Monday, February 21, 2011

What I'm Watching Now:

'Vampire Diaries,' Thursday 9 pm, CW. Yes, it's on the CW. Yes, the creator is Kevin Williamson of 'Dawson's Creek.' Yes, it's based on a YA horror novel series. Yes, it's another human-girl-falls-for-mysterious-and-pretty-stranger-who-turn-out-to-be-lacking-a-pulse in the vein (shut UP) of 'Twilight,' and was totally designed to bring in that crowd. (Shudder.) Yes, the first three episodes of the first season sucked BALLS. Like, MST3K levels of suck. There was a mysterious midday fog, guys. There was a creepy crow in a graveyard. It was painful.

So how the hell is this my favorite thing on TV right now? Let me count the ways:
  1. The female characters. Main character Elena, her witch friend Bonnie, ditzy-cheerleader-turned-badass-vampire-heroine Caroline, villainess Katherine, sherrif Liz...the list goes on. It's one of the only shows with a near-even gender balance, and each of these women are complex, interesting people who move the plot. I'm particularly fond of the friendship between Elena, Bonnie, and Caroline. Gail Simone recently bemoaned the lack of female friendships in media, and she's right. Girls are hardly ever shown just being friends with each other and when they are, they're usually talking about guys (which is why I do like the Bechdel Test, for all its flaws).
  2. The plotting. Shit goes DOWN. What other shows would spend a season developing, TVD whips through in the teaser of the season premiere. I haven't seen narrative development this tight since Aaron Sorkin gave up coke. (Or "gave up coke.")
  3. The cast. Nina Dobrev has to play two completely opposite characters--warm Elena and vicious Katherine, Paul Wesley somehow makes a vampire seem like a genuinely nice guy, Ian Somerhalder is deliciously psychotic as Damon, and their supporting cast includes David Anders, one of my Very Favorites. (Native Oregonian, represeeeeeeent!)
The show does have some color issues--except for Bonnie, every character of color has been killed off or turned out to be evil, or both; there's also this weird thing where every witch is a black person, and almost every black person is a witch, and that reeks of Magical Ethnic Person stereotyping--but for the strong female presence, I give this show a huge rec. Also, the creators say they're gonna be bringing on a gay character, which fixes my other complaint about the series.

'Southland,' Tuesday 10 pm, TNT. I'm not exactly sure how to explain how this show sets itself apart from the billion-and-one other police procedurals. Somehow it feels a lot more realistic, an impression that has been backed up by praise from current and ex-cops on message boards. It also has John Cooper. Oh, John Cooper, you fabulous gay ex-Marine badass supercop. How I love you so.

Bonus round: LYDIA ADAMS AND HER SHOTGUN OF GREAT MOTHERFUCKING JUSTICE. I love the fact that the two toughest cops on this show are a gay man and a short black woman.

'Justified,' Wednesday 10 pm, FX. I've already talked about this one, but I feel it deserves another mention because last episode had a) the return of Boyd Crowder, albeit briefly, and that always results in great scenes between he and Raylan, b) the return of sniper Tim (though they TOTALLY ripped off my favorite--and really, the only good--scene from the 2006 version of Miami vice) and c) Timothy Olyphant in a brown Henley. Hello, tall and lanky. A sad lack of Rachel, tho...and I do have to say, for all that it's set in the South this show is pretty damn white without my favorite marshal.

Shows that I'm missing while they're away:
'Sons of Anarchy.' Shakespeare on motorcycles, y'all. I'm just sayin'.
'Misfits.' Curse you, British television, and your horribly-short season lengths.
'Primeval.' Ditto.

Shows I'm watching and wish I weren't:
'Glee.' Ugh. Chris Colfer, why can't you be in something else?
'Hawaii 5-0.' IT WAS THE FANFIC, OKAY? Fandom tells me there's an emotionally-shut-down, guilt-ridden military man to be had, and I need something to tide me over until Primeval's Captain Becker comes back. Also, Grace Park in a bikini. I'm just saying, a girl has needs.

Shows I'm not watching and wish I'd picked up a long time ago because now I have no IDEA what the fuck is going on:
'Fringe,' because apparently there is nothing else sci-fi/fantasy/horror on TV right now. Except 'Supernatural,' and I am not diving into that one again.


  1. they not have dvr and downloads where you live? That would solve your Fringe problems.

  2. They do, but I just don't have the time to get all caught up. Got nursing school apps to file! Alas, it cuts into my TV time. :/