TV Happy Hour

[TV Review] CBS Might Be ‘BrainDead’ For Cancelling This Easily Digestable Gem 

braindeadcbs_tgofHere at TGoF Headquarters (aka my living room or wherever I happen to be consuming media) I don’t catch a whole lot of TV. It’s a shame really, as I’m sure I’ve missed out on some quality programming. However, it’s proven tough to keep interested in multiple shows at a time while also seeing as many movies as I have time for and keeping up with the hustle and bustle of daily life. When I can, binging has been the way to go for me and DVD or Netflix has been the way to go in that regard.

However, waiting for DVD introduces another set of issues–in the case of BrainDead its finding a top-notch ‘brainless’ piece of pulp entertainment only to learn later that it’s been cancelled. Of course, therein lies the silver lining–with only a season under its belt, BrainDead stuck around without ever having the chance to grow tiresome and as easily consumable as the show was, it’s easy to see it jumping the shark quickly…even for a show about brain eating bugs with a flair for politics.  (more…)

TGoF Hangover: Game of Thrones Season 6

The TGoF hangover. Originally meant to help me catch up on some movies I had seen and wanted to review, but perhaps in a more abbreviated fashion. To be clear, this section is still for those purposes, but going forward it may be the go-to spot to talk about something tragically overlooked on this site…TV. 

To be fair, I do not watch a whole lot of TV. Most of my consumption comes in short bursts and with specific shows that I’ve become attached to. I along with a large section of society recently consumers ten captivating episodes of the HBO juggernaut, Game of Thrones. Okay, so maybe not all ten were as captivating as I personally would have liked them to be, but Season 6 will still go down as one of the show’s best. It’s not without its missteps, but a breathless finale very nearly merits a boast of genius in the general direction of the show runners. 

Before reading further be aware that I will delve into spoilers, so do not continue along if you wish to not have any of Season 6 spoiled for you. 

Instead of running down and overwhelming anyone by hitting every show best from beginning to end, it’s much more time and eye friendly to hit some of the highs and lows for the season. Beginning with the lows. The worst, by far, would have to be Arya’s story arc. For the last two seasons we’ve been witnessing her slow transition into a cold blooded killer. That in and of itself is not a problem, but her time spent with the whole coven of faceless men and becoming no one felt like a complete waste of time given where the last two espisodes left the young Stark girl. Was it satisfying to see her cut the sniveling throat of Walder Frey? Absolutely. At the same time it’s sad to see one of the show’s most consistent sleazy characters bid farewell at the expense of what was an intensely sloppy storyline over seasons 5 and 6. 

Limping behind the Arya missteps are the criminally underused or misused trio of characrers: Tyrion, Lord Varys, and Little Finger (aka Lord Baelish). Tyrion has already been flipping around like a fish out of water for the last couple seasons, but he’s done it with some undeniable swag. This season, his wisdom and typical hijinx either felt secondary or rendered impotent. Attempts at what has made him one of Thrones’ most popular character often fell flat until the heartfelt finale when he and Daenerys’ team up finally caught some traction. Varys and Little Finger simply were too absent from this season to warrant much to talk about- which itself is the complaint. Still, looking forward to what is sure to be a firey season 7 as Daenerys chargers her way to Westeros.

Now on to the good, of which outweigh the bad by a landslide. Sure, this season was a whole lot of moving around of chess pieces with few moments of “Check,” but we also got to see a few pieces enter back into play. Long suspected to be still among the living, Sandor Clegane (aka The Hound) made a peaceful return that was short lived as his life as a faithful carpenter quickly escalated to bloodthirsty revenge. Cersei made a bang at her own trial and in the process wiped out some potentially large players in the GoT universe. Jon and Sansa took back Winterfell and turned Ramsey Bolton into dog meat. We finally learn the tragic truth behind why the sweet gentle giant Hodor is how he….*gulp* was as well as the true lineage of Jon Snow. All in all when you start adding it all up, fans shouldn’t have much to hate on at the end of the day. 

We now wait anxiously for the series’ return next year and how all of these new developments play into the fates of all our favorite cheaters. Until next time, Game of Thrones…until next time.

TV Happy Hour Episode 6 / Last Call Spoilers Mashup: Breaking Bad S5E10 “Buried”

bb_amc2Following the same theme as last week’s TV Happy Hour I will be discussing the latest episode of AMC’s Breaking Bad. This is the 10th episode of Season 5 so if you do not want to be spoiled on it or anything leading up to this episode I strongly suggest turning away now.

Last Warning: Breaking Bad S5E10 “Buried” Spoilers Below! (more…)

TV Happy Hour Episode 5 / Last Call Spoilers Mashup: Breaking Bad S5E9 “Blood Money”

bb_amc1Breaking Bad is back and in grand fashion. The hit TV show came out firing on all cylinders with terrific performances all around, huge revelations and a slew of incredibly tense moments making everyone watching uncomfortable in their seats and giddy with excitement at the same time. So many unanswered questions when the show left us a year ago for a year long break in the middle of its final 16 episodes- many wondered with only 8 episodes left can we possibly get closure on every unresolved conflict. The premiere episode on August 11th certainly delivered even if it didn’t completely tie up any loose ends.

For those that haven’t seen a single episode of Breaking Bad and for some reason are continuing to read the show follows a chemistry teacher diagnosed with cancer that decides to team up with a former student to cook and distribute meth to make money for his family to live off once he’s gone. If you haven’t seen the show this is your last warning to stop reading unless you want to be spoiled on previous happenings in the show up to its current episode.

Going into the newest episode, Blood Money, my immediate question was how it would start. As you will remember the finale last year ended with Walt’s brother-in-law finally connecting the dots and realizing Walt is indeed Heisenberg- or at least it’s a little more clear to him until he can get a little more proof. So my question was if the newest episode would start from that exact moment and what Hank does immediately after. More than that though the rain cloud that continues to loom over my head is the fate of Jesse by the end of the show. Will he live or will he die? Also, what if any role Jesse will take in the downfall of Walt- and make no mistake, judging from the glimpse of Walt’s future at the beginning of Season 5 it is a downfall.

Now, this is the last chance for anyone who hasn’t season the newest episode Blood Money to turn away or be spoiled. The episode opens again with a glimpse into a bleak future for Walt (not unlike the scene that started Season 5 where Walt purchased some heavy duty firepower), where he returns to his home of the last five and half seasons of the show as it is completely run down and fenced off. Walt breaks in seeing and sees his house has been vandalized stripped of all furniture and Heisenberg written on the wall. After surveying the damage he retreats to the bedroom and gathers the ricin poison he had hidden behind an outlet earlier in the season- but what is he planning to do with it? The opening ends with a bit of a funny line as Walt simply says hello to a neighbor that is quite obviously terrified to see him.

Rewind now to the moment that ended the first half of Season 5 as Hank emerges from the bathroom now with the knowledge of Walt’s alter ego. From there everything appears to be on a swift collision course as Hank’s rage prompts him to leave the house claiming he’s sick before having an anxiety attack behind the wheel and returning home to quickly get to work building proof of his new theory about Walt. Given the shows slow building nature one might assume it would be a few episodes before we get the payoff of these developments where Walt and Hank square off- don’t be so certain.

Before that though obviously there’s other characters to check in on. Sol panics when Jesse approaches him looking as beat down as ever with a plan to donate his money to Mike’s granddaughter and the family of a child that was killed after crossing paths with the meth makers. I still can’t get a read on what exactly Skylar’s ultimate endgame is, but she at least appears to possibly be coming to terms with Walt in spite of her prior disapproval. Lydia makes an appearance- pleading with Walt to get the operation back on its feet, but to no avail. Then of course I come back to Jesse- a character I love and have bleak visions of his fate. Suffice to say based on his demeanor in this episode he even has little hope he’s going to have a happy ending.

After trying to divvy out his $5 million in cash Sol tells Walt on him and Walt ends up on Jesse’s doorstep with the bags of cash. After previously talking down to Jesse about not letting him have the cash- it being “blood money” and all- Walt now tells his partner in crime that he earned the money and should keep it. I was beyond excited when Jesse announces that he’s connected the dots and pretty much knows that Walt killed Mike since Mike had not returned to exact furious vengeance on Walt for having all of his men systematically executed in prison. In pure Walt fashion he denies any involvement and I had a heartbreaking moment that Jesse might actually believe him, but the scene concludes with a look of despair in Jesse’s eyes that conveys to me that there is no way that he believes a word coming out of Walt’s mouth- and with good reason, given Walt has been playing him like a fiddle from the beginning of the show.

The scene that stands out beyond a doubt is the one that closes the episode out. After Walt has a moment of realization that Hank may be on to him he finds a tracker on his car, nailing down the fact that Hank is indeed on to him. So Walt takes it upon himself to pay Hank a visit and it seems to go harmlessly enough as Walt tries to feel out Hank’s reaction to him being there and then as he’s about to leave, pulls the band-aid off completely by pulling the tracker out and asking Hank why he would place it on his car.

The following ten seconds of TV is beyond tense, but the moment Hank presses the button to close the garage door and every second that passes as the garage door hums shut is why this show is one of the best on TV. I was filled with dread, but also just thrilled with what was about to transpire. I had no idea if Hank was just go yell and scream his accusations or full on attack Walt- to my delight it was both. Hank unleashes his rage upon Walt as he accuses him of being Heisenberg and refreshing Walt’s memory of all the horrible things he’s been responsible for. Walt half heartedly denies the accusations and eventually tells Hank that his cancer has returned (something we learned earlier in the episode) and that even if his theory was right, he expects to be dead before he would ever see the inside of a jail cell. Dean Norris performs masterfully next to Cranston in that scene as he is equally filled with rage and even a little weakness as he is taken aback a bit when Walt begins to take a threatening tone on him. The scene ends with a perfect Breaking Bad/Heisenbergian line as Walt tells Hank to “tread lightly.”

If there was ever a doubt that Walt was going to take center stage as a complete monster and the shows central villain in the last season, that doubt is gone now. The weak blubbering fool Walt was at the start of his crimes has been replaced by a greedy, power hungry and cocky drug kingpin that has taken to telling his brother-in-law who also happens to be DEA that he better back off or face the consequences. At the beginning of the show it would have been an empty promise, but since then we’ve seen Walt let a woman choke to death, poison a child, bomb a nursing home, dissolve people in acid, orchestrate a mass murder within a prison, manipulate everyone around him to bend to his will and slither out of many sticky situations- so it’s not a stretch that he would end the life of his brother-in-law to ensure his own survival.

Moving forward I have my theories as to where the show could go, but the validity is suspect to begin with and hinge entirely on just how dark show runner Vince Giiligan is willing to go. The show has always had a hint of humor to accompany the darkness, but to tie up all the loose ends in the show I have a feeling things are going to get dark and stay dark. So rather than spout my theories on what will happen I want to say what I wish will happen as we plow forward to the end of the show.

The biggest thing for me is that in Jesse’s current state I see someone at the end of his rope, backed into a corner and nothing to live for. He doesn’t want his money, Mike is dead, his friends want nothing more than to sit around and pitch scripts for Star Trek and his mind is focused on all the people that have died because he decided to cook meth with Walter White. I want nothing more than for him to discover the truth of what happened to Jane, about Walt poisoning the son of his girlfriend at the time and of course that Walt indeed killed Mike. Then if/when that happens I want him to ignite the shitstorm that comes down on Walt maybe even be the one that brings him to his ultimate end. The main thing being I want Jesse to live, but I don’t have high expectations for that happening.

Given all the death and ruined lives Walt has left in his wake as he accumulates his drug money the show has no hope for a happy ending. If Walt dies the great, he deserves it, but the show still ends in death and lives still ruined because of him. Any end that includes Jesse’s death will leave me with a pit in my stomach. I suppose anything is possible, but as we come to the end all I know aside from my wish of Jesse’s well-being is I do not want the cancer to be Walt’s end- and given the “Remember My Name” tagline for this half of the season, I believe the character will settle for no less than a theatrical demise.

Episode 4: TV Happy Hour

Here we go- another switch up for my newest post. Given my increasingly sporadic TV viewing I will just try to focus on talking about anything I have watched since the last post rather than reflecting on entire past seasons, unless as required by talking about the end of a season or series in general. I will still be picking out a show no longer running, the most noticeable change will be more focused discussions on specific episodes of a show (hopefully) and the lack of committing to a show I will be watching for the next post specifically. Feedback is always appreciated if you’ve got an idea of what you’d like to see in these post or even shows I should check out.

Previously on TV Happy Hour…

The last time you joined me I expressed my intention of checking out Season 1 of American Horror Story. Well I kept my promise- kind of- as I was able to get myself to sit and watch at least the first four episodes. It’s not that I don’t like the show for why it’s taking me so long to get it out of the way, just that there’s only so much time in the day to fit in any movies I’m trying to catch up on rather on DVD or in theaters.

American Horror Story is undoubtedly unique and I must admit I am very excited to check out the rest of the season. I dig the way each episode starts with a new chapter in the history of the house, though my favorite character added to the mix is easily Zachary Quinto’s character just in terms of the comedy that comes from it, but also because I just dig Quinto as an actor. I’m sure I’m going to have more to say on the show at some point once I finish up rest of the season so I will cut this short and save up the majority of my opinions for that post. To give my vague opinion though, I really am digging the vibe of American Horror Story, it looks great, is actually pretty creepy and also quite bizzare. Can’t wait to see where it goes.

And now your regularly scheduled programming…

The Walking Dead – Since I started Crummy TV I marathoned Season 2 of The Walking Dead with Season 3 rapidly approaching. Unfortunately, since I don’t watch a ton of TV I don’t get AMC, HBO or just about any paid cable station with the best shows on TV, but I have friends that do. Therefore, due to the kindness of friends I am able to now talk about the first 3 episodes of The Walking Dead Season 3. I will get right to the point as well- I already LOVE this season so far. The first episode does not mess around, silencing every naysayer that claimed the show does not feature enough action or zombie violence. The gore comes in spades in Episode 1, which also features on of the coolest practical effects moment of the show in a zombie in riot control gear at the prison that gets his helmet removed and all the skin on its face comes right along with it- an absolute applause inducing moment.

Episode 2 slows things down just a little bit to introduce some new characters within the prison and deal with some drama within the group as they come to terms with their situation in the prison. This episode also features my favorite Rick Grimes moment of the show to date that I not only didn’t see coming, but made me love his character more than I ever thought I would- granted what he does also has moral implications that you can argue up and down about which I will say right now, I would have probably done the same thing in his situation. The episode itself ends in a much calmer fashion than the previous episode.

Episode 3 abandons the main groups storyline altogether in favor of getting back to Andrea (Spoiler: who was split from the group at the end of Season 2) and Michonne as they are stumbled upon by a group of suvivors, one of which is an old friend that the group searched for in Season 1. The new group of survivors are taken to a settlement they have created surrouned by a large fence guarded heavily and life on the inside runs as though they are not in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. The community is run by a man only known as The Governor who appears to have more than a few skeletons in his closet by the end of the episode.

All three episodes were great and I think it bodes well for the entirety of the season. I like the actor that’s playing The Governor, I like direction they are taking with Rick’s character and most of all the zombie action has already eclipsed everything in the majority of Season 2. I can’t wait to see how it all pans out.

American Dad – I am not even going to talk about any season inparticular, but for harmless quickly consumed entertainment I get a kick out of American Dad. Much in the same vein as Family Guy this is a series that I can just turn on in the background and do whatever I’ve got to do without paying much attention and laughing at while doing so. It is also very much hit and miss as is Family Guy since it too came from the mind of Seth MacFarlane and uses a lot of the same pop culture put downs, but also gets in plenty of political jabs whenever it can. Sadly I have very little to say about the show outside of the fact that the alien, Roger, pretty much makes the show next to Stan Smith himself. A great way to waste some time on a slow weeknight or weekend afternoon if there’s nothing else on TV or no movie you feel like watching.

Episode 3: TV Happy Hour

Okay after only two full posts I’m already feeling the effects of TV overload with the amount of episodes I have been cramming in on a daily/weekly basis and still staying on top my movie reviews. I fully expect things will slow down here soon especially since Breaking Bad is on a year break and a lot of the shows I’ve been talking about will be in new seasons and therefore I won’t have to cram half a season into my brain in just a few days.

Previously on TV Happy Hour…

When I last left you I pointed you on the direction of a British TV show currently on Netflix Watch Instant called The Inbetweeners. The show follows four high school kids that spend almost all their time talking about or actively trying to get laid and the constant misadventures of doing so. I have to admit that within the first few minutes starting the series I questioned if I would be able to finish it due to the thick accents. I held on though and finished both seasons playing on Netflix and enjoyed them both quite a bit.

The first season held my attention a little more than the second, mostly because it had the most episodes that made me stop and watch for an extended period of time while I was trying to get things done around the house. I hate to admit it, but at times a lot of my TV time is interrupted by adult obligations and attempts at being a functioning adult and husband. The shows I’m already committed to get time set aside for me to sit and watch because of how in to them I am while some of the shows lying on the fringe get only moments of my attention to grab me or be watched out of the corner of my eye or listened to when out of sight.

I have to say though that The Inbetweeners is actually quite funny, but at the same time it’s not as engaging or interesting as many of the dramas on TV so essentially this is a show that’s easy to just turn on and have in the background, but also entertain if you actually sit to watch it. I would definitely recommend anyone looking for an easily digestible comedy to check it out, but it is also a show meant for adults so don’t sit and watch this with your adolescent children or anything.

Past

The Ren & Stimpy Show – So far in the “Past” segment of my posts I’ve explored my favorite show of all time and a potential favorite cut down in its prime. This time I wanted to reach down and pull something I remember from my much younger days that was more on my level in those years- that show is The Ren & Stimpy Show. This cartoon remains one of my favorites during its run as no only a show I could easily wrap my brain around, but one that looking back, really wasn’t that appropriate for most young audiences.

Immediately when I decided this is what I wanted to talk about the memories started rushing back to me- the days of the Happy Happy Joy Joy song, Powdered Toast Man, the Log commercial, “Don’t Wizz on the Electric Fence” and so much more. Of course we have the main characters Ren and Stimpy- Ren being the angry abusive chihuahua and Stimpy his movably stupid cat sidekick and their many misadventures. I always found the show very funny and overall just fun to watch always having that little voice saying there’s something very peculiar about this compared to everything else that was on Nickelodeon at the time. Even more so now, if you compared this show to what’s on TV today for kids people probabaly would have been outraged at the crude nature of the show. I mean come on when the show focuses on the grotesque features of characters in close ups, characters constantly shoving other characters into their but cheeks before flying, a board game about peeing on an electric fence and most often of all the main character constantly berating the other about how stupid they are and proceeding to slap the shit out of them- it’s not the high point for messages you want to send to children.

A while back I attempted to watch the DVD’s that I bought of the show and remember it not connecting quite as much with me at an older age, so it’s possible this was a show tailor made for the younger brains of my generation and my nostalgia for it wasn’t enough to get that same enjoyment out of it. Some might even remember the Adult Cartoon they brought to TV around 2004-2005 on TNT I think, where they awkwardly pushed Ren & Stimpy as though they were in a homosexual relationship and even more crude humor inserted into the proceedings. It was short lived and for good reason, because as much as I loved it as a kid and even though I may not have had the same appreciation for it today, I think what they tried doing with the TNT show was stepping a bit over the edge since they were already characters rooted in a kids TV show that they turned into nothing more than an inappropriate and insulting joke.

Present

2 Broke Girls – I try very hard not to get into the arguments of why shows are popular even if they aren’t critical darlings and 2 Broke Girls to me embodies the type of show that critics would despise. I say that as someone that is about to stand on both sides of the fence as far as if this show is good or bad. First things first- the show follows two New York waitresses, one accustomed to being low on cash and one a heiress that’s newly poor and struggling with her new life. The show is the continuing shenanigans of the two teaming together to get a cupcake business off the ground and bring themselves to their own fame and fortune.

Kat Dennigns and Beth Behrs are the two stars and for the most part they sell the show well enough as capable performers that bring their own flair to their roles. The same can be said for the supporting cast, aside from the lone Asian character who is stereotypically annoying with the way his part is written. Actually, almost every minority character is written in the most generic stereotypical ways aside from the Russian cook, Oleg (Jonathan Kite) who might be my favorite side character on the show.

The ups and downs on the show fall entirely on the writing that at times can be fun and genuinely funny and generic to the point of being juvenile at others. It’s when the jokes are extremely lazy and childish that mark the lowest if lows when characters dialogue exchange is almost literally, “You’re a butthead,” followed immediately by the next character saying, “No, YOU’RE a butthead.” Naturally though I improvised with my own generic dialogue for my example the sentiment is the same as the jokes can be just as bad as that. I do however enjoy the pushing of the envelope as far as the sex related humor goes since on more than one occasion the characters explicitly refer to male bodily fluids excreted through the act of sex at SEVERAL points during the show- it may fly over the heads of a younger audience but more mature viewers will not be able to deny the riske nature of the jokes.

Overall, the show is tailered for easy consumption and less demanding viewers, which I will admit I am on certain days. 2 Broke Girls (Season 1) to me was harmless entertainment that can easily kill time in an afternoon if you’re lookin for some light laughs with an adult edge.

The League – While on the subject of more adult themed shows, The League seems to be a perfect followup to 2 Broke Girls- and the better follow up for male audiences. I fully believe that The League CAN be enjoyed by women (my wife also gets a kick out of it), but this is a show centered on more male influenced interests such as football and sex with women in general- both are things I’m perfectly aware are not reserved for men alone. The show follows a group of guys, many of which are played by comedians that have their own Fantasy Football League that compete against each other for bragging rights and for a coveted trophy that they refer to as The Sheeva. Throughout the course of the football season they go through a series of misadventures while busting each other’s balls through their day to day lives.

Season 1 spans through characters issues with divorce, recovery of a sex tape, trying to scare a child from liking their favorite fictional character, a wife withholding sex and much more all the while there are big laughs that come from the situations themselves and the improve jokes that each of the characters spew around every corner.

I am only a few episodes into Season 2, but the show hasn’t missed a single stride. There’s more characters, it’s already crazier than the last season and I already love the direction and dynamic of all the changes. I really look forward to finishing this season up and talking more about it on the next post.

The Big Bang Theory – I want to talk briefly about the “nerdiest” show on TV. I feel similarly about The Big Bang Theory as I do about 2 Broke Girls- I don’t find the writing to be consistent, but both manage to find genuine moments of comedy. I have no firm thoughts on the overall quality of the show since at this point I only catch the same narrow view of episodes in sindication so I’m constantly seeing the same episodes over and over.

Of the shows main characters the only two that I like regularly are Sheldon and Penny the two opposite sides of nerd spectrum. Sheldon’s robotic personality and Penny’s reactions to her nerdy neighbors often provide me with some decent chuckles when I get home from work and just need to decompress a bit. Overall though at this point I can’t even for a second call this classic entertainment and is something that I find a bit grating after sitting through a few episodes in a row.

Future

American Horror Story – For the next Episode of Crummy TV I am going to try and work through as much of Season 1 of American Horror Story as I can- which will hopefully be the whole season. I will say that as of writing this I have at least tried watching the first episode, but due to my work schedule and being a bit burned out in general I zoned out through the majority of it. So it goes without saying that I will be sitting down to start it over and give the show my full undivided attention.

What I deducted from what I watched is that a family moves into a house that has a pretty messed up history. The family itself has a lot of issues with the mom having a miscarriage, the father’s infidelity and many uncomfortable sex related issues, suicide implications and on top of everything else some malevolent spirits that look to cause even more havoc. Don’t judge me for not having a well conceived synopsis, I haven’t read a whole lot about the actual plot to the series and have forgotten almost every bit of info I’ve heard people say about it. I promise to have a more coherent synopsis for my next post. So for now enjoy catching up on anything I’ve mentioned and I hope you’ll come back for the convo on American Horror Story and any other show I bring to the table!

Stay Tuned!

Episode 2: TV Happy Hour

Almost immediately following the posting of Episode 1 of TV Happy Hour I already had a slew of updates to get started on for the Episode 2. I will be getting into it shortly, but I started and finished the first season of Wilfred, witnessed the mid-season finale of Breaking Bad, finally caught up with the entirety of Community Season 2 and went out in search of a TV show that I had previously missed and now want to check out. With the abundance of TV on every single day I have plenty to pick from but for Episode 2 I have decided to go with a British TV comedy that you can check out at the end of this post.

Since this is only the second incarnation of the newly formed TV Happy Hour I would like to reiterate my current format while also warning that it could change at any time. What I decided on initially is discussing a show from any point in my past that no longer airs new episodes and relive the ups or downs of that show. From there I will go through all of the shows that I currently watch and doing so as spoiler free as possible (if I end up spoiling something there will be adequate warning). Lastly, I highlight a show that I have not yet watched and add it to my consciousness in order to update on the next Episode of Crummy TV about rather or not I will continue to watch it. So, we already have a shakeup that for now will serve as the format for subsequent Episodes where I will talk about the new show I decided to check out, followed by the discussion on a show from my past, on to updates on currently running shows that I watch and ending on the new show that I haven’t seen that I will check out for the next Episode. With that out of the way, on with Episode 2!

Previously on TV Happy Hour…

When I last updated I made the decision to start watching the FX Comedy, Wilfred. As fans know, this show follows a former lawyer, Ryan (Elijah Wood), who in a depressed state attempts and fails at committing suicide. Afterward he encounters his neighbor’s dog, Wilfred (Jason Gann), that appears to him as a man in a dog suit that speaks, drinks and smokes weed with him, but everyone else sees and treats him like a plain old dog. Wilfred and Ryan embark on a series of ridiculous pranks and small adventures from standing up to a porn addicted neighborhood psycho, a peanut butter soaked dog rapist and a particularly funny escape involving a fender bender and a stuffed giraffe.

I have to say that while I do plan on checking out the next season of Wilfred, I didn’t find myself compelled to watch several episodes of this in a row. The show is made watchable based on Jason Gann as Wilfred who is often laugh out loud hilarious when delivering actual jokes and by acting out the perceived thought process of a dog. I couldn’t help but be charmed over by Wilfred when he’s dumbfounded by a laser pointer or the fact that he can’t help but constantly hump stuffed teddy bear- in several different positions no less. Elijah Wood on the other hand is okay, I can’t say he is the draw to the show because the secret weapon is Gann, but Wood does have a few moments to shine here and there. I got a lot of chuckles from side characters like Chris Klein as the over excited jock and boyfriend of Wood’s neighbor, but I think the two funniest guest spots came from Ed Helms as a dog watcher that creepily loves to spread peanut butter on his genitals for Wilfred to clean off and Jane Kaczmarek as the woman Ryan gets in a fender bender with and Wilfred insists that he hit on and have sex with her in order to avoid paying for the damage.

So, my final impression for Wilfred is that I think it is a show worth sitting down and checking out and has plenty of laugh out loud moments, but is not as memorable as I’d hoped and wouldn’t be something I’d revisit on a regular basis. I will give Season 2 a chance at some point, but not as enthusiastically as with most shows I find enjoyable.

Past

Pushing Daisies – I often find it depressing when I’m able to find a show that I love right from the first episode only to realize there’s a finite number of episodes. In the case of Pushing Daisies that number was ever present when I knew there were only two seasons and with each one that I watched that brought me closer to the end I grew angry that the show had such a short lifespan. On premise alone this show sold me as it follows a boy that early in his life discovers that he has the ability to bring dead things back to life. However, to add to the interesting nature of the show there are stipulations to his power where if he touches the person or thing he just brought to life again it dies once again, but permanently. It doesn’t stop there though because once Ned, the main character, brings the dead back to life and does not touch them again then something else within the vicinity of the dead thing he brought to life drops dead. The premise opens up tons of great humor and darkness to the very quirky tone of the show which also makes it so much fun to watch.

The set up outside of the central conflict that Ned has to deal with is great as well as Ned is the proprietor of a popular pie shop in which he uses dead fruit for his pies that as soon as he touches them they are then fresh and delicious thus making phenomenal pies. Beyond that he also befriended a private investigator that takes advantage of Ned’s gift by having him bring a murder victim back to life for 60 seconds in order to interrogate them about the circumstances of their death so he can then collect money from his clients that they split between one another. Within the first couple episodes Ned also finds a lost love from his childhood that he brings to life and can’t bring himself to kill again, but as their relationship grows he has to avoid touching her again for fear of losing her forever. Add all of that together plus plenty of other side plots this show has great replay value and in my personal opinion even though it’s a show cut down too early you’d be doing yourself a favor to still check it out.

Present

The Walking Dead – Of the most recent shows I’ve caught up with The Walking Dead is one that I literally just finished. I crammed Season 2 of this series into just a couple days watching it nonstop when I wasn’t at work and my wife was off being a responsible adult. I wouldn’t have done such a thing if I didn’t enjoy it and to honest I really do love this show- in such a way that it really confuses me when I hear some people hating on it with every fiber of their being.

As a fan of horror I feel lucky to have something so massive in scope on TV and with such a phenomenal look, not to mention how gruesome and visceral it can be in its darkest moments. Sure a lot of the drama feels a bit tacked on and I can’t imagine having some of the conversations that some of the characters have in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, but at the same time I’m not currently in a zombie apocalypse so who am I to say what I would and would not do.

Some of the characters here do get on my nerves, Andrea and Laurie in particular- though neither appear to have much to contribute to the proceedings but stir the pot and gets the guys all worked up. T-Dog at this point felt to have been forgotten in the script and the writers realized too late so they just told him to show up and get in a few lines whenever he felt the moment was right. I loved Shane’s character far more this season because I felt the show needed that little push toward conflict outside of zombies and the plausibility of him losing his mind, becoming jealous of Rick were immensely entertaining and frightening. All in all I can’t wait for Season 3 and I am hoping to be able to stay up to date on it instead of waiting for DVD and having a nightly cram session of episodes.

Dexter – When I last updated I was in the midst of watching Season 6 and I’m here this time to inform you all that I finished Season 6- did I like it? The short answer is, yeah I guess I kind of did. I will say that this season has been the weakest, which makes me nervous because I had similar sentiments about Season 5 so I’m really hoping the trend does not hold steady on Season 7- thought I’ve seen the trailer and I think it looks great.

I loved the buildup of the season and the concept of a Doomsday Killer, but it’s the execution that dropped the ball. The casting of Collin Hanks was easily the worst casting decision of the series- I find Hanks to be a subpar actor and as a killer he has the intimidation tendency of a newborn puppy except not as adorable. I loved the return of Dexter’s brother in his visions not to mention an episode in which Dexter travels to Nebraska- though I still don’t know why everyone in the entertainment industry assumes EVERYONE in the Midwest talks like a southern hick. Of the beat moments in the season I would put the ending as one of the best in the series, though it’s an ending I think should have been explored in an earlier season. On the other hand I HATED the direction the writers were trying to take with Deb’s relationship with Dexter. As a whole the season is worth a watch, but is easily the weakest of the bunch.

Community – Over the course of Season 3 of Community I remember being cold on the first few episodes until the multiple timeline episode reeled me back in and then things got busy and I had trouble tuning in on a weekly basis. Then of course the drama about NBC putting the season on hold, starting rumors that it would be cancelled and then eventually they brought it back and the season concluded with some of the strongest episodes in the series history including my personal favorite, the 8-bit videogame episode.

Once the season was over the rumors were still circulating about its cancellation especially after news came out of Season 4 being shortened to 12/13 episodes and moving its time to Friday nights. The rumors intensified and show runner Dan Harmon was relieved of his duties as the show runner. I lament the possibility that the new season could be losing what makes this show so special in spite of the fact that Season 3 is not short on episodes I probably won’t watch ever again. When the show is clicking it was really something special and as a whole Season 3 has some incredible episodes and remains one of my favorite shows on TV. I really hope the new showrunners can capture what made Harmon’s vision so unique.

Breaking Bad – The time has come- the year long wait to the concluding season of Breaking Bad is upon us and it is going to be a long year. I disagree pretty strongly with a lot of the nitpicking I’ve heard about the season so far and how characters have been behaving and really believe that this season has been far more riveting than the first half of the shows previous seasons. In my personal opinion the buildup so far, while accelerated due to where they were leading to during the midseason finale has been fantastic. We are so used to slow brooding buildups that take place barely over a few days that the sudden jump months ahead of time may seem sudden and jarring, but at the same time I find it necessary and a refreshing change of pace.

Breaking Bad has been one of the best shows on TV for a while and sometimes it borders on excess when it comes to how slow the buildups in previous seasons can be and considering this is to be the last season, a lot of ground needs to be covered if we are going to have a satisfying conclusion and closure on the series as a whole. I won’t spoil it, but I LOVE the cliffhanger at the end of the midseason finale as it’s something fans I’m sure have been waiting to see happen and the moments leading up to it were tense and then the sudden realization before cut to black was fantastic. Now I need to be pointed in the direction of a time machine to fast forward a year or someone needs to find me an easy time killer to get me through this break.

Future

The Inbetweeners – My choice for the next Episode of Crummy TV is a show that comes to us from across the pond. The British TV show The Inbetweeners is a comedy about a group of high school students that spend the majority of their time talking about and trying to get laid. Nothing over complicated about this and given my current brain overload of TV shows that’s exactly what I need.

The Inbetweeners has two seasons on Netflix Watch Instant and a movie that hit limited theaters not long ago. So of you want to play along for the next installment get on and check this out and feel free to share your thoughts with me as well.

Stay tuned!

Episode 1: TV Happy Hour

Ever since I’ve started sharing my movie reviews/opinions here on Tall Glass of Film I’ve never really made time talk about my interest in TV. Granted, there’s a perfectly legitimate reason as to why I don’t get around to watching a lot of TV as loyally as most. As most get to know me they might start to notice just how spacey I can be- by that of course I mean that not only do I tend to forget certain things almost as quick as they were told to me, but I often have trouble keeping track of things I’m interested in unless I have a physical reminder of them. This provides issues for me because I hate keeping track of several different schedules and my memory itself is already stretched to its near maximum capacity at times. That being said, I do have items in place to remind myself of movies I missed in theaters DVD releases so I can check them out at some point, unless of course I’m super busy in which case some get brushed off the list depending on how bad I wanted to see it. I also have several other personal reminders I have to keep track of in order to keep myself on top of things on a day to day basis. Naturally, TV shows are on the back burner for me for the most part and unless I’m overly intrigued I tend to be very skeptical about adding a new TV show to my “watch list.” Episodes is now a new feature I will be trying out where I will share thoughts on TV shows I’ve loved in the past, TV shows I currently love and updates about shows I’m currently watching rather I like them or not.

This edition might be lengthier than any in the future as I will attempt to get people up to speed on current shows still running and having new seasons as well as going through naming some of my favorite shows I’ve seen to this point that are not on TV anymore. From here on out, unless I decide on how I want to format these posts for now I plan on at least picking a show from my past to speak about and reminisce- until the well runs dry- then talk updates, if any, of shows I currently watch on a regular basis and ending on a show I am watching for the first time.

As a tease I will hint toward some of the shows from my past I intend on touching upon in future editions that include shows such as Seinfeld, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Heroes, Doug, Rocko’s Modern Life, Ren & Stimpy, Oz, Tales from the Crypt, Friends, Perversions of Science, Solute Your Shorts, Hey Dude, Pushing Daisies and many more. Some of the shows you will see on a regular basis that are currently on TV or may be in their last season that I have not seen include shows like, Community, Dexter, Desperate Housewives (don’t judge just yet), One Tree Hill (again don’t judge just yet), Breaking Bad, Family Guy, American Dad, Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, Game of Thrones and many more. Lastly here are some shows that I haven’t been able to watch just yet that I plan on giving a chance at some point such as The Killing, American Horror Story, Wilfred, Mad Men and more will be added, but I’m starting small as I plan to only check out one new show at a time. So let’s go ahead and get started.

-Past-

Seinfeld – Seinfeld is a show that was first aired before I was even 10 years old. I am not super conscious about the when exactly it was that I watched the first episode, I just remember that growing up it was on ALL the time in reruns and of course first runs until its last season. Since then as I grew older and even nowadays you can barely change the channel without seeing it on somewhere. Over that time it has seeped deep into my consciousness and become what I will go ahead and call my favorite series of all time. I tend to quote it on a daily basis without even thinking about it and referenced whenever anything in my day to day life happens to be even remotely similar to something that happened on the show. The sarcastic, sometimes mean spirited humor is something that also found its way into my own personality at times, but really the goofiness of the characters is also what makes the show as approachable and memorable as it is for me. I can’t tell you how often I’ve shouted, “No soup for you” at friends and family in situations where no one is anywhere near soup and gotten skeptical looks. My wife also tends to roll her eyes as how easy it is for me to flip in discs and watch them on loop, make reference to situations in the show in public and quote as often as I do- but even she has begun to soak up the content as she finds herself quoting the show to me at random moments. Only time will tell if a show can come along and shove George, Jerry, Elaine and Kramer out of the way for the top spot in my heart.

-Present-

Family Guy – I remember catching the premiere of Family Guy back in the day after the Super Bowl and being instantly in love with it. The show from that time period to its current incarnation still has many of the same intentions, but the lengths at which the writing has gone to get the laugh or shock is much different. If you go back and watch the first seasons before it was dumped the humor almost feels restrained and light hearted where now everything seems to be much more mean spirited and harsh than it used to be. Family Guy now compared to before is still funny and I will continue to check it out, but at this point it’s a show that I think I’m ready to be over since each season is mostly good for one or two extremely memorable episodes and the rest seems to be treading water and milking every last dime it can from its popularity.

Dexter – I didn’t have a clue what Dexter even was until its third season was airing. I loved the premise so I bought seasons one and two sight unseen and I loved it so much I burned through those seasons in just a few days. I know a lot of people like to debate on the quality of each season and to be sure there are plenty of points to do so, but for me I enjoy every second in this world. Don’t get me wrong, every season since season 3 I crave something drastically new to happen and when the structure fails to switch things up that much there is an air of disappointment in me, but in the end I still don’t care because the twists always work for me and I am fully invested in Dexter as a character. This first edition of Crummy Television is just an introduction so until I get caught up on Season 6 as Season 7 gets set to air I will refrain from spoilers in favor of just introducing my love for the show in general. Some of the supporting characters are kind of weak, but John Lithgow stands out as one of my favorite actors to appear in a recurring role for a season as the drama of that season really hooked me in and left me devastated. As I’m writing this I am halfway through Season 6, which so far isn’t the best the show has had to offer but I’m still enjoying as much of it as I can.

Community – One TV show that has fans extremely devoted to its survival and one that is seemingly on the ropes going into its fourth season is Community. The first three seasons are currently on DVD (I am currently working through what I didn’t see of Season 3) and are over 20 episodes each- the fourth season was announced to be cut down to 12, but depending on its ratings after the movie to Friday’s at 7:30 p.m. more episodes are not out of the question. My sincere hope is that more people give this series a chance even if the brainchild behind it, Dan Harmon, is no longer the show runner as it is immensely creative and hilarious and a gold mine for people who love movie references. I again got hooked late on this one and often found myself busy on the nights it aired and I really hope the show lives on for seasons to come. I personally love the holiday episodes as they are often the pinnacle of humor and creativity, although Season 3 introduces a brilliant alternate timeline episode as well as an extraordinary 8-bit videogame episode that may be one of my favorites of the whole series. The show has experimented in so many ways with music, themed episodes, claymation as well as anime and if you have been holding out then I strongly suggest jumping on board as you may just discover your new favorite show and might even be able to save it from cancellation.

Breaking Bad – The running theme here is that some of my favorite currently running shows are often ones I discovered and caught up to after several seasons had already aired and had been released on DVD. I tried on more than one occasion to get into Breaking Bad on Netflix before I ever had access to Watch Instant and got through the first few episodes and then lost touch. I tried again on Netflix Watch Instant and it took me a few months to get all the way through the first two seasons. Once I powered through and got into Season 3 I was hooked and now I can’t wait to check it out on a week by week basis. This is the only show currently running that I am up to date with and not waiting for a DVD release date in order to catch up. I do believe that this is at least tied if not pulling passed Dexter as my favorite show on TV, not just because of my love of the characters, but also in terms of the quality from season to season. The only reason it took me so long to get into it was based purely on the volume of movies and TV I had been trying to touch base with. Rest assured I will remain hooked until the bitter end of the series year.

Mad Men – Here’s another show that I’m having difficulty getting into in spite of the great things I hear about it. I definitely enjoy a lot of things about it, Jon Hamm to be specific, but there’s a lot here that also tends to direct me away from the show. I actually bought the first three seasons without seeing them, mostly because I got them so cheap, but once I’ve got the time and all my other favorite shows on either finished or on hiatus I look forward to seeing whatever extra seasons are on Netflix Watch Instant or I may have to pawn a friend to loan out later seasons for me to watch.

Game of Thrones – I initially wanted to check this show out solely for how much praise it gets from a lot of sources I trust. I also do not get HBO, again because I watch far more movies than I do TV, however I have the means to check it out on demand and on DVD. As I write this I am 7 episodes into the first season and I actually like this show quite a bit, although I’m not yet blown away by anything in particular. I loved the opening scene of the series with the “white walkers” attacking the men in the woods, but I’ve yet to see anything that matches my dread and excitement of that moment- I think this comes from how that scene plays to a huge horror fan like me. I really love Peter Dinklage’s character and I look forward to any scene he’s in and everyone else puts in great performances as well. I usually have a hard time digesting medieval settings unless I’m completely enthralled or engaged by the tone in things such as BLACK DEATH and the fact that I’ve made it 7 episodes in should say something. It is a very overwhelming show to take in at times due to the vast amount of characters and mythology being sifted through- definitely something that would be easier consumed by those familiar with the books I’m guessing.

The Walking Dead – Not a whole lot to say except that I really enjoyed the first season of The Walking Dead- granted it was only 6 episodes. I have yet to catch up on Season 2, but it’s high up on my to do list and I have the season set in my possession so you can expect the next update to have a little more to say about the show. I will say that it seemed a lot of people were bummed about the lack of non-stop zombie action and heavy drama- I on the other hand enjoy the fact that the show doesn’t have the characters in danger at all times at least in terms of being bombarded by zombies 24/7. The danger is always there and ready to explode at any minute, but I love the realism of actual human drama and doing what it takes to survive. Don’t get me wrong I’m not looking to The Walking Dead for my doses of true life experiences I just like the approach to the situation as portrayed on the show. That being said, I heard similar complaints about Season 2 which doesn’t sway me from checking it out, but at some point I believe the show runner(s) will need to add a little something to the mix to keep hardcore horror nerds on board, but as long as they keep things interesting I won’t be jumping ship.

-Future-

Wilfred – I was directed to Wilfred due to some friends and family that seemed to really enjoy the show and I have to admit that the idea of a show about a guy that interacts with a dog that appears to him as a grown man in a dog suit, but everyone else sees and interacts with as a normal dog to be pretty strange but funny. As I’m writing this I’m only a couple episodes in and there has been several moments that made me laugh out loud. I’m not the world’s biggest Elijah Wood fan, but stay tuned for my next update and we will see if this will be added to my regular viewing titles.