Category Archives: Television

Winging It

Press Secretary CJ Cregg
So in addition to Buffy and Angel and The L Word and The X-Files and The Simple Life and Millennium and Dallas and Dynasty and Firefly and Nip/Tuck and The Surreal Life and Queer as Folk and Sex and the City and others I am probably forgetting, for someone who “doesn’t watch TV” (and I really don’t!! only TV on DVD), I sure have a lot of television shows I am obsessed with.

Add to that: The West Wing.

A couple of weeks ago one of my friends (who is a huge fan of the show) mentioned that he thought I would like it. I’ve always been leery of contemporary network television, but for some reason I figured I would listen to him. He brought over season one on DVD and after watching the first episode with him, I was hooked.

Last Sunday we did an 11-episode marathon, finishing season one and getting two episodes into season two. I haven’t watched any episodes since Sunday, and I’m definitely going through withdrawal, though I doubt I’ll watch any more episodes until Friday, at the earliest — what to do??

I think what I love about the show is that it’s a combination of two things I love: politics and media. I’m a total news geek, so not only do a lot of the story lines ring true (either inspired by or based on real events), but then we see how the behind-the-scenes people have to deal with the media fall-out.

Due to that media aspect of the show, CJ Cregg is by far my favorite character. I just love her energy, her coldness (but at the same time her vulnerability), her tallness, her dry sense of humor — everything about her. And despite the fact she makes out with that reporter Danny Concannon in season one, I still think/hope she is a lesbian (how that would do anything for me, I don’t know — I just want her to be a lesbian for some reason).

My second favorite character is Leo McGarry. He is so calm and collected, it’s just awesome. Especially during season one when those goddamn conservatives are going after him for his previous drug and alcohol abuse — he reacts to things so well and is so dignified.

Also, I hate it when Leo and CJ fight — which they have done a few times. It kills me. I would rather that they make babies (even though it would ruin my CJ-as-a-lesbian thing).

Watching the show also makes me wonder if the current administration (or an administration in the future) shouldn’t turn the Oval Office into a reality show. I mean, people are already cynical and disillusioned with the American government, so why not give it a more human face? Frankly, I am really surprised that the popularity of The West Wing hasn’t made the American public, in general, more interested in politics.

Starting a new television obsession is going to be a daunting task, I know… and the fact that it is currently on network television almost makes me tempted to watch it live (which would make it the first television show that I watch during it’s actual season since The X-Files back in 2000). I know that the upcoming season will see a new president come in, so that might be a good time to start watching. I’m not sure. We’ll see how I feel after seasons two and three and four (which are all available on DVD now).

Double Ds

What is it about primetime soap operas that make me love them so much? The double-crossing? The affairs? The oil businessmen? The absurdity? I just can’t say. Today I started watching season one of Dynasty and I’m hooked — just like Dallas and Knots Landing before them.

But seriously, Dynasty is hardcore. Maybe more hardcore than Dallas? I’m not sure.

All I know is that during the three-part first episode there was a scene between Blake Carrington and his son Steven that was so hardcore I’m still recovering.

It turns out that Steven may be gay (though, by episode four, his interactions with Claudia seem to indicate otherwise). Being 1981, this is a major problem for his dad, a super-rich oil tycoon (how original, yah?). During their argument, Blake breaks-out some philosophy!

I’m about as Freudian as you could hope for in a capitalist exploiter of the working classes…

After that statement, Blake goes on to tell Steven that he understands that Steven’s homosexual experiences may cause hostility toward his father, but that, ultimately, Steven is still a faggot. He also laments the fact that the American Psychiatric Association had declassified homosexuality as an illness and that he won’t have an opportunity to open a homosexuality treatment center in his son’s name.

Granted, the fact that Steven is gay is a major problem and it (so far) isn’t accepted at all, but I still think it’s a pretty brave thing for 1981. The same issues crop up in television shows today with only a smidgen more of acceptance.

In addition to being gay, however, Steven also appears to be a bit of a socialist. During the aforementioned fight (as I recall), Steven accuses his father of selling-out his own country in order to develop oil resources abroad and complains that the country is too dependent on natural resources and should focus on renewable energy. His sister, Fallon, however, is totally opposite and quite willing to make “a dollar and a half” using her father’s money and business.

Dallas (which debuted a few years earlier) that it feels extremely unoriginal. For some reason I can’t stop imagining Blake’s new wife Krystle as Pam Ewing (both being unaccustomed to their husband’s wealth and status). And for some reason I keep seeing Cliff Barnes in Matthew. I also see Lucy in Fallon because both seem somewhat sexual and very close to their rich uncle/father. Confusing Ray Crebs (Dallas‘ farmhand) and Mike (the driver) is the only one that really makes sense.

Anyway, I can’t say yet whether I like Dynasty or Dallas more so far. I’m inclined to say Dallas since it spun-off into Knots Landing (and I loved Knots Landing as a kid) and since I know my mom likes Dallas as well. Nonetheless, Dynasty is way hardcore and I’m loving it for the time being.

You Can’t Take the Sky From Me

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Buffy and Angel fan. That said, I don’t really fall into that category of fan who thinks that Joss Whedon is the smartest and most talented man in the world. Yea, I love Buffy and Angel and I am one of the few people who don’t hate Alien: Resurrection, but whatever.

That said, I decided to pretend being a Whedon obsessee by purchasing his short-lived televsion show Firefly the other week.

It took me a while to get into the series — and I’m still about six or so episodes from finishing it — but now that I’ve had time to really get to know the characters and whatnot, I gotta say that it’s pretty damn good.

Specifically, the back-to-back (but unrelated) episodes “Out of Gas” and “Ariel” are some of the finest ever.

I loved how “Out of Gas” showed how Mal met all of the crew members… it’s always nice to see backstory, so I was a fan of seeing how people ended up on Serenity. I also loved the three narrative threads: one showing past (meeting the crew), one showing present (how the ship became damaged and why people left), and future (Mal attempting to fix Sereneity). It was both suspenseful and informational.

As for “Ariel,” I can’t really say why I loved it without giving much away — and I don’t want to give anything away. That said, let me just say that the ending (the last three minutes) really disappointed me. Oh well. I’m curious to see how the events of “Ariel” change things going forward.

Go J.R. Ewing!

J.R. Ewing
While trying to find an article that fleshes out the similarities between the evil J.R. Ewing from the television series Dallas, I found this article: “Larry Hagman slams US president over Iraq.” Dude, Larry Hagman (who played J.R. on Dallas) is fucking hard-core!

Look at this quote:

JR Ewing in the Dallas series, said Bush was a “sad figure: not too well educated, who doesn’t get out of America much. He’s leading the country towards facism.” … When asked whether Bush would appreciate his accusation, Hagman replied: “It’s all the same to me, he wouldn’t understand the word facism anyway.”

So yeah, Larry Hagman basically called the president a facist. Daaaamn!


Eliza Dushku as Tru Davies
As a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, I must admit that the fact that Eliza Dushku decided to go off and do her own television show (Tru Calling) and not reprise her role as Faith on Buffy for a spin-off series made me quite sad. Faith is, by far, my favorite character in the Buffyverse and I would’ve loved to see her with her own show.

Nonetheless, I must say that Tru Calling isn’t so bad. Granted, it’s no Joss Wheadon masterpiece, but it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I wouldn’t say that I’m a huge fan or that I like it more than Angel or even Buffy, but it is better than most television shows I’ve watched.

The first few episodes were pretty lame. They all had basically the same plot formula: Within the first twelve minutes shows someone dies an untimely death. Then Tru (who works at a morgue) encounters their body and the dead person asks for her help. There is a neato little special effect that sort of flashes the entire previous day backward, and Tru wakes up in bed (usually someone calls her on the phone to wake her up, it seems) and gets a chance to do the day over again, this time trying to save the dead person who she doesn’t know.

Yes, it does sound a little boring… and it sort of is… but I can’t help feeling as if there is something big coming later in the season (so far I’m only eight episodes [two dvds] into it). I know that Jason Priestley shows up around episode 18 and things get more bizzare and complicated, so for the time being I’m just going to hold tight. The characters totally have me hooked and, like I said, I’m expecting some big conspiracy or something that makes the show a little less stand-alone-episode and more arch-driven (like X-Files and Angel seasons three and four).

So far my favorite episodes have been “Brother’s Keeper” (about her brother’s new girlfriend and her shady history), “Star Crossed” (about a scandalous realtionship at a prep school) and “Morning After” (about Tru’s attempt at throwing a housewarming party at her apartment and her troubles with an ex-boyfriend). I’m also intrugued by the strange mention of her father in “Closure” and hope something becomes of that.

I’m adding the rest of the season onto my Netflix, so hopefully soon I’ll have more to talk about. Oh, according to Tru the show has been canceled, so don’t expect to watch it on television…