TV or Not TV

Smash, Luck, Downton Abbey, Mad Men

By: - Feb 09, 2012


Don’t you hate people who say that they don’t watch TV?

Rots the brain. Causes cancer.

You are so excited about that first episode of Smash this week.

Based on the pilot perhaps the best new show this season.

Sorry. Missed it.

Pulled the plug on cable.

Cancelled Netflix when the rates went up.

How do they spend their evenings you wonder?

Reading most of the Sunday New York Times. Then the New Yorker cover to cover.

Every week.


Or great sex at least five times a week.

They have lots of hobbies.

Speak five languages. Fluently.

Run marathons.

Me. I like TV.

Well, like alcohol, not before 6 PM.

Until Midnight.

So, with breaks to pee, brush my teeth, and eat an orange.

More or less, give or take, roughly, six hours of TV a day.

Astrid doesn’t like violence so I do the cop shows before she settles in for the evening.

Or, busted, catch up on episodes of Breaking Bad on Netflix during breaks from work.

Didn’t want to admit that.

On Mondays my pal Mark and I compare and contrast the latest episodes of Downton Abbey on PBS. He reads the British reviews where the show is less popular. In particular they don’t like Bates. Too subservient.

Which, actually, is what I thought one looked for in a servant.

On the other side of the pond they describe it as “in service.” Which is a profession more than just a job.

Update of Upstairs Downstairs.

Maybe you’re too young to remember.

Royalty makes me gag.

Last night we saw Iron Lady. Great Meryl Streep. Lousy Margaret Thatcher.

Rusty movie.

Downton Abbey is a huge difference from the film The Help which is more like the American experience. Great film. Just loved it when the pissed off, fired maid served her former employer a very special shit pie.

Just wonderful.

You would never, no never, find that on Masterpiece Theatre.

Which, I guess, is why the British are better than us.

The lower classes actually look up to the One Percent.

Here they are just deadbeat Republicans like Romney who pays a tax rate of 15% while the rest of us get reamed.

Let them eat cake.

Did you see Smash this week?

Wasn’t it wonderful?

Although a Pilot is way too soon to draw conclusions.

Cripes, what a cast: Debra Messing, Christian Borle, Megan Hilty, Katharine McPhee, Jack Davenport, Anjelica Huston. Check out some of the minor players. Yes that was Raza Jaffrey from the British series MI5. He plays the boyfriend of former “American Idol’’ contestant Katharine McPhee as Karen Cartwright. She gets a call back for the starring role of Marilyn Monroe in a musical in process. There is tough competition from Ivy Lynn  portrayed by Broadway performer Megan Hilty.

When Cartwright and her boyfriend go out to dinner with her visiting parents we were pleased to see Dylan Baker cast as her father. This Williamstown Theatre Festival regular shows up in all the best TV series. He had a great role in the hit The Good Wife.

With writing by Theresa Rebeck there is sure to be wit, authenticity and insight in a tv series that focuses on musical theatre. Let’s just hope that the network doesn’t mess with her.

Mark and I have a hard time understanding Luck on HBO. Again there is a great cast anchored by Dustin Hoffman with a great minor role played by an aging horse owner Nick Nolte. There are several sub plots that are difficult to keep straight. Particularly as the characters are so authentic that half the time we don’t know what they heck they are talking about.

Truth is I have spent zero time at the track and have never bet on a horse race.

We more or less like the show but it’s not up to the standard we have come to expect from HBO. It’s a long time until the next season of Boardwalk Empire.

Astrid and I were trying to figure out the show.

I Googled Claim Race.

That helped us to understand a key part of the plot.

With some research I get the drift of what’s happening.

But you shouldn’t have to do homework between episodes.

Shows you start out liking tend to wear out after a couple of seasons.

It’s time to stick a fork in the dames of Wisteria Lane as Desperate Housewives is just a huge yawn on Sunday night. It isn’t pretty after eight on and on seasons to see Bree Van de Kamp (Marcia Cross) back on the sauce and now the town pump.

End it now while you still have a shred of pride and dignity.

Grey’s Anatomy has outstayed its welcome. When they start with the dream sequences and flash backs you know a show is running on vapors. This is a show that needs triage on and off the small screen. Dr. McDreamy? Over, so over.

We followed the first two seasons of Glen Close as uber lawyer Patty Hewes in Damages. She locks horns with her first year associate Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). The third season was dropped by its network and sold to a minor network which we couldn’t find. We watched season three on Netflix with Campbell Scott (another WTF veteran) as the son of a Bernie Madoff styled Ponzi swindler. But with a fourth season unlikely it just seemed that the writers dropped everything into a chaotic and unsatisfying concluding episode.

What a pity for what had been a terrific show.

On March 25, after an endless wait,  an eternity to fans, Mad Men returns with all of its mayhem. Just what has Don Draper (Jon Hamm) been up to? Can’t wait to find out.

Through Netflix I have been catching up on TV shows. Two sensational crime/ cops shows both having completed a first season are Luther on BBC and Intelligence a compelling Canadian show. Both are strongly recommended and we will keep an eye out for their second seasons. Expect the unexpected.

This fall I got involved with Breaking Bad. Recently I started with the first season and have been making my way through the compelling story of Walter White (Bryan Cranston). He is a gifted high school chemistry teacher fighting lung cancer. A proud and complex man he has hooked up with a screwed up former student Jesse (Aaron Paul) to cook high grade meth. Season four ended explosively, literally. Currently season five is in production.

How about the head on the turtle? Wasn’t that incredible?

What’s great about catching up with shows on Netflix is that you don’t have to wait a week between episodes. Sometimes I watch them back to back.

During time that I might spend reading great books or helping to save the world.

My bad.