each season is only six or seven episodes long and season two starts to add a bit of mythology to the mix and cranks up the fun. [Both seasons 1 and 2 are available to watch for free on Hulu. Because the show has a mature rating, you need to have a free Hulu account to watch.]

Skins, season 5  (*** 1/2) – The third group of Skins teens were a refreshing change from group two.  Each character has interests and personality– some of them are downright adorable.  There's still a disturbing level of drugs, drinking, and theft, but overall the season is testament to friendship and acceptance. [Bought episodes on iTunes.]

Burn Notice, seasons 1 & 2 (***) – Michael Weston loves being a spy.  In the middle of a tense arms deal he finds out he's been "burned" or cut off from all support.  Now he's stuck in Miami doing weekly jobs helping someone "in need" while he slowly unravels the mystery of who burned him and why.
The characters have a refreshing sardonic view on life and are realistically dysfunctional, flawed people who take a lot of pride in doing their job well.  There's a real joy that comes out in the details of their expert conning skills and their ability to make all kinds of gadgets.  The concept started to get a bit tiresome, for me, after the first season.  But I still mostly enjoyed the second season and thought the second season finale would have made a good ending for the show. [ Watched on DVD from Netflix.  Episodes are also available to buy on iTunes.]

Favorite Shows I Rewatched:

Dollhouse (**** 1/2) – The end of season two is really more like a couple seasons worth of events condensed into a few episodes.  It's a bit overwhelming the first time watching but quite satisfying the third time. It's also fun to see how much of the second season is hinted at in the first season. [Watched on Netflix Instant.]

The Vampire Diaries (*** 1/2) – I decided to rewatch the first two seasons while I waited for season three.  I love how this show runs through plot and how the actors have fun with their roles.  Now that's how you do a soap opera! [Bought episodes on iTunes.]

Shows That Pass the Time:
Doctor Who, season 6, part 1 (***) – I mostly enjoy this show, but I can't help feeling that the show's emotional level has reached 11 of 10 one too many times.   Plus, while I like the companions being married this time, I'm a bit tired of Rory whining about how Amy doesn't pay enough attention to him and get annoyed when the Doctor feels he needs to ask Rory permission to hug Amy or talk to her. I was fine with the River Song reveal but would be happier if Steven Moffat time traveled away from his life in the 1950s and just let me enjoy Amy and Rory.  [Rented episodes on iTunes.]

Most Disappointing Shows:

Skins, season 4 (**) – Unfortunately the writers of Skins, season four, took the opposite approach from The Vampire Diaries, making the characters more tedious and unlikeable as the season progressed.  There were one or two enjoyable episodes, including an awesome ukelele orchestra serenade.  Overall though, I never imagined sex, drugs, mental illness, suicide and even murder could be so dull. [Rented episodes on iTunes.]

Camelot (** 1/2) –  The scenery is beautiful and the actors pretty but the plot is a bore.  I enjoyed when the show focused on nation building or ambitious vulnerable Morgan Le Fey,  but found Arthur and his affair with Guinevere dull. [Watched on Netflix Instant.]

The Nine Lives of Chloe King, season 1 (** 1/2) – This summertime story moved a lot slower than a fantasy action-adventure should.  Instead of action we got a lot of slow moving teen soap opera plots with a few cute moments.  Then came the finale and lots of exciting stuff finally happened. [Watched on Hulu.]

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