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Currently watching

The Americans is my current favorite television program: if you liked the 2011 remake of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, you'd probably enjoy this show; I think fans of Alias might like it, too. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it takes place in the early 1980s, during the Cold War, and focuses on a cat-and-mouse game between Russian and US intelligence operatives. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can watch the first season here.

I'm also tuning in to The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and, of course, the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race (I never miss it, although I strongly disagree with last week's elimination, as does the rest of the fanbase). There are many things stacked on the DVR, including The Blacklist, the new Cosmos, Orphan Black, and Ripper Street, as well as a number of movies; I hope to start on Orphan Black today.

That's the positive. As for the negative, I'm very close to dropping Game of Thrones. I wasn't inclined to watch it in the first place given that I detested the book: indeed, A Game of Thrones was the worst novel I read in 2011. However, as you likely know, it's one of the most popular television shows in the world, and so, for the sake of conversancy and water cooler discussion, I capitulated.

While I do think HBO's adaptation has improved upon the books somewhat, the relentlessly brutal violence and sexual content of the story is, shall we say, well suited for the excesses of cable television, and, for me, it gets old. It's also frustrating feeling like I'm not permitted to care about most of the characters because they're likely to be slain for shock value at any minute. The thing about shock value, though, is that if it's too frequent, it becomes ineffective: the viewer becomes inured to it, and that's not entertaining.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 5th, 2014 07:51 pm (UTC)
it upsets me that Agents of SHIELD leaves me cold (the fault may well mine) - but i am enjoying The Musketeers despite its execrable early episodes.
May. 5th, 2014 09:00 pm (UTC)
I do not think the fault is yours at all! Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. really struggled to find its feet in the first half of the season, and a lot of people understandably gave up on it. Hub and I were left cold by Skye and Ward. We do like Fitz and Simmons -- indeed, I think Elizabeth Henstridge is likely to be the breakout star of the show.

However, it has improved in the second half of the season, which is no real surprise to me, given Dollhouse: Tancharoen and Whedon took several episodes to really find their focus with that series, but once they did, it packed a wallop. I wouldn't say that AoS has had anywhere near that level of punch, but it's a different show. There was a scene with Ron Glass that I found powerful -- he's an even better actor than I realized.

Anyway, I'm not recommending that you catch up. If you were a few episodes behind and were wavering about continuing, I'd say, "Yeah, it does get better," but you're not at that point. I plan to finish this season, and watch the first few episodes of S2. Based on the production team's previous track record, I expect S2 will be on more solid ground after S1's rocky start, but time will tell. I'd say it had the weakest debut of the shows I'm still watching.

You mentioned The Musketeers. I hadn't heard of it, so I looked it up -- it turns out that it hasn't aired in the US yet. It's set to debut on BBC America on the 22nd of June. I'll try to remember to keep an eye out for it. :)

Edited at 2014-05-05 09:04 pm (UTC)
May. 5th, 2014 09:24 pm (UTC)
Apologies for my typo above! (That fault definitely will BE mine!)

I think with SHIELD it may just be the visual aesthetic working against the actors; i can't seem to latch onto them as i could with Franz* or Olivia in Dollhouse even when the episodes were weak.

Musketeers is worth catching just for upcoming Dr 12 Peter Capaldi - he's great in it.
The early episodes were terrible but once the show settled i was hooked.

*I would be happier maybe with Cabin in the Woods as a show (?!?) - loved the cast in that.
May. 6th, 2014 12:24 am (UTC)
i realise that in television (as in life) it pays to be careful what you wish for... in fact i was talking earlier about Whedon alumni and how nice it is to see them working etc, etc -
when i realised i had started to pitch 'Much Ado About Nothing the TV Series; Beatrice and Benedict together again and this time they're not just fighting each other, they're fighting crime, paranormal crime.'

At which fortuitous juncture i stopped and contemplated the petard i was about to hoist myself upon.
May. 11th, 2014 01:51 am (UTC)
I can totally understand that. Fran Kranz and Olivia Williams were especially compelling, and I though Enver Gjokaj was amazing. Really, honestly, that's probably been my number one unpleasant surprise about Agents: the cast. I'm used to this team delivering terrific ensemble casts that jell pretty quickly, and this show has been somewhat disappointing in that regard.

I like Ming-Na Wen and Clark Gregg together, and Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain de Castecker are good, but the rest ... Well, I'd be fine if Skye and Ward were sent on a mission and never returned. Zzzzzz. Fortunately, they've spent a less time on those characters in the latter half of the season.

Regarding Musketeers, I suppose I ought to see Capaldi in something besides Children of Earth and Neverwhere at some point. :)

May. 11th, 2014 02:06 am (UTC)
ha-ha! well there's plenty to love in both of those...

... but you could try The Crow Road which i always enjoyed.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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