Saturday, April 11, 2009

On the TV

Well, it's April, which as far as I can tell, means it's time for new shows to start premiering on TV. Y'all know how I love new shows to distract me from the mind-numbing drudgery interspersed by moments of sheer panic that is my daily life. Taken all together, I have come to this conclusion: network TV is killing itself.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

I was immediately attracted to this show because it's based on the mystery novels. Not that I've read this series, but I like mysteries, especially mysteries with female detectives. This series takes place in Botswana and centers around a woman named Precious Ramotswe (Precious? bleh) who is the first woman--supposedly--in Botswana to open her own detective agency. She has no detecting experience, but she is very smart and clever and naturally curious.

The show's premier was insanely long and very depressing at the beginning, when Ramotswe's father dies. Then it takes her about an hour to actually have a case after she opens her agency. Once she finally does start getting cases, it was a little difficult to follow which case she was solving when. There was a strange dichotomy in the cases for me: on one hand, you have the relatively light-hearted matter of Ramotswe (I refuse to call her Precious) trying to figure out if a man is actually a woman's father or not; then on the other hand, you have the ultra-serious case of a child being kidnapped, which is actually not even her case. They didn't quite balance out for me.

However, the second episode was much better. Ramotswe still doesn't have many clients and is struggling to make ends meet, and she still has a mixture of serious (a guy pretending to be a dentist) and silly (the search for a stray dog) cases; but the balance in the second episode between the cases worked really well. Also, we got more insight into the characters, whom I'm beginning to love. My favorite character is Ramotswe's INSANELY uptight secretary, Grace Makutsi. In the first episode, she seemed kinda psycho and really annoying, but by the second episode her personality seems quirky and endearing, instead.

Another character I love is Matekoni, an automechanic who towed Ramotswe's old "van" in the first episode. He is really sweet and totally crushing on Ramotswe, not that she notices (she's recovering from a nasty marriage).

So I'm really enjoying this show so far and definitely recommend it, even though I have two issues with the logic of the plot:
  1. Why does Ramotswe need a secretary? She barely has enough work to keep one person busy, let alone two.
  2. Why doesn't she charge her clients a deposit? So far she's had two clients she did work for who never paid or threatened to never pay her after she was finished. Charge them a deposit for god's sake.
Parks and Recreation

My mom and I were really excited about this show because my dad works at a park, and my first job was at a park (well, technically my first job was at Dairy Queen, but I'm trying to erase that episode from my mind). It wasn't exactly lawl-worthy, although I did giggle at certain parts.

The show is essentially like The Office, only the office in this case is that of a local government instead of a paper company (i.e., it's populated by a bunch of idiots). Poehler's character is the Michael Scott of Pawnee, Indiana's local government.

My mom said she didn't like the show because she was annoyed that it was Poehler's character who was the idiot, and because the jokes about her were mean-spirited. I can see her point, although I think the main problem with the show is that there's no "normal" character the audience can connect with--a "Jim," if you will. Try to imagine The Office (especially early Office--like the first season when it was almost painful to watch) without Jim and I think you'll get my drift.

The show might improve after a few episodes, but I really don't care enough to see if it does or not at this point.

Harper's Island

Have I mentioned I love mysteries? I think I have. Harper's Island is about a bridal party that is systematically killed off on an island off the coast of Washington (state, not district). I was really excited about it because Christopher Gorham is in it! Yes, sexy sexxxxy Christopher Gorham, who was Henry on Ugly Betty and Jake on Jake 2.0. But even Gorham isn't enough to save this completely lame show. It's super-cheesy, but you can't even enjoy it's cheesiness because it's also insanely predictable. I can't believe Eleventh Hour was replaced by this show--and I hated Eleventh Hour.


Then there's Dollhouse. I know, this isn't a new show, but it has really grown on me in the last few episodes. In fact, I would venture to say it's pretty awesome. I'm even able to ignore how boring Dushku is now (aren't you proud of me?).

This week's episode was GREAT. There's a spy in the Dollhouse, and it turned out it was... oops, can't tell you. Anywayyyy, there's really more than one spy, but we don't know who the second spy is yet. I'm voting for De Witt, the director of the Dollhouse. She's clearly ambivalent about the direction of the Dollhouse, hates her job, and is the only person who can program the dolls without anyone else knowing.

Some more things I learned from this week's episode:
  1. English people consider fencing a form of foreplay;
  2. Tahmoh Penikett is really hawt (oh, wait, I already knew that);
  3. The NSA has "plans" for the Dollhouse. Ooooh.
Alas, according to recent reports, Fox is planning on cancelling the series and not even airing the series finale (which I assume has already been filmed?). This is clearly a ploy to make fans of the show buy the DVD. Very annoying, Fox.

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