2022 minus 12: tv thoughts…

Posted: 20 December 2021 in 2022 minus, television
Tags: ,

A couple more ‘odds and sods’ about tv today, provoked by a couple of things… And no, neither are about the latest covid news/cabinet meeting/potential lockdown. Anything I wrote would be out of date five minutes after I hit ‘post’, so I’ll save any thoughts on those for another day.

Years ago, I tweeted something like “I’ve just discovered CSI! Why did no one tell me how good it is? Oh, you all told me… and I ignored you? Ah, ok then…

Well, it’s not quite that bad but I’ve rediscovered two shows that recently ended and I’m on a rewatch of them both, having watched a few episodes live when they were on and not – at the time – enjoying them that much. So I stopped.

Now, usually, when I stop watching something, I’m unlikely to go back to it, and on the rare occasions I do… I tend to find my original judgment was right: it’s not for me.

(Game of Thrones is the obvious example here. Didn’t enjoy it first time around; gave up after about six episodes. Was persuaded to try it again. Didn’t enjoy it second time around, lasted to the end of the first season. Was persuaded a few years later to try it one more time. Made it to half way through season two in a week… took a break, and never went back.)

Two points to make here:

First: me saying I’m not enjoying something is not the same as me saying I actively disliked it. I recorded Memories: The Origins of Alien the other night to watch last night. I’d heard good things about the documentary and have always liked both the movie and the stories about making it.

Hmm. I switched off after 20 minutes and deleted the recording; no, it didn’t ruin my memories of the movie, nor make me actively dislike anything in it. It… bored me. The makers of the documentary had taken what should have been a fascinating tale of where Cameron had gleaned so many nascent ideas and how he pulled them together, taking a bit from here, a bit from there, into a superbly scary, very clever, story. Instead, the story was pedestrian, the clips chosen were boring, the narration was monotonous and the basic premise was… lacking. I was… bored. I’m sure some people got something out of it, but it wasn’t for me.

The other point is quicker to make: I’ll just point you to Budgie’s Law of Popular Television: y = x + 2 and leave it there.

Elementary
So, the first of the two shows: Elementary.

I’m not sure why I didn’t enjoy it first time around. I didn’t have any actual problems with it, other than not liking any of the characters. I’m not a Holmes purist at all, and it’s possible, I guess, that with Sherlock (which I thoroughly enjoyed) on at the same time, I just made a ‘pick one’ choice and chose the BBC. I hope not, but hey ho, it’s possible.

But anyway, I was channel flipping, and noticed they were showing the final season of Elementary on telly. I tuned in out of mere curiosity: would the show – which had undoubtedly changed since the first episodes, because tv shows do – interest me?

I wasn’t worried about the show’s continuity; I was pretty sure I’d pick up on most of it from the context presented and, indeed, I did. It wasn’t that difficult; US shows tend to explain stuff fairly regularly for newer viewers, without boring existing watchers. In fact, US drama often seems to apply Stan Lee’s comment about keeping readers informed as to a comic’s continuity (‘every comic book in a series is someone’s first’) to tv. It’s a good practice, if done with skill and respect.

And… what do you know? I thoroughly enjoyed the episode I watched. And the next one. And the one after that. So I watched the whole of the final season, very much liking what I saw…

…and then clicked on Amazon Prime after the run had ended, discovered the first six seasons were available and proceeded to watch it from the start.

There were still the things I hadn’t overly enjoyed but time had passed, I didn’t now have anything contemporary to compare it to… and I gave it a chance. And before the end of the first episode, I knew I wanted to see more of it. I wanted to know more about all three of the main characters, and wasn’t sure I liked any of them, but I still wanted to know more.

As I continued to watch through the first season, something happened: I started to like the (now four) main characters, and started to spot the things the writers wanted me to see, and yet still be surprised on occasion, at least once every couple of episodes, by… something. Then of course they introduced Moriarty and I was torn between ‘huh?’ and ‘oh, you clever bastards’.

So I watched the entire run… right up until the end of the sixth season. I’ll go back and rewatch the seventh in a while, when I’ve forgotten enough from it, and when I know I’ll enjoy the return of characters I shouldn’t have seen in years but in fact saw a couple of months ago.

So, yeah, that’s one.

Criminal Minds

This is a weird one, because I remember watching the first three seasons before ducking out but watching it again now, I genuinely have no memory of watching any of it at all. There are no scenes I remember, no baddies I recall. I’d even forgotten that Penelope Garcia (the wonderful Kirsten Vangness) only appeared briefly in each episode in the first season.

I can guess why I stepped away back then, though. While I like police procedurals, I don’t like horror, as a genre. And I suspect that, at the time, I felt that Criminal Minds was an attempt to do a horror procedural. And not the fun type like Supernatural or others of that ilk, but a darker, genuinely scary, procedural, where everyone’s damaged in one way or another. Both those committing bad deeds, and those attempting to find them.

I’ve always kind of regretted dropping out of the show, though, because I like the actors (both Mandy Patinkin and Joe Mantegna are cleverly intense actors) and the plots are anything but workaday. Moreover, the show clearly, and cleverly, demonstrates the cost of doing the job, in mental and physical health. It’s not… a small cost.

Also, I quite like that these are colleagues, not friends; they’re people who work together who probably wouldn’t associate with each other if it wasn’t for work. (At the start, anyway)

So I gave the show another try when I discovered that, like Elementary, it’s available on Amazon Prime.

I’m less convinced by it than I was by Elementary; I’m not yet convinced I’ll stick with the show for the full run before taking a break; I mean, there are fifteen seasons and over 300 episodes. But I’m heading towards the end of the first season… and I’m enjoying one or two episodes a night. I’m actually enjoying watching a show I didn’t enjoy that much before. Fancy that.

So for everyone who told me to watch both Elementary and Criminal Minds… to give them another try: I’m tryin’, ok? I’m tryin’…

 

See you tomorrow, with… something else.

 

 

Sixty-one days. Sixty-one posts. One 2022 now rapidly approaching.


I’ve signed up to ko-fi.com, so if you fancy throwing me a couple of quid every so often, to keep me in a caffeine-fuelled typing mood, feel free. I’m on https://ko-fi.com/budgiehypoth

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to the new year. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here.

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