Sunday, September 18, 2005

For your viewing pleasure

These are the shows that I'm currently watching, and, because my opinions are what truly matters, obviously, you all should watch them too.

Let's start with the greatest single sitcom I have ever seen: Coupling. You want to know why it is the greatest? It doesn't come from the United States (well, NBC tried to bring it to the U.S when they knew that Friends was soon ending and a replacement was needed. If you've seen it, I'm sorry. It only lasted 4 episodes). This British look at relationships and sex is not toned down to meet FCC standards. Its real. Its what real people would actually say (with the exception of British slang; obviously, terms like Snog can't possibly be real - can they?). And you know what? Deep breath now.

It is funny. Really funny.

Wake up people who are sleeping within close proximaty of you funny.

And I don't mean American-sitcom funny where you laugh to yourself in short, expelled breaths, in a way, humoring those who are supposed to be humoring you. I find myself doing that more and more when I watch shows that are supposed to be funny now (except Two and a Half Men. That kid is hilarious). For a quick glance at its greatness, view the quotes at IMDB, or watch it on ON Demand Comcast Digital Cable under Cable Favorites/BBC America. If you like it, buy the DVDs. Only then will you understand how very sad it is that Jeff is a man of too many legs and not enough languages. Poor chap.

This second show I happened across because it is on ABC Family every day when I get home from work (having left my TV on ABC family the night before watching Full House. Those of you who know me are not surprised by this). I've got to say, in spite of my ongoing love affair with Marvel Comics, that I have found a new love for Clark Kent. Not Superman. Teenage, shy and crushing-hard, Clark Kent. Yes, Smallville has stolen my comic related imagination lately. Its basically the OC with less lesbians and more kids with super-powers, but its also much more.

Its very intelligently written. In every episode, the foreshadowing of events and mythology that everyone already knows is enough to make you sit there and say to yourself "If they only knew". When Lex Luthor turns away from Clark and says "Relationships founded on deceit and lies are destined to crumble," he may, in context, be referring to his relationship with his father, but the writers' intention in a statement like that is unequivocally clear. Michael Rosenbaum as Alexander Luthor really steals the show as a young man doing everything he can to carve out his own destiny. Its almost like what the prequel Star Wars trilogy should have been. We know this guy is going to be bad, evil even. He is doing his damnedest to do good, but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

My only problem with Smallville is that I have only made it through Season 1, and Season 5 starts in two weeks.

Finally, I have to make mention of Firefly. This is a show that was on FOX, I believe, about 2 years ago. It was cancelled because, as many of us are keenly aware, FOX has a problem of not knowing what they have until after they cancel it. Firefly is the first television series who's sales on DVD have forced a movie out to continue it (this would be Serenity, due out 9/30). The world of Firefly can only be described as a Space-Opera-Western (I know. Stay with me now).

The show follows the crew of this Firefly-Class space ship, named Serenity (Oh! Now I get it!), as they try to earn a (dis)honest living, smuggling whatever needs to be smuggled, just to remain independent of the "Alliance." They fly around in space in their ship that is falling apart; they land on backwater planets to secure goods to transport; they run from the Alliance. That is about it. There are horses, guns with bullets (not lasers), bar fights, and whores (or companion as called in the show - a very classy job apparently). But what is it that makes this show so special?

In a word: family.

The crew of Serenity is a family. Not "birthed by the same mother" family. Not bloodlines. This is an "I would die to protect you" family. And you can imagine how disfunctional they are being isolated in that space ship in the middle of nowhere for weeks at a time, running from the law. The sense of family I get from the crew of this ship is more touching and more real to me than anything in any show that I've seen in a long time.

Oh, and not to mention that this show is Joss Whedon's love child. The show is flawlessly written, arched and acted. Do not miss this gem. Its in reruns on SciFi Fridays at 7, but its a DVD set everyone should own. I know I will.


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