Fantabulous Fridays: Four Shows to be Excited About

As we learned in my first Lost Wednesday post, I don’t really watch a whole lot of TV. That isn’t to say I don’t watch a lot of TV shows… I just tend not to watch them when they air. About the only two shows I semi-consistently break this protocol for are Lost (ABC Tuesday nights) and the occasional Grey’s Anatomy (also ABC, but Thursday nights). Virtually everything else I watch is done via streaming, timeshifting or OnDemand… and usually, I abuse the shit out of my very generous monthly bandwidth allowance and stream it from the Internet.

Typically, I tend towards the crime dramas and police procedurals in my TV-watching regime. I like the formula of forensic science, sexy investigators and brutal crimes. I don’t even care about the supposed (and likely) inaccuracies in the presentation of the procedures; it’s flashy, it’s fun, and it’s montaged to awesome music. And just like Team America World Police taught us, “it takes a montage.” The formula is predictable, even with plot twists and surprise endings, and there’s something comforting about that. The villain only rarely gets away with it; there’s something reassuring about that, especially with the state of the world and its problems today.

But occasionally, a show will grab my attention, and I’ll spend a few days catching up on episodes (or entire seasons on occasion) I may have missed before waiting impatiently for the next episode to be released. This doesn’t happen often, by any means. More likely, I’ll stumble across a rec while I’m searching for good slashfics and decide in my infinite boredom to check it out. Not every show I find this way meets my exacting, demanding criteria for entertainment… if the first two episodes completely fail to draw me in, I throw the show on my virtual slush pile, and never look at it again.

But like I said, occasionally, there are exceptions to this rule.

Sitcom (CBS Monday)

I don’t much go in for sitcoms anymore; my husband’s Friends addiction cured me of that. Occasionally I’ll listen in, or even once or twice pull up a chair, when he’s watching How I Met Your Mother (which is, itself, a reccable show. It just doesn’t impress me in the same way.) I’ll even catch the odd episode of Two and a Half Men on TV, usually when I’m in the mood to watch something on the tube.

And that brings us to my introduction to The Big Bang Theory.

A 30-minute show about a bunch of PhD geeks with their big words and their goofy, cute, Cheesecake Factory-waitressing neighbour Penny doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, and to tell you the truth, it’s not. I can appreciate highbrow humor as much as the next girl, and I can even respect jokes that might be above my head. But let’s face it, I’m a dick-and-fart joke girl at heart. Kevin Smith wouldn’t have gotten so much of my money otherwise.

So after watching Two and a Half Men one Monday night, the hubby and I left the TV on for mostly background noise, so we were half-listening to the episode where Leonard is informing Penny about going to Switzerland for Valentine’s Day by showing her Swiss chocolate, cheese, fondue and hoping she’d guess their destination. She replied, and I quote, “My lactose-intolerant boyfriend is going to eat all this and I’m going to climb on your back and rocket to the moon?”

Yes, that’s right folks. A super-smart fart joke. And it wasn’t the only one in the show either.

With a snazzy theme song written and performed by Canada’s own BNL, a cast filled with freaks and geeks (Sheldon really does make the whole show) and a writing staff not afraid to include both jokes that only the supersmart – or Google-fu masters — would get and lowbrow humor designed to play to the masses who love dick and fart jokes and making fun of nerds, it seems to be a formula for success.

I’m certainly enjoying it, anyway.

Dramedy (ABC Monday)

Castle was a show unlike most others on this list. I was aware of it from the moment ABC started promoting it, and immediately I flagged it for viewing on my calendar. (I’m serious about that. I marked the date of the series premiere down on my wall calendar so I wouldn’t forget it.) It stars Nathan Fillion, which was the reason for my initial interest in the series, as a rich, self-involved crime novelist who teams up with a hardbitten female detective in order to solve crimes and recharge his muse in the aftermath of his killing off of his longterm character.

I’ve watched Nathan play a brooding space cowboy, a psychotic preacher serving the First Evil, and a bullying egotist who picks on Dr. Horrible.  And I think that, no matter how awesome Captain Hammer (or Captain Tightpants, or Captain Poke-Your-Eye-Out) was, Richard Castle really takes the cake.  He’s irreverent, he does exactly what he wants with the right amount of boyish charm to make it seem less than dickish, and he’s got an interesting family.  He’s the eternal boy, despite showing some incredibly grown-up moments.

The show never takes itself too seriously, which means a rockin’ good ride for anyone watching at home.

Drama (Starz Friday)

I’m not entirely sure how I happened across this gem of a show, but it’s likely that I was looking for something else, saw the title of this and it caught my attention enough that I checked out the first episode. And holy fuck, Batman. It has to be the most unrepentantly gory, sexually explicit show with language salty enough to roast Satan down in hell I have ever seen… and I used to watch Rome. It currently holds a rating of TV-MA (“may be unsuitable for under 17”), joining other lofty MA notables like South Park, Jackass, Nip/Tuck, Sons of Anarchy and pretty much any Kevin Smith film networks want to air.

Starz is a pay-cable channel that isn’t readily accessible in Canada, so the episodes I’ve managed to catch have come from online streaming links. Meaning I’ve only caught the first episode, since I’ve been a bit busy with other things and haven’t had the time to go hunt them down. Still, the first episode I watched, the pilot entitled “The Red Serpent”, impressed me enough to recommend this show. To date, 5 episodes have aired (or will have aired, since this is Friday and the fifth is due out tonight). Check it out, even if it’s totally not safe for children.

Also. Craig Parker.  Can’t go wrong with Haldir in your production, dude.

Dramedy (CBC Wednesday)

I’m not entirely sure how many people would have heard about Republic of Doyle. It’s a Canadian show – more to the point, it’s a Newfie show – and not many people believe that Canada has facilities that can produce programs beyond what episodes of The Kids in the Hall or Just for Laughs they might have seen. Despite all evidence to the contrary, though, Canada (and Newfoundland) can put out some quality programming, and the newest offering from CBC, Republic of Doyle, goes a long way to prove it.

Now, let me preface this by stating that I am a Newfie. I was born and raised in the community where this program is set: I’ve walked down the same streets, I’ve partied in the same bars, I’ve eaten at the same restaurants. St. John’s is really not that big, after all, and most folks who were born, raised or currently reside in the city can claim the same. Yes, the accent is real. We really do talk like that. I even used to have an accent just like it, before living in the States wiped it out of my voice.

I’m thrilled to death to see my hometown featured in such a prominent way in primetime entertainment. And yet, as the same time the premise of it amuses the shit out of me. It deals with a father-son team of private eyes in St. John’s… and it seems a bit ridiculous to me. Major crime does not happen here very often, and as a result, I’ve never really given much thought to private dicks, the cops, crime rates, murders or kidnappings. The novelty of such a concept is more than enough to keep me returning for more.

And it really doesn’t hurt that Alan Hawco is incredibly easy on the eyes either.


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