Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Catching Up With Premium Programming: 3 Shows

I finally made some time to catch up on premium programming - I just recently watched 'The Tudors' season 3, 'Secret Diary of a Call Girl' season 2 and 'Big Love' season 2. Here are my thoughts....

1. The Tudors (season 3) - I wasn't a super huge fan of the first 2 seasons, mostly because I have no interest in that portion of history. The only thing interesting about Henry VIII is his 6 marriages (and to break it down further - his first divorce that was followed by his relationship with Anne Boleyn). So, even if the history was a little dull to me - the exploration of his personal life was intriguing plus Jonathon Rhys Meyers is Awesome (yes, the A is purposely capitalized!!). With season 3 beginning after the brutal beheading of Anne, I kind of had a sinking feeling the show was now going to suck. The season premiere was just about one of the most boring hours of television ever - and the season never seemed to recover. It is a good thing they decided to end the series after season 4 - It is like the writers know that the rest of Henry's story is dull. While the first 2 seasons dragged a bit, season 3 went through history in the blink of an eye (his third wife got pregnant and gave birth in the same episode - then died). I realize there is a lot of ground to cover - but when you move so quickly something inevitably gets lost (like actually caring about the characters before they perish). So basically his 3rd wife dies - then he marries Joss Stone (whom he refers to as looking like a horse - how insulting for that poor girl) then he marries Katherine who is a scrawny, flat-chested, plain faced girl that can't act. Somewhere between his personal life there is a whole lot of political stuff going on, which can be described by "diversity of opinion ended and unification began". Booooring. My only other comment is that JRM totally over-acted his way through the third season (his accent was almost unbearable) and I realized that Callum Blue disappeared. Does anyone remember what happened to his character? I hope season 4 kicks in some excitement (at least it has Joely Richardson as Catherine - yet another wife).

2. Secret Diary of a Call Girl (season 2) - So the book that this series is based on (Belle De Jour: 'Diary of an Unlikely Call Girl') is one of my favorite recently written books - I recommend it to every feminist. It is sweet, funny, honest and sexy but it also says a lot about what it is like to be a woman (an objectified woman) in the world today. I was so happy when I found out they were making it into a show - but unfortunately, season 1 did not impress me at all. Part of what went wrong is Billie Piper - don't get me wrong I actually like her as an actress but she isn't exactly sexy (she is not very feminine and her teeth are too big for her mouth - I know I am such a Bitch! But the key to the entire series was the casting of Belle/Hannah and Showtime definitely missed the mark on this one). They also didn't follow the "diary" narrative - instead each episode was a linear story - I felt it wasn't as honest and personal as the book. And finally, the last reason why I didn't like season 1 was that I felt like they were trying too hard to be "edgy" - the show is about a self-proclaimed "whore" - you really don't need to push the envelope much further than that. So, season 2 did not get much better - However, I instantly perked up when I saw Callum Blue (the same actor who mysteriously disappeared from The Tudors!) in the premiere. I have a residual crush on him from Dead Like Me - he needs his own series (hint...NBC). There were a few episodes that I thought were done really well - like when Alex finds out that she is a prostitute and when Hannah sleeps with her BFF, Ben (who is in love with her), and then calls it a mistake. I also LOVED the way it ended when Alex tricks her into taking "one last job" - although it is disappointing that Callum will not be on the next season. It was weird that they ended season 2 with her writing her book - and then promoting it (I would have liked to see a season that focused on her struggle to write the book). So I guess season 3 will focus on the aftermath of her book? That could be interesting. Maybe.

3. Big Love (season 2) – Season 1 of this show was really interesting – and something that was completely “new”. I don’t really believe in the idea of marriage or monogamy – but that doesn’t really mean I agree with polygamy either. I appreciate the show gives us a non clich├ęd polygamist family and that it never really seems to be propaganda for or against the concept. I would probably be a little more open to it if it wasn’t so overtly religious (about fulfilling God’s plan or something like that…) and if it wasn’t so overtly anti-feminist. I loved that they sort of had a great reason behind how the extended family began (the “first” wife got cancer). I found the whole thing fascinating. However, season 2 was a big snooze fest. The acting alone can carry me through a season, but the plot seemed to drag and every episode felt repetitive and downright boring. I love the addition of one of my current favorite tv actors – Aaron Paul. I also loved that the “third” wife is starting to show a little more depth and assertiveness in the relationship (although Ginnifer Goodwin is the obvious week link of the series so far). I look forward to next season because I am hoping for a big “revolution” within “Juniper Creek” (where the crazy Mormons are – sorry to offend, however the show definitely portrays them as bat-shit crazy so that is why I describe them this way). I also look forward to seeing where the teenage kids stand on polygamy (Amanda Seyfried’s character seems to be rejecting the idea so far…). I will keep watching the series, but I am hoping for some mind-blowing episodes to make up for the boring stuff.

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