TV – What to Watch

TV SHOWS

**Note – this will be a 3 part series on TV Shows, and this section is on current TV shows.

**This installment of “Elroy Talks” does contain spoilers.

Okay, so as some of you may be aware of if you have followed my Twitter (@ElroyRosenberg), you may have noticed I’m a lover of all things TV. There are some brilliant shows on TV nowadays, and I can’t get enough.

It sure is unfortunate, though, that I live in a country dominated by stupid reality TV shows about bogans needing their backyard repaired by and even bigger bogan (Better Homes & Gardens), awful cooking shows (Masterchef Australia), idiotic builders (The Block), and nonsensical viewing based around the life of a semi-popular and almost meaningless “celebrity” (Brynne: My Bedazzled Life). Yep, that’s Australian TV for you, folks.

It’s only taken 10 years but the threat of pirated shows from the Internet has finally forced the big channels to put decent TV shows on, and fast-tracked from the US. ABOUT DAMN TIME, AUSTRALIA.

So let’s get into some of my favourite shows that are on currently, some of my all-time favourites, and some crap.

PART 1 – CURRENT TV

What I’m watching regularly:

THE GOOD WIFE (CBS)

IMDB: 8/10

MY RATING: 9.5/10

Gotta say, this show has it all. Great writing. Quirky situations. Brilliant case study. Real-enough characters. Lawsuits. Bad guys. Good guys. Marital problems. Elections. Bi-sexual investigator. Great direction. Meaningful cases. Consistent characteristics of certain people. But most of all, entertainment.

I love this show. It’s probably my personal favourite current TV show at this minute. What’s not to love? Well, actually, I can answer that question.

As you may have noticed, I gave this show a 9.5 rating. Where’s the other .5? It’s been taken by the stupid Brit. Season 4 has arguably been sabotaged by the comically bad relationship of Kalinda and her “husband” Nick, played by Marc Warren. To be blunt, Nick sucks. The actor sucks, the character sucks, and it doesn’t fit at all. Did anyone see the egg-fight that he and Kalinda had? Comical television. And not in a funny way. Kill him off. Get rid of him.

The whole “Kalinda lesbian” scene has gone too far. It’s not relevant at all. It was fine when nobody knew her sexual interest. Now it’s getting out of hand and is featured in almost every episode. I love her character for the most part, she’s a deviously good investigator, but this lesbian thing has to stop.

Besides that, this show is amazing. Chris Noth does such an amazing job. I find it quite amazing that he makes a man who has lied time and time again so believable. The experience he brings to the table makes Peter Florrick just that little bit better.

Julianna Marguiles is a truly amazing actress, and Alicia Florrick is one of my all-time favourite characters on any show. She may be a good wife (no pun intended), but she is so deliciously evil at times, and she doesn’t take crap from anyone, not even her husband’s mother, Jackie.

But the one I really love is Eli Gold, played by the impeccable Alan Cumming. For a Scot, this guy’s American accent is pretty damn good. He doesn’t have much empathy, which is displayed by his sarcastic attitude, combined with his nature to not give a damn if you have a problem. But slowly he is growing into a man who cares about the Florrick family. Not so much Jackie, though. It seems nobody likes Jackie except her son.

Will and Diane are perfect in every way. Well played, calm and collected, devious, nasty, understanding, but most of all, just great partners. I just love Diane’s character, played by the brilliant Christine Baranski. Will also understands Alicia’s situation and even though he had an affair with her, wants to help rebuild her marriage with Peter.

Overall, I love this show, and I watch it A LOT (as you can probably tell).

SMASH (NBC)

IMDB: 7.7/10

MY RATING: 8/10

Something about this show has caught my eye. Ever since the “20th Century Fox Mambo”, this show has propelled me into the mysterious universe of behind-the-scenes action in a musical production. Sure, the plot can be predictable at times, and the characters are quite one-faced, but this show makes for an enjoying experience.

The songs in this show are absolutely first-class. Marc Shaiman is a genius, and Scott Wittman ain’t half bad either. They are such catchy tunes, it’s so well written, and the lyrics match up perfectly.

SMASH is not your average blatant auto-tune garbage you get with Glee, it’s a quirky drama of the ups and downs of developing a musical. It gets on with the good stuff fairly quickly, so there’s no meaningless drivel in between important scenes.

Anjelica Huston is such a great actress, and I love her hatred for her ex-husband. Also, her relationship with the bartender Nick. Jack Davenport makes a great mean guy, and plays his role as the show director Derek Willis all the more lovable with his sarcastic wit and lack of empathy. He’s the SMASH version of Eli Gold. That, plus he’s a mega-player.

Debra Messing, Christian Borle, Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee all do their job superbly in this show. Julia (Messing) is caring and hard working, and somehow got into her affair having “the best intentions”. Tom (Borle) only wants the best for Ivy (Hilty), and looks out for her while he’s not writing songs or seeing his boyfriend. I think the whole ‘gay’ thing is handled well, which is rare for a TV show. And as we see Ivy, the girl who was always a star, descend, up comes the lovable Karen Cartwright (McPhee), taking her chance at fame and nurturing her talent.

The lip-syncing is surprisingly good on this show. Must have been one of the things they really wanted to nail. And they did. Because the lip-syncing on Glee is shabby at best. Yes, it’s predictable, but I still love this show for all the songs, the writing, and the overall feel that makes you want to be involved in a musical production.

HOMELAND (SHOWCASE)

IMDB: 8.6/10

MY RATING: 8.5/10

This show is just so interesting. I really enjoy watching it. It’s so well made, so well written, so well directed. The acting is perfect, the characters intertwine with each other, and there’s a general sense of uncertainty as to what will happen next.

Claire Danes is simply perfect for this role. She plays the unnervingly investigative Carrie Mathison, who is always trying to find answers or evidence for one thing or another. And it doesn’t just make Carrie a great character by the actress who plays her, it’s the writing. Gee whiz, the writing in this show is seamlessly good, and so realistic. It makes Carrie sound so convincing, even when her ideas make no sense to anyone but herself. Carrie is the perfect protagonist for a show.

Damien Lewis. Why are you so good? You’re making it hard for me to joke about redheads, because for them to have you in their company makes them very lucky people. Lewis plays Nicholas Brody, a former Army member who was abducted and survived in the enemies care for 6 years before returning to America, and being branded a hero. Come on, how can you not love that character description. It’s such a brilliant idea for a character. Lewis can faultlessly portray a hero and a villain in the same take. This is a must-appreciate performance.

Brody’s wife, Jessica (Morena Baccarin), is not only beautiful but also questionable as to her thoughts about her husband. It seems even she, the “loyal” wife of an American hero, is suspicious of Nicholas’ activities. Very good writing.

Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) is SO well written, it’s hard to fault the character, even if it was poorly acted. But the thing is, it’s well acted, so there’s even more to love. Carrie’s “mentor”, if you will, is always looking out for Carrie, while being mindful of whether she is insane, or spot on. I love Saul.

I think I should stop myself before I write 5 paragraphs, all praising the writers. Oh wait…I just did.

By the way people, how good is the intro to this show? The pictures, the speeches, the music, the setting, the dire tone, the whole thing….it just makes sense.

VEGAS (CBS)

IMDB: 7.1/10

MY RATING: 7.5/10

A lot of people aren’t giving this show the recognition it deserves, in my opinion. It’s well made, it looks great, the plot is interesting, the setting is wonderfully “mafia”, and it makes for great viewing.

For a show revolving around the life of a cowboy, it’s delightfully focused on the busy city life of 60’s Vegas, and the control that the Mafia had. It all comes together beautifully…it just needs something more. But I’m probably wrong; after all, I’ve only seen 3 episodes.

Vincent Savino. Okay, that name is just totally badass. Plus you wouldn’t want to mess with anyone Michael Chiklis plays. He makes a great mafia boss. Totally without fear of getting caught, level-headed, cold-blooded, and a smart businessman. Doesn’t sound like an easy character to play, but it works.

Dennis Quaid plays the nasty new sheriff, Sheriff Ralph Lamb, who is actually a real person. Aged 85 in 2012, Lamb (the real one) served in Las Vegas from 1961-1979. And Quaid does a good job in this one. He will teach you a very valuable lesson: never mess with a cowboy who knows what he’s doing, because you will come out second best.

Good job CBS, yet another good show. Don’t know what anyone could hate about this show. Yes, the sets are a little poor, but I still like the show for its cold-blooded nature.

THE NEWSROOM (HBO)

IMDB: 8.7/10

MY RATING: 7.5/10

I don’t have much to say about this show, apart from I enjoy watching it. It is a well-made show, and although there is a fair share of Aaron Sorkin negativists out there, I enjoy his style of writing. I really enjoyed The Social Network, and I don’t see why this would be any different.

Jeff Daniels is strong and delivers the news well for a guy that doesn’t actually deliver the news…oh well, you get what I mean…hopefully. Not too sure about Emily Mortimer. She seems a tad weak and struggling to keep up with the pace of the show. It’s a fast-talking show and a lot of the time, she slows it down.

I like the idea of it all, the political standpoint that makes Will (Daniels) such a controversial character. It’s well made, and I like the team mentality of the station.

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO)

IMDB: 8.5/10

MY RATING: 8.5/10

What’s not to love? This show is perfect in almost every aspect. It’s just so damn funny. Is there much more to say?

This is a brilliant show, in several ways. Firstly, it’s not scripted. Larry David tells the actors what’s going to happen in the scene, and the basic details, but there is no set script, which is one of the key factors in this show being so good.

The situations Larry finds himself in are not only beautifully planned so it’s not on your conscience the whole show, but they’re ridiculous. The show is made, though, in such a way, that it’s entirely and utterly believable that Larry keeps getting himself into these problems! It’s brilliant! Everything ties in together at the end so what Larry had you thinking at some point, comes back into your memory at the end.

The main characters. This is also what’s so great about this show. There are…what…maybe 5 or 6 main characters? Let’s see, there’s…Larry, Jeff, Cheryl, Susie, Richard and Marty. Okay, that’s 6. I wouldn’t say Leon is a main character, but he is just as funny as anyone on the show.

Larry David is such a brilliant mind. Not only is he a brilliant mind, but he always does it HIS WAY. I love that about him. Seinfeld is probably my all-time favourite show, I’ve seen every episode at least twice, and you can see shades of Seinfeld in Curb. He makes every situation possible a funny one.

Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines and Susie Essman make great company for Larry to be in. Susie plays Jeff’s wife (just in case you didn’t know, Jeff, Cheryl. Larry and Susie are their names in real-life and in the show), who is often unnerved by Larry’s antics. She swears…a lot. And Cheryl is basically the level-headed one, who always knows the responsible choice. Jeff is Larry’s best friend, and negligent at times to get involved with Larry’s schemes, just in case Susie catches word and punishes him.

This show makes great viewing for everyone. Yes, it’s a little rude and in your face with some of the language, but it just increases the hilarity. This show is genius.

MODERN FAMILY (ABC)

IMDB: 8.7/10

MY RATING: 9/10

When I watch this show, I struggle to find an imperfection. The ‘gay’ feel is handled the best I’ve ever seen on a TV show. It’s a bit crazy to me that such a weird family always seem to work things out. I mean come on, there’s a gay couple, a family living in a hostile environment, and a Colombian who has fallen for a much older man.

Jay, Gloria and Manny. Ed O’Niell plays a lovely dad who struggled to come to terms with his odd situation, Sofia Vergara plays a stunning Colombian who doesn’t always feel wanted, and Rico Rodriguez plays a child way ahead of his time. In fact, I’m sure he’s the best child-character I’ve seen on TV. The love/hate relationship of Jay and Gloria is such a marvellous thing to watch.

The Dunphy’s. Yes. Yes. Yes. BEST TV FAMILY EVER. Ty Burrell is a magician. The way he works Phil is perfection. Julie Bowen surprised me with her versatility as Claire, Nolan Gould is a star in the making as the lovably clueless Luke, and Ariel Winter plays the smartest Dunphy, Alex, who always battles with her sister, Haley (Sarah Hyland), who is popular.

Mitch and Cam. Best gay couple ever. It really isn’t very much about being gay; it’s more of a family theme they’re working with. Mitch, played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson (gay in real life), is the smart and neat city-boy that Cam completely contradicts. Cam (Eric Stonestreet) is a lovable country boy who grew up on a farm, and loves to regale Mitch with stories of the farm, like when he hurled a pumpkin across a football field. All they want to do is take care of their adopted Oriental baby, Lily.

I love Dylan as well. Dylan, played by Reid Ewing, is Hayley’s on and off love interest, and although he loves Hayley, she is sometimes reluctant to be with him. Dylan is clumsy, and a hopeless romantic, even though he likes to think he knows what he is on about. Life for Dylan is about his guitar, winning back Hayley, and chilling out.

It’s a superb show, with great situational comedy, as well as heart-warming stories. It will never disappoint, in terms of comedy and in terms of entertainment.

THE WALKING DEAD (AMC)

IMDB: 8.7/10

MY RATING: 10/10

Perfection. That’s what this show is. Perfection. There’s NOTHING I can fault this show on. No grounds to say there is a problem. This show is fantastic.

Andrew Lincoln and Sarah Wayne Callies play Rick & Lori Grimes. Rick uses his killing skills to keep the group alive, as he was a police officer before the outbreak. Lori is a sharp and witty mother who is responsible and always looking out for their son, Carl (Chandler Riggs).

I love Glenn and Daryl. Glenn (Steven Yeun) is such a calm person and always wants to help. He initially saved Rick from the Walkers in Atlanta, which makes his relationship with Rick strong but not best-friend-ish. Daryl (Norman Reedus) is a badass country guy who’s tough, but also can be friendly and is a real leader in the group.

I love what they’ve done in Season 3 with Carol, played by Melissa McBride. She has taken a much more important role, probably filling the gap left by Andrea. She’s turned doctor when needed, she’s proved a worthwhile character and she’s rekindled her friendship with Daryl. Also love what they’ve done with T-Dog (IronE Singleton). He’s proved more valuable than ever. He’s helped with almost everything possible, and he’s killed many a Walker.

I really loved Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) when he was alive, and I liked the character of Shane, played by Jon Berthal. Shane was so easy to hate, and that was brilliantly portrayed over the first 2 series’. Dale, on the other hand, was so lovable, and you felt he was being treated harshly by Andrea (Laurie Holden).

The show is so well written and directed, it seems so hopeless. Yet there’s always hope ignited by Rick. He makes a great leader; you’re really rooting for him to survive. Partially because you know if he dies, they all die.

I love the setting, and how everything is so bare. It makes for great drama, and even though these places are seemingly empty when you look at them, they are anything but, and the danger of getting bitten is all too real.

The Walkers look incredibly real. Like, amazingly real. The makeup artists do a brilliant job, and yes, a lot of it is done on a computer, but I’ve seen photos of the Walkers while they’re shooting, and they look unbelievable.

I do regard this as probably the best show on Television. It’s just faultless.

I would love to see the dad & child from the first episode of Season 1 return. Oh, and I’m excited to see Merle coming back.

A few photos of the Walkers. So interesting. http://www.amctv.com/shows/the-walking-dead/walker-gallery

I did watch ‘Awake’ before it got cancelled, and I thought it wasn’t too bad. Suck-tastic ending though. Seriously? It was all a dream? That’s something a primary school student would write. Would have given it a 7.5/10, but for that ending, it deserves a 6/10.

Okay, so these are the main new shows I enjoy. Mind you, I am only 14, and the mother has banned me from Breaking Bad until 15. Same as Game Of Thrones. Will probably get into Dexter soon, though.

OTHER NOTABLES:

VEEP (Hilarious), New Girl (quirky), The New Normal (love the whole idea), Raising Hope (love it), Family Guy (love it), The Colbert Report (funny), Saturday Night Live (been good for a long time).

WHAT I WISH I WATCHED:

Dexter, Breaking Bad, Revenge, Once Upon A Time, Boardwalk Empire, Fringe, Game of Thrones, Sherlock, Mad Men.

Part 2 will be up A.S.A.P, when I talk about the shows that I really hoped would be more, and think are basically a steaming hot pile of garbage.

Like this review? Follow the page! Share it with your friends.

If you have any suggestions, follow me up on Twitter and give me a tweet, I would be glad to talk.

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