Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Friday, October 17, 2008

Life on Mars: The Fall T.V. Season Pt. 1

Lets pause from the deep reflections on life and politics. I want to blog on a topic that is slightly more important than either John McCain or Barack Obama; and that is the new fall lineup on TV.

Television was a story wasteland for many years. I must admit to watching some old favorites from the 80's and cringing at some of the cheesy dialogue and inane story lines. In the last few years though, the level of storytelling for the small screen has really escalated. Living in China, I-Tunes has kept us up to speed on American TV. Yes, I have to pay $1.99 an episode, but to be commercial's worth every penny. Here is my non-exhaustive rundown on the 2008-2009 television season:

Life on Mars: Any TV show that rips its name from a David Bowie song and stars Harvey Keitel is worth a look see. I downloaded the episode, fired up the projector (so my "tv screen" is the whole wall), lit some candles, and lounged with Tammy as we watched it. Was not disappointed. Jason O'Mara plays Sam Tyler, a New York Detective that is hit by a car and wakes up in 1973. Suddenly he has to deal with not only the reason why it has happened, but the changed social morals over the last 35 years. In a classic scene from the show, when Tyler first is hit by the car he was listening to David Bowie's "Life on Mars" on his Ipod. When he wakes in 1973, it is playing on an 8 track player in his car. Trying to get his bearings, he suddenly says, "No Way" as the camera angle pans away revealing a still standing World Trade Center. Brilliant! Harvey Keitel shines as the 1973 police lieutenant who is not above beating suspects, spiking drinks, or kicking down doors with out a warrant to get the job done; much to the horror of the politically correct trained Tyler from 2008! "Life on Mars" has prompted me to listen to the David Bowie song a number of times. I'm still trying to figure out what that song is talking about. Of course it was 1973 so I imagine even Bowie had no idea what he was talking about.

My Own Worst Enemy: Christian Slater stars as Henry Spivey, a middle class, middle aged man living in suburbia with his wife and two kids. The only problem is that he isn't real. He is the alter-ego created 19 years ago for Edward Albright, a highly trained covert agent who speak 13 languages and can run the 4 minute mile. Unfortunately, the carefully constructed wall that separates them begins to break down at the most inopportune moments. Suddenly Henry and Edward, who share the same body, have to work together to keep themselves alive. Christian Slater makes the show. I always thought it unfortunate that this lead actor from the 80's who had been designated a "Jack Nicholson" heir apparent never found his feet. I'm hoping that he finds a new acting life through this cleverly written TV drama.

Fringe: Any show produced by Lost creator J.J. Abrams is on my must see list. Fringe focuses on an investigative trio who use techiques on the "fringe" of modern science to solve their weekly adventures. The show stars Anna Torv as FBI agent Olivia Dunham who is described as being "tough as nails". (As a side note to TV producers across the spectrum, can we please stop with the "tough as nails" female charecters. Its starting to look ridiculous having blonde bombshells that weigh all of 100 pounds "beating up" guys twice their size and "protecting" the wimpy guy who could obviously kick her butt in real life). The show really comes together though with the interaction of Joshua Jackson and John Noble playing a father and son team of dysfunctional geniuses. Throw in conspiriacy and government and you have your X-Files for the 2000's.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I'll be commenting on returning favorites such as: Chuck, Lost, Heroes, Smallville, and Battlestar Galactica.

All of these shows are so much more interesting than the debate!!


Andrew said...

I liked the pilot episode of Worst enemy. I agree that Slater deserves more and I hope this gets him some traction.

I watch Smallville like I do homework. Being into comics, I do it out of pure obligation.

Heroes has seemed a little directionless to me. In the beginning, there were these few folks that had powers. Now everyone and the doorman does. They seem to introduce tons of characters that go nowhere than just fade out.

Another new one I think you would enjoy is The Mentalist. The first three episodes have been great, and I think it has a lot of potential. The hero is like the guy who used to be on the Scifi channel who would talk to people's dead realatives. The truth is, he can read people and catch nuances that most people miss. He now uses his talents to solve crimes.

What??? No Knight Rider?? -Snicker-

angelphish in co said...

Chris and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Fringe! Ohhh, I wish you guys were here. :)

angelphish in co said...

PS: The Mentalist is just a lame imitation of one of our other favorite TV shows, Psych. Check that one out first. :)

Steve H. said...

I heard Psyche was good. Must check it out!!! Like Fringe to but Tammy thinks its too gross