Chuck hasn’t yet caught me. I’ve stopped recording it on our DVR and have been watching it online at NBC’s website. I’m not entirely sure what it is about this show that’s bugging me. Maybe it’s just that it’s geared more for gaming nerds than nerds like me, those that I sort of think of as "second wave" nerds. Our fathers played Chainmail, we played tabletop Dungeons and Dragons, kids these days thing World of Warcraft is somehow role playing. That in itself doesn’t bug me, though, but Chuck seems only to focus on the video game nerds. It occasionally nods elsewhere, like a brief in-passing mention of a Linux installation, but there isn’t much of it. Also, Zachary Levi doesn’t say "nerd" to me. Zachary Levi looks like a nerd the same way that Jenna Fischer looks like a nerdgirl, or Anne Hathaway looks fat in The Devil Wears Prada. It’s nice to see Adam Baldwin back in action, but that’s about it. I’m also sort of tired of shows that just play into adolescent male fantasies of women. I’ve known plenty of beautiful women, but very few of them were martial artist ninjas or international terrorists.
Heroes continues to intrigue me. I’m not surprised that a number of fans are dissing the second season; it’s just as I predicted would happen. Expectations for this sort of show always rise faster than can realistically be delivered. What’s funny is that different camps of fans decry different aspects of the show: some say that Matt’s storyline is the only good one in a mashup of comic book cliches; other says that Peter’s storyline is intriguing but Matt’s is maudlin and frustrating. I like that the show continues to evolve, and the characters continue to develop in ways that seem consistent. At least, to me they do.
I still like Journeyman and each episode draws me further in. There’s a good deal of relationship angst and drama, but I like that, for once, the characters are up front with each other and dealing with the drama in open ways, rather than being deceptive and duplicitous with each other. Dan initially tried to hide from Katie that he encounters Livia when he goes traveling, but when she confronts him, he is open and honest with her about the situation. Katie tries to deal with the situation as best as she can, but with predictable frustration: how tolerating can you be when your spouse ends up traveling back in time on the same night as the huge fancy charity ball that you’ve organized and he’s promised to attend with you? Dan’s relationship with Livia is explored in a way that makes sense to me. And so on. It’s a good show about good but flawed people caught up in a lousy situation. There’s also an interesting subplot developing involving a scientist from 2007 who is able to call Dan’s cell phone, even though Dan is back in 1997. Something deeper is going on, and that always draws me in.
Journeyman has its flaws, of course. The thing about the cell phone — how can a cell phone, even one contemporary technology-wise to the time Dan has found himself in — function when the account it’s attached to has presumably not been created yet? This doesn’t make sense to me. Neither is the issue of paradox ever explored; when Dan goes back in time and saves the life of someone who has apparently died, the issue of everyone’s memories changing isn’t investigated. I can live with these faults, though, simply because the relationships are realistically and interestingly portrayed.
Of course, it’s probably because this show is more about the relationships and the effects of Dan’s random time jumps on them rather than on the gosh-wowie factor that the show may be doomed. Rumor already has it that it may be canceled and Medium put into its place. Medium isn’t a bad show, and again it shines in how it portrays the effects of one character’s strange experiences impacting their relationships. But it just isn’t as solid as Journeyman is.
And I still say that Kevin McKidd looks an awful lot like John Simms.
I still like Reaper. It’s still a goofy show with clever touches of Kevin Smith and Ray Wise as the best devil I’ve seen on television since Roddy McDowell did it in a few episodes of old school Fantasy Island. I do wish they’d do something more with Andi, though. Her role as the ongoing romantic interest for the main character is in danger of growing stale and boring.
Pushing Daisies is still my favorite new show this season. Last night’s episode featured a Chinese man who was the grandson of a Confederate soldier and who spoke with a Southern accent, and a swordfight. I love these kinds of weird little details. Jim Dale as the narrator is funny as well.
Bionic Woman, though, isn’t doing much for me anymore. I think I’m a little tired of the premise, which is sort of a mashup of the original Bionic Woman premise with a whole 21st century corporate/terrorism zeitgeist which is starting to bore me. The muted color palette and shaky cameras are too reminiscent of Battlestar Galactica and definitely show David Eick’s influence. Being David Eick isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and Battlestar Galactica is, of course, brilliant. But this is a different show and deserves its own style. And Jamie Sommers as a character just isn’t convincing me; after a life as a surrogate mom to her younger sister, working at a bar to barely make ends meet, she slips far too easily into her role as international super spy with a conscience. It fails to convince me.
The only thing, really, that’s keeping me going with this show is Katee Sackhoff as Sarah Corvus. She does psychotic/evil very well, and is sufficiently creepy to keep me guessing at her motivations.
I don’t watch TV on Thursdays; I catch up on The Office on NBC’s website. There’s something about this season, though, which is jarring me. I’m amused by Ryan, the temp/business student who’s suddenly promoted to vice president and has no clue that he’s in way over his head and whose style of management seems to have been lifted entirely from a late 90’s dot-com business plan. Corporate parties by webcam? They were a bad idea in 1999, and they’re just abysmally moronic in 2007. It just seems like everyone has gotten stupider and meaner this season, so the humor just isn’t working as well for me.