Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Vital Update on My TV Viewing Habits

I was cleaning out space on my DVR (the modern digital analog of the VCR, which as Douglas Adams so deftly noted is a labor-saving device that "watched tedious television for you"), so here's where I am with the summer TV lineup. (May contain nuts. And spoilers.)

"The Last Ship" (TNT) -- Silly as all hell, and enough plot holes to sink the USS Nathan James, but the close-combat fight scenes are very nicely done. Status: Still lasting, but only half-watching until the fight scenes.

"The Strain" (FX) -- Also pretty silly, but still watchable. I like how the show's New York City has gone from complete vampire-denial, to the stringing up of decapitated corpses on Staten Island. I was about to make a similar comment on how much son Zach has grown, even though only a few weeks have passed on the show, but I see he was replaced after season 1 with another actor. He seems older, more sullen, and irritating. Carl, is that you? Get in the house! Status: Still watching, but not straining. Goes good with meal prep.

"Tyrant" (FX) -- I like it, even though I'm still hoping that Barry wins power, then gradually turns heel and becomes a tyrant himself. (I mean, the parallels with Bashar al-Assad weren't exactly subtle. But maybe having an Americanized protagonist break bad like that doesn't work, even on basic cable.)

The latest episodes pretty suddenly introduces the show's version of Islamic State/Daesh, then turns Barry into an insurgent. We'll see how that goes. And when will Barry's daughter get some plot lines? She's like the female version of Bobby Draper from "Mad Men." Status: Still watching, usually while editing photos.

"Killjoys" (Syfy) -- I tried. Really, I tried. But I just couldn't care anymore, and if I wanted to watch "Firefly," I'd just watch "Firefly." Status: Killed joy.

"Dark Matter" (Syfy) -- I tried. Not as hard as with "Killjoys", but I still tried. Not even Agent Curtis could save my interest in the show. (He's still on "The Strain," though.) Status: Doesn't matter.

"Hannibal" (NBC) -- (Boy, not a lot of network TV shows here.) I'm not caught up, mostly because you actually have to watch the show when you watch the show. Status: Still watching. Still cancelled.

"Defiance" (Syfy) -- This is a show that I'm still watching, and I'm not sure why. (Also, see below.) A lot of turnover in the cast since last season. And while I like Lee Tergesen in his scenery-chewing turn as a marauding general, they're really dragging out this season's impending invasion of the town. Status: No wordplay, no idea why I'm still watching. But I am.

"Falling Skies" (TNT) -- This show has been on for five seasons. Five. I've been half-watching since almost the beginning (I still haven't seen the first episode, which annoys me), and I haven't stopped watching. I think it's because I just want to see how it ends, but I'm not sure if that's because of or in spite of the soapiness of the writing. (Blonde arch-nemesis! Brother love triangle! Pope's heel turn!) Oh, and Mira Sorvino seemed perpetually confused that she was on the show. Status: Watching for the fall. Or the fold. As in "while folding laundry."

"Humans" (AMC) -- I almost skipped this show. I'm glad I didn't, it's much better than I expected. Status: Still watching.

"Mr. Robot" (USA) -- Technically, I'm not watching "Mr. Robot" yet, because it's piling up on my DVR. But I'm hoping I'll get to it. Status: Planning on watching.

"Married" (FX) -- I think this is the only sitcom I watch right now. And it's not really a sitcom. I mean, it's more comedy than a dramedy. Maybe it's a "com-a." No, that won't work. Anyway, it's a pretty easy lift and low commitment, since it's only a 22-minute half-hour sitcom. (Fun fact: I think I'm older than everyone on the show except Paul Reiser. Actually, that's wrong -- John Hodgman has me by a year.) Status: Watching.

Anyway, after writing this, I see I could pretty much cut the cable cord if I could get FX, USA, AMC, Syfy, and TNT. (Add in Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, and FXX, and that would pretty much be it, outside of PBS, which I could get over the air.) I'll have to see how that might work.

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