[2005-06-15]

Television

 

Introduction

Welcome to another pointless enumeration!

Note: Dear Reader, this section hasn't been updaed since 2002. I'm working on it, I really am. I'm a big fan of TV, and I really wish I had what it takes to keep this updated. I will get to it one of these days though. Another problem is that by its very nature it must lag a little, because it's hard to know which series are truly great if you don't have a little distance.

I mean, I'm missing Buffy and Angel... that's just wrong.

3:rd rock from the sun

The wonderful comedy series about the aliens who arrive at earth to learn about humans by observing them from within their midst. The comedy is built much around misconceptions by the Salomons, headed by the incredible John Lithgow playing Professor Dick Salomon, about how humans operate, with some physical humor thrown in for good measure. I find this show highly entertaining, though it might lose much of its appeal if it runs too many seasons.

Babylon 5

One of, if not the best sci-fi series ever created. Very good story that spans episodes, and full of interesting characters in a very well thought out universe. Featuring the beautiful Claudia Christian as Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova. The continuity in the series is impressive, and might well be one of the primary reasons this is a great show.

Cracker

UK Criminal/drama with Robbie Coltrane as Dr. Gerry "Fitz" Fitzgerald, the eccentric forensic psychologist who aid the police in their investigations by profiling criminals and taking care of interviews. He drink too much, eat too much, gamble too much, he is too much, but for all his eccentricities, you cannot but love him.

Also available in a version from the US, starring Robert Pastorelli as Fitz. Not as good as the UK version, but okay.

E.R

Homicide - Life on the street

Last night I watched the last episode followed by the movie. It's amazing how this show has been able to keep the quality up throughout the years. The movie, by the way, can't possibly make much sense unless you've seen the series. The way the reunited Pembleton and Bayliss step in and take over an interview, the tention... Anyway, the movie felt a little too obvious and contorted, but that's the movie. The series is great, and I for one will watch it again should it be rerun.

Inspector Morse

With John Thaw as the cultured and educated Chief Inspector Morse and Kevin Whately as his "aide" and colleague Detective Sergeant Lewis. A superb British mystery series, often set in the vicinity of beautiful Oxford and its institutions of higher learning. More than good acting and a beautiful setting, the writing is excellent with its intriguing murder mysteries and interesting plot twists.

Midsomer Murders

British murder/mystery series starring John Nettles, who's probably best known for his part in Bergerac. Here he play Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby. This series has a very small static cast, and there is very little information shared between the standalone episodes, and what little carries over have no impact on the mysteries themselves. There is however one thing you can count on from episode to episode, and that is that one of the other Barnaby's (wife or daughter) will supply the final clue which solves the puzzle in the head of our DCI hero. (Or so I thought; this seems to no longer be the case in later episodes. Might be a particular writer doing that)

Millennium

I just love the intro to this show. I have it captured and play it from time to time, which I guess makes me a weirdo, but damned.. there's something about that intro, the feeling, the chello.

As for the show itself, it has its up and downs. It changes for the better as they write Frank's family out of the series and concentrate on Frank, The Group and his excommunication from it. Look out for the beautiful Lara Means.

Murder One

Set at a high-profile lawfirm, the show was doomed because it was "too intelligent". Too few in the American audience could handle the extended plot, with the entire first season devoted to the investigation and trial of one murder. It's been a while since I saw it, but to me it was clearly a good concept and I was always looking forward to the next episode (you really wouldn't want to miss one, which was probably the problem 'over there')

Picket Fences

A truly remarkable drama series. Succeeded in combining different genres of drama into one little self-contained (some notable cameos aside) world. In the center is the Brock family with Tom Skerritt as Jimmy Brock, the city sheriff and Kathy Baker as his wife, Jill Brock, MD and many many more characters throughout the town; beautiful Lauren Holly as officer Maxine Stewart, and Finkel Fyvush as the outrageous jewish lawyer Wambaugh.

The Sopranos

This series is just sooo cool. Maybe it will wear off, but the first season felt very refreshing, and Lorrain Bracco is a babe :-). Season two is currently running; I'll flesh this section out later.

The West Wing

I first selected not to watch this series because it clashed with something else I was following. Fortunately that other series ended or switched time, for I found myself watching the second half of season two. Man was I hooked after that! A summer rerun of the series had me watching all the episodes of the first two seasons, and getting that continuity made just the difference.

I enjoy TWW because it's fairly intelligent. Sorkin's dialogue is intelligent, meaningful and entertaining. His characters are interesting, believable and self-consistent (to the degree necessary). The famed "walk and talks" are tight and well paced, something which speaks volumes about the writing and the capacity of the actors.

There is a reason for this show winning Emmys by the dozen. Watch it.

Twin Peaks

The classic mystery/drama series, which in my opinon rather revolutionised the TV-series format. This was something totally different, at least for me. Bordering on the bizarre, always with great humor and building on great casting, we saw Kyle MacLachlan as FBI Special Agent Dale "Coop" Cooper, investigating the murder of a teenage girl, the elusive Laura Palmer, in a small town by the name of Twin Peaks. The series is not very forgiving on new watchers, you must see every episode to be able to fully appreciate all the characters and the stories within the story.

©2000, 2002 Eddy L O Jansson. All rights reserved. All trademarks acknowledged.