Friday, October 8, 2010
T.V. YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING
I am a 'T.V.-aholic' to be sure. It's our form of entertainment -- it's what we do. We don't do theater, movies or restaurants. Nor do we frequent museums.
But what we do do is use what we pay for. How many times have we thought there are so many channels and nothing on? How many of us pay our cable bill and wonder what the hell for?
If you're one of those who says there's nothing on, you're not paying attention.
Other than a select few ('Modern Family', 'Community', 'The Amazing Race', 'Survivor'), I'm not real big on network T.V.
However, last year 'Parenthood' came to us courtesy of Tuesday nights on NBC.
If any of you saw the movie of the same name in 1989, this is T.V.'s take with Craig T. Nelson (fantastic as always!) as the patriarch of the Braverman Clan, produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer who also did the film.
It's well written, witty and holds a superb cast including Lauren Graham (of 'The Gilmore Girls'), Peter Krause (of 'Six Feet Under'), Erika Christensen ('The Upside OF Anger', 'The Banger Sisters' and 'Traffic' just to name a few) and Dax Shepard ('When In Rome', 'Baby Mama') as the Braverman siblings still struggling with their parents, each other and the world and their role in it as parents themselves.
It's audience is slipping this season and for selfish reasons, I'd like to see it fight it's way out of the ratings war and remain in my living room -- once you see it, you'll wish for the same.
But what about all those shows on Cable?
Let me weed them out for you (no pun intended):
~'Weeds' (currently in progress)
~'Californication' (next season starts this winter)
~'Nurse Jackie' (on hiatus 'til winter or spring)
~'U.S. Of Tara' (on hiatus 'til winter or spring)
**You can catch up on all these shows on 'Showtime On Demand'. Well worth the watch.
In the meantime, Showtime has produced a new show this season called 'The Big C' that is nothing short of brilliant starring film actress Laura Linney as Cathy, a suburban housewife and mom to a typical teenage son who discovers that she has a fatal form of Melanoma and is deciding to keep her diagnosis (and grim prognosis) to herself.
Always having been the 'good girl', she is changing all that now and taking control of what little life she has left by kicking her fun-loving but childish husband to the curb (played by the always wonderful and underrated, Oliver Platt) and living a no-holds-barred existence. Surrounded by her humorous but homeless brother and feisty older neighbor, Cathy is finding support in the unlikeliest of places.
Each season of the show deals with Cathy's last season: For example, this season's show takes place in summer (next shows season will be autumn, etc.).
Not sure how the producers tend to deal with her impending death and/or if Cathy will ever decide to tell her family about her cancer -- but whatever happens, dare I say, she makes this show fun to watch.
Over on HBO we have 'Bored To Death' (now in season 2) starring Jason Schwartzman as 'Jonathan Ames'; a one hit wonder novelist turned private investigator (via 'Craigslist' ads!) as a way to make ends meet -- and fight boredom. He finds himself in precarious situations in a film noir-esque manner that is a scream to watch!
Co-starring (are you ready for this?) Zach Galifianakis as Jonathan's best friend, Ray, and Ted Danson as George, his friend and sometimes boss.
In spite of my -- and America's -- on-going love affair with the hilarious Zach Galifiankis ('The Hangover'), it's Ted Danson who steals the spotlight here as Jonathan's stoner friend and the consummate 'wait for me guy' who never wants to miss out on anything -- er, regardless of what it is:
George: "Hi, Jonathan -- what are you doing?"
Jonathan: "Oh, hi George. I'm taking Ray to get a colonic."
George: "I want one! I want a colonic."
This series will steal your heart -- and if anyone can find it, it's 'Jonathan Ames'!
*Look for 'Bored To Death' on HBO Sunday nights and on 'HBO On Demand'.
Lastly, we have HBO's newest series 'Boardwalk Empire' -- produced by none other than Martin Scorcese -- starring the underrated, and one of my all time (and long time) favorite actors, Steve Buscemi ('Fargo') as Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson: a man who lives two lives as Atlantic City's upstanding Treasurer....and powerful gangster.
In addition to striking rich by the presence of Steve Buscemi, the set and costume designs alone are worth the watch: the creators actually reproduced Atlantic City's 1920's boardwalk which took months to build and recreate in order to further authenticate 'Boardwalk Empire'.
This series begins the tale of the uprising of the American gangster in 1920's Atlantic City at the beginning of prohibition.
You also see the rising of such gangsters as Al Capone as well as the yin/yang of Buscemi's character struggling with public image and civic duty...and greed.
As one character tells 'Nucky'; "You can't be half a gangster anymore".
I'm not so sure. If anyone can pull it off, it's Steve Buscemi and Martin Scorcese