How to make any show better!

March 23, 2010
  • Evil twins: Everyone loves to hate a good bad guy. But what if you gave them that badass bad guy, times 2? Fucking orgy of love-hate, baby!
  • Explosions: Everyone loves things that go boom. How else can anyone stand Mythbusters?
  • Evil Beards: What’s the best thing you can give your main character? A menacing “I’mma stab you” beard!

What show has incorporated all of this? Why, Breaking Bad of course! Watch this fucking show!

If you have enough time to waste on Jersey Shore, I KNOW you have time for this.


“Stay out of my territory”

May 11, 2009

The single most badass utterance from anybody in any media (be it movies, games, comics, manga, whatever) comes from a frail, bald, cancerous man in last night’s Breaking Bad. Not a single act of violence was commited. No explosions, no bits of anatomy, no swearing, no sex, nothing. Just one of my all time favourite characters finally realizing just who the fuck he is in this world. Staring down some no name punk in the parking lot of a hardware store and laying down the fucking law. This one scene pretty much encapsulates what the show has been building to for two seasons now and I can’t imagine it ever being handled any better.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – watch this gosh darn show. If you can make time for garbage like American Idol twice a week or thrive on NCIS reruns, you can make one hour free every week to tune into AMC and watch what is, bar none, the best show on TV right now.

You do not mess with Walter White

You do not mess with Walter White


The 3 Best Shows Nobody’s Watching

April 21, 2009

I think everyone who’s ever watched TV has had this experience – they discover a show they absolutely adore. Everything about it rings true – the acting is solid, the story is fantastic, etc. Then they discover they’re the only one amongst those they know that watches the show. For some reason it just doesn’t capture the collective psyche like Lost or The Mentalist. Even more disheartening is when they find out the show is getting middling to terrible ratings and it is, more or less, inevitable that the show will be cancelled.

Well, these are my three personal picks of absolutely riveting shows that the vast majority of TV viewers couldn’t give less of a damn about. Surprisingly none of them are in danger of cancellation (thank God for smaller networks knowing quality matters just as much as ratings).

This is why the tortoise won.

This is why the tortoise won.

Breaking Bad

Just look at that image to the left. That is why I love this show, and the show isn’t even about stuff like that happening! Okay, a lot of messed up situations occur (melting a body with acid being a particularly vivid scenario) but what’s so great about the show is that it’s the characters and dialogue that make it all worth watching.

Bryan Cranston plays Walter White, a low paid high school chemistry teacher who needs a job on the side to make ends meet. When he finds out he has terminal cancer, he decides to do what all rational men of his ilk do – become the next crystal meth tycoon of Albuquerque. Okay, it happens a hell of a lot more naturally than that, and it involves getting together with a former student named Jesse Pinkman.

Did I mention he has a disabled son, a balloon of a pregnant wife and a brother in law who’s also a DEA agent? Shit happens in this show, and the tension level is kept at a near break neck pace throughout. And amazingly, each episode moves like molasses, just letting the viewers absorb every detail before the next “holy fuck” moment strikes.

At only a million viewers weekly, Breaking Bad definitely benefited from being on AMC, where prestige matters more than anything. How else can you explain shows like this and Mad Men getting renewed? It’s not because AMC is raking in the Benjamins.

I dare you not to love Jason Street.

I dare you not to love Jason Street.

Friday Night Lights

Forget that this show is an adaptation of a movie. Forget that it’s even about football. The drama on the field is only a byproduct of what this show gives the viewer – realistic human drama and an entertaining depiction of small town football fanaticism. Now, I’ve never lived in a small football town, but it sure feels like this show’s gotten it all right, with boosters manipulating the show and every store shutting down on game night (it’s Friday, by the way). You really feel like you know the Taylors, the Streets, the Garreties.

I honestly didn’t think this series would survive after the horrific second season, where the show more or less forgot why the first season was so perfect. Hell, it had a fucking murder subplot! The shark didn’t even know what jumped it. Plus, the ratings continued to decline and no money grubbing network could justify keeping the show alive.

And then came DirecTV. Ironing out an unlikely deal with NBC, they created a shortened 13 episode season three that is every bit as engrossing as the first. All but forgetting the second season ever existed, it showed what the show was best at – the life in a small town and the dreams and heart breaks that come with that.

I know the ads and commercials make this look like CW shit (except Supernatural. That’s a damn good show), but any person who likes a good, solid, story with relatable characters and realistic drama will adore this. And please, if you do check it out and like it, tell more people to watch it! The show got nearly non-existent ratings when it aired on NBC, so it goes without saying that my jaw was slacked when it was announced the show got not only one more season, but two. In a capitalist market, there really is no justification for this show’s continuing existence. Luckily, there are some executives out there who know a good thing when they it.

Are we sick and depraved for loving Dexter Morgan this much?

Are we sick and depraved for loving Dexter Morgan this much?

Dexter

I know, I know, some of you reading this may think its a stretch to put such a ‘popular’ show on here, but when you realize its highest rating was 1.51 million (for the season 3 finale), in the overall scheme of television viewing, that’s barely a percentage of viewers. I also know that with shows on cable, everything’s relative and I know 1.51 million is more than enough for a renewal on Showtime, but again, I’m not looking at things relatively.

At this point, Dexter is essentially ingrained into the television culture. Almost everybody knows what Dexter is. May have even caught an episode or two, but the overwhelming majority of viewers simply don’t watch the show. They hear of its concept from a third party, from websites raving for it, from the occasional diehard fan of a friend. But no, they don’t watch it themselves.

They hear the concept of a serial killer hero and they think, “hey, that’s pretty cool. I’ll definitely check it out.” Obviously from the ratings, no they are not. And I understand the underlying concept is disturbing to say the least, and may indeed offend a great many morals, but the one thing the show isn’t is sleazy. It’s not subversive in any way, shape or form. It’s simply a very well written drama about a serial killer trying to hold back his urges by channeling it for good rather than evil. It’s great stuff, and aside from a very weak season 2 (is this like a trend?) the show is nail biting and fascinating.

And yet, nobody actually watches it.

I know I’m probably leaving off one of your favourite shows nobody watches, but I told myself – no, Sang, just do three. You’ll go on forever if you try to do more. There were plenty of other candidates – Chuck, Damages, Mad Men, etc – but this is already a thousand freaking words. If you actually read this far, my hats (I have multiple) off to you. Don’t be shy mentioning your personal favourite show that seemingly nobody is watching.

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TV Season Thus Far…

April 6, 2009
See the background? We used to call that Chicago before "he" happened.

See the background? We used to call that Chicago before "he" happened.

It’s been one topsy turvy TV season, and instead of waiting until it’s over, I’d rather come prematurely…with my thoughts on the series’ thus far.  I have nothing better to do, and for all intents and purposes, my current opinion of these shows probably won’t change with the hand full of episodes they have left. I’ll (probably) update this article when the television season’s over and done with.

So, without further ado, and in no particular order (though I could’ve conceivably done it alphabetically rather easily) :

24 Season 7

We have a backwater African nation taking over airplanes with a mythical super device that looks like a toaster, we have the same African nation’s dictator trying to kill the President, and we now have US companies trying to kill EVERYBODY. Yep, this is 24.

And I’ve been loving it every bit. Jack Bauer’s been doing exactly what we love him for – wanton brutality. If there is a sore spot, it’s been the new tertiary characters. People like Garofalo’s Janice and the bitch/douche/whore of a first daughter really slow things down whenever their onscreen. But then again, whenever we’re not seeing Jack dismembering someone, everything’s relatively slow.

Rating: 24/10 – Did you honestly think I could’ve resisted this?

Lost Season 5

Lost has made possibly the gutsiest move in television history. It went from a supernatural, freaky, myserious serial that millions loved, and essentially became and outright hardcore science fiction show. Time travel, baby. That’s what I’m talking about. And the show has been magnificent because of it. Though I miss the flashback’s, what else can be explored with these characters? Do we REALLY need to see any more daddy issues on the show? It seems every character has a shitty dad.

Rating: 7.5/10 – I’m lost for a summation (you can tell by now I can’t resist the obvious).

Heroes Season 3: Volume 3 and 4

I already wrote a lengthy article of how I feel about heroes. It’s two posts down.

Rating: -3/10 – Trying to warn people about this atrocity makes me a far greater hero than anyone on the show.

House M.D.

I’ve been a sucker for this series since the beginning. Gregory House is probably the best non-Bauer character on TV right now. He’s not even that dick that you know has a heart under his rocky exterior. He’s just an outright douchebag extraordinaire, and that’s what makes him so tantalizing. That’s why House puts to shame the drvel that is Grey’s Anatomy and what used to be E.R. This season hasn’t been stand out, but an average House season is still 9,298 times better than the last two seasons of Heroes.

Rating: 7/10 – Humanity is overrated.

I wished all blood splatter analysts were this awesome.

I wished all blood splatter analysts were this awesome.

Dexter Season 3

After last season’s annoying clingy bitch from rehab arc, Dexter was back in fine form this season. Back to the killing and tense drama we loved the show for. Miguel as Dexter’s “first friend” was an inspired move, but who’s kidding – did anyone actually think a duo of serial killing amigos would ever last more than six or seven episodes?

I also liked where they left the show. Rita’s about to have little Dexter and everything seems bright for Dexter’s future. Which is all very tantalizing as we all know how al of that’s going to go.

Rating: 8/10 – Definitely a step up, but still not as great as the first season.

Battlestar Galactica Final Season

And it all ends not with a bang, but a contrived whimper. The last half of the season was really all over the place. And in the end, it all kind of peters out as they find our Earth and start all over again. *Gasp* That means we’re all Cylons, right? I knew Boomer looked like my grandmother. Great final space battle though. This show probably has the best choreographed and filmed space battles in any television show or movie ever. They’re just so damned intense. Unfortunately, there was only one this season.

Rating: 6/10 – Hey, THAT’S why pyramids exist all over the wor*barf*.

Mad Men

This series made me pick up smoking…in my head. But man, I was this close (I’m currently putting my index finger and thumb this close together [this means approximately 2 mms]). I’d say Mad Men is an acquired taste, but if you had acquired it like I and a million other guys did, you were thoroughly satisfied with this season.

Rating: 7.5/10 – He looks like a cartoon pilot! (Geek points for pointing out that reference)

You don't mess with Walter Fucking White

You don't mess with Walter Fucking White

Breaking Bad

A little watched, but thoroughly awesome AMC show. Man, do all the good shows go to that channel nowadays? They’ve got Breaking Bad and Mad Men, two perennial Emmy winners and what does HBO have? True Blood? If you’ve never seen Breaking Bad, go out right now and rent/but the first season right now. I’ll wait.

Back? Now watch it, it’s only seven episodes. I’ll wait again…Done? Good. Now you’re a man. Season 2’sso far been just as great.

Rating: 9/10 – Bryan Cranston is a badass? Almost as badass as Dakota Fanning, even! Who would’ve thunk it?

Well, that does it for the “TV Season Thus Far…” article. I’m sure I’m missing a few shows worth mentioning, but I’ll include those in my more conclusive “TV Season” article.