season pass

Things to do before the writers' strike takes its toll:

    Loving these:

      Pushing Daisies

    Mostly enjoying these:

      Robot Chicken

    Awaiting more of:

      Battlestar Galactica
      Venture Brothers
      Doctor Who

    Why am I still watching this shit:

      Stargate Atlantis
      Bionic Woman
      Blood Ties
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Current Music: jwz mixtape 003

59 Responses:

  1. tjcrowley says:

    It's interesting to note that the only writer's guild on strike is the WGA -- that is, the American writer's guild. The Canadian and British guilds are still going strong, so the BBC productions and things produced in Canada are not affected. A writer friend of mine actually is spending the next month in Canada writing for MASTERS OF HORROR -- he joined the Canadian guild last year and is really happy with that move right now.

  2. lilmissnever says:

    Please explain how Journeyman is not Quantum Leap.

  3. jmissig says:

    I completely agree with this list.

    Except I managed to escape from watching everything on your "Why am I still watching this shit" list and I'm not a fan of Lost.

    Californication, Weeds, and Dexter are wonderful and have convinced me to never go without premium cable again.

    I didn't like Journeyman after the first episode, but after a handful I've been liking it more than this season of Heroes.

    • skreidle says:

      We liked Weeds enough that we've been paying for downloads, which is far cheaper than the $33/mo we were paying to have Showtime.

      • ommadawn says:

        If you like Weeds, find Ideal from BBC on torrents.

        Check out Corner Gas (on its 4th season as a CBC original and about to be introduced to the States via WGN), a sitcom about a gas station and diner out in the middle of nowhere in Saskatchewan which has had several high government officials including the Prime Minister of Canada as cameos. I understand this is huge in Canada; everyone I've introduced has loved it.

        Another cute one from CBC is Little Mosque on the Prairie.

        And if you like "Fish out of water" shows, "Flight of the Conchords" shows a couple of Kiwi musicians making their way in NYC. Recent emigre's to NZ of my acquaintance says that the depiction is spot on of the folks they've met. I think this one is on HBO or Showtime.

  4. fu3dotorg says:

    Weeds was good, but it seems like it shat itself some time during S02 and forgot to flush..

    Hm, as for the others . . . I think I saw McGuyver in SG Atlantis, that's all I know.

    Must be American for full enjoyment, I suppose, which is my loss.

  5. ultranurd says:

    I think I'm just too lazy to delete Bionic Woman from EyeTV's recording list, so when a new episode shows up, I watch it anyway.

    I've been enjoying Chuck, and kind of enjoying Reaper.

  6. skreidle says:

    We like Bionic Woman, haven't watched any of the others from the last category. (Used to watch SG:A and SG-1 with my last roommate, but that was several seasons ago.)

    • superbacana says:

      Spooks is a 24 knock-off with less tension and originality, but the same level of gaping holes in the plot. The big drama in the Season 1 finale was based on a premise that made no sense at all. I haven't watched any seasons after that.

      • strangehours says:

        Spooks has improved, season on season, for 5 years. 24 on the other hand remains a one trick pony that's becoming more and more morally dubious as time goes by. As for originality, come back when 24 *doesn't* have at least 4 entire series devoted to terrorists and weapons of mass destruction.

        • robsoft says:

          I would mostly agree with that, but the current series of Spooks is becoming a bit, well, daft really.

          The previous 2 series were great, but I'm not enjoying the new one (being shown in the UK at the moment) anywhere near as much.

      • babasyzygy says:

        The thing about Spooks is that most of the individuals are appropriately suspicous about everybody - they know that they're in the espionage game, and when they lose it's because the bad guys are more devious. Being the main character does not protect anybody from certain (if dramatic) death and it's understood that spies who live to an old age are rare, very clever, and deeply paranoid.

        The thing about 24 is that everybody trusts everybody else and lose because they were too trusting. Jack Bauer is immortal, has been screwed dozens of times by people who he never bothered to question, has had many people close to him killed as a result, yet is happy to turn around and once again trust anybody with a badge. At least, that was still the case when I stopped watching a year and a half ago.

        • edouardp says:

          As always, it's Star Trek vs Blakes 7.

          The American one is about being on the side of right, about pulling together as a team, and about a winning in the end against the common enemy. The British one is about corrupt power, double-crosses by friends and foes alike, and everyone dying at the end after a losing struggle against insurmountable odds. Successfully Protecting Utopia vs Unsuccessfully Fighting Dystopia.

          To be honest I'm not a Spooks or 24 fan. The last 24 I watched was the "Jack's Back! On Smack!" one, whichever season that was.

  7. ivorjawa says:

    What, no House?
    I think you'll enjoy his special brand of cranky.

    • jwz says:

      As a general rule, I don't watch shows about doctors, lawyers or cops.

      Yes, that eliminates 90% of television. That's why.

      • fu3dotorg says:

        Have you tried this? - Thought you might like it even though it's fundamentally crappy..

      • ivorjawa says:

        I can't really disagree with you there -- and similar feelings kept me from watching House for two years while people told me I needed to see it.

        But the show is Hugh Laurie being a caustic curmudgeonly bastard. That it's nominally a Doctor Drama is only incidental to this. It's worth spending the 42 minutes to watch an episode.

      • elliterati says:

        I generally completely agree. However, I was flipping past Fox one evening, and paused because, "hey, isn't that Massive Attack? What the hell show is using Massive Attack for a theme?"

        Then, I kept watching because "hey, isn't that the guy from Blackadder?"

        Then, I kept watching because, "holy crap, he's the biggest dick I've ever seen on TV!"

        Within two episodes, it was set permanently in my DVR. It's possibly my favorite show, maybe just after Battlestar Galactica and Lost.

        Bionic Woman, incidentally, got removed after the third episode.

      • babasyzygy says:

        Add me to the voices recommending House despite hating doctor dramas. He's a brilliant, deeply dysfunctional guy who amuses himself by rubbing his innate superiority in everybody's face in various clever yet juvenile ways. He's a functional addict and simply doesn't give a shit about it as long as no one fucks with his supply.

        Dr. House would be at home in CMU's CS department.

        Hmm. Maybe you wouldn't enjoy it.

        • gryazi says:

          Hugh Laurie looks a lot like my HS bio teacher. House acts a lot like my HS bio teacher (although mine was an ex-SEAL, not a functioning addict). This is freaky but also lends it a certain sort of realism re: the "special sort of cranky" of people trying to solve problems under pressure.

          Even if the actual problems are delightfully case-study-like and laid out as whatdoneits for bio nerds and premeds to guess at.

          It's also sort of fun to see FOX delving into hard scientific reality considering the type of people they got elected.

      • edouardp says:

        90%? I think you are forgetting Reality TV. Or perhaps you are trying to forget Reality TV. That would be fair enough...

        House, however, is worth watching, as long as you realise the point is to see Hugh Laurie play House.

    • I like House although I have issues with some of the medical stuff. E.g. a patient presents with black-dot rash and no one suggests dioxin poisoning. E.g. an amnesiac picks up a scalpel, rubs Vicks around his nostrils, and no one suggests he might be a coroner.

    • charles says:

      House, the character, is great. Hugh Laurie plays him brilliantly, and it's fun to watch the writers toy with the fact that you're always expecting them to lose their nerve and give him some redeeming feature, and just when you think he's almost there he'll do something despicable to prove you wrong.

      The show, on the other hand, is 90% crap. The supporting characters are ciphers, and nobody can get around the fact that a disease just doesn't make a good whodunnit villain. Whodunnits work because the suspects are all characters. Diseases don't have character, and in House you generally don't even get introduced to the guilty party until the requisite Final Revelation Prompted By Something Seemingly Irrelevant From The B Plot.

      In most episodes, you can tell exactly what's going to happen next in the main plot by looking at the clock. As such, House gets put on my "grab an episode every couple of weeks" list.

    • superbacana says:

      Everyone who only knows Hugh Laurie from House (or Blackadder) should go out and rent the first two seasons of A Bit of Fry and Laurie. So very funny. Here are a few favorite clips:

      (this is not from the show, but is from the two of them:

  8. starjewel says:

    Based on what you listed before, I thought you might like Jekyll, assuming you didn't catch it when it was on BBCA.

    • injector says:

      The first series (season) Jekyll was excellent. No spoilers, but the pre-credit gambit of the final episode has to be one of the most entertaining things I've seen in a TV show in a recent memory.

  9. mark242 says:

    Recommendations for additional Tivo drive space:

    - Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations
    - Top Gear
    - Dirty Jobs
    - Planet Earth
    - Fearless Planet
    - The Office
    - Reno 911

  10. killbox says:

    I think NBC's "Chuck", may be the most geek-tastic show this side of the IT Crowd.

  11. ciphergoth says:

    How did "Lost" escape your "Why am I still watching this shit?" list? I mean, I'll start watching Season 4 as soon as it comes out, but I'll do it with a sense of deep self-loathing that I continue to cling to the ridiculous hope that the writers have any better idea what's happening than I do.

  12. robsoft says:

    Another vote for House - seriously, Hugh Laurie is genius in it. He gets to be a complete and utter bastard, and is clearly having a ball doing so. You can watch this without having to pay too much attention to the whole doctor/hospital thing.

    Lost - yep.
    Heroes - yep.
    Doctor Who - yep.
    Californication - is growing on me.
    Spooks is okay but sometimes it's so far-fetched and tenuous that my disbelief becomes unsuspended and it all comes crashing down

    we also quite like Numbers although it's pretty contrived
    Top Gear is also great fun but it's only a matter of time before our nanny state shuts it all down

  13. Supernatural isn't too bad if you take it for what it is - cheesy fluff you sit in front of the TV and watch while stuffing your face with fried meat.

    It kind of fills the void left by shows like Angel and (somewhat) X-Files. Angel was also pure cheese and the X-Files was at times as well.

    If you want shows that actually require a brain to watch, that isn't really one of them. It oftentimes feels more like an in-joke with the sci-fi/fantasy Vancouver crowd. If you're not into those type of shows it just won't be your thing.

  14. I watched the first few episodes of Journeyman and then had to delete the season pass. Too many anachronisms. Actually what got me interested in the show in the first place was the promo that showed him dodging a PCC streetcar - but they managed to place that scene in the fairly brief period when there were no PCC cars running in SF!

    I can just imagine the pitch meeting for this show, where the producer talks about how many parts of SF have remained unchanged for decades and with just a little research they could make a map of which streets can be used for which past decades. Then the studio executive says "Time travelling guardian angels! Great! But forget the map stuff, no one gives a shit about that."

  15. babasyzygy says:

    One to recomend...

    I enjoy Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, though the UK version is much better. It's somewhat badly named - it basically consists of Ramsay going in, seeing why a business (a restaurant) is failing and slaps the owner around until they fix the problems (or quit). Sometimes the issue is the kitchen, but often it's stupid marketing, stupid management, or stupid loyalty. There's a lot of stuff that sounds very familiar for people who have run businesses.

    The biggest problem in the US version is that they have to bleep Ramsay every time he says, "fuck," so about a quarter of the show is bleeps. The UK version does not have this problem.

    • edouardp says:

      Gordan Ramsey - yes! I saw the English version of "Kitchen Nightmares", and it was an amazingly concise portrait of a myriad of things that can go wrong with smaller businesses (which is "people" almost all the time). That, and "The Ferocious Mr Fix It" were two programs that everyone running a small to medium business should see. Both were surprisingly compelling.

      I'm also watching "The F Word", which is another of Gordan's shows. Very good as well.

      I watched a bit of the American version of "Hell's Kitchen" the other day though, and didn't like it at all. Too much "US Reality TV" bullshit layered on top of it.

      From what I've heard, Gordan is a much, much bigger prick in real life, and the version of him shown on TV is a really toned down, overly sympathetic one. I vaguely knew a kid growing up who now runs Gordan's NY restaurant, and who just won Gordan two Michelin stars. I'd love to ask him what's it really like, but that's unlikely to happen any time soon.

  16. fantasygoat says:

    I have nothing to add to this list as it pretty much mirrors mine.

  17. staceykaiser says:

    "Pushing Daisies" just seems like too much of a Tim Burton rip off to me.

  18. avatar says:

    Atlantis' season 3 finale and its follow ups were great, but it's really really noticably lacking in the season 4 regular eps, aren't they? I keep watching them in the hopes something good'll come up.

    And I like the Stargate universe, I guess.

  19. silveryblu says:

    It may not be your thing, but I've been compltely hooked on Mad Men on AMC. Season 1 is currently in reruns, and is best to watch from the beginning since it's somewhat serial. We have it TiVo'd if you want it.

    It's a fascinating (fascinating!) glimpse into the culture of 1960: near-constant smoking, boys' club work environment; social taboos that are utterly antiquated now; safety concerns we have now that they totally ignored. There are lots of fun gags around all these things. But the overall tone is kind of sedate, a little dark, even... and I'm really enjoying the character development. There is not a single person you don't either hate or pity. I like that kind of thing (I'm a Vonnegut/Nabokov fan for the same reason!).

    Because it takes place in effectively a different world, there is a lot of... the unexpected.

  20. Yeah... I had trouble getting through the first couple episodes of Blood Ties, so I quit trying after that. I was surprised to find _another_ new vampire/detective show starting up this season: Moonlight, but I haven't even tried that one out.

  21. And what is up with Showtime coming out with all the kick ass shows? I can't get enough of either Dexter or Weeds, and Californication has been pretty cool, too.

    (BTW, doesn't Dexter break the rule about cop shows?)

    • jwz says:

      "It's not so much a rule as a guideline." A firm guideline.

      But no, as Dexter is about a serial killer who happens to be a cop.