Thursday, December 5, 2013

Portlandia: Season One

                If you had ever told me that Fred Armisen could have held his own in a sketch comedy show, I would have disagreed with you based upon his roles on SNL and bit parts in other shows.   Along with the help of Carrie Brownstein and a bevy of guest stars, this show manages to become one of my favorites amongst the SNL alumni.  (Dare I say that I even like it better than “Parks and Rec”?)

                The first season consists of only six episodes, but what episodes they are.  The premise of the show is based around Portland, Oregon, which is a somewhat major city that is stuck in the 1990’s.   You know, the time of grunge and CDs. 

                This makes for a great amount of material, some of which is probably not that farfetched but some which is also not as true to life but that’s what great comedy is all about anyway.   Though it may sound trendy, this show does make me want to visit Portland. 

                The six episodes each have their own unique plot with little bits of fun mixed in.  I really feel like I want to write a review for each episode one day, but sadly, today is not that day.

                This show is just so clever and funny I don’t know how everyone isn’t watching it.  I mean, Portland, right?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bored to Death: Season 1

                When you put Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifinakis and Ted Danson in any show, you know you can count me in.   Heck, I’m willing to give a show a try just based on Jason Schwartzman being involved.

                Bored to Death does not disappoint on any level.   Struggling writer Jonathan Ames (Who helped create the show and is a real dude) has problems after his first book is published and so he puts an ad out on Craigslist as an unlicensed private detective. 

                With Ted Danson as his mentor, George, and Zach Galifinakis as his best friend, Ray, Jason Schwartzman engages in hijinks a plenty as Ames in this comedy that can get pretty vulgar but doesn’t have that much sexuality in it.

                It’s just a straight out funny show and not only what it was I expected it to be in terms of how funny it is, but it even exceeded that level a little bit.   I immediately watched Season Two after I finished this season.  

Come Fly With Me

                This short lived BBC comedy takes what reality shows like “Airline” are about and takes them to that next level.    Only six episodes in length (sadly) I was uncertain what to expect going into this, but after seeing it I now only want to watch it again to look for things I might have missed the first time around.

                The comedy in this show is best described as the “one step above what you’d expect”.   Essentially, they have a skit like where they ask a guy about his luggage, if he packed it himself, if there’s anything flammable in it, if he’s carrying anything for anyone else, etc., and when he seemingly answers all of the questions wrong he still gets to go ahead and board the plane.

                The majority of these characters are also portrayed by the same two actors, which just makes it that much better.  (Those Brits love to dress in drag)  As I re-watch these episodes, pretending that they have more than just one Series of six, I will most likely adding more insights and thoughts, but for now, just do yourself the favor of viewing this wonderful series.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Girls: Season One

                Maybe it’s because I subconsciously knew that this show won all sorts of awards, but I went into it expecting it to be a lot funnier.  I’m not trying to say that it isn’t funny, because it has its moments; it just isn’t as funny as I thought it was going to be.

                There is quite a bit of drama within this comedy, and I imagine it to be a sort of like a cruder version of “Sex and the City”, thought I’ve never watched that show so don’t take my word for it.

                I also read somewhere that this was supposed to be some sort of great insight into the female mind, but no matter how hard I try to rationalize with that notion I can’t help but feel this show is somewhat stereotypical.   Needless to say, I do not believe all women solve their problems by putting on pop music and dancing.

            This show is also very sex heavy.  It’s not necessarily a lot of nudity, per se, but it’s what the censors refer to as “sensual content”, which means people having sex with their clothes on.   This is one of the factors that make me not really like this show as much as I feel like I should.

            A lot of questions were left sort of unanswered at the end of the first season, and yes that has piqued my interest in the second season.   However, I am not going out of my way nor am I in any real hurry to see more episodes, which is a feeling I should probably have.  

Children’s Hospital: Season One

                This show is about ten minutes long, which includes all of the ridiculous recaps so it comes out as being something like four minutes of new content in each episode.    The first season is a whopping five episodes, so yes, you can finish it in about the same amount of time as it takes to watch a single episode of “House” or “Grey’s Anatomy”.   Only this doesn’t feel like forever when you watch it.

                Rob Corddry leads an all star cast in a hospital spoof because, well, the more I think about it the more I realize that there really are a lot of shows about hospitals for some reason.

                It’s funny in an odd way, a perfect fit for Adult Swim, and I guess I really did enjoy it after all because I’m ready to dive in to Season 2.

The League: Season One

                While this show has a fairly funny cast, it isn’t all that funny.   I found parts of it to be funny, but basing an entire show on the concept of fantasy sports is just silly to someone like me who has no interest in them.   Sure, this could be funny no matter what it was about, but isn’t that supposed to be the point?

                I remember watching this around the same time as “Workaholics” (and a lot of “It’s Always Sunny”) and afterward just thinking that I’d like to see more episodes of “Workaholics” but not this show.

                So even though this show wasn’t terrible, it’s not something I’m actively seeking out the second season for, nor would I watch the second season should the opportunity present itself somehow, so I guess that pretty much sums it up for me.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Orange is the New Black: Season 1

                The easiest and I believe to be the simplest way to describe Orange is the New Black is simply by saying that the people who made this show, simply took every element of every show you’ve ever liked (All of the good, none of the bad) and they put it all together to form this.

                OITNB follows main character Piper Chapman’s life in prison.   Once a normal, sort of spoiled rich girl from Connecticut, Chapman is named in a crime, confesses and feels as if she must do the time before she can move on with her life.

                The show goes back and forth between inside jail and outside jail, allowing it to not only flashback but show the things going on in her life that she is seemingly missing.   I’ve got to say it keeps the story going and also seems to reveal more than it really is. 

                From comedy to drama, suspense and just the idea of being in prison and getting caught up in the fish bowl, this show really does have it all. 

                For that, and other reasons, the concept of this show reminds me a lot of “Lost”.   It has that sort of quality where you will almost always be left on a cliffhanger, if not in the traditional sense then in a way which at least does make you want to watch the next episode immediately.

                I really honestly cannot wait for a Season 2.

                We end Season 1 with Piper beating the ever-loving crap out of her nemesis and this makes for an interesting Season 2 concept.    I really don’t like Jason Biggs and it might not just be his character on the show either.   I’d love to see Season 2 focus more on the crazy inside and less of the drama outside, but I have a feeling they’ll stick with the formula that has made this show so successful in the first season.

                People have compared this to “Oz”, which I’ve never seen, but really, how many other shows have taken place in jail?     

                I really loved every aspect of this show, with the characters you love and those you hate.  I wasn’t the biggest fan of “That 70’s Show” and thus never really cared for Laura Prepon following the series.   However, in this show she is simply brilliant.    If nothing else, this show will potentially start a hugely successful career for Laura Prepon.

                So what happens next?   Does Pornstache go away and we get another guard to deal with, or do we get to keep him somehow?   I think I’d feel robbed if we didn’t keep him next season, as he added a certain element of unintended humor. 

                Will new inmates enter the fray, giving Crazy Eyes a new romantic interest?   One can only hope, as I feel like Crazy Eyes was one of the better characters on this show.

                All I know is that I am eagerly awaiting a second season and Netflix may have just perfected television viewing.