A quasi-geek’s thoughts on TV-fare

Depending on the particular definition, I sport some geek attributes, but not enough to keep from finding myself at odds with geek gurus populating various virtual halls.  Mostly I am at odds with their opinions regarding what constitutes good SciFi TV.

For one, I don’t have automatic loyalty for whatever the genre might offer up.  Shows do not get a pass just because they wraps themselves with a loose SciFi mantle.  A show needs to be interesting, challenge me, and move me. Not necessarily all three, but two out of three are preferred.  I can make do with one, if it’s the last one.

With that intro, I ponder on . . .

Dr. Who
FSM knows I tried.  After all, no one in their right mind would knowingly cross Hickerson, so I tried.  But the truth is that while I can watch the old episodes, although they too are hit or miss, the new Doctor lost me with a decisive one-two punch, followed with a roundhouse knock-out.  First it was the Weeping Angels episodes (two!!); all I kept thinking was of ways they could have thwarted them.

Move them so they face each other. Wrap their head and hands in multiple layers of duct tape when in statue form.   Better yet, duct tape them facing each other.  Set up a dead-man switch, or in this case a live-man switch, so that when they de-stone they get blown up.  Knock them over and roll something heavy over them, preferably pointy.  Dump them in water, hoist them up on a noose by their neck, tie a Pit Bull to them (depending what they mean by “sentient being” looking at them, they either get chewed up, or they remain statues).  Build a bonfire around them, and walk away.  Would a mirror mess them up? Will they turn to stone if they look at a reflection of themselves?  Certainly seems like a better option than to try not blinking.

The people in the episodes had automatic weapons; start firing, keep firing, and do a long blink.  I mean, these people apparently knew what they were going up against.  Are there no Pit Bulls in the future?  Heck, we have robots that will diffuse bombs; we have drones that autonomously can decide to fire on a target of interest. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Then came the follow-up punch known as the Vampires of Venice.  I tell you, if I were trying to ensure the survival of my race (if I gave a hoot about my race to begin with), I would certainly make sure some twit with a screwdriver and a bad suit could not get at the crucial piece of machinery on which said survival depended on.  Why, I might even toss the guy into the canal, preferably tied to one of them Weeping Angels statues.  You know, kill two birds with one stone, sort of speak.

Finally, Ami’s Choice delivered the coupe de grace.  They tried to build some complicated inner conflict stuff wrapped in unspoken angst, but it’s not my cup of tea.  Had it been better written, and had the acting been better, and had the characters been a whole lot less annoying, why then I might have been less uninterested and unimpressed than what I was.  Alas, none of that happened, and after that I kept finding excuses to watch something else. Eventually I erased the rest of the series from my DVR to make room for the other two shows I was not watching.

Who knows (get it? Who knows . . . never mind), maybe when I am old and senile, and my standards drop to the point random noise occupies my full attention, I will revisit this new doctor.

I used to watch a show called Eureka.  I remember it well.  I was young then, and steam cars and horse buggies both trailed gaseous emanations as they ferried people hither and fro.  Then a long time passed, and when the show came back on, I cared not for the characters, the stories, or the direction they took.  I moved on.

Some say I am missing something.  Probably.  Luckily I got over missing it after the first six months I did without.  But, the current episodes are still on my DVR . . . perhaps I will sacrifice a few hours to the possibility I get hooked again.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe next year.

Warehouse 13
This show had gotten interesting at the end of last season.  I was looking forward to picking it up despite the brutally long hiatus.  Then I learned a painful lesson.  Unbeknown to me, I had built up a tolerance for the two main protagonists (Pete and Myka), and their increasingly one-dimensional characterization.  It was a tolerance which dissipated with time.

Suffice it to say after a long absence I looked at them with fresh eyes, and found them annoying.  I struggled through the season premiere, wading through a concoction of uneven and stilted storytelling with matching acting.  Come the second show I found them nearly impossible to watch.  I think I lasted ten minutes, and thankfully I cannot tell you what I saw; some sort of survival mechanism is blocking the memory of the episode.

Too bad; I like the actors, but they are written increasingly cartoonish in demeanor and interactions, so much so even the remainder of the cast, all of whom I also like, fail to swing the balance from plain-annoying to annoying-but-watchable.  I know, I know . . . it’s now one of the greatest shows ever made.  I’ll endeavor to struggle on without it.

I am looking forward to the return of this show, and hope not to be disappointed.  I am particularly interested in Chuck and Ellie finding out they are illegitimate children.  I mean, Linda Hamilton and Scott Bakula are fine actors, but no way could their characters produce those two kids.  I’m thinking either adoption, or Chuck’s mom was a double, or even triple, agent.

Unfortunately I will be annoyed by a basement extending hundreds of yards in every direction (the neighbors must have all opted to build on slabs), and packed with hundred of yards of shelving, and each one packed with boxes full of stuff, and all that just seven feet or so under surrounding homes and streets.

And this is no CIA-built base.  Chuck’s dad expanded the original basement in his spare time.  I can just see him, in the dead of night, bringing in yards of cement, truckloads of steel shelving, and what at the time must have been the entire Western Seaboard paper supply.

But, this show is fun.  The creators have resisted doing more with it than just let it be fun, and I have high hopes they keep it up.

Sure, Ellie is beginning to damage my calm, what with insisting Chuck give up his life of excitement, babes, action, cool gadgets, more babes, weapons, and for him to be-less-than-he-could-be.  And she says she loves him, and cares for him.  Yeah, right.

Sarah and Chuck are finally acting like adults, I am hoping they turn into a modern day version of Nick and Nora, with a touch of Emma Peel and John Steed thrown in for good measure.  If the writers instead lead them toward more contrived angst, it will be up to the rest of the cast and promised guest actors to hold my interest.  Luckily, that should be an easy job for what is an awesome ensemble of characters.

The Big Bang Theory
“Big ‘Ole Five” broke her leg, but I am sure her (hopefully) brief absence will go unnoticed as the rest of my current most favorite characters return to the small screen.  I have ordered the Third Season, and I hope to catch up before the new season begins.

No worries; plenty of room in the DVR in case I need to wait a few weeks for the shipment to arrive.

So here I am; two surviving old show (not counting non-SciFi fare like Castle, Lie to Me, and Human Target), and me casting a wary eye toward the 2010 Fall Season offerings.  There are a number of SciFi related shows offering me the opportunity to join geekdom’s ranks of fawning fans . . .  but history is not on my side.

The above is a recent submission to Slice of SciFi.  Don’t know if they will use it, and if so when, but since some of this is time dependent, I figure I would post it here.