Posted by: kfugrip | June 15, 2007

Quick one about TV

So this is my first TV post.  It shouldn’t be the first of many but you never know.  With the premiere of Big Love season II and John from Cincinnati on HBO this past Sunday I felt moved to write a bit about it.

Big Love is the show about a polygamist Mormon family living in secrecy in the decidedly anti-polygamist world of Utah.  I am a fan of the show.  I care about the characters and I find the world they live in interesting.  The best thing about this show is that it is the polar opposite of Entourage.

Entourage is a show about people who live the sweet life and there is rarely any conflict and never any that lasts more than a couple of episodes.  I don’t count the “what-movie-should-we-do” element that runs over the seasons because as a viewer of that show you know that they are going to make a movie and that, even if it’s unsuccessful, they will be fine.  What is the point of a show without conflict?  I don’t even watch it anymore.  I caught the end of an episode recently where the director of their new movie wanted to shoot the movie in Spanish… I guess that’s conflict.

Big Love is nothing but conflict.  Like any good drama every scene deals with a different thread of the character’s lives, and there is conflict present in everything they do.  That’s drama, people.  That’s what good television should be about.  Sopranos is so successful for this reason.  It isn’t just the mafia element that makes that show a hit.  It’s the conflict.  Tony’s life is difficult and fraught with danger, and so is Bill’s.

John from Cincinnati is HBO’s newest show.  I will not try to summarize it here but I will say that the first episode wasn’t a home run for me.  The dialogue is stylized, which could grow on me, but the literary nature of it (s0me would say the opposite) combined with the surfer lingo made it difficult to follow at points.  The characters were cartoonish but I find the idea of a gifted family, even if its gifted at surfing, and their problems interesting.  I can see the dramatic possibilities in the characters.  The supernatural parts were also interesting but the character of John, and his bizarre behavior, could wear thin if there is not evolution.  In all I will watch the next couple of episodes to see if they hit a rhythm when they started shooting the episodes.  The pilot was okay.  I don’t know if this show is going to make it but it gives me something to watch for now.

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Responses

  1. my 2 cents (though nobody asked for it).

    it sucked.

    the creators of this show (and by that i include writers, producers, directors, and to a lesser extent the actors) tried so hard to make everything so cool, that it failed miserably at acutally being cool. that’s the thing about true badass coolness…if you want it and try for it, you will never actually achieve it (which is why i will never truly be cool…because i want it SO bad). this show definitely suffers from being in love with itself and because of that will never actually be badass. there were a couple funny genius things (like the armed mega millons winner) but overall it seemed forced and fake with overacting all over the place. i suppose they could find their rhythm and make it work (many shows when you look back to the pilot have that awkwardness that is borderline unwatchable) but i just don’t care enough to give it a go. what the hell do i care about the scruffy luke perry character, and the overacting “supposed to be hot” gramma character, and the bizarre john (from cincinatti) who was most annoying of all. oh, i almost forgot – what the hell do i care about the mysterious “hot blonde” on the beach that in reality looks like any other blonde girl in the world and will probably be uberfamous in two minutes. i agree with adam that a story about a gifted family of surfers is a pretty great concept and i would definitely tune in to watch that show, but not this “i’m so cool becaue i’m about surfers” show.

    besides, HBO will just cancel it anyway, like Carnivale (you bastards), Deadwood, Lucky Louie, and Rome…why bother getting invested…I’m already risking myself with my love of Big Love, which of course will be cancelled any moment now…


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