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04 October 2009 @ 04:31 pm
The Hoard Potato Gets Off The Damned Couch  
With quelonzia back on a serious reading jag (thanks to her bionic lens replacement from last year), and Your Obedient Serpent working three nights a week, our TV habit is falling by the wayside once again. We drift in and out of it as seasons pass; recent years have been close to an all-time high for us, but now, scheduling, distractions, and the previously-mentioned ebb in SF-related shows have created the Perfect Storm of Turn Off The TV.

Today, we finally trimmed our timer list down to half-a-dozen regular-season shows -- and one of those may get dumped later:
  • Supernatural
  • Castle
  • The Mentalist
  • Flash Forward
  • Heroes
  • CSI: New York

Note that this is our regular season list; summer shows and half-season shows like Leverage, Burn Notice and Doctor Who are still on the list.

Shows that disappointed us or had become a chore to watch are gone. The survivors grabbed us, pulled us into their stories, made us laugh, or, in general, just made us happy to invite these people into our homes on a weekly basis.

CSI is gone; we've honestly just been watching it through inertia for a long time, and losing William Petersen last season -- while I liked Laurence Fishburne's character more than Quel did, we really watched the show for Grissom.

Criminal Minds is gone, because we just haven't found ourselves in the mood to watch it. We watched the opening, found it hard to follow (possibly because we tried watching it right after the Forgotten fried our brains with sheer tedium), and, after some procrastinating, realized that we just didn't care enough to push through it.

CSI: New York still has Gary Sinise, which is honestly why it made our list in the first place five years ago; at the moment, that's enough to keep us recording it... though we still haven't sat down to watch it this season.

I think that, after nine years, we're just plain burned out on forensics, profilers, getting into the heads of sick, twisted people, or diving into the bodies of just plain dead ones. Castle and The Mentalist are murder mysteries, but they get a pass because they're throwbacks to the Eccentric Detective Shows of the '70s and '80s. Quel and I enjoy watching Smart, Competent People do Smart, Competent Things*; that's why our pet procedurals got us watching in the first place. Over the years, though, they've focused less and less on the Smart People Being Smart, and more and more on the Twisted People Being Twisted.

And we're tired of inviting those people into our home.

*Yes, we also enjoy Heroes. Shut up. And don't even try to dis Supernatural here.
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Your Obedient Serpent: hoard potatoathelind on October 5th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
Sheer stubbornness pushed us through the first couple of seasons. Honestly, it was another show that was largely riding on the charisma of a single character (Hiro).

This season's premiere successfully grabbed us. For once, they had timing, they had pace, they picked up the plot threads left dangling in such a way as to make them new and engaging, and they introduced new characters and threads that are actually intriguing. For the first time, Hiro and Ando are not the most interesting characters, and their story arc is not the most intriguing.

Best of all, nobody seems to be carrying the Idiot Ball yet. That's a HUGE leg up on previous seasons, where multiple episodes would go by with EVERYONE carrying their own personal Balls.

This year, everyone seems to have their shit together to some degree or another. Even Claire isn't acting clueless, despite a plot-driving Judgment Error at the end of Episode 1 that still didn't qualify as full-on Idiot Ball status.
(Deleted comment)
Your Obedient Serpent: tell it like it ISathelind on October 5th, 2009 01:57 am (UTC)
Indeed. He didn't merely CARRY it; everyone who INTERACTED With him turned into an idiot.
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on October 5th, 2009 07:51 am (UTC)
Smart people being smart is incredibly hard to consistently write. It requires, in the end, almost constant research and, of course, a lot of wit on the part of the writers - they've got to have clever things to actually say. Which is why any writer worth his salt also reads constantly. But, even so, god, doing it on a TV show's schedule might be nightmarish for even extremely clever writers who love research.

On the other hand, jerks being jerks? MUCH easier to research. Modern journalism presents a never-ending stream of insanity that even semi-competent writers can plunder for "plots".
Your Obedient Serpent: Voight-Kampf testathelind on October 5th, 2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's really part of the natural evolution of a show. I think Burn Notice has maintained high standards of Smart for two reasons: one, they do half-length seasons, giving the writers more research and recharge time, and two, they have a series of very clear story arcs for the protagonist, and actually let him succeed in clear-cut, long-term goals that take him to the next "stage".

The first-person voice-over narration in Burn Notice is a nice trick, too. It allows them to have lampshade the situations where the protagonist KNOWS he's doing something reckless, unprofessional, or stupid, because he's let his emotions get in the way. He's verbally kicking himself on screen, and the audience is cheering him on.