Monday, December 01, 2008

From what I can tell by reading other people's Facebook profiles, I am the only person on the planet who watches TV. The other 3 people who do admit to watching TV are invariably sure to preface their preferences with an all too common "I don't watch much TV, but..."

Anyway, I don't watch much TV, but whenever the holidays roll around and bastards like Jon Stewart start relentlessly slacking, I notice that my Tivo's "Now Playing" list starts getting damn thin.

(By the way, I blame YOU for this. Yes, YOU! All you family-loving, holiday-celebrating, live-each-moment-to-its-fullest bastards are the reason that the networks fill my holiday prime time with filler. YOU!)

So, the wife and I, faced with the prospect of facing each other, realized that we needed another series to watch. We recently finished watching The Wire, whose absence left a one-hour-drama sized hole in our TV viewing pattern. Hank and I narrowed down the possible replacement choices to:
Each of those choices seemed flawed. I've written before about my issue with shows like Lost. I said (and it still seems true):
Everyone loves this show, and I've never seen an episode, but it would seem to suffer from what's known as the Gilligan Problem. Rescue the characters and the show ends, so you must put blockade after blockage in front of them despite their desperate attempts to build bicycles and sexual companions out of coconuts. I used to love the X-Files until I grew weary of the same issue. Every episode either teased me by dangling aliens in front of the screen, or they annoyed me by going off on some irrelevant side plot. Good luck, Gilligan, but no thanks.
Meanwhile, The Tudors, which was obviously Hank's addition to this list, suffers from the fatal flaw of being a historical costume drama, only a tutu and a pirouette away from being 100% completely Y-chromosome repellent.

"You know, Hank," I started in that way of mine, "I heard that the pilot episode of The Tudors centers around a scandal involving a breach of etiquette in how tea was served one afternoon."

"Really?" Hank asked.

"No! I heard no such thing, but doesn't the fact that it SOUNDS like the sort of thing they'd do in The Tudors disqualify that show from consideration?"

My smarmy point now made, I begrudgingly and magnanimously agreed to add it to our list of possibilities because I am confident in my masculinity that way. So we watched the first hour of each show this weekend, in the TV-off to end all (note: not "all") TV-offs!

First up was Lost. The pilot was pretty entertaining. Dude wakes up in the middle of the jungle and soon thereafter is confronted with the very-recent aftermath of the plane crash he just lived through. And there was some mysterious and monstrous entity deep in the bowels of the jungle, the likes of which Gilligan never had to deal with! So, I guess this show has not one, but two, cross-episode, main plot-lines. That makes it at least twice as good as Gilligan's island (although it might be an n2 thing)!

We watched The Tudors last night. My fear was that this show would feature Shakespearean-style dialogue, which would efficiently extinguish any opportunity I might otherwise have to eke out a morsel of entertainment from a costume drama. Those fears, as it turned out, were unfounded. The Tudors was pretty damn accessible. There was some international intrigue, pending betrayals, and three, COUNT 'EM, three sets of bare breasts. That's some pretty compelling television. By coming into the show with low (and fearful) expectations, I was pleasantly surprised. (Hank, on the other hand, having quite high expectations, found herself minorly disappointed.)

I asked Hank tonight, before dinner, "So, which show did you like better? Should we start watching Lost or The Tudors?"

"Well, it's either boobs or monsters. That's pretty much what it comes down to." she replied.

She was right. I can't lose either way. We may have to watch both.


tinyhands said...

As I believe you know, I watch a LOT of tv, so I'm well-qualified to comment on this.

I've been hooked on Lost since the beginning and, although it went through a slump somewhere around season 2, it gets better and they DO get off the island. You have until January 21 to get caught up before the new season begins.

I heard good things about The Tudors, so I downloaded the first couple episodes. I thoroughly enjoyed all the sex & intrigue, but I haven't been as glued to it as others. I expect to get a new TV/monitor attached to my computer which will enable watching more downloaded programs. Right now the 57" HDTV & HD-DVR gets priority.

For the record, I also watch Boston Legal (final season), Brothers & Sisters (it's crap tho), Desperate Housewives (it's crap too), Eli Stone (crap), Life on Mars, Pushing Daisies (excellent, but now cancelled), Ugly Betty (crap), 30 Rock, Chuck, Crusoe (crap), ER (crap, final season), Heroes, Life, My Name is Earl, Rules of Engagement (crap on hiatus), Worst Week (picked up?), Fringe (crap), and Late Late (daily). Then there are the HBO series...

I clearly watch a lot of crap shows, but that doesn't mean that I enjoy them!

Mike said...

No Office? I enjoy that one (as well as 30 Rock and Heroes).

Sue said...

I wonder if the Tudors is historically accurate? Were there really that many boobs showing back then? Any bodice ripping? Is Henry 8 as disgusting as he was for reals?

The Illustrious Ms E said...

'Lost', definitely go with 'Lost'...Up until last season it was the most original thing I'd seen on TV since I can't remember when...I don't think they've jumped the shark, but I am still trying to figure out what they're doing with the last few episodes...(Just a thought--don't read about it online, and make sure you pay attention to details...*smirks knowingly*)

My recommendation has nothing to do with the fact that I would love to watch 'The Tudors' but don't have Showtime, and I am not bitter about that at all...Nope...Not one bit...

Avery Gray said...

That's a tough one, but I'm gonna go with 'Lost'. 'The Tudors' is some good marathon watching, but 'Lost' is good to ponder over between episodes. Besides, I hear you can see lots of boobs on the interweb.

tinyhands said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tinyhands said...

I watched the BBC Office, so I cannot watch the NBC one. :(

@Sue- Henry VIII is played by the Irish actor who was the coach/love interest in 'Bend It Like Beckham'. I suspect you'll enjoy.

Mike said...

Sue, I have no idea if it's historically accurate. I went to a mediocre high school.

Ms. E, I've definitely had more people recommend Lost to me, but for the record, I also don't have Showtime. We'd be renting the DVDs.

Avery, if you're attempting to argue that there is a quantity of boobs that is enough, we'll be at this for a while.

Tiny, I think you just have to separate the two shows. They're just both about dysfunctional offices and that's it.