The Cure for Weekly Summer Ennui

Good morning afternoon everyone! I hope we’re all feeling fit and full of vigor today, and not sunburnt and sore from an excellent but thoroughly exhausting weekend. Wait. I mean… I hope you had weekends of such intensity and entertainment, but I ALSO hope you feel fine, fresh, and fancy-free. I KNOW I DO.

Currently listening to: Monuments and Melodies, aka Incubus’ Greatest Hits album.

Music

Alright so there are a few releases this week, but most of them are SO off my (admittedly under-developed) Cool Music Radar™, I’m not even going to mention them at the risk of sounding so dangerously unhip that you all feel as little respect for my taste in music as… well… as you should. The one release I do feel qualified to talk about is John Mayer’s new one: Born and Raised. It was at some point streaming on iTunes, so a lot of y’all have probably already heard it. From what I gather, it’s more Battle Studies than Continuum, which for some (including a former roommate) is pretty much the worst thing conceivable. It’s less bluesy, and more country, and while I certainly prefer the blues sound, I’ll confess to not missing guitar solos – which I find to be both banal and showy at the same time. So strap in for some emoting, some whining, and some “how the hell am I a grown up?” I will be.

Movies

You may not know this about me, but I hate horror movies. Not because I hate being scared. In fact, I love being scared. I hate being surprised. Things jumping out at you? That’s a cheap thrill. That’s Family Guy humor. That’s fart jokes and making fun of Sarah Palin. It’s easy, and it’s been done before. I want to be scared. I want to drive home with my interior lights on. I want to need a night light. I want to think back to it years later and still look around me for monsters. I want Slappy the ventriloquist’s doll from Goosebumps. I want IT from Stephen King. I want the Truman Show. Ok that last one wasn’t a horror movie, but it EFFED ME UP FOR LIFE. So with that in mind, you should be able to figure out where I stand on this whole “found-footage” genre that really came to prominence with Blair Witch and has been succeeded by Paranormal Activity. And if you can’t, allow me to spell it out for you. N. O. No.

So this weekend sees the release of the Chernobyl Diaries, from the director of Paranormal Activity. Basically, this movie takes six college kids to the site of an old tragedy, getting abandoned, and hunted by a monster. So basically, it’s everything Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard hate about the modern horror genre, and sought to combat with the excellent Cabin in the Woods.

Then of course there’s Men In Black 3, which Will is excited about but I am not. I’m not even sure I’ve seen the first movie since the second came out. It was that bad. And honestly, I’m just over Will Smith, and not invested in the story of Jay and Kay saving the world from aliens. I’ve put all my Alien Movie Excitement Eggs in the Prometheus basket.

And finally, in case you missed it, Will went against medical advice and saw Battleship this past weekend. His review can be found on his blog if you’re interested.

Television

Monday: Eureka – a disaster preparedness drill goes wrong! But of course the bigger news is the SERIES FINALE of House. This is a show I’ve gone back and forth on over the years, ultimately getting too frustrated with the whole Status Quo is God thing, by which I mean “If House has these poignant moments of self-realization EVERY WEEK FOR EIGHT YEARS, how is it possible that he hasn’t changed in any sort of lasting way?!?” And of course the loss of Cuddy and Olivia Wilde after last season was basically the last straw for me. That being said, I’ll probably be watching to see how everything wraps up, because I was once highly invested in the characters.

Tuesday: Glee – graduation. Woo.

Wednesday: On Modern Family, Cam and Mitch look to be taking more steps in the search for a new baby. I wish this had been a more consistent plot thread this season, but oh well. Alex goes to prom, Jay and Manny watch Lily – which should be HYSTERICAL, and Hailey makes an announcement. College? Marriage? Who knows?? On B23’s first season finale, it’s James Van Der Beek (JVDB, natch) vs. Dean Cain over the size of their Dancing With the Stars dressing rooms, plus June tries to party hardy but obviously can’t. And finally on Revenge’s season one finale, it’s Emily vs. the man who killed her father. Last week’s episode was SOLID and left us on a lot of cliff hangers. I am DYING to see which get wrapped up and which are left to dangle in the summer breeze until next season.

Thursday: Awake has its (sadly) series finale. I’m still about five episodes behind, but this makes me sad nonetheless. And then it’s a night for dance fans everywhere: the SYTYCD (So You Think You Can Dance, DUH) premiere!

Friday: Nothing! Supernatural and Fringe are done for the season, so Fridays are pretty jank.

And as always, Game of Thrones and Mad Men. GoT has The Battle of the Blackwater, which is written by George R.R. Martin himself, and promises to tank the budget for the rest of the season.

Comics

DC is having a huge week, but here’s what I’m taking away from it. Batman: The Dark Knight continues the Night of the Owls event (probably along with some other books, but whatevs). Batman: Incorporated by Grant Morrison returns, which everyone says is awesome, and should begin the end phase of his six year Bat Story. Aquaman continues to look into the past of Atlantis. New Flash, plus new I, Vampire. And also, one of my favorite series: the Unwritten! I think I’m a few issues behind on that one, but I really wish I weren’t, because it has heated up so intensely it is pretty much melting my face off biweekly.

Marvel: Couldn’t find anything interesting, but to be honest I didn’t really look too hard. I’m so tired y’all.

Books

From Sword and Laser:

2312 By Kim Stanley Robinson

The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity’s only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future.”
Sounds pretty sweet, though I am SWAMPED by Hyperion et al. so this may have to wait a while for me to pick it up.
And with that, I leave you. This week is, I believe, a sports post from Jordan on Wednesday, and a scrumptious food post by Griffin, so let’s get pumped for that, shall we? Now, I’m going to desperately wrestle with my conscience over whether to nap or work out, and probably compromise by watching more Mad Men with the director commentaries on.
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I got a FEVER, and the only prescription is more recommendations!

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Hello folks what’s good? I hope your Monday is off to a decent start. You know. For a Monday.

Music

This week is pretty light, much like the last few have been. But, there is one release I’m fairly excited about: Garbage! They’re back, and they’re weird, and they’re good!

There’s also a new album from Tenacious D, about which I have absolutely nothing to say.

Movies

We’ve got another light week at the box offices, which is good for me considering I’ll be out of town. It’s also good for The Avengers, who continue to smash records at the box office and in my heart.

The one release I might try to see is What to Expect When You’re Expecting, pretty much only because I love Elizabeth Banks so much. Lord knows it’s not because of J-Lo or Cameron Diaz. Gross.

And of course there’s always Battleship if you’ve recently suffered head trauma and lost the capacity to think. I just… I just want to know who greenlit this thing? I mean, who hears the words “Battleship: THE MOVIE” and thinks “Hot damn that needs to happen”???

TV

For all that it might be a week light on music and movies, that is certainly not the case with television, which is having an uncommonly huge week.

Monday – HIMYM Finale! Both parts! Lily is in labor and Marshall is gone. We will also jump forward in time to see some of Barney’s wedding! On Eureka we see a bodyswap! Not gonna lie, i LOVE bodyswap episodes. It’s just so much fun to see how an actor plays another character, and most of the time you can tell that they’re having a to of fun with it too. House sees the return of Olivia Wilde in the second-to-last episode. Personally I stopped watching last season, but if I was ever going to tune back in, it’d be for Olivia Wilde. The Bachelorette premieres, which ALWAYS makes me regret knowing so many females. And finally, America’s Got Talent premieres, which always leaves me saying, “But does it really?”

Tuesday – There are two episodes of Glee this week – an Alternate Universe/Bodyswap, which would have me shaking in fits of, well, glee, if it were any other show. Plus in the second episode: Nationals! The stakes couldn’t be lower while seeming OH! SO! HIGH!

Wednesday – Modern Family does what it does best and makes everyone fight! Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll hug it out in the end. On Revenge – the penultimate episode of the season – someone apparently dies, bringing Jack and Emily closer.

Thursday – THREE COMMUNITY EPISODES!!! WAHOOO! The first sees Pierce taking on his former company, with the group rallying to his side. The second has the group infiltrating Greendale in an attempt to free the Dean (which totally needs to become a T-shirt slogan), and the third episode sees Shirley vs. Pierce, with Jeff representing the former, and an ex-colleague the latter. There should also be healthy doses of A/C Repair School drama and John Goodman. AND if the trend holds, Annie will make out with someone. ; Person of Interest – actual finale! I think I said it was last week, oops, but I’m for realzies this time. Grey’s Anatomy has its eighth (EIGHTH!!!) season finale, and while I haven’t watched in four or five years, I’m sure some of y’all do. And finally, Awake will air part one of its SERIES finale (I know, sad but also kind of predictable).

Friday – Grimm has its first season finale, and I swear I will watch this show eventually, probably over the summer. Supernatural also has its season finale, and I’m trying to go into it pretty cold.

Comics

It’s a pretty big week for comics as well, though pretty light on what I
personally read. That being said, the reviews for the big Bat Event are impressive enough that I think I might pick up the trades.

DC: Night of the Owls hits FOUR titles this week – Catwoman, Batwoman, Red Robin, and Nightwing; Wonder Woman is also new this week, picking up after Diana was shot by Cupid’s arrow bullet, and presumably now in love with Hades.

Image sees the release of its two most epic, crazy, interesting, original new series: Saga and the Manhattan Project.

Marvel sees new Avengers vs. X-Men with a battle raging across the globe, and the first confrontation with The Phoenix Force itself. We’ve also got new Uncanny X-Men, and new X-Factor!

Books

No real releases I’m much excited about, but if you’re interested, I’m reading ‘Hyperion’ by Dan Simmons. Check out the Sword and Laser book club on Goodreads, the podcast on iTunes, and the video show on YouTube for ongoing discussions of this sci-fi classic. I also bought two books by N. K. Jemisin – part two of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and her new High Fantasy epic. Feel free to read them along with me! I doubt I’ll finish this month, but who knows.

On the blog, I’ll be talking about something TV related on Wednesday. Possibly the Once Upon a Time finale, and the show’s progress. Maybe not. And on Friday Ben should have a post on books! See y’all then!

The Season’s Greatest Surprises

This is obviously the BEST surprise. Sorry Americans.

This season, plenty of new shows lined up, eagerly hoping for our love, attention, and our passion. It’s like a pet shelter, except without the depressing soundtrack. So what were this year’s biggest surprises, for better or for worse?

The Good

New Girl

"Who's that girl? It's Jess! Oh yeah and some other people..." - New Girl

New Girl is an odd case to start off with, because I initially had very high hopes for it. I love Zooey D, and Max Greenfield was fantastic in Veronica Mars. Plus Damon Wayans, Jr. was in the pilot, and if you haven’t seen him in Happy Endings, you’re missing out. But after a solid pilot, I found the show increasingly problematic. Way too much of the focus was on establishing how quirky and cute Jess was, and the roommates really lacked the screen time to become more than stock characters. On top of that, I found Jess to be grating and whiney, so I was not happy.

All that changed around the fourth or fifth episode – the one with the wedding. The other characters forced Jess to calm down and dress up. And the show was instantly better. Plus, Nick stop whining about his breakup, and Winston began having traits! So win-win! Ever since then, the show has been getting better and better, and I couldn’t be happier. Schmidt has become the best part of the show. Nick has found a decent – if boring – groove as the under-achieving schlub. Even Winston and Cece have personalities! So mazel tov!

Revenge

Yes. Just yes.

OOOOOOOHHHHH!!! Emily "THORNE"!! Thorne like THORNS YOU GUYS.

Remember. When saying this show’s title, you MUST say it in a smokey whisper. rrrevennnge.

Anyway, I mostly checked this show out because it had Emily Van Camp in it, and she was in Everwood and looks like she does. I’m not ashamed. But it turned out to be really good!

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t amazing television. It’s soapy and sensational (as in it does things to create a stir) and sometimes cheesy. But not only does it know all of this about itself, it embraces it, relishes in it. In a lot of ways, the show is very similar to Ringer – which I’ll get to later – but done right. Revenge is a show that has taken some pretty standard tropes: The Hamptons, the lost childhood love, the Ice Queen, conspiracies, etc, and turned it into a show with layers, with realistic(ish) characters, and enough twists to keep you off-balance all season.

The Bad

Public Service Announcement: Only Certified “Good” Shows get pictures.

Being Human

Being Human was never a great show – at least not the American version. The first season stuck very closely to the British version, for better and for worse. For instance, the relationship between the vampire and werewolf was wonderful. It was fun, there was good contrast, a bit of an insider/outsider dynamic, and a hint of bromance. At the same time, it was hindered by the ghost – who isn’t a bad character, there was just nothing she could do.

The second season however branched off from its parent, boldly forging its own path, which at times was great. I loved seeing more paranormals beyond vamps and wolves. We got to see more ghosts, mediums, and reincarnation in action. We got to see purebred werewolves, who actually want to be wolves. This was all good.

Where the season went wrong was its insistence on beating up its characters more and more. Don’t get me wrong, this can be fascinating television. Look at LOST. Or Mad Men. But that punishment needs to be balanced by something else. Really solid character interaction, or a vague and tantalizing hope of redemption, or intriguing plot. Being Human had none of these. All season long, it practically strove to make sure the three main characters, with the best chemistry, were NEVER TOGETHER. The few times they were, it was silent moping! Boooooo.

Plus – vampire politics. When did this become a Thing? It was fine in Underworld, but it’s the most boring part of True Blood. So why would a SyFy show try to copy that???

I don’t know. I’m just. Over it.

Supernatural

I love this show. I really do. And I have for quite a while. I love the way it slowly built. First they were after a specific demon. Then stronger demons. Then the queen of demons. Then the devil. I thought seasons 4 and 5, after the introduction of angels into the mythology, were amazing. I loved the end of season 5. Honestly, the show could have ended right there. It would be a bit of a downer, but it’s Supernatural.

But after you face The DEVIL, where do you go? After Buffy died to save her sister from a GOD, the show floundered for quite a while. Some say it never recovered. After Son Goku defeated Frieza, a conflict that had been building for three years, what do you do?? This is the problem when shows constantly try to up the threat – eventually you can’t. So even though there have been true flashes of brilliance in the past two seasons, overall I’ve been pretty let down. I think I heard next season is the last though, so hopefully that will give the creative team some direction.

Ringer

All I needed to know about this show was that it had Sarah Michelle Gellar Prinze, Jr. on it, and I was pretty much sold. Throw in Mr. Fantastic and Richard Alpert, a secret life, duplicitous twins, and a looming mob boss, and there was a TON of potential. So what went wrong??? Well, virtually everything.

The main character, Bridget, while good-hearted, is painfully stupid. Seriously, everything in her life is SCREAMING that her sister is alive, and she still hasn’t figured it out. And while taking her sister’s identity might have been a smart idea – what with the whole “running from the cops and the mob” thing going on, what was your exit strategy when you assumed not only her identity but her entire life??? Then there’s Siobhan, the evil twin, which could have been really soapy and fun, but instead was frightfully dull. It took the show way too long to develop her character, and never really gave her clear, relatable motives for anything she did, which made it impossible to connect to her – and therefore enjoy her storyline. Then there was the whole mob thing, which was practically abandoned a few episodes in, only to sporadically reappear, and the World’s Worst FBI Agent who really had no purpose most of the time.

About the only thing the show did right was the relationship between Bridget and Andrew, and that was mostly thanks to good chemistry between the actors, rather than good writing. And even then the relationship was flawed in the execution.

So, I’ll finish out the season, but if it doesn’t get renewed, I won’t shed a tear.

The Blah

At the end of the day, most shows are exactly what you hope and expect. Community is always going to be brilliant, even when it isn’t at its best. Fringe is always going to be weird and disturbing but also touching and profound. Modern Family will always be funny, even when it becomes lazy. Glee will always be wildly inconsistent but just on the verge of watchability to tantalize me, season after season.

Other shows aren’t bad, they’re just less than you’re used to and you would like. For example…

How I Met Your Mother

Seriously you guys. This season. What is it even about. Lily and Marshall are in the city. No the suburbs! Oh wait, back in the city! Barney’s with Nora. Nope, Robin! Wait, maybe not! Now there’s a stripper! Ted is finally figuring out who he is on his own, without a woman. Oh wait he’s whining! Wait. He loves Robin again? KILL ME NOW! With the exception of the episode where Robin found out she’s barren, this season has been completely forgettable. I’m sure the finale will be good, and after seven seasons I’m obviously in it for the long haul. But this just wasn’t what it could have been.

Dexter

OK so technically this was a summer show, but I’m including it anyway. And I really thought about putting it in the bad list. Because for realz, I did not like. I mean, Edward James Olmos was appropriately creepy, and Colin Hanks too, and yes the end with Debra finding out was good, but all the rest was just… meh. I mean… girls who steal evidence? Broken engagements? Incestuous feelings? Is this what Dexter should be?

NO. NO it is NOT. So let’s pretend this season was season three – as in NONEXISTENT KTHNXBAI.

So, I know this post is later than normal, and I know it was long, but there you have my breakdown of the season: some good, some bad, but really just a lot of “meh.”

For the week of 4/16/12

Amakoooooo Nerds! I am back with fingers burning with justice, aflame with the passions of informing you about what’s coming up this week in all things glorious. In other news, I’m not intentionally starting every post with pug pictures, but these past two have just been so adorable/hysterical (adorical? hystorable? HYSTORABLE) that I had to share them.

Music

Well, this week seems to be a good week for fans of chill music. We’ve got new albums by both Jason Mraz and Train, so that’s exciting for some people. I’ve never been very into Mraz, but at the same time I’ve never been really antagonistic towards him either. This latest effort seems to be getting pretty middling grades, basically saying that it’s Jason Mraz – for better or for worse. If you like what he’s done so far, you’ll probably like this. If not, it’s not going to change your mind.

Train, on the other hand, I am more excited about. While I vastly prefer older Train (Drops of Jupiter anyone?), I have been liking their post-“Hey Soul Sister” sound, and really digging their latest single. I mean, it says “groovy.” How can I resist that?? So I’ll probably be checking them out.

On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got the fourth studio album from Evan’s Blue: Graveyard of Empires. I’ll admit, I was SUPER into this band towards the end of high school, and actually saw them live, but then, I was ANGRY. As I got to college, I chilled out a lot and fell away from my hard-rock/post-grunge roots and into the open arms of alt-rock/indie-pop. But now that I’m back in my hometown, with my favorite radio stations, and filled with a general simmering frustration with my food-service job, I’ve been drifting back to the (constantly shrinking) world of rock. I really like the current single from E.B., and I’m glad to see that they are pretty much exactly what they were circa ’06. So I’ll also be picking this up.

Movies

Nothing! Unless you want to see Zack Efron pretending to be a soldier in a sappy Nicholas Sparks movie.

Television

Holay crappp big week so goodbye punctuation.

Monday – HIMYM’s penultimate episode and somehow something about mariachis? IDK. Eureka’s last season premiere is also happening, and if you’re not watching, it’s pretty much too late because the show’s already cancelled. But you should watch anyway.

Tuesday – Glee rips off/”salutes” Saturday Night Fever. Hooray. Raising Hope finishes off its second season, and after the RIDICULOUSLY STUPID reveal of last episode, they have a LOT of trust to earn back from me. And finally New Girl sees Jess bonding with Russell’s daughter and a pregnancy scare for Cece.

Wednesday – BEST. DAY. EVER. Two episodes of Modern Family AND THE RETURN OF REVENGE AKA THE BEST NEW SHOW OF THE SEASON THAT IS SO BEAUTIFULLY DRAMATIC AND FULL OF GOOD-LOOKING PEOPLE IT’S BASICALLY MY SOUL MATE IN TELEVISION FORM SERIOUSLY GUYS I AM CRAPPING MY PANTS RIGHT NOW.

Thursday – Community. Annie. Abed. Dreamatorium. It sounds silly, but knowing Community it’s going to get super serious and STILL be hilarious. Expect some serious inspection of Abed – and hopefully some advancement of either Troy/Britta or Annie/Jeff. I LOVE TO SHIP GUYS. Also Awake is still on the air. Please watch.

Weekend – FRINGE. YOU GUYS. Stop ignoring it. Supernatural, needs to get better SOON or I will lose interest. And of course Mad Men and Game of Thrones are flawless as always.

Comics

Pretty light week. Over at DC we have Wonder Woman – which is AWESOME lately. Diana’s plucky pregnant sidekick has been kidnapped, and now that Wonder Woman has armor from Hephaestus himself, expect her to chew bubble gum and kick Hades’ ass. MINUS THE GUM-CHEWING. There’s also more of the Batman vs. The Owls, which sounds REALLY STUPID but apparently is supermegafuntimes, so if you dig the Bat, check that storyline out.

At Marvel we’ve got more Avengers vs. X-Men, with the A-Team storming the banks of the Mutant Utopia, and Wolverine caught in the middle. There’s also a sweet Spiderman event going on that I do not read. And new X-Factor, which is so consistently awesome I get aneurysms.

Books

I promise I read books guys. I do. I just don’t read a lot of new releases. Right now I’m reading The Magician by Lev Grossman so I can understand Sword and Laser on Geek & Sundry because I have a crush on Veronica Belmont because she looks so tiny.

Anyway, that’s about it for now. I will now go to sleep because I am writing this the night before you are reading it, and hoping that five hours is enough to get me through 8 hours of teaching, 4 hours of pizza, and starting a fitness regimen! Hootie Hoo!

Fall TV In Review, pt. 6: Revenge

Waaaaaaay back in September, I watched Revenge purely on a whim. It was Premiere Week, and I was sort of high on television. And to be honest, it didn’t GRAB me. At least not at first. I was so busy blogging about it and other shows that I really didn’t pay attention, and had to watch a second time on hulu the next day. That was when I realized I’d stumbled upon something great.

Now, to qualify, “great” is a really subjective word. Because a “great” episode of Glee is not going to be on the same scale as a “great” episode of Modern Family. And a “great” episode of Modern Family is going to be judged totally differently from a “great” episode of Breaking Bad. So, to put it in perspective, Revenge is my favorite show that premiered this year on network TV. Which is a win.

So, in case you don’t watch, the show is about Emily Thorne – who is really Amanda Clarke. Amanda’s dad was framed by his friends, co-workers, and girlfriend into laundering money for terrorists responsible for bringing down a plane and killing hundreds. Amanda channels her anger – and billions of dollars – into re-inventing herself into Emily: a beautiful, wealthy, philanthropic woman who is trained in martial arts, deception, seduction, and infiltration. She has made vengeance her life, dedicating years to bringing down everyone who framed her father.

At the top of the list are the Graysons, elite social royalty. The patron – Conrad – orchestrated the whole affair, using his wife Victoria to seduce David Clarke and plant evidence. Victoria has become a huge bitch since then, ruling the Hamptons with an iron fist.

Over the course of the series, Emily has used mild poison to reveal Conrad’s affair, posted the community’s therapy sessions online, KIDNAPPED a woman, bankrupted a hedge fund, blackmailed politicians into resigning… Oh yeah, and seduced Victoria’s son Daniel.

Which brings me to the love triangle, which is one of the only love triangles I’ve ever felt conflicted about. Usually I have very strong opinions (Buffy and Angel, Veronica and Logan, Sydney and Vaughan, Jean Grey and Wolverine, you get the point). And yet this is one I honestly could go either way on. On the left, we have Emily/Amanda’s childhood sweetheart, who kept her dog and named his boat after her, and now manages his dad’s bar. So far, it sounds like we have a clear winner. Except that on the right, we have Daniel, who used to be a typical spoiled rich kid, until he had his moment of clarity after nearly killing his girl friend while drunk driving. Now, he is totally sober, incredibly nice, humble, down-to-earth, and completely in love with Emily. Both guys are genuinely good, nice, and incredibly good looking. Both love Emily/Amanda.

Further complicating things is the classic “becoming the mask” scenario, where Emily finds herself legitimately falling in love with Daniel. The emergence of the REAL Emily Thorne (who is now pretending to be Amanda), has made the situation even more outrageous, especially once she decides that SHE likes Jack (the hunky bartender [this was my family’s official nickname for him before we learned names]). My theory is that this will be a Little Mermaid. The Prince/Bartender has fallen in love with a girl in the past/yesterday, who is right in front of him. Before he can fully fall in love though, a Sea Witch/psycho appears, claiming to be The Voice/childhood friend. The Prince/Bartender is fooled, but his DOG is NOT. Where it goes from there, I don’t know (but the first episode makes it seem as though Jack is going to shoot Daniel, so… there’s that.

Anyway, this show is addictive. It has slowly peeled back the layers on Victoria – showing us that she really loved David, and probably still does; showing us why she hates her husband; showing us the troubled relationship with her daughter; showing us a surprisingly sympathetic villain. At the same time, as we get to know Emily/Amanda, she seems to be getting less sympathetic. I mean, I understand why she is the way she is. But at the same time, when she truly is herself – around Nolan, the only person who knows who she really is – she’s a complete bitch! It reminds us that Emily is not a Nice Person, even if she is the “good guy.”

Yes, this show is dramatic. Even a little silly at times. It’s sensational (in the literal, shock value, sense). But it’s well written, well directed, and very consistent. It doesn’t rely on sex or craziness to sell like some other (cough Grey’s cough True Blood cough) guilty pleasures. The characters are fairly fleshed out. There’s something primally satisfying about seeing rich douches pay.

At this point, my only complaint with the show is the green screen, which varies from barely tolerable to downright awful. But if that’s the worst thing I can say about it, then it’s doing pretty well. I eagerly await the second half of the first season.