Sun, 14 Feb 2010

I noticed, in recent ponderings, that there are a few shows where I've seen all of the first season, and then none of the rest. Here's the lowdown on what, and perhaps why.

Dawson's Creek
I was watching this with housemates at the time. It was pretty slow, and full of characters that I didn't really care for. I related a little to Joey - poorer family, harder times, travelling long distances to have a social life - but even so, the characters seemed like TV drama idiots with little depth.
Survivors (modern)
The thing with British dramas is that we tend to go for short runs full of plot. This can be a blessing, especially if it turns out to be dire (Bonekickers, I hear, falls neatly into this category). When I first heard about Survivors, I thought a great many things, such as "please be better than Last Train" and "this has potential". What I though after I'd seen the first season is "these characters could use more character and less useless" and "this season could have done with more plot". I noticed recently that a second season is airing, about halfway through at the moment. I feel no urge to catch up. I am reliably informed that the original series is more compelling, so I may have to go and seek this out instead.
Roswell High
A great premise here, the potential to really examine the intricacies of supposed family bonds, overcoming differences in relationships, and the effect of weird, otherworldliness on the mundane. What actually happened was that the aliens' powers hardly ever mattered, the on-again off-again relationships were tiresome and the mysterious destiny of the characters was revealed, as usual, at a snail's pace. I caught a couple of the later episodes where the mysterious destiny was revealed, and I'm not sorry that I failed to wade through the rest of it to get there.
OK, confession, I didn't really watch the whole of the first season. I missed a couple of bits out. As far as I can tell, though, I didn't miss anything important. This is probably because, in Lost, very little actually happens, and there's too little consistent view of the characters for me to find anyone to really relate to, understand or sympathise with. I suspect this is one of those shows that's better to talk about than to actually watch.
Earth: Final Conflict
This one had so much potential, and of all of these series, is the one where I'm still a little intrigued to see beyond the first season. There was ample commentary on the impact of the Companions' arrival on society, on political wranglings and secrets, and on the effect of knowing just enough to be dangerous. While there's no one character I related to here, I felt that I understood them all (one of the many things that made Babylon 5 great) and that none of them were being excessively stupid to support a lazy plot. Probably it was just scheduling that made it difficult to see the later material.
Oh boy, here's a big can of worms. The gradual reveal strikes again. There was an obvious shadowy organisation, which was pretty comical as such organisations go, and a hint of another shadowy organisation that its mysterious leader was working against. There was a time-travel plot and a precognition plot, both of which seemed to be deliberately spread out so that it's difficult to see if there's any inconsistency. The characters were pretty much universally idiots, too. When one gets awesome powers, one needs to practice with them. The only character who I felt a connection with, who truly seemed to be at the mercy of her "powers", was Niki - and even then, she did some stupid things regarding finding out about her past. Even the motif of the eclipse juxtaposing with the emergence of accelerated mutations felt weak. At least in the X-Men films they tried to include wide-scale social commentary from the start, exploring a little of the public reaction right from the start. Maybe there was just too much going on in Heroes for any one redeeming part of the plot to shine through enough to intrigue me.
The West Wing
So, on to another one that I might catch up with yet. See, I really enjoyed Sports Night, another Aaron Sorkin show with a similar structure. The same pace of dialogue showed up in West Wing, which was pretty cool. I ended up borrowing a box-set to catch up with the whole season. What tipped it for me, though, is that once I'd got to the end and reached the cliffhanger... I realised I didn't really care who did it or what the consequence was. I'd been watching more for the writing style than the plot or the characters. Admittedly, they did cover some interesting issues in interesting ways, and that's pretty powerful stuff, and maybe that's what will eventually draw me back into it.

Coming soon, later or perhaps never: shows I watched all the way through despite myself, shows that could be redone far better, shows where I've only managed to catch a handful of episodes and perhaps some shows that just need that extra season to round them out.