2004 Shows -- Short(ish) Summary

This is going to be my last TV post for a while now, I promise! While in general I don’t watch more than four or so hours a week of TV (mostly comedy shows like Have I got News For You and Never Mind the Buzzcocks) the magical combination of an always on ADSL connection, Torrentcasting, a new 250GB harddrive and two monitors (one for work and one for playing TV shows) has rekindled an interest that was almost destroyed by the ending of Angel, FarScape and Wonderfalls.

After hours of pain staking research (oh the hardship!) I present below my views on the season so far of what all genre geeks have probably already made up their minds on.

Starting off with the pilots we have Darklight and HEX. I’d heard nothing about Darklight before watching it so I had no expectations. And it failed to meet even that. With a number of genre actors, Shiri Appleby from Roswell, John de Lancie (Q) from Startrek the Next Generation and Stargate and David Hewlett, a Brit(!) who has become the most interesting thing on Stargate Atlantis this show has helped hammer a nail in their collective careers. Bland, bad CGI and no cohesion. It’s actually lucky for Darklight that HEX, from Sky and constantly billed as the next Buffy, came along. Because it’s worse; slow, badly written and with dialogue that feels forced (and a heroine that goes from “what’s happening” to abusing her powers in about thirty seconds) this program makes me wants the ability to forever ban things from my downloader.

Now we’re over the complete rubbish lets look at the programs that failed to meet expectations; Andromeda and CSI:NY. Andromeda had a lack luster start and after the first couple of seasons was handed to Robert Engels, a man I suspect was paid by the Enterprise Team to make their program look passable. I only watched a handful of episodes from all the seasons combined but while the original couple of series were cliched and quite dull, except for Lexa Doig who can do no wrong, the last couple have been full of new age ‘theories’ taken to a whole new level of insanity and plot holes wide enough to drive DS9 through. This program defies logic with its very existence. PS The new ships avatar looks like a badly aged barbie doll.

For my next trick I’m going to group the CSI shows together, I was a big fan of the early CSI, it had a blend of pop science, humour and characters that made it great fun to watch, trying to solve the cases before they did made a nice change from the usual dumbed down shows in this category. While the original CSI is still watchable, William Peterson is a master of his craft, the newer series seem to have become more like a soap opera and have lost the earlier novelty factor. I blame part of this on CSI: Miami, if David Caruso (Horatio Caine) ever cracks more than two expressions half the watching audience will die of heart attacks. As for the rest of the cast I can’t really find anything to comment about, they are just so forgettable. CSI NY seems to suffer from the same problems; both the new teams are just dull. While CSI could afford a little bit of under characterisation, which has been mostly fixed with Greg and Dr Robbins, the other two don’t have any thing to differentiate them.

Now on to Stargate and Stargate Atlantis, I don’t really have much to say on these, Stargate has just plodded along happily as ever, and lets be honest it’s formula is above average if no longer excellent, but with more cliched story lines and less of what made Richard Dean Anderson great as Jack O’Neill as his screen time gradually drops season by season. Stargate Atlantis on the other hand is, in essence, Stargate season 1 and 2. The plots are very similar, the characters fit the SG1 mould, Sheppard is O’Neill and Teyla is Teal’c, and nothing exciting ever happens. Except for David Hewlett who plays Dr. Rodney McKay. Ever since he called Carter blonde on Stargate this mostly anti-hero has been left to bring some originality to the series on his own. And unfortunately he’s losing.

Enterprise. The first two seasons were rubbish and wasted an excellent opportunity. They also had rubbish credits and a very grating opening song. Season three (the Xindi storyline) lead to some great episodes among the chaff. Season four has started out a lot more promising and I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt for now. However I don’t think this’ll be reaching series 7 like all the other treks have. On the upside it doesn’t have Janeway.

Now the positive, Lost is the best of the crop this year, I’ve already whittled on about Lost in a previous Lost blog entry but lets just say that it’s the only thing keeping those of us missing Joss Whedon on TV sane. The last surprise is Veronica Mars, I like this show but I’m not sure why. The characters are mostly stereotypes and the stories are far from ground breaking but as a package it does seem to work. And anything that includes the Streets in the sound track is worth a watch.

This post has become a little longer than I planned but now it’s off my chest I can get back to posting tech stuff only the google spider and twelve techies care about :)