The Shows: Early January Edition

So I’m probably not the best for this column anymore since I got rid of my Dish. Which means I know only watch shows that I bit torrent or else show up on Netflix years later. Still there is a bit of news. Feel free to chime in yourself.

SherlockFirst up if you haven’t been watching the BBC’s Sherlock shame on you. For those of you who didn’t watch it last year this is the famous detective living in contemporary London. The season this year (also short) is even better than last year. They’ve been updating some of Doyle’s most famous stories in very creative ways. Sunday had the Hounds of the Baskerville (still available for play at BBC). Before that we had a very interesting take on Irene Adler. This Sunday we have a take on the story where Doyle actually killed Holmes (only to be forced to bring him back). It’s his confrontation with Moriarty: The Reichenbach Fall. Seriously you need to watch these. Great acting. Very creative direction. They are far better than the recent films (although I liked those too)

If you’ve been missing your Justified fix the season premier is on the 17th — just scant days away. Most interesting they are bringing in a thinly veiled return of Karen Sisco played by the same actress: Carla Gugino. They changed the name somewhat but everything I’ve been hearing is that it’s close to the same character only 10 years older.

Last season’s Justified wasn’t quite as good as the first season. I appreciated that they tried to shake it up a bit more however a few elements just felt forced. Still the villains were fantastic and it remains the best show on TV in my opinion. I really appreciate that they aren’t trying to stick to a fixed formula that has made so many other good shows stale.

Not exactly TV news but the movie version of 24 starts filming next month. Let’s hope it’s better than the last few seasons of 24. I love the character but man, talk about being stuck into a stale format. Still I think the first season of 24 remains one of the best things in TV history.

I’ve not been following a lot of shows. However I’ve heard from several people that AMC’s poorly received Hell on Wheels has actually become quite good. So I may be downloading the episodes to check out.

In case you missed it Community has been cancelled. (Edit: Apparently not) As I said way back in my Jump the Shark entry most new shows this year and even a lot of returning shows have plain sucked. I mentioned this when I made my decision to get rid of my Dish. It was made much easier by so much TV just being plain bad. I wasn’t missing a lot. Now I can get caught up on all the movies I’ve missed!

That said there are several new shows coming up. Fox has an animated Napoleon Dynamite. The series starts Jan 15th (yes – this week) I’m not quite sure what to think about it yet. The buzz is that it’s pretty bad though.

Alcatraz starts on the 16th and looks like it might be interesting. It’s an other “big conspiracy” show. Since Fringe appears to not be long for this world this might make up for it’s passing. Alcatraz is getting pretty good reviews unlike Person of Interest which seemed a lot more pedestrian than expected.

Speaking of Fringe Fox execs have been talking about how expensive the show is and how they are losing money on it. Not exactly the kiss of death but about as close as we’re likely to get until the cancelation is announced. Hopefully the producers have had enough warning with Fringe so they can wrap things up. Fringe returns on the 18th. I’ve really loved this season although I know a few fans have been turned off. (Which probably accounts for the dropping ratings) Supposedly there’s a pretty good chance House will be cancelled too. I have to admit I gave up on House this season.

In other new series news Kiefer Sutherland returns in Touch about a semi-autistic kid who is an genius who can see patterns no one else can. Sutherland plays the child’s father. Danny Glover also is in it. I’ve not heard much about this one other than it’s from the team that brought us Heroes. Which isn’t exactly auspicious considering how that went.

Life’s Too Short comes to HBO although I suspect many of you have watched it on the internet since most of the episodes have been widely available. That’s the Ricky Gervais faux reality show about little person Warwick Davis. We talked about the show here back in November. It’s pretty funny, but is also one of those show not quite as funny as it thinks it is – if you know what I mean. It’s definitely worth checking out though.

Anything I missed?

16 thoughts on “The Shows: Early January Edition

  1. I just read somewhere that community isn’t really cancelled. Not that we haven’t dumped it anyway…

  2. Community isn’t cancelled. It’s in hiatus and will return in the spring. The fourth season is up in the air.

    If you’re not watching Downton Abbey, you’re really missing out. Watch all seven season 1 episodes on Netflix, then hurry and get caught up. Season 2 is a bit depressing (WWI and all that) and a tad more on the soapy side, but it’s still some of the best writing and acting you’ll see on TV.

  3. “Last season’s Justified wasn’t quite as good as the first season.”

    You’re out of your mind.

    We kind of bailed on Top Chef this year. None of the “chef-testants” are all that interesting and the talent seems lacking.

    Does anyone watch “Raising Hope”. My brother says it’s his favorite comedy right now and I’ll probably give it a look soon. All episodes are on Netflix.

  4. Hey Tim, I didn’t say it wasn’t fantastic. But the first season was amazing. But the whole “my wife stole the money from the evidence impound” subplot in hindsight was a bit much. Some of Boyd’s rapid transitions were a bit much too. Loved the rest. There were truly some great episodes and as I said it’s by far my favorite show.

    I could have sworn I heard Community was canceled. My bad.

    If you can’t figure away around the BBC’s blocking American viewers from their website it will be broadcast on PBS this summer and will presumably show up in all the standard streaming sites next fall.

  5. Community is still awesome. We’ve been re-watching seasons 1 and 2 on DVD and have been loving it. And season 3 has had some classics. Community’s best episodes are amazing. The main weakness with the show is that it isn’t as consistently great as something like Arrested Development. But I think Community’s best episodes (they have about 4-5 great ones per season) are as good as or better than Arrested Development’s best.

    Downton Abbey is a little soapy? I consider it a full-on soap. But it’s a very compelling and well-done soap. I suppose it is elevated a little bit by its ambition to say important things about both history and contemporary society.

  6. Great news about Community and the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes is a lot of fun. Sometimes a little heavy-handed with its own audacity but still great television.

  7. BBC’s “Sherlock” has become must-see TV for me, and I’m glad people are starting to appreciate it for being very well done quality TV. I thought “The Hound of the Baskervilles” was a bit weak compared to “A Scandal in Belgravia,” which I absolutely loved.

    Good to hear “Hell on Wheels” is picking up. I really love what AMC does with their television, and it’s odd to hear them having a flub for a TV show.

    I don’t know what it was, but I couldn’t get into Community during Season 3 compared to previous seasons. Am I missing something? Did I need to give it another chance, other than 3-4 episodes in?

  8. Part of the problem with Community is that it’s often spoofing certain genres of film or specific films, and if you’re not familiar with what they’re spoofing, it’s not as funny.

    Raising Hope is pretty funny, but only because of the parents. The son is lame and his storylines are usually lame. The parents are funny though and I can often relate to them, since I had kids really young and have never really grown up, myself.

  9. I have to admit I liked the Baskerville one better than the Scandal one. Although I loved both in terms of how they played with the original stories. How the bunny popped up in Baskerville was great. Although in both minor side cases become important.

    BTW there’s a nice writeup on Alcatraz on Slate.

    The premise: In 1963, just as Alcatraz Island was closing as a federal prison, its inmates vanished as if hoovered out of this dimension by a paranormal vacuum, and the Bureau of Prisons managed to keep this on the down low. Four decades later, the disappeared prisoners are rematerializing to settle personal scores and to nudge along a grand scheme, presumably nefarious, though the series’ debut is sketchy about its aims.

  10. AICN has up an interesting discussion of how Frank Darabont planned to open season 2 of The Walking dead. It sure sounds vastly superior to what we got. It starts with a flashback to the fall of Atlanta.

    We’d start with a squad of maybe seven or eight soldiers being dropped into the city by chopper. They have map coordinates they need to get to; they’ve been told to report to a certain place to provide reinforcement. It’s not a special mission, it’s basically a housekeeping measure putting more boots on the ground to reinforce key intersections and installations throughout the city. And we follow this group from the moment the copter sets them down. All they have to do is travel maybe a dozen blocks, a simple journey, but what starts as a no-brainer scenario goes from “the city is being secured” to “holy s***, we’ve lost control, the world is ending.”

    Of course even season 1 had lots of issues. But the last season was enough to make me flee.

  11. Are you guys going to do a write up of each Justified episode again? I for one am hoping that you will bring that back.

  12. I’d like to Jacob, but I haven’t even seen this week’s yet. Since I no longer have a regular TV I bit torrent them or watch on the web site.

    BTW – a few people emailed me about bit torrent. Sorry I’ve been so busy and couldn’t respond. I use XTorrent which tells which torrents are live. If you just download a torrent it doesn’t mean it’s actually functional. Most aren’t.

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