Category Archives: TV

Now all I do is try not to drown.

Running empty on input stimuli, need to see, read and hear again, what has happened, life, drinking, and work. But I kinda liked Hung, the new HBO series from “The Riches” creator Dmitry Lipkin and his wife Colette Burson, with Alexander Payne as executive producer. Especially dug the last episodes with Ray’s new love affair.

Why don’t you go market your dick?

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Can’t go home smelling like a meth lab.

Damn, I surely wasn’t expecting this: AMC’s “Breaking Bad” truly blew me away. The pilot had it all: a dark and twisted theme, funny lines, good structuring, amazing acting and beautiful cinematography. If there’s one new series you have to check this year, this is it folks.

And don’t get too let down by what you READ about it. I must admit I wasn’t really feeling the logline (“highschool chemistry teacher starts cooking meth”). It sounded way too difficult to setup, too farfetched, possibly too much alike weeds (but boy is it different, weeds is like the teletubbies compared to the gritty breaking bad world).

I also must admit I was one of the few apparently who didn’t seem to dig Mad Men as much as anyone else. Sure, the production design was amazing, it had some good actors, some good dialogue but the stories, nahh, they bored me. There was not enough conflict, not enough emotional involvement with the main characters, not much incentive to keep on watching, I couldn’t care less about what was going to happen and sort of understood why HBO declined on it. So I was thinking, “yeaah AMC is not really the new Showtime or HBO they hope to be. And now, they’re trying to spice things up with some high school teacher who goes crazy and starts cooking meth? Yeah right”.

So please: do not follow this reasoning if you tend to agree with me based on your readings. Watch it, because the magic is: it really does work. You deeply care about the main character and you’re willing to understand much of his actions and the craziness of the story. This is where all good drama begins. This is why you care about Tony Soprano the killer. This is why you care about Walter White, chemistry teacher & meth cook.

Anyway more info on the show that might convince you to check it out:
– the pilot was beautifully shot by the amazing John Toll (Thin Red Line and many many more)
Bryan Cranston gets the role of his life. I truly hope he gets some sort of Emmy for this.
– the cast is made up between people who appeared on Deadwood, on Big Love and that amazing cop in Little Miss Sunshine.
– the series is created and mostly written by one of the X-files producers Vince Gilligan (although seriously, the x-files link is nowhere to be found)
– check the trailer out (although I must say, the trailer didn’t convince me that much, but anyway)

Good to know though is they only aired 7 episodes of the first season due to the writer’s strike. Season 2 however is coming up with 13 brand new episodes. No air dates have been set yet. I cannot wait.

Why am I the one that always has to initiate sex?

Curb Your Enthusiasm. Just absolutely brilliant. The last HBO show I had to catchup on, and damn I’ve been missing out. I want to make pretty pretty pretty love to Larry David. So far the best episode must be The Doll, where Larry cuts the hair of a doll of his boss’s daughter. I still have 4 seasons to go though, and then there are 9 seasons of Seinfeld waiting, because I know some very wise beatminersoul deems it the best show on earth.

Thank YOU.

Omar Little

It’s finally over, and although Season 4 was probably their hallmark, The Wire was one of the most phenomenal shows which ever graced the small screen. Rest in Peace and Thank YOU, David Simon and Ed Burns.

[edit:] Also check this very long and great interview with David Simon, on Season 5 and the whole show really.

It wasn’t for everyone. We proved that rather quickly.

But episode to episode, you began to understand that we were committed to creating something careful and ornate, something that might resonate. You took Lester Freamon at his word: That we were building something here and all the pieces matter.

When we took a chainsaw to the first season, choosing to begin the second-story arc with an entirely different theme and different characters, you followed us to the port and our elegy for America’s working class. When we shifted again, taking up the political culture of our mythical city in season three, you remained loyal. And when we ended the Barksdale arc and began an exploration of public education, you were, by that time, we hope, elated to understand that whatever else might happen, The Wire would not waste your time telling the same story twice.

This year, our drama asked its last thematic question: Why, if there is any truth to anything presented in The Wire over the last four seasons, does that truth go unaddressed by our political culture, by most of our mass media, and by our society in general?

We’ve given our answer:

We are a culture without the will to seriously examine our own problems. We eschew that which is complex, contradictory or confusing. As a culture, we seek simple solutions. We enjoy being provoked and titillated, but resist the rigorous, painstaking examination of issues that might, in the end, bring us to the point of recognizing our problems, which is the essential first step to solving any of them.

The Wire is fiction. Many of the events depicted over the last five seasons did not, to our knowledge, happen. Fewer happened in the exact manner described. Fiction is fiction, and it should in no way be confused with journalism.

But it is also fair to note that the problems themselves — politicians cooking crime stats for higher office, school administrators teaching test questions to vindicate No Child Left Behind, sensitive prosecutions and investigations being undercut for political motives, brutal drug wars fought amid a police department’s ignorance of and indifference to the forces involved — were indeed problems in the recent history of the actual Baltimore, Maryland.

Few of these matters received the serious attention — or, in some cases — any attention from the media. These problems exist in plain sight, ready to be addressed by anyone seriously committed to doing so. For those of us writing The Wire, a television drama, story research involved dragging the right police lieutenants or school teachers, prosecutors and political functionaries to neighborhood diners and bars and taking story notes down on cocktail napkins and paper placemats. To be more precise with their tales? To record it and relay it in a manner that can stand as non-fiction truthtelling? Yes, that’s harder to do. But there was a time when journalism regarded that kind of coverage as its highest mission. The true stories that The Wire traded in are out there, waiting for anyone willing to take the time. And it is, of course, vaguely disturbing to us that our unlikely little television drama is making arguments that were once the prerogative of more serious mediums.

We tried to be entertaining, but in no way did we want to be mistaken for entertainment. We tried to provoke, to critique and debate and rant a bit. We wanted an argument. We think a few good arguments are needed still, that there is much more to be said and it is entirely likely that there are better ideas than the ones we offered. But nothing happens unless the shit is stirred. That, for us, was job one.

If you followed us for sixty hours, and you find yourself caring about these issues more than you thought you would, then perhaps the next step is to engage and to demand, where possible, a more sophisticated and meaningful response from authority when it comes to such things as the drug war, educational reform or responsible political leadership. The Wire is about the America we pay for and tolerate. Perhaps it is possible to pay for, and demand, something more.

Again, accept our sincere thanks for making the commitment to watch a show as improbable and problematic as ours and for considering the arguments and issues seriously. We are surprised as you are to be here at the end, on our own terms, still standing. As a cast and crew, we’re proud. But the credit is not all ours. It’s yours as well for believing, year after year, in this story.

David Simon
Baltimore, Md.
March 10, 2008

These were our 2007 TV victories.

So here we are.

The first 2007 list and it’s nothing but our beloved tv. This was the most easy list to make actually, since it encompasses almost everything we’ve been doing this year. There were not alot of movies, not alot of music and not alot of reading. Most of the time was consumed by the little screen. Suffice to say we still think the great minds of our generation are at work in television. The best comedy, the best drama, the best acting, the best writing, we all saw it in television. Are we blind? Are we too much focused on the little screen? Year after year we’ve pimping the networks and their shows but I’m afraid we can only continue to do so if they keep on producing this kind of quality. I hope this list will be the best argument to prove there’s so much to find on the little screen.

The problem of these shows keeps being all these different seasons. Sometimes you have to delve through a shitty first or second or third season to get to the real good stuff. Sometimes it gets shitty after the first season. But we encourage everyone who hasn’t seen anything of these shows to try it out and buy or rent these gems somewhere.

I had to exclude quite a few shows and some favorites of last year. This is not because these shows are suddenly bad but because I didn’t enjoy this past season as much as I did earlier. This list is more about particular seasons, not about shows in general. The list would have been a whole lotta different then.

So shouts go to the shows that didn’t make the final ten but had some quality as well: Dexter, Tell You Love Me, Mad Men, Brothers and Sisters, John From Cincinatti, Rescue Me, Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, 4400, Rome, Sopranos, Big Love, Gossip Girl, The Riches and Grey’s Anatomy (and some I probably forgot).

Here’s the ten of 2007:

1. ENTOURAGE – SEASON 3 (part deux)

Entourage S3 part deux was the final installment before our boys went to shoot Medellin. The scenes with Drama were among the most emotional scenes I saw this whole year. The writing was off the wall. Amazing 8 episodes. Victory at last!

2. LOST – SEASON 3

All the lost haters were still crying around mid-season 3 how bad Lost had gotten but I say: the ending, the ending the ending! Best piece of climactic writing in a television show ever. Season 3 had its share of problems agreed but Lost continues to fool everyone out there. This show is history in the making. This is the show we shall be telling our grandkids about. You cannot escape.

3. HOUSE – SEASON 3

Oh Gregory! House finishes so high because of two things: a) it’s immense popularity, b) it’s quality of writing and acting. A show so popular with such amazing quality restores my faith in humanity. Say death to the blockbuster and viva House!

4. THE OFFICE – SEASON 3

What show got the biggest laughs this year? We have some quality comedy shows in this top ten but The Office gets most funny show of the year. My god, what a comeback Greg Daniels and his writing staff did. I didn’t particularly like S1 & 2 but season three completely blew my mind. Safety Training might have been one of the best and funniest episodes ever written for tv. That’s what she said!

5. DAMAGES – SEASON 1

The best new show of the year and it’s yet again FX bringing the goods. This show was about lawyers but I don’t think we’ve been much inside a courtroom. This was not your typical courtdrama. The whole flashback structure got a little tiring towards the end but still they pulled it off very nicely. If you want to look at how a great pilot is written, this is your show to check out. Clever twists and writing, brilliant acting and beautifully filmed. Name me one movie this year that was as strong and thrilling as the Damages pilot.

6. FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS – SEASON 1

I had quite a few initial problems with the dramedy writing of this show. The musical genius was obvious but the storylines were lacking somehow. The show got much better towards the end but still it may not be the strongest overall show of the list. However the individual genius moments and songs made up for it easily. If there was truly one original show this year, this is it. I think the second season may surprise a lot of people. Brett & Jemaine for mancrush of the year!

7. IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA – SEASON 2 & 3

Another one that took me by surprise. I had heard some good things about this show but never really bothered to check it. Until recently. And yeah, this is exactly my kind of comedy. Loud, harsh and politically incorrect to the bone. Seinfeld on crack, hell yea. I don’t think all the different episodes are equally good but boy oh boy, I’ve been truly laughing my ass off with most of season 2. One of the most underappreciated comedy shows, check it out!

8. CALIFORNICATION – SEASON 1

David Duchovny in one of my top tens, who would have thought? I wasnt the biggest fan after the pilot but something made me come back and it was mostly this great family dynamic Californication created. I fell in love with the bastardness and sweetness of the Duchovny character trying to win his daughter and ex back. The ending was beautifully sweet as well. And who can forget the getting caught by the wives threesome sex?

9. FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS – SEASON 1

Ah Friday Night Lights, praised by many, watched by few. This is a difficult one to review. Something inside me says it’s a little bit too cheesy, a little bit too simple, a little bit too much classic high school drama but another side says the creators got further than all that. There is definitely room for improvement but I do think this show does a very good job of delving a little deeper: yes its about football, yea its about teenagers in high school, agreed its about texas and rightwing voters and religious nuts. Not the most easy arena to get some liberal critics interested in. And yet they did. It’s not as good as the movie (which is quite honestly awesome) but there is much to be liked about this series. Do not dismiss that easily. This is a sleeper but a very good one nonetheless.

10. BONES – SEASON 2

Or how I love the Deschanel family. No seriously, the biggest reason to stay for Bones is Emily Deschanel. She singlehandedly elevates this show to new heights. But it’d be unfair to take away praise from David Boreanaz and the other regular cast because they do a great job as well. If there is one thing to be learned from a show such as Bones and House: create some interesting characters in your team and get some great actors and you’ll notice you can do very good. The writing and plot of Bones isnt always that thrilling but sometimes they have some pretty clever episodes. This is a show that’ll give you great entertainment and hey, it’s even pretty well made. A deserved number 10.

I WILL SMASH YOUR FACE INTO A….!

This is a quote from my new favorite tvshow: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

It must be the most politically incorrect sitcom on air right now, or as one youtuber says ‘Seinfeld on Crack’. Season 1 was kind of okay but I wasn’t won over fully. However, when Danny Devito joined ranks in Season 2, that’s when the real genius started to shine. The whole vibe got more focused and even more raw. The heavy in-your-face humor probably makes some people turn off their tv’s but it is exactly how I like my comedy: loud, dirty & abusive.  Just take a look at some of their awesome episode titles and get a grasp at the subjects they dare to tackle:

  • “Charlie Got Molested”
  • “Mac Bangs Dennis’ Mom”
  • “The Gang Finds a Dumpster Baby”

Here are also some promo’s:

Flight of the Rhymenoceros

So I’ve been watching a bit of the new HBO musical comedy sitcom “The Flight of The Conchords“. The show portrays a fictionalized version of the New Zealand comedy duo, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, who play themselves, in their struggle to make it big in the New York music biz.

Their most famous stand-up comedy skit is one where they do this great ‘rap battle’.

But as said, the HBO show really plays more like a sitcom, although they use much of the same comedy musical songs. There’s about two songs each episode and it’s probably the one aspect I like the most because the sitcom writing itself isn’t always as funny as say “The Office” or “Entourage”. Although I like the show so far, there’s still much room for improvement.

But the Hiphopopotamus song is still amazingly funny and I think they even made it funnier. See for yourself.

EDIT:
You might also want to check other great in-sitcom songs (NO spoilers really):

EDIT2:
More goodies cuz the quality of episodes keeps improving mutha uckers!