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Torchwood: Children Of Earth - The Best Thing On TV All Year

What the hell am I supposed to do?

Tell me that?

They put V on for 4 weeks and now I have to sit through another season of Scrubs?

Scrubs seriously wore out its welcome with me 2 seasons ago. I mean you can only play the JD/Elliot card so many times before I just throw my hands up in the air out of pure and utter frustration. The thing that kills me most is that I used to adore Scrubs but then it went into syndication and suddenly it was on ALL THE FUCKING TIME! I mean as much as 8 times a day. 8 TIMES A DAY! No one should have to sit through that much Zach Braff in a 24 hour period.

At least 30 Rock is consistently funny. Tina Fey and company really do put out a killer show that I want to watch, which is more than I can say for the rest of the NBC Thursday Night “Must See TV” line-up. I like The Office just fine but would probably like it more if people would stop trying to convince me of how great it is. I mean Steve Carell genuinely funny, so that keeps me coming back… well that and the lovely Jenna Fisher. But after those 2 shows NBC just keeps piling on turd after turd. Park & Recreation is just… I want to say boring but then when I least expect it I laugh at least one thing during an episode, so maybe there is hope. We won’t even discuss Community.

I could run screaming into the warm loving arms of original TV programming on Cable but even the usually awesome Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia has been pretty middle of the road this season. Still funny mind you, just not as funny as the seasons before it. Hey speaking of shows on FX, my room mate thinks Nip/Tuck is compelling television. Just how is a superficial show about superficial characters compelling TV? I don’t know if this means that I’m out of touch or if he is just superficial. It might be a little bit of both but let’s just put the blame solely on him, it just makes my life easier.

If there is one new show that I actually liked this year, it had to be Bored To Death. I like Jason Schwartzman playing a neurotic New York Jew. A New York Jew novelist. A New York Jew novelist with writer’s block. A New York Jew novelist with writer’s block who decides to become an unlicensed PI after his girlfriend leaves him. It is a magnificent take on the PI show and it sseriously warrants you watching it. Be warned, if you don’t like subtle low-key humor then you will probably hate this show. If you don’t like Woody Allen then you just not even bother. You people who don’t get Woody Allen… I just pity you.

Bored To Death - Best NEW Show Of The Year

I tried watching Joss Whedon’s newest hot mess Dollhouse. Unlike Firefly this show totally deserved to be cancelled. Sorry kids, I shouldn’t be laughing through a show that is trying ot be serious. There might be the problem actally. Dollhouse suffered from everyone trying so hard ot be serious most of the time that it bordered on camp. This might just be the show that makes people that not everything that comes from Joss Whedon is brilliant but somehow I doubt it.

I’m not a hater of Whedon’s work, not by a longshot. I think the first 3 seasons of Buffy The Vampire Slayer make one of the best High School themed shows to ever air. I mean taking a theme of “High School Is Hell” and then taking that idea literally? That is just to much fun not to watch. But the problem is, once the show left its High School trappings, the theme became “Real Life Sucks!”. Buffy kind of blew its creative wad in Season 3 and then sufed on its post-coitus creativity for the next 4 seasons. Not that I didn’t enjoy them, but it just seems that, as far as storytelling went, there was just no way that topping season 3 was possible.

I don’t know, maybe the British have the right format for TV. Run shows as a short series for the purpose of tighter writing and storytelling purposes. Hell, even Doctor Who runs only 13 episodes a series and that is some of the best damn sci-fi put on since… what? Season 4 of Star Trek The Next Generation? Yeah… that sounds about right. Hell look at what Doctor Who’s spinoff Torchwood did. It sacrificed another 13 episode series to do a 5 part mini-series and the result was the BEST thing I watched all year not named, be it TV or movie, Coraline. Yes siree, Torchwood: Children Of Earth was thsat damn good and if you’ve been readin gthis blog for the last 2 months or so, you already know that I’ve stated this at least twice by now.

By sacrificing the 13 episode format for 5, Torchwood: Children Of Earth told a more focused, tighter story that made for compelling serial TV. Can you imagine how much better some shows with a serial format would be by extrapolating extraneous episodes (MOTHER FUCKIN’ ALITERATIN BITCHES!) that don’t directly affect the main story? Don’t give me bullshit like “But it hurts character development” because that is just such horseshit. I’d gladly get rid of every “Holo-suite Goes Crazy” episode from any Star Trek series in favor of tighter storytelling. This applies to Sci-Fi as well as regular Dramas with a serial format.

HBO is smart to give their shows 6-13 episodes a season. That way the shows cut through the bullshit and get right to heart of the matter, giving us better story and characterization. Let me put it like this… Do you really think that The Sopranos would be nearly as compelling if each season had been comprised of 22 episodes each season?

Look, Broadcast TV is a dying artform. Very few shows are actually worth my time, let alone yours these days. So why settle for crap TV with plodding story and characterization when a smaller episode count per season will result in better shows and then higher ratings? Why the networks haven’t adopted this approach sooner I’ll never know but it seems the only show that gets approached this way is Lost. Then again, Lost has a production budget of a Third World Country’s GNP, so limiting the production cost by doing shorter seasons makes sense there. Ah… but if it is about saving money, shorter seasons are the best option for production companies and networks. It would also mean that we’d get new shows year-round and not have to suffer through repeats all summer.

Serenity - Would It Have Been As Good If It Had Been A 22 Episode Second Season Of Firefly?

Wait… I just found the hole in my proposal… Cutting episode numbers in half won’t save money. It just means the same money gets spent on other, newer shows that go into production. Sweet Jewish Jesus! I just discovered how TV economics work! It all makes sense to me now! The problem is getting TV writers and creators to realize that wrting a show with long-term plans won’t payoff in today’s TV market. Let’s use Joss Whedon as an example again. Whedon tends write with longterm grand plans. This is evident in the majority of his TV work. But imagine if he condensed his ideas down. Imagine if a network said “Great concepot Joss, but condense this down so we can tell it in 5-10 episodes”. Imagine what a tight focused story Joss Whedon could tell! Well fuck you don’t need to imagine because he ended up doing that with Firefly and its spinoff movie Serenity. Firefly got the axe before its time but when you watch Serenity, you can kind of tell that the whole movie could’ve been expanded upon if Firefly itself had not been cancelled. But, would Serenity have been as tight or the character of The Operative as compelling for 13-22 episodes?

Makes you wonder don’t it?


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