Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Television Roundup

by Pa Rock
Recovering Couch Potato

As I have aged, my interest in the boob tube has declined markedly. I still watch television, but now I view with the aim of seeing something of substance and not just vegging out.

BBC America has its moments of quality, though much of it is beginning to resemble mindless American reality crap. Several years ago that network ran the first season of Shameless, a thoughtful and very funny series about a family of seven children being raised by a worthless and drunken father in public housing in Manchester, England. I liked it so well that I purchased the first season for my son (the playwright) and myself. Shameless is now on its sixth season in Great Britain, but so far BBC America has not seen fit to bring seasons two through six to this side of the Atlantic. That needs to change!

Torchwood is another exceptional British program. It is about a group of researchers who work in Cardiff, Wales, at the site of a time rift where strange creatures occasionally drop in from other times and other worlds. BBC ran the first season and is now sporadically re-running it, but if new episodes are being filmed, they haven't made it to America. Either way, its a shame that new episodes aren't available.

Another new favorite of mine is the HBO series, The Number One Ladies Detective Agency. This show is based on a series of books by Alexander McCall Smith whose main character is a lady in Botswana who has some money saved and decides that she will open an office as a detective. I read the first two books in the series and found them to be unusual and very clever. The HBO series is true to the author's work, and presents the characters and settings very much as I imagined them.

My favorite television program, however, is decidedly American. I discovered Jericho quite by accident last year. The program had been on two seasons and canceled when the CW Network bought the existing episodes and began airing them. It was a Sunday evening and I was doing a bit of channel surfing when I happened upon the first episode of Jericho just as it was beginning. I watched the program, not knowing what to expect. It was passably interesting until the wayward son, Jake, was leaving his hometown of Jericho, KS, after a poor attempt at reconnecting with his family. Suddenly, in the distance, was a mushroom cloud. That got my attention, and I have been a fan of this survivalist tale ever since. It is so disappointing to know that the series ended before I even had the chance to get hooked!

That's my list. Every now and then I catch a good movie - I have HBO free for three months. Less television equals more time for things that are really important - like pounding out this damned blog night after night! But it's my life, and I make the rules. When things get dull or overpowering, I will change the rules!


Carla said...

Jericho was one of my all-time favorites. I miss it. Sometimes, I will sit down and watch a rerun. I think proximity persuaded me to follow the story. It did seem to make vast leaps in the story line toward the end of the series. (Or perhaps, my ADD kicked in on me while I was watching!) Odd that two boomers were both attracted to a show about the big boom!

BK in MO said...

Have you read C.S. Lewis' space trilogy? They are fairly old books from the 1940's but they are surprisingly good. If you like Stephen King, you can see where he received some of his inspiration (although King was also influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien, and he and C.S. Lewis were contemporaries and I think, friends). I believe these books are out of print, but your local library probably has them. The first is Out of the Silent Planet; the second is Perelandra, and the third is That Hideous Strength. Based on your TV choices, I think you would find C.S. Lewis very entertaining; he deals with similar story lines (although not truly about the end of the world as we know it) such as dystopias and utopias.
And if you haven't read Stephen King's The Stand, I highly recommend it. Especially for a summer read.

Pa Rock's Ramble said...

I have read the CS Lewis space trilogy and have even given it as a gift - and I was thinking the other day about dusting off my copies and enjoying them again. I also read the complete Tales of Narnia and enjoyed those as well. Years and years ago I read the first of first volume of the Lord of the Rings series and never got back to it. I need to give that another go.

It looks like my list of things to read should get shorter with age - what am I doing wrong?