Like many others tv watchers, when I saw Tony Soprano saunter in his bathrobe down his driveway to get the paper, stuff his face with a plate full of Carmela’s pasta, slip a wad of bills in the pocket of a New Jersey councilman, throw the word c#$% sucker around like it’s a “how ya doin?” and I was hooked on a new kind of television. HBO has been my channel for the past decade and it has been shows like “Six Feet Under,” and “The Wire,” that kept me and that keep me believing that good story is still possible on tv. In an age where network shows are little more than shadowy forms of popular shows or movies someone else made so that studio executives can sell more ad space for more money, cable channels like HBO and AMC offer us stories of what it means to be human.
Maybe it helps to see what is crap in order to show us what is good. The only problem is, I don’t watch many or really any, major network shows so I don’t know how big the pile is. Ok, I do watch “Modern Family” but it’s comedy and hilarious. I’m talking here about the dramas; the shows that show us something more about ourselves and evoke both thought and emotion in new an exciting ways. So what is the garbage that seems to fill most viewers precious time they could be spending reading…or blogging?
My limited critique involves the first six episodes of “Revolution.” I have no idea if this show went on to do “great” things this past season or did it fizzle out. After watching the first bit, I’d say fizzle because it started to fizzle shortly after starting. Here is a blatant attempt to repackage the Hunger Games popularity by putting a youngish female star with a “tough exterior” in a post-apocalyptic setting bow in hand. Okay, so it was a crossbow and not a Katniss special but it’s the same. I was into it for the first episode when the “light went out” as the voice over repeated but then it quickly became evident that the writers were told to pad the story to stretch over the 20 or so episodes needed for the full season. I mean, how many hours do we have to watch them try and track down that brother…who has asthma!? I kept watching longer than I should because of Gustavo Fring, I mean Giancarlo Esposito, but he couldn’t carry it. So it goes on the crap pile unless anyone has a better case.
So show me something else out there and tell me why it is good. I am watching the first episode of Netflix’s “House of Cards” and I am interested. It’s American politics I know but could you imaging trying something like this in Ottawa? Harper would probably demand he play himself. It would have to be a satire of some kind. We’ll see how Kevin Spacey does.