Friday, January 21, 2011

Episodes, Shameless, and Being Human

Showtime has two new series that just began.  The first one is 'Episodes.'  This show is about a British couple who wrote/created a hit TV show in England.  A TV executive in the US buys the show for adaptation in the States--and the key word here is 'adaptation.'  The couple comes 'over the pond' and settles in LA to adapt their show to American tastes--and find that NOTHING goes their way.  The first thing to go awry is their lead actor--an overweight, older gentleman.  They find the lead of the show being taken over by actor Matt LeBlanc--much to their dismay.  And things go downhill from there.

So far, I'm okay with this show.  BUT, time will tell.  I don't know if I can handle all of the duplicity of the Hollywood types--EVERY word out of their mouths is a lie.  While I am cynical enough to believe this is the way things are handled in LaLaLand, I can't stand people like this and won't allow them in my own life, so why would I watch them as 'entertainment?'  Matt LeBlanc isn't a bad actor--I'm pleasantly surprised by his ability to change his character from one scene to another.  At one point, he is caring, pleasant, sweet, and nice and in the following scene he is crass, vitriolic, and downright mean.  He has more range than I ever thought.  He definitely isn't playing 'Joey' and I like the fact that he isn't the focus of every scene--not to say things won't change, but I hope not.  As I said, time will tell whether I will stay with this show.


The second new show on Showtime is 'Shameless.'  I can't even describe this show.  On one hand, I'm loving it--and a lot has to do with the fact that I really like William H Macy as an actor--and on the other, I'm really disappointed.  My disappointment comes from what  I see as the writers saying, "We are writing this for a pay channel, so we can put in as much vulgar language, sex, and nudity as we want--so let's go WAY over the top and see what we can get away with!"  My sticking with this show completely depends on whether I can handle the sex/nudity and language.  Other than that, this show is like a train wreck:  You just can't look away!

Basically, this show is about a family that lives in Chicago.  The father is a drug-addicted alcoholic who gets his money from a bogus disability claim.  The mother is AWOL and the six kids are raising themselves, while they drink and smoke cigarettes and weed.  Add some off-the-wall neighbors, a boyfriend for the oldest daughter, and various other characters, and you have 'Shameless.'  And it is quite compelling in many ways--you just want to know what the hell is going to happen next.

Case in point for 'what is going to happen next':  The father wakes up (in the 2nd episode) in Canada, with no recollection of how he got there.  He winds up in jail and Macy gives one of the funniest monologues I have heard in a long, long time.  And here is his rant against Canada:

"How the hell did I end up in Canada?  I hate f---ing Canada!  I'm an pie, lower 48, Air Supply!"
 And a couple of minutes later:
 "Why would I want to come to Canada?  So your national health care can make me wait 60 years for a new kidney?  Whole country's a bunch of parka-wearing, draft-dodging, chickenshit cowards who didn't have the balls to stay home and fight the Vietcong and to preserve our American way of life.  No snow at the Winter Olympics?  What the hell was THAT?  It's the WINTER OLYMPICS!  What are you doing?  Holding your c----, handing out maple leaf sugarloafs?  You couldn't even get the Olympic torch to f---ing light right!"

And if this didn't come across as funny as it actually was, I apologize--but it was a great, great moment.  :D

I will be watching this again before I make my final decision on whether I continue.  But I have the feeling this WILL be a big hit for Showtime and will be on for quite a few years.


The third show that I have watched recently is 'Being Human,' which is on Syfy.  This show revolves around three 20-somethings--a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost.  They share a house and are determined to try and be as normal as possible.

With a whole lot of the world crazy about 'Twilight,' and a lot of writers/producers/etc jumping on the bandwagon and doing way too many of the same books/shows/movies, 'Being Human' could be dismissed as just 'another one of those' shows.  However, I have the feeling this one will be different.  I liked the first show and think things will just get better from here.  And from all of the traffic on Twitter about this show, I think Syfy has a hit.


meleah rebeccah said...

I absolutely LOVE 'Shameless.' Yeah, they are pushing the envelope, but, it's because they can!

I have NOT watched Episodes YET - but I plan on checking it out as well as Being Human.

cmk said...

I'm hoping that both Episodes and Being Human continue to be shows I want to watch. And, as I said, I don't know if I CAN top watching Shameless.