Posted by Bob Greenberger on November 5, 2013
After reviewing the DC documentary Necessary Evil, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to villains of all stripes. It’s also been on my mind given my frustration with overly-long story arcs on some television series.
A good hero, we’re constantly told, is defined by the quality of his opponent. Also, we’re told, everyone thinks they’re the star of their own story. It’s when those stories come into conflict do we get an interesting tale.
Over at ComicMix, I wrote in my review for Bones season eight that I thought the threat of Christopher Pelant was being overplayed as he appeared too perfect, too prepared and too perfect. Somehow he managed to drain all of Hodgins’ wealth without any way for uber-tech Angela to trace or retrieve the money (and apparently FDIC insurance covered none of his wealth, leaving him broke,. A thread they’ve ignored). This season, Pelant’s actions have hovered over the opening episodes until recently when he took center stage eliciting groans from me and Deb. He was once more overly prepared and overly good at what he does until Booth finally killed him to save Bones’ life.
But, all along, he was a fairly boring character. Despite his genius, his motivations were murky until the final episode, and his stories may have been dramatic but they failed to engage the audience. Instead, they highlighted how tired the series was getting and that the plug should be pulled sooner than later.
Over on the fresher Person of Interest, the threat of Root, well played by Amy Acker, has been an interesting thread, in part because she’s a complex, interesting, and flawed personality. She’s made enough of an impression to be upgraded to series regular and after a slow start, she is being integrated into the overall storyline so that’s something to cheer. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by Bob Greenberger on December 22, 2012
After a day of chores around the house, I finally settled down to catch up with the world and was disappointed to see the news at Deadline that Leverage is canceled. The series completes it fun five season run on Christmas evening and thankfully producers John Rogers and Dean Devlin decided to hedge their bets and make the season finale the final episode they always wanted to make…just in case.
The ratings have been falling while the budget has tightened and while the show still has a loyal following; it just isn’t enough to sustain it.
The series about con men growing bored with crime and teaming up to do some good was a fresh premise when the show arrived. It had edgy characters, unpredictable situations and marks taken from the headlines so it felt relevant. Along the way, though, the show has also grown a little soft. The characters’ edges have been worn down and while they’re not downright cuddly, they’re certainly warmer and softer, towards one another and the people coming to them for help.
Just a week or two back, Deb noted that the show has definitely lost a step and I had to grudgingly agree. There was less of an element of risk involved and we’ve gotten to predict what the characters would do.
Still, it was one of my favorite series thanks to strong writing, top-notch direction and a very appealing cast. Best, they used a set of recurring, almost ensemble, players from Kari Matchett to Jeri Ryan to Mark A. Sheppard, given the show some depth and showcasing some good actors.
I will watch the show and take solace in the fact that three pals – Matt Forbeck, Greg Cox, and Keith DeCandido – will continue the Leverage action with their 2013 novels.
To the cast, crew, and producers: thanks, it was a wonderful run. What’re you all doing next?
Posted by Bob Greenberger on November 23, 2011
Since Deb and I switched to watching our entire television output via DVR (and less frequently via DVD), we tend to run days or even weeks behind the general viewing public. As a result, I am a little slower to form opinions, especially about the newer shows but we’re pretty caught up for the moment.
My first thought about the new season, which is now over two months old, is that it is particularly lackluster. There are several we’ve tried and like enough to stick with for now but have not fallen in love with as we have with older shows.
Right now, the best adult prime time drama remains The Good Wife while I continue to think Shonda Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy is the best structured show (notable for how it’s freshening things in its pivotal seventh season).
We were about to drop The Playboy Club before NBC beat us to it. Whatever lessons the producers thought they learned from Mad Men were clearly missed. Pan Am is suffering from the same creative shortcomings as the NBC dud and it’s no surprise ABC is yanking it for the spring. In both cases, they used tried and true tropes (crime and espionage respectively) to bolster a dearth of interesting characters. Pan Am has a fine sheen to its look and retains some of the legendary airline’s glamor, but none of the characters are really growing into strong figures. For a show about sexy women, Playboy thoroughly missed the mark with poor characterization and wretched writing. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by Bob Greenberger on November 15, 2011
I came home from summer camp one year back in the mid-1970s, and my parents said we now had something called HBO. First, I noticed the clear improved picture on the familiar channels but I was astonished to see uncut full-length movies on a single channel. Being a teen, I was particularly fond of the R-rated offerings I was otherwise unable to see. They explained that we now had what was called cable television and as chance had it, the company was based nearby.
In 1975, we had a fledgling in-house radio station WJER that saw us playing whatever we felt like and pump it into the cafeteria. Our leader, Brian Isaacson, was also dabbling with video production and we all collaborated on a thirty minute production which, he assured us, would be played by this new company, Cablevision. That was my introduction to the joys of public access cable television. We completed our venture and I was part of the group carrying the precious ¾” video tape to the Cablevision offices at the edge of our housing development.
I have only vague memories of what was on the tape or why we wound up speaking with the Dolans, the family that ran the operation. I do recall coming away with a negative impression of the Dolans, an opinion that has never wavered through the years.
After my family left for California, but I stayed behind to have my own life, I also became a Cablevision subscriber – not out of any loyalty, but because they were the only game in town. The same circumstances followed me and Deb as we relocated to Connecticut in 1992. So, Cablevision has been part of my life for pretty close to forty years.
We finally cut the cord this week. ATT’s Uverse finally had a mix of offerings and prices that made sense for us to make the switch. They must have been busy with similar cases because even though we made the decision months ago, Saturday was the first available appointment that worked for us. As promised, the technician arrived on schedule and stayed for the estimated four hours as we diligently switched our cable, phone, and internet connections to ATT. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »