the new tv season

Battlestar Galactica

    Still the best scifi I've ever seen on television. Pick up the DVDs if you haven't seen the whole thing. I thought the 4-episode intro "miniseries" was good but not great, but seasons 1 and 2 have been consistently awesome.

Lost

    Still enjoying this a lot, though as usual, it's taking a long time to reveal anything. Probably the second-best thing on tv at the moment.

Rome

    Pretty entertaining. It's basically just a soap opera, but it's got a few interesting characters. I'm slightly curious about how historically accurate it is, but on the other hand, if I actually cared, I'd already know.

Weeds

    A story about a pot-dealing suburban mom. It's pretty funny so far, but I'm reserving judgement. I really liked Mary-Louise Parker when she was on the West Wing. (But what's up with her weirdly immobile face? Is that what Botox does?)

And of course, I've wasted a number of hours of my life watching shitty TV so that you don't have to:

Stargate SG-1

    Like I said in my last giant TV post, I thought SG-1 really took a nose-dive in the last 2-3 seasons, especially when they started focusing on the human-form replicators (which is the same catastrophic error Trek made with the Borg: utterly alien intelligences are scary. When you turn them into just another Snidely Whiplash, you've totally blown it.)

    Then the last season finale really stuck a fork in everything they'd been doing for the last ~6 years: the Goa'uld were crushed, the replicators were all dead, meaning the Asgard's war with them is over, meaning their weekly excuse for "why don't the Asgard just fix this for them?" is gone...

    So, they pretty much rebooted at the beginning of this season. The first half of the season was basically "Farscape Invades Stargate", and there's a new Big Bad. It's almost like they're doing a new "spinoff" show but keeping the same name. That works for me.

Stargate Atlantis

    I have upgraded Atlantis from "fucking sucks, I am only watching this because I am a pathetic fanboy" to "mediocre, with occasional pain". Which is to say, this season has been a lot better than last season.

    I despise half the characters, and don't recognise the rest. I cringe every time Vulcan Chick opens her mouth, I want to punch Whiny Scientist Guy every time he speaks, Moody Military Guy Who Is Always Right bores me to fucking tears (do they write him directly from the Cliffs Notes or what? Why is this cardboard cut-out the lead?) and I think the look of the Atlantis set has less charm than most of the cubicle farms I've worked in. I guess I don't mind Russian Scientist Sidekick, because he always has this air of "what the fuck is wrong with you people" about him that I also feel while watching the show. But New Moody Asskicker With The Dreads is kind of entertaining. And they have been keeping the stupid Albino Space Vampires mercifully far in the background lately.

Invasion

    I guess this is just another fucking Invasion of the Body Snatchers clone, this time as a soap opera, but it's got such a slow build that I predict that we're not going to learn a thing about what's really going on for half the season, and frankly, I already don't care. The acting is deplorable. There is a precocious child.

    And -- mark my words -- there will be a Friendly Alien Invader With Second Thoughts. Oh yes.

Night Stalker

    Wow, I thought it couldn't get worse than Invasion. But yes. I may go so far as to say that this has some of the worst writing I've ever seen on TV. Take a drink any time someone says "you're the senior crime reporter!" The first episode had the same basic structure as the first episode of the X Files, so I guess they'll be following that pattern but with stupider ideas and no plausible justification for new-Scully's disbelief. It's smirky and insulting. Bleh.

    It also has just about nothing to do with the original Night Stalker series, which itself wasn't terribly good, but was probably better than this.

Supernatural

    Another X Files ripoff, this time with fratboys who listen to 70s rock. They're following their missing father's Bottomless Notebook of Clues while getting sidetracked into killing monsters and ghosts. Bleh.

Bones

    I guess this is "CSI 90210" or something. The guy from Angel is in it. It's stupid.

Surface

    I guess it's The Abyss as a family values ensemble piece? There's a plague of whales-with-legs coming up to eat people, and the feds are covering it up. Oh, also they shoot lighting and explode. Single Mom and Hick Who Must Know The Truth go on a road trip. Yawn.

American Dad

    Exactly like Family Guy but with less interesting characters. The talking dog is a gay alien, and the idiot father is a Republican who shoots people all the time. Bleh.
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Serenity

I liked Serenity, but it felt rushed. It seemed like they tried to fit the entire second season of Firefly into a single two hour movie. They lost all of the subtlety and ambiguity; pretty much every character's quirks were laid out for you right on the surface. At least some of this was no doubt because they felt the need to have a lot of exposition for the benefit of people who hadn't seen the series, but still, it was annoying.

One of the best aspects of the show was the clever, bantering dialog, and there wasn't too much of that.

It was nice to see the story get (mostly) wrapped up, but I guess it just wasn't terribly satisfying, since I could see how much better it would have been if they'd had half a dozen more episodes to flesh it all out. So I feel like I'm being extra critical of it, not because it's not a good movie (it is) but because it wasn't the second season that it could have been.

Spoilers:

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Book's character was totally wasted. We never ended up getting any backstory about him at all, and he had the potential to be pretty interesting.

The new Reavers origin story ("it was teh drugs!") was much less interesting than the old one ("space madness!") I also found them much less scary than in the series. The very first Reaver attack, on the bank-robbery planet, was really well done (mostly because you hardly saw any of them.) But after that, they just seemed like the Borg's slightly retarded cousin. And in the big, alegedly-climactic space battle, I couldn't tell whose ships were whose. (Sorry, Brian...)

I fully expected the sexbot to be a Buffybot. How could they pass that up!

The "secret radio station hidden on the other side of the Death Star Shaft in the basement" was just total fucking idiocy. Give me a break. That whole scene was intelligence-insulting and a waste of time.

Also, haven't I seen that endgame in another movie? Oh, yes. Hackers.

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