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Monday, January 31, 2011

Last Week in TV #19

A little light this week, as most shows were in re-runs or on hiatus as February Sweeps approach...

The Cape: Kozmo


Well, that didn't get any better...

Within the first few minutes my suspension of disbelief was snapped when the Cape used his cape to rip a door off a car, then proceeded to block close range gunfire with the door. Apparently this is just going to be that kind of show..

Also, this episode continued the pilot's issues with space and time. Once again, we're left wondering how much time is passing between events. At one point in this episode, Russian bad guy Gregor murders a group of poker players. The Cape, who had been tailing him, arrives on the scene on what appears to be the same evening (same lighting, same clothes, etc.), but is told by a bystander someone murdered a bunch of people the previous evening. Huh? The Cape seems to have a headquarters of his own, inside a random large building where he hides his costume and hangs out with Orwell. Yet he also seems to hang out and practice at the carnival like it's his headquarters. No explanation is given as to how he acquired his headquarters nor why he seems to use it interchangeably with the carnival.

Then there's the business with the cape itself now suddenly being some kind of uber-cape with special powers whereas in the pilot it was explicitly stated that it was nothing more than a well-constructed cape. And the excerpts of "The Cape" comic book that the Cape and his son stupidly read at the same time, which are clearly written by someone who hasn't read a comic book in the last ten years (narrative captions are non-existent these days). And the stupid kids at the son's new school picking on him for being the son of Chess. Really? Kids these days stay that on top of current events, and care about that stuff? Or another rooftop meeting between the Cape and his son, in which both are shown to be moronic: the Cape for failing to better disguise his voice, the son for failing to recognize his dad.

Oh, and it turns out Orwell is Chess' daughter. That's...kinda cool, I guess. At least, it's not terrible, and for this show, that's something.


Community: Celebrity Pharmacology 212


The odd Community episode that didn't quite click for me. Maybe it was the focus on Pierce, my least favorite member of the show's ensemble (though his scene with Annie at her apartment was well done). Or maybe it was the rote sitcom plots (though I did enjoy the sheer absurdity of the gang's anti-drug play and the fact that we never saw the full thing or received any explanation of why, for example, Shirley was playing a green crayon, and the mistaken identity texting plot with Jeff and Abed was almost worth it for Abed's silent condemnation and Jeff's desperation at the end). I dunno; bits of certainly hilarious, and this cast can elevate even the most mundane of plots, but this was an episode where the parts never quite gelled into a satisfying whole.

Abed: Does marijuana make people work faster? I thought it just made them custom paint their van and solve mysteries.


Parks and Recreation: The Flu


Rashida Jones' Ann has always been the least interesting character on Parks and Rec. Though there is comedy to be found in her relationships with the other characters, especially Leslie, she is the show's straight man, the relatively-normal person who comments on the zaniness of everyone else. It's a necessary role, but not necessarily a funny one.

"The Flu", aside from being a great Parks and Rec episode, was a great episode for Ann, and one of the first times that I really enjoyed her character, from her vow to remain professional when dealing with April to her glee in seeing Rob Lowe's "microchip" body humanized ("Stop...pooping!" he commanded his flu-ridden body in one of the episode's funniest moments) to her ultimate blow-up after coming off the clock. This was an episode in which every character got a moment to shine, to show why they matter and why they're funny, and I'm happy that included Ann as well.

Ron: I worked with a guy for three years and never knew his name. Best friend I ever had.

Andy: Leslie, I typed your symptoms into the computer, and it says you might have 'network connectivity problems'.

10 comments:

  1. What is it with superhero TV adaptations? Why are they always really inconsistent and...well, wrong?? Are they just trying to dumb it down for the general non-comic book reading public??

    Don't even get me started on Heroes...damn, Heroes.

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  2. @Hannah: What is it with superhero TV adaptations? Why are they always really inconsistent and...well, wrong??

    I wish I knew. And it isn't like the mistakes being made are caused by limitations in the form or budget or anything.

    For example, it's not that the cape looks stupid (which would be a problem caused by low TV budgets and largely out of the creators' hands) but rather that it's used stupidly by the characters, which is simply a failure of the writing and directing (and entirely within their control).

    If I've learned anything from watching most superhero TV shows (especially Heroes) it's that apparently writers just make up stuff as they go along and at no point does anyone go back through the material and make sure everything makes sense.

    Which is the complete opposite of how I would approach writing a TV show and makes no sense to me.

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  3. seriously, we need to write a superhero tv show. I'm like 70% serious. We could totally do it and it would EFFING ROCK

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  4. You guys absolutely should write a show! Please make this happen. I will watch it every week, without fail. (Unless the networks decide to mess it up. Maybe you should head straight to cable. . .)

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  5. first- Sarah- you're idea is genius
    totes. How much different is it to write a tv show than a book (i'm assuming lots)- do you have to get an agent? or how do you market those things?

    God, from this description, i am SO GLAD that we dropped the Cape before the ending of the pilot (honestly, i'm suprised it made it to a 2nd ep and wasn't just cancelled outright). it's unfortunate that Orwell is Chess' daughter, because that's kind of cool and shouldn't be wasted on such a crap show

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  6. jebus- it's like i can't even speak english
    *your
    *totes genius (apparently i'm dyslexic)

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  7. @Falen: We could totally do it and it would EFFING ROCK

    You know, lots of people say "I could such-and-such better than so-and-so," but this is one of those cases where yeah, I think we could do it better. I mean, the bar has been set so incredibly low it'd be hard not to be at least a little better.

    As long as we don't write a scene where the "believed to be dead and a super criminal" main character stands ten feet away from his family at his funeral, we'd already have succeeded...

    @Kate: I will watch it every week, without fail.

    Thanks Kate. And we'll hold you to that...

    @Anne: How much different is it to write a tv show than a book (i'm assuming lots)- do you have to get an agent? or how do you market those things?

    It is fairly different, though I don't know all the details. I know in the past a lot of TV writers started out as freelancers, submitting spec scripts to shows or responding to open calls for scripts, and then if they did that a lot, the show would add them to the writing staff, or they'd apply for a staff job on another show using their freelance creds, and then eventually you get enough clout that you can start pitching your own shows and showrunning stuff, but then you usually need a producer (or have established some producing credits yourself)...

    I'm not even sure how accurate that is (it's just what I've picked up from some stuff I've read and Aaron Sorkin shows), especially nowadays when the TV landscape is drastically different even from ten years ago, but bottom line, it's fairly involved. And we'd probably have to move to LA or NY.

    it's unfortunate that Orwell is Chess' daughter, because that's kind of cool and shouldn't be wasted on such a crap show

    Yeah, that reveal has been the show's lone bright spot so far, especially since the show seemed to realize that Orwell being his daughter isn't that big a surprise.

    They saved it for the end of the episode, but it isn't like they'd built up some huge "who is Chess' daughter" subplot for several episodes while we're all rolling our eyes and answering "Orwell, the only age-appropriate member of the cast".

    They set it up in early in this episode, then hinted at Orwell's mysterious past, then revealed it at the end. It was probably the closest this show will ever come to handling anything with a deft touch...

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  8. well, i'm not moving, so that's probably out.
    Still, we can dream

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  9. I've been sticking with The Cape and I'm not sure why. Now that 30 Rock has moved to 10 p.m. and Fringe is on Fridays, Monday nights are now officially more jammed for me TV-wise than even Thursdays are, especially since I hear good things about The Chicago Code (starting tonight as I write this). I'm not incapable of giving up on superhero- / comics-oriented shows — I dropped Heroes at least a year before it ended — but for now, for some reason, I'll watch until it's gone or I miss an episode and don't care enough to catch up.

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  10. @Blam: 'm not incapable of giving up on superhero- / comics-oriented shows — I dropped Heroes at least a year before it ended — but for now, for some reason, I'll watch until it's gone or I miss an episode and don't care enough to catch up.

    You're a better man than I; I stuck with Heroes 'til the bitter, bitter end.

    And I'm sticking with The Cape for the time being, though I have fallen behind (I have everything backlogged on my DVR) and am finding it hard to watch that instead of something else I have recorded.

    However, it doesn't sound as though the show is long for this world (NBC recently cut it's initial order from 13 to 10, which is never a good sign) so we may not have to watch it for inexplicable reasons much longer.

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