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DalyCityTrain



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


If anyone is still watching The Killing, the season finale is getting one of the hugest negative reactions and backlashes of outright revulsion I've ever seen on TV. It may not be a lasting controversy like Lost or BSG, but it's so unanimous!

Here are two good sample reviews. Huge spoilers, but I'm not sure anyone would want to watch it clean at this point.

Maureen Ryan

An un-spoilery sample:
"Strap yourselves in, folks. Get ready for the angriest television-related screed I think I've ever written. I'm not sure how to start, except to say that I hated the season finale of 'The Killing' with the burning intensity of 10,000 white-hot suns.

It wasn't just a bad ending to a poorly constructed, sloppy, disappointing season. It was a jaw-dropping instance of a show not just squandering its promise, but betraying its viewers. The tone-deaf arrogance of the writers and executives responsible for 'The Killing' is simply astonishing. And depressing, if you're a fan of quality television."

Along the same lines, Alan Sepinwall:

"I tried to be optimistic. The people who run AMC aren't dumb, I thought"

(As much as I can quote without big spoilers)

The ruckus is clearly more fun than the show at this point. Also, FWIW for those not already following: It's not the show's slower pace, or attempts at mature, character-based storytelling that are getting shit. It's every bit of the execution and stupidity therein.
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Midline Shift



Joined: 22 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The show is getting absolutely crushed, but I'm in the minority that liked the entire season and even the finale (kind of).

That said, it was inexcusable to not show who the killer was. A show of this sort requires some sort of closure for the viewer. I read somewhere that one of the writers said to think of this not as the end of a 13 episode season, but episode 13 out of 20+. That's bullshit, especially with the way AMC promoted the show leading us to believe the killer would be revealed. At the very least, they should have showed what happened with Belko. Did he blast Richmond in the face? Did the cops take him down before he could get a shot off? There were no answers whatsoever to any of the show's questions.

On the other hand, I liked the swerve with Holder. I found him annoying at first, but he grew to be my favorite character on the show. I'm not entirely convinced he is in cahoots with the killer. A big theme of the show is judgement (ie, Linden initially judging Holder as a clown, then thinking he was crooked before eventually coming to value and trust him) so I'm prepared to wait and see. It's been pointed out that Holder used Linden to try to get the toll booth tapes, so he knew she would eventually find out the photo of Richmond was doctored. That has some thinking that he might be playing some other angle, maybe further under cover for some reason. I hope that's not just wishful thinking.

As for the season itself, I didn't mind the slow pacing or the constant red herrings. I liked the way it was paced and it's a detective mystery so of course there were red herrings. Any idiot knew that the strong suspicion of the teacher meant there was no way he could be guilty, and all the reasons he was a suspect were eventually explained away (even though the FBI-terrorist stuff was a little over the top for me). I understand if other folks had a bigger problem with those things, and I definitely understand that the irritation with the lack of conclusion, but there was enough for me to find the show enjoyable. I thought the look/atmosphere was well done and liked the acting quite a bit (especially Linden and Holder). I guess I'm one of the few looking forward to the second season.


Simon
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having read the Wiki of the original version of The Killing (Forbrydelsen), how faithful were they to the series? The first series of Forbrydelsen solved the murder. The second series has another murder that's worked on.

Seems clear that they didn't solve it here.

John
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Midline Shift



Joined: 22 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not only did they not solve the murder, but it gave the impression that they did before a last minute swerve that would've made Vince Russo proud. Literally nothing was resolved. Who was the real killer? Did Belko whack Richmond? Who was in the car with Holder? Is Holder dirty? What happened to Mitch? Did Linden really go to Sonoma?

The writers claim this was planned all along and I really want to give them the benefit of doubt, but like I said I hope it's not just wishful thinking.

It's well known that this show was based on the Danish show, and since that show solved the murder it was entirely reasonable to expect this one to as well. That's another reason folks are so pissed about last night's finale.

I don't know much about the Danish show, but it seems like they followed the broad outline (aside from the conclusion). Not sure about the details. I did read that the 'creator' of the American version said the Danish show was used as a blueprint so it's possible there were significant changes.


Simon
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DalyCityTrain



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every comparison I've read between the two is a little vague (this blog attempts a detailed comparison of plot details). But they all seem to suggest that the American version takes the basic plots and characters from the original and makes them simpler, dumber, less honest. Just going from the few things I've read. I haven't seen the original. It got great reviews, however, in total contrast with the AMC version.

Interviews with the American showrunner just make her seem out-of-touch with her audience. We'll see how long that can last now. The pilot was filmed months before anything else, and before the writers had discussed the show's direction or even who the killer would be (They've repeatedly emphasised that it isn't the same culprit as the Danish version). Which has led to a slow draining of quality and conviction as the season's gone on.

Every set of characters on The Killing started out undermining "police procedural" cliches, in a way that suggested everyday life is about very slow acceptance rather than responding in the most obvious, kneejerk sense to the tragedy. Then, after slowing to a crawl and not making any choices for weeks, they turned around and did the obvious thing anyways. It's been really weird to watch, and felt like the creators wrote themselves into a corner then took the easy way out at every turn.

If you can handle another bad review, Meredith Blake makes a list of every ridiculous plot contrivance you'd have to swallow to buy this "realistic" and not very exciting investigation.

As long as I'm piling it on, Here's a play-at-home Plot Bingo game to make it less tedious.
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DalyCityTrain



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MS, I can see enjoying it for the change of pace. I was impressed with it in the beginning, and stuck with it throughout the season ( I LIKE slow movies/TV).

But the character development really let me down (except for the two leads, and that was intermittent and required you to swallow some backwards-ass police work).

Part of it was I was following along with a lot of people, and while not every gaffe bothered me as much as it did others, once certain problems were pointed out to me, they became glaring. Kinda like John Cena closelining guys in the ear. ;-)

That said, the complaints have been renewed each week across the 'net at a new level of "I lowered my expectations, and they still lowered the bar." I think a lot of people just wanted a reason for it all, and barring that, simply a conclusion. It became sort of like a dark joke.

But I agree that the acting is nice, and some of the shots are beautiful.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got a ton of these on the DVD, and the other ones are easy to get via On Demand or elsewhere. But... it's hard to commit 10+ hours to something that looks like it would cheese me off at the finish. :( I've got something like 5 seasons of Weeds sitting up on the shelf that I haven't watched yet, the whole second half of the season of Top Chef Masters on the second dvr, and am just now reading 4 books that Cheetah gave me at Christmas. When I hear the words "Russo", I worry about wasting time and start running for the hills. :)

I'm thinking maybe I should chase down the dvds of the original series.

John
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of "I have a bad feeling about this, Chewie...", Lee sent this to me knowing that I'm a massive fanboy of the original BBC series and the books:

HBO, BBC2 Make Deal To Turn Robert Graves Novel 'I, Claudius' Into Epic Miniseries

It is HBO so there's a chance. But the original is famed for three of the great performances of all-time: John Hurt as the completely over the top Caligula, Derek Jacobi's wonderful anchor performance as Claudius, and my favorite and what I think is one of the finest performances I've ever seen: Sian Phillips as Liva.

It's really a pair of books and a series that I *don't* want to see be redone. :(

John
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Midline Shift



Joined: 22 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I know of your tastes, I'd give it a mild recommendation. I think you'd like some of it but the flaws would probably drive you nuts. Sort of like the category of show mentioned earlier in the thread - there was enough to dig it, but I can understand a lot of the irritation and disappointment (especially regarding the finale).

I don't think the swerve was entirely Russonian. It was definitely a big surprise but there were a few small clues along the way that kind of pointed in that direction (Holder's unexplained phone call about the case, for one). Vinny Ru would've had Linden herself be the killer, or maybe UFOs or something completely retarded.

To continue the wrestling metaphor - this season felt like a match that started out really great for the first ten minutes or so and looked to be building to a strong MOTYC, but faded over the next 20 minutes and developed into merely a pretty good match marred by a shit finish.

I definitely would put this on the back burner and plow through those Weeds DVDs asap. The first three seasons of Weeds were epic, just great bawdy, clever humor, plus minky MLP. The fourth and fifth seasons fell off a little but were still pretty good. The sixth season sucked although it was probably worth it just to see Nancy bang Zack Morris.

Quote:
I think a lot of people just wanted a reason for it all, and barring that, simply a conclusion.


Agreed. I've seen quite a few folks who wrote that they only stuck with the show to see who the killer was and get some kind of resolution. I think that explains much of the hatred for the finale, and why someone like me, who enjoyed the show, wasn't quite as peeved.


Simon
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Midline Shift



Joined: 22 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simmons takes The Killing to the woodshed

Ouch.


Simon
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jdw
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Midline Shift wrote:
I definitely would put this on the back burner and plow through those Weeds DVDs asap. The first three seasons of Weeds were epic, just great bawdy, clever humor, plus minky MLP. The fourth and fifth seasons fell off a little but were still pretty good. The sixth season sucked although it was probably worth it just to see Nancy bang Zack Morris.


So... I should make sure and watch 1-3 soon, then pick spots to watch 4-5, then go looking for MLP+Zack Morris somewhere online, then keep my ears open if season 7 turns out good. If not, then pretend that the show ended after season 5?

:)

John
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Midline Shift



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, I would definitely recommend putting the first three season on deck. If you like those, then four and five are certainly worth watching as well. I'm still on board for season seven, hoping they get back on track and also to see what the hell is going to happen after the crazy finale of last season.

The Nancy-Zack Morris hook up is great, but what really fucked up my world view was Mr. Belding as an accused kiddie diddler on It's Alway Sunny in Philadelphia.


Simon
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jdw
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



In the light entertainment genre, I've enjoyed Suits this summer on USA. Not a massively deep show, though they try to touch on some "heart in a good place" storylines and themes.

Basic plot lifted from Wiki:

Quote:
Mike Ross is a brilliant college dropout. Mike's childhood dreams of becoming a lawyer are derailed after unforeseen circumstances lead him to drop out of college. Naturally intelligent and with an eidetic memory, Mike makes a living taking tests for other people, particularly LSATs and bar exams. Harvey Specter is one of New York City's top attorneys and has recently been promoted to partner at his firm and is forced by company policy to hire an associate. After accidentally running into Mike, Harvey is impressed by the younger man's quick wits, his encyclopedic knowledge of the law, and his genuine desire to be an attorney, and hires him. Due to the fact that Mike lacks a law degree, and because of firm policy which favors Harvard alums, they both pretend that Mike is a Harvard graduate.

At the firm, Mike is continuously hounded by junior partner Louis Litt, a rival of Harvey's who is suspicious of Mike's credentials. Mike is eventually befriended by Rachel a paralegal whose testing anxiety has prevented her from becoming a lawyer, and the two soon develop a mutual attraction. Mike and Harvey often come into conflict over Mike's naivete and ethical scruples and Harvey's hard charging and seemingly uncaring demeanor.


In a light entertainment show like this, you usually need to like the lead to stick around for it. I'd contrast this with USA's White Collar (which I also enjoy): that show has one lead who is the clear lead, in Neal Caffrey. He's clearly the anchor lead more than Burke, and if you don't like him you're just not going to track the show.

With Suits, the sorta lead (regardless of credits) when you watch the pilot is Mike, the angst ridden young law genius without the college or law degree. But really every bit is much of a lead is Harvey, who the credits do list first. We might spend a higher % of time with Mike, but you get the sense that Suits Creative figured out very early on in the writing process that Harvey is the more interesting character. Mike is something of a dime a dozen character, and while Harvey isn't a totally unique character, the writing of him is solid, and Gabriel Macht plays him really well. To the point that you almost wish this wasn't USA/TNT "light" entertainment and instead was FX or HBO "harder" entertainment. You get the feeling that this character dropped into the lap of the creators of say Justified (Graham Yost) working say 3-4 cases a season in arcs that slowly peeled back Harvey that he would be an exceptional character.

Instead, he's just a "good" light entertainment lead, in the hands of a good actor and solid enough writers. That's the major positive hook to get me to tune in each week: what case is Harvey going to be in, what curveballs are they writers going to toss at him, how is Harvey going to think his way out of it, and what tough stuff is he going to put Mike through.

Like I said, Mike is sort of a dime a dozen modern character. The actor does a solid enough job with it, and doesn't annoy me enough to flip away. One does hope that next year as a "second year associate" that they do a good job on growing him a bit, and we move past a chunk of the first year / rookie / hidden secret stuff.

As a regular lead heel, I'm down with Rick Hoffman as Louis. Long time character actor, really good a heeling, stooging and bumping for the faces in pretty much anything I've seen him in. One does wish they'd spend a little more time getting over his cred as a good enough attorney / rainmaker for the firm to trust him with the gig they give him. They touch on it, but often it comes too close to him stooging / screwing up. He's a good heel now, but he'd be even better if he was gotten across as a more compitent heel which would actually play into him being a rival of Harvey's.

Rachel is a somewhat thankless role. Actress does well enough with it, but the characters role as a super smart / super good support staff is squashed between Mike dominating the "support Harvey" role and then the bit part support of Harvey's secretary Donna always being snappy and fun when she's on the screen. Suits Creative doesn't seem to have given much thought to a basic series bible concept: these are 3-5 things that Rachel does better than anyone in the firm, and each episode has at least one of them where she's the go to person to get it done. It could be just a scene, or it could be a multi-scene thing in an episode because it so important to the case. They also seem to be missing the boat to have gotten across right from the start that :

(i) Harvey has tremendous confidence / faith / respect in his areas of wizardry

(ii) Harvey wants Mike to learn that it's not always Top Down, but sometimes Bottoms Up where you can learn things from someone like Rachel... or admit that only she can do them

(iii) Mike can get the concept that despite being the boy genius there are some things he doesn't know, and probably will never know... and he'll have to rely on the grunts

Just basic stuff for the "role" of Rachel at the firm. In a sense, this is one of the things that White Collar does well with the character of Mozzie. Neal is good... really good at what he does. But there some stuff that only Mozzie can do, or that Neal can't do without Mozzie's help, and he ends up regularly being important in helping Neal get stuff done. Rachel in a sense could have been the Mozzie of the firm, without all the quirky fun stuff of Mozzie's character (which I love) and instead have been a compitent professional who helps Mike learn to be a compitent pro rather than just a dazzling boy genius.

They don't go there, and instead kind of character her up. Tonight she got fired and put through emotional hell (well... minor hell since it's light entertainment). Of course it all got resolved in an hour, and Suits Creative is playing on Mike and Rachel eventually banging, despite Mike having another sorta love interest popping up from time to time. Probably the weak point of the show, and I do feel a bit sorry for Rachel and the actress.



Mentioned Harvey's secretary Donna, who is well played by Sarah Rafferty. Um... red head... er... yeah... she does a number on me. :P It's a total bit part, but she clearly is a favorite of Suits Creative as the give her quirky fun scenes with Harvey and Mike. Suspect that we'll see an episode or two in Season 2 where the explore her a bit more.




Lastly, the beloved Gina Torres of Firefly is the firm's managing partner, the only one around smarter than Harvey, knowing his strengths and his weaknesses, and usually a few steps ahead of where he's headed. As Harvey is a mentor to Mike, it's clear that Pearson is a mentor to Harvey. Again, this is a role where if it were an FX or HBO series it would be fabulous and Gina would tear it up. Here, in light entertainment... it's mearly "good" and "thank you for putting Gina on my TV for 12-16 episodes a year". :)

Everything on TV can't be The Wire, or Cracker, or Prime Suspect, or Deadwood. Hell, there are days like today where I like getting home from work, see the red light on the cable box is on indicating something is being recorded, flip on the TV and check out what is new on the DVR, and see it's something like Suits that will light entertain me away from a long work day. Give me a couple of laughs, a few twists, let me see how Harvey works his way through it, and take me home in 42 minutes. I can always put in something like Season 3 of The Wire after that, feeling a bit more relaxed than when I got home and ready for something more challenging.

Anyway, if you enjoy light USA/TNT shows, this one isn't bad. I prefer to Covert Affairs simply because the CIA Hottie Chick concept doesn't quite work for me even in a light entertainment mode. Which is too bad since I love Kari Machett. :)

John
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jdw
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shows how little I've been paying attention in the off seasons as the first time I head this was driving in today. It happened several months back that Fishburn left and...

Ted Danson Joins "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" as a Series Regular

They also moved the show to Wednesday at 10, which perhaps is a little wide open: ABC's new Revenge and NBC's long of tooth L&O:SVU.

Person of Interest is in CSI's old 9 PM time slot on Thursday.

The show I worry a bit about is Prime Suspect which is on NBC on Thursdays. I love Maria Bello, but... the original Prime Suspect in England with Helen is so exceptional that it's a hard standard to live up to. Also, being on a Network forces it into "solve a crime in an episode" format, where one of the great things of Prime Suspect was that the one crime could be dealt with over the course of the "series" (i.e. the standard short british "season" of several episodes).

I'll probably set the DVR for both Prime Suspect and Person of Interest. Person of Interest has gotten some buzz, but if the premise simply turns into a weekly version of that the pilot appears to be, I doubt I'll stick long with it.

John
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jdw
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



In one of the bigger "Fuck Yous" that I've ever seen, The Mentalis season pemire last week ended with a massive Russo Reset.

This sums up things so much better than I can:

The Mentalist Season 4 Premiere: “Red Ribbons” – “I feel guilty.”

It seemed like some were predicting this. I wasn't aware of this point that the creator Heller has made in the past:

Quote:
Heller has consistently said that the apprehension of RJ will be a series ending event. Catching Red John is what drives Jane to help the CBI and once that is gone, so is his motivation as well as the premise for the show.


If I had been aware of it, I suspect I would have checked out after Season 2 as the hope (prayer) that Red John would get resolved in Season 3 was the one pull for me in the show.

John
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