Posts Tagged ‘joss whedon’

Sometimes, a movie or TV show is so ridiculously over-hyped that one feels more inclined to gouge out one’s own eyes than bother watching. Case in point: I have yet to watch an episode of LOST, largely because during its run so many people of my acquaintance entirely failed to shut the fuck up about it for more than an hour or two. Now that it is over, I may opt to see what all the fuss was about. Maybe.

And then there is Glee.

Glee has been over-hyped the bejesus out of. (I’m fully aware of the grammatical inconsistency of that sentence, but am including it in homage to a similar phrasing used by my boss recently.) The trailers I saw made the show look so bad that the prospect of watching a full episode seemed a torture worthy of Abu Ghraib.

And yet, against my will, it has become my guilty pleasure.

It is by no means a televisual phenomenon on a par with The X-Files or Firefly or The West Wing. With any of these shows, I can rewatch an episode several times, dissecting and discovering, coming up with new evidence of the sheer genius with which the show was done. These are the literature of television.

Glee, on the other hand, is the novel you buy at the airport while your departure time whooshes by with nary a call for boarding. It’s a fun, largely surface-level diversion which is certainly worthy of the time you invest in it, but is unlikely to stay on the shelf to be watched time and again. Refreshingly, it doesn’t try to be anything more than that.

The music and choreography is (largely) very well executed, the cast is (again largely) talented and the balance between humor and melodrama is (etc.) well maintained. There are a few moments of painfully obvious auto-tune, or where even the greatest suspension bridge couldn’t quite hold up the disbelief, but on the whole it is done well.

Plus, even were I inclined to give up at this stage, the prospect of an episode directed by Joss Whedon and guest-starring Neil Patrick Harris and Idina Menzel would keep me going for the next however-many episodes it is until then.

So… yeah. I guess, on top of being a “believer”, a “Browncoat” and a “Wingnut”, I am now officially a “Gleek”.

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It seems hope is not yet lost.

Dollhouse renewal talks are ongoing. That Fox didn’t simply slam the door is better news than I expected.

The DVR numbers are encouraging, and DVD pre-orders are already setting a startling pace. The Stability Index Rating is one of the highest in network TV today. Plus, the show is cheaper to produce than many of the others (and the licensing fee goes to a sister company in 20th Century Fox).

Fox has picked up Human Target, and pairing Dollhouse with this on Monday nights could lift the show out of the ratings doldrums inherent in a Friday night time slot. Reports suggest that this idea is being kicked around the table.

I’m not uncrossing my fingers yet or anything… but I feel like there’s more hope than there was.

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Just a few bits regarding some of my favorite posting topics:

Dollhouse: The season finale of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse last night was amazing, astounding, astonishing, and quite possibly a lot of other words beginning with A.

For those of you who are interested in the show, but haven’t yet caught last week’s episode or last night’s, I’m not going to give away the identity of the guest star, but his performances in those two episodes have had “Give this man an Emmy!” written all over them. Just incredible.

Citizenship: Thank you to everyone who tweeted and Facebooked and LiveJournaled and texted and in other ways passed along their congratulations; each helped to make an already special day a little more so.

I came home last night to find this:

handmade card

… which was amazingly sweet.

Gay marriage: So I got a little pocket-sized copy of the Constitution at the ceremony yesterday, and was reading through it when I noticed something.

“Article IV, Section 1: Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records and judicial Proceedings of every other State;”

Doesn’t that mean that these supposed decisions taken by states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states are really just the states in question deciding to do what they were already constitutionally bound to do?

And by extension, if every state is required to recognize gay marriages performed in other states, doesn’t that make banning them a little pointless?

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Occasionally a television show comes along which just seems to stand head and shoulders above everything else – a shining beacon in a sea of dreck.

Right now, it’s Dollhouse that has so captivated my attention.

We are two episodes away from the season (and likely series) finale, and the first of those episodes screens tonight. 

The Friday-night timeslot has done the show no favors. Friday night is where shows go to die, and even a show with the cult following of Firefly had to buckle under the sheer force of “I’d rather go out and get drunk”.

Nevertheless, Dollhouse is a show with a phenomenal premise, one which could conceivably stay fresh long after most other shows would start to smell funny. For those uninitiated, the Dollhouse is an extremely secret organization in which people whose personalities have been removed can be imprinted with any traits, talents or skills necessary to fulfill the request of the Dollhouse’s clientele. Cue plenty of sex and violence, of course, but also some extremely well-executed mystery/crime/comedy moments; naturally, when the characters themselves are blank slates, almost anything can happen if the actors are good enough… and they are.

Under the surface, though, something is not quite as it should be; dolls (‘actives’) begin to remember past imprints, to show behavioral glitches. Add to this the dual threats of a Mulder-like agent doggedly investigating every lead on the Dollhouse, and the escaped former active known as Alpha.

It’s way better than I’m making it sound here. That’s because Joss Whedon is at least at the level of Advanced God, and I’m just, y’know, me.

The straight-up ratings numbers don’t look that good. The Live+SD and Live+7 numbers are somewhat healthier, though, indicating an appeal to certain demographics to which advertising is often targeted. Will that be enough to save the show? The meta-drama is still unfolding, but most people seem to believe that it’ll require that Fox make an astounding leap of Faith.

Hope is not completely lost. But it is fading.

This show going off the air so soon would be an absolute travesty given its potential.

If you had been watching but had given up on it, do me a favor and watch the trailer for tonight’s ep – perhaps you can rekindle your interest:

If you’re not going to be watching TV at 9:00 tonight but don’t mind leaving the TV on for an hour, tune it to FOX. If the show does get a second season, you will have my eternal gratitude.

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1. Tina Fey

With her portrayals of Sarah Palin, Tina Fey almost single-handedly made SNL good again.


2. Joss Whedon

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. If you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to do so, because it is simply so off-the-wall laugh-out-loud funny. And the music rocks, too.

Honorable mentions to Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day for this also.


3. Barack Obama

The exhilaration of Obama’s victory still hasn’t faded in all places. The Blagojevich affair, the continued economic crapness and the violence in Gaza have largely overshadowed it, but Obama allowed a great many people to believe in something better, inspired many people to get out and vote for the first time, and stopped the election from being a quasi-Hobsonian choice between Hillary Clinton and John McCain.


4. Harry Redknapp

As I mentioned in my “2009 won’t suck” post, the new Tottenham manager has been turning the team around and getting some good results under the collective belt. Here’s hoping we see more of the same.


5. Juande Ramos

The previous Tottenham manager. Although things turned sour later on, Ramos steered the team to a Cup win and thereby ensured our continued competitive presence at a continental level as well as national. But enough was enough.


6. Anne Mulcahy

While Xerox’s CEO didn’t have a direct hand in the decision to hire me, her continued support for my department is a big part of what made it possible. 2009 has brought layoffs, it’s true, but 2008 was still made better for me. And while the layoffs have stung all over the company, the aforementioned support was probably also a major factor in keeping the attrition down to the levels we ended up seeing.


7. Aaron Sorkin

I know The West Wing has long since finished its run. That said, it is still one of the greatest shows ever to air, and watching it on DVD for the third or fourth time through was still great. Especially knowing that certain of the West Wing characters were based on actual politicians who figured strongly in the 2008 campaign.


8. Nate Silver

A less well-known name, but one which made a few headlines in 2008 and which I believe will make more and more, Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com made a name for himself using statistical models and a huge amount of polling data to predict the results of the 2008 election, which he did with remarkable accuracy. His efforts inspired me to make my own predictions – using less advanced math, of course – which also went rather well.


9. Arianna Huffington

2008 was the year in which The Huffington Post shed at least some of its liberal bias and made an effort to become a very credible news source. While many of the articles, particularly the op/eds, continue to show a strong liberal slant, the more objective “HuffPo” overtook The Drudge Report as my news site of choice.

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