a fair and balanced birdthing (raaven) wrote,
a fair and balanced birdthing

For many years of my life, I chose to have no television. Now I have one (two, in point of fact), but refuse to pay for cable...there's more than enough interesting stuff broadcast...if I had more choices I'd probably watch non-stop. My tivo makes it easier to watch all the weird pbs stuff i find on at odd hours…and keeps me from missing my favorite shows when I'm being inattentive.

That said, tv is a major avenue of escapism for me, and I take my escapism very seriously. Some particularly lucky individuals have seen me doing such entertaining things as hurling stuff at the screen when I'm annoyed. Fortunately, aside from amused comments to me, they all seem to keep it to themselves.

My record list is, in order of prominence: Andromeda,
Dark Angel,
Mutant X,
and X-men Evolution)...plus, a whole host of other goodies (and for those of you with cable, I highly recommend Samurai Jack on the Cartoon Network).

This season has been a bad one for my favorite shows. Roswell will likely be ending altogether (petition here), as will X-files (and just when it was starting to get good again, damn!) and Andromeda has been having MAJOR problems. You see, they fired both the writer who originated the series (Robert Hewitt Wolfe) and one of the other top executive writers (Ethlie Ann Vare). As we slide into the last episodes of the season, the quality of the show is seriously reflecting the changeover.

Andromeda started off wonderfully well. The first season was shockingly good for a new show…hell, for any show. The unofficial season 2 preview (which you can probably still find floating around out there on the internet somewhere, and is worth the search) had me jittering in my shoes for the new season to start. There have been some damn good season 2 eps, though I'm hard-put at the moment to name one that impressed me as much as last season did. I participate minimally in the fan community, and so am aware but not unduly influenced by the various staff changes, etc. Soon after the departure of RHW, a number of fairly major changes were introduced. A lot of foofooraw ensued in fan circles…but I took the "wait & see" approach to the whole thing. I mean, chances are that the head writer had a lot to do with why the show was so great, but maybe the rest of the team would do even better without him, you just never know till you watch. I was even kind of liking some of the changes of the "grown-up" New Trance.

I have watched. And now I know. The past several episodes have been…subtly lacking. Or in some cases, not so subtly. I've been mildly disappointed, not quite satisfied. But in this week's episode, In Heaven Now Are Three, I am not merely disappointed, but flatly disgusted.

IHNAT has managed to take the worst-possible-scenario approach to the writing of each character. What if Dylan stopped being wise & a tactical whiz, and instead became a macho egomaniac with no sense? What if Becca stopped being sharp & witty kick-ass captain & instead became a (stereo-)'typical' girl; simpering, helpless, mushy and airheaded – in short, my personal nightmare of feminity? What if Trance became, not enigmatic, intriguing and complex, but instead was a completely haphazard morass of equally shallow shifting identities? Tyr Anasazi's character has blossomed, over the episodes, into an incredibly intricate blend of arrogance, strength, intelligence, and the need to belong. Let's take that all away and instead make him banal, wisecracking & incurious. I'd like to think it takes an art, of sorts, to do all this…but I strongly suspect that it was unintentional, and that in fact, the producers of this episode have no concept what they've done. More details on the heinosity (yeah, I'm a WWF fan too, what of it??) of this episode can be found here, but suffice it to say that Andromeda is seriously in danger, not only of losing it's top place in my recording priority, but of losing it's place at all. And yeah, I'm pissed off about it.

Okay, and speaking of Andromeda, this bit of satire is brilliantly hillarious…albeit probably not nearly as funny if you're not really familiar with the show…and Dungeons & Dragons.

On a more positive note, ya gotta love Joss Whedon & the whole Buffy/Angel writing crew. Angel this week was mind-boggling, which brings me to a mini-blurb on the nature of:

Bad Stuff On TV

There are about a zillion definitions of Bad Stuff on TV. There's the something's-not-quite-right-but-you-just-can't-put-your-finger-on-it itchiness; the 'no, he didn't just say that' bad; the 'this is not the show I was watching before, these are not the characters I've grown to love' variety (which Andromeda this week fell deeply into); and there's the pit-of-the-stomach, gasping, 'this is the worst thing to ever happen in the universe' bad (which requires writing of the most skilled & brilliant sort, and which both Angel & Buffy displayed beautifully this week).

So, Angel. ::shakes head to focus::

The events of Angel this week are the sort that will repercuss throughout the lives of all the characters, and all future episodes. I'll not spoil it for anyone here (more because I'm still at a loss for words, than any other reason), but suffice it to say that things in the Angel-verse will never be the same again. Wrenching story, and amazing performances from all.

And Buffy,(spoiler warning)...talk about things never being the same...(spoiler warning).

The image of the groom leaving the bride at the altar is one fairly common in our culture...but rarely does one see what happens after the event. With Xander & crew, we'll have to slog through it, just like in real life. Well, almost...most RL brides presumably don't have the option of becoming (returning, in this case) a vengeance demon to sooth the pain. I'll be very interested to see if Anya takes the bait, or realizes who must have set the scenario up & gets appropriately pissed.

Or both.
Tags: cultcha, tv
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