The world is a wonderful place, especially in terms of television these days. I’ve never watched so many shows, and they’ve never been so…. well… good. I no longer have to rely on crappy TV. It’s amazing.
Not that I don’t watch any crappy TV.
Nobody really took my advice from last season. Nathan Fillion still only plays one role on Castle. Foreman is still alive on House (and they got rid of Thirteen when I was FINALLY coming around to liking her). And I am THIS close to quitting Glee. I honestly don’t know why I watch it when there’s so much better stuff on.
Right now I am loving American Horror Story, which is hands-down the most bizarre television show ever and yet I adore every minute of it. And I’m not kidding about the bizarre part. I don’t think they follow any rules, there’s no continuity and things just happen cuz… well… they do. Twin Peaks watches this show and thinks, “Why didn’t I think of that?” (Although let’s give Twin Peaks its due for the backwards-talking little person. That was messed up.) If Jessica Lange doesn’t leave this season with an Emmy, something is so wrong with the world. The woman is EPIC. It’s some old school Joan-Crawford-style scenery chewing going on and I love it.
It’s also amazing to me that good shows are becoming popular. When did this start happening? 30Rock is still on the air!
Another example is The Good Wife, which I’ve watched devotedly since it first came on the air. There are lots of lawyer shows. And, well, I’m a lawyer, so I tend to be pretty picky. But this is my favorite. It’s not that it’s any more accurate. Their trials still happen within a week or so of arrest. Discovery rules seem awfully weird. What saves it is that they find cases that are INTERESTING and unusual. Little quirks of law. Civil. Criminal. International. Political. They manage to cover a variety of angles. And they get some stuff really right when it comes to working with judges and opposing counsel.
While I am not a fan of their new “sexy” marketing, I absolutely love their casting. They have the best guest stars around (or at least, they tie with American Horror Story, which isn’t too shabby either). Because law can be a small world, they cycle in some of the same judges and lawyers. Michael J. Fox plays an is-he-a-jerk-or-isn’t-he lawyer who uses his disability to get maximum pity from juries. Mamie Gummer works her ditzy-girl act like a charm to get judges wrapped around her finger until she unleashes some seriously amazing cross. And there is, of course, the fabulous Martha Plimpton who is about as cold-blooded and fierce as they come, even when massively pregnant. Oh, and adding Alan Cumming as a series regular was an excellent decision. I loved the episode with Parker Posey as his ex-wife.
I recently read an article that claimed The Good Wife needed to lose the cases and stick to the drama. Which means they don’t get this show at all. The mix of procedure and story is done so well and they’re able to draw out some impressively long storylines. It keeps a lot of suspense going throughout the season.
Oh, and did I mention it also has Christine Baranski? And the guy who played Knox Overstreet in Dead Poets Society who will always be Knox Overstreet to me no matter what other roles he plays?
But enough dishing about The Good Wife, which I am thankful to everyone out there for watching so it stays on the air.
Because I have a job for all of you. You need to watch Prime Suspect and you need to watch it now.
Am I a sucker for cop shows just like I’m a sucker for lawyer shows (and doctor shows)? Yes. But I will happily quit the bad ones and keep the good ones. And, plain and simple, Prime Suspect is THE best cop show on TV. The best by so far that it’s laughable.
I was skeptical. I was super skeptical. I’ve seen several of the BBC’s Prime Suspect runs with Helen Mirren. And Maria Bello seemed too pretty and cool for it.
But they’ve done a great job of keeping the basics but letting the show adapt on its own. Maria Bello’s Jane Timoney is lovably prickly and kind of a mess. She wears weird clothes. She doesn’t wear makeup. And she’s still dealing with the backlash from sleeping with one of her superiors. Her co-workers don’t really like her, and she doesn’t do herself any favors by regularly being standoffish and mean.
And yet she’s awesome. I love her. I love her individuality.
The show is more than Timoney, of course. The actors are all really good. The cops on the team are developing a dynamic where they are friendly and competitive and harsh and it works. The plots don’t have to be crazy or twisty. Sometimes the killer is the most obvious suspect. (Since when did you see that happen on a cop show recently?) The fun is watching the cops go through the process.
The show is wry and funny and I am pretty much always in the mood for it.
And it is DYING, you guys. It’s dying a slow death and there’s no word yet if NBC is going to keep it around. So go watch it. There are a bunch of episodes online and they are great. And I bet you will come around on Maria Bello and love her as much as I do.
What shows are you loving lately? What do you want everybody to get on board with? And how shall we all pass the time until Mad Men comes back next year???