Monday, September 26, 2011

TV Through the Ringer

I rarely find myself watching new television these days. I tend to wait for DVD and gorge myself on episodes like a string of candy jewels. One, then another, and another, and another! I have apparently found myself becoming one of those people that tsk tsk-ing commentator columnists says has no attention span and wants every now NOW NOW! Except, I don't want it now; I want it later, but all at once. I'm also more a fan of revisiting old shows, because I at least know what I'm getting myself into and I find myself worrying I devote so much time to a series of television and not enjoying it. With every year comes new shows and many of them will not last longer than a single season, whilst many others won't last longer than a few episodes. It is basically a crap chute as to what ones will last and I'd rather sit and wait. And even then... Boardwalk Empire? Hmm, I'll pass.

While I am definitely interested in 2 Broke Girls, Pan Am and New Girl (as well as finally getting around to Game of Thrones and several others), it was CW's Ringer, however, that I knew I absolutely had to watch from the get go. The idea of our beloved Sarah Michelle Gellar back on a long-form series was something I wanted to be on board with immediately. Having seen the pilot and the second episode, I can say that I am actually a lil bit hooked. It's completely ridiculous and a lot of the enjoyment I have gotten from it is for that very reason rather than anything about craft or acting skill. Gellar is suitably impressive, but I think soon enough she'll truly realise how absurd the whole thing is and be as entertaining as I know she can be. Think season 2 of Melrose Place, when any sense of dramatic realism was thrown out the window for murdering husbands and cheating spouses.

It's funny that the show Ringer most clearly reminded me of was Twin Peaks. I doubt Ringer will ever reach the dense, rich heights of those foreboding mountains of the early 1990s, but that thick soapy residue that David Lynch and Mark Frost trowelled onto their series is very much evident here. And that's part of why I am loving Ringer so much already. It is so deliciously soapy what with its silly identical twin sister plot line, the lush best friend, the cheating wife, the salacious co-worker, assassins and hitmen. The moment Siobhan (sidebar: Siobhan?) emerged in the second episode in Paris speaking French and wearing big sunglasses, a leather trench, leopard print bag and a big ol' hat I just couldn't contain my happiness. I am glad the second episode nixed the awfully repetitive mirror reflection shots (Black Swan this is not), and may this show never go anywhere near a visual effects green screen ever again. That boat sequence is surely already a part of television folklore, yeah? Still, it's hopelessly addictive if you're on the right wavelength (I imagine many will not be), and I truly did find myself shouting at the screen "oh my god!" when something particularly scandalous happened before the commercial break. Will Ringer prove to be a one season wonder like Desperate Housewives? More than very likely, but until then...


Other than Ringer, I haven't checked out anything new other than X Factor USA for the simple reasoning that Simon Cowell + Paula Abdul + Cheryl bloody Cole was too hard to refuse. Such a shame that Cheryl was canned half way through the debut episode because she was a hoot and the crowd seemed to be liking her, too! While Nicole Scherzingerburger is a rather big downgrade, I will give Ms Hungry Jacks herself one thing and that's her Blanche Devareaux-inspired quip about celebrating her 21st birthday. That was funny and startlingly self-aware. Still, the idea of a woman whose first solo album was apparently so misjudged that it never got released is a judge on a program finding somebody with "the x factor" seems particularly ironic. I just hope that, if I end up watching for of this slickly-produced series ("slick" doesn't even begin to cover it, really; it's impeccably polished) that I don't end up seeing that woman who sang Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman" pouring buckets every single time. As good as she was, she seems like the type to do that. Although, it'd be easy to forgive if they just kept cutting to host Steve Jones looking like this, don't you agree?

I also managed to watch the first episode of Glee's third season. I found its highs were exactly as high as before, but it's lows just as low, too. I imagine they're only bothering to give Mr Shuester anything to do like that dreadful glitter bomb thing out of contractual obligation. Maybe that's why they keep giving that actor just terrible material (well, worse than some of the others') because they hope he'll want to leave. Same goes for all the adults, actually, who are all entirely disposable and the show would be greater without them. Just think, all the airtime devoted to Will and that moppet girlfriend of his (whose almost sex scenes are so cringe-worthy they deserve their own peppy "CRINGE!" intro so we know to press mute) could actually be going to Mercedes or Santana+Brittany or... well, anyone. Anyone except Artie. They got rid of Sam who was beginning a potentially interesting relationship with Mercedes, and now they've thrown her in a relationship with some anonymous extra. Sigh. Thankfully there were still some fun musical numbers (hello "Anything Goes"), the ever-growing Rachel/Kurt storyline that is taking some really interesting directions, and a welcome change of pace for Quinn (the actress' name skips my memory, unsurprisingly). Not sure what Finn was doing this episode other than playing drums. What was that about? Did Ryan Murphy finally get fed up with the actors' inability to dance? Hmmm.

And, hey look! You can actually see the dancing. Whatta a shock.

So do pipe up and tell us what you've been watching. Anything good? Anything bad? Anything?

1 comment:

Matt said...

I have to say, through two episodes, Ringer is a huge disappointment. The production values are just too cheesy and the storylines are too much like a bad soap opera. SMG deserves better and should have sought out a better network. The CW just doesn't have the budget to make this kind of series really thrive.