Thursday, October 13, 2011

Test Pattern #9

Breaking Bad (Season 4) - Season 4 has only solidified Breaking Bad's position as the best show on air. Walt and Jesse are locking horns again, but both afraid of Gus and the power he has over their lives. Hank is recovering from his injuries, but still able to get dangerously close to discovering the meth lab and producer. Skylar is actually pretty down with helping out with money-laundering; a welcome change from her bitchy persona of the last season. I really think this might be the best season yet. It started off with so much great tension, to the point that I was worried that it wouldn't be able to maintain that emotional height throughout the season. Basically, I was wrong...some episodes might be quieter, but it all pays off with the finale. I can't wait for next season already.

Louie (Season 2) - I don't really like stand-up, but something about Louie CK and all of his self-depreciation works for me. I enjoyed Season 1, but I think this past season was even better, and darker. Louie seems to be addressing topics that affect many working in the comedy business (aging with Joan Crawford, joke stealing with Dane Cook, selling out, etc). However, some of the highlight episodes center around surprising laughing because you are uncomfortable moments (the decapitation and the bum bath scored by classical music come to mind). Also, anything with his daughters is pretty much amazing...ONE DUCKLING!

Skins (UK) (Seasons 1-3) - I've been pretty vocal about my love of teenage drama in the past, so it was really only a matter of time before I would succumb to the lure of Skins. The first two season follow a group of 17 year-olds in Bristol. The center of the group is popular Tony. There are some virgins who need to get laid, a romance with a teacher, eating disorders, a love triangle, a stalker, a pregnancy, a death, excess drinking, and fucked up family lives all around. It's really only one step removed from a traditional soap opera, and takes some pretty ridiculous turns, but by the end of the second season, I couldn't help but feel emotional about Jal and Sid and all of their futures. Apparently Skins changes casts every two seasons to introduce a new group of friends. I'm only halfway through the "second generation" that centers around Tony's younger sister Effy. Effy is pretty, but far less charismatic than Tony. Also, this group of friends seems more unlikely than the first group and the main drama focuses on two boys fighting for Effy's affection. In addition, you have girls exploring their sexuality, twin rivalry, Asperger's, growing up sheltered with a super religious mother, a new immigrant from Congo, excessive fucking in nearly every permutation, etc.

Sopranos (Season 2-6) - It's a great show. I cried when several people died, and with the exception of one, I had seen all of those characters commit really awful crimes on-screen. It's powerful how much you get sucked into this world, and Tony's convoluted sense of how life should be lived. Edie Falco as Carmella and Michael Imperioli as Christopher are the main highlights in all of the series. Carmella can be a materialistic bitch, but she has so much inner turmoil that she is probably the most sympathetic. Christopher starts off as the go-to guy for offing enemies, but he morphs into something much more than a cold-blooded killer. The ending was frustrating for me, as I'm sure it was for most people watching it, but I appreciate that this show often defies convention both in story and format.

True Blood (Season 4) - While I would still never recommend this show to anyone, Season 4 was a serious step up from the last couple seasons. The new "supernatural" introduced this time around was all the witches, and I found them easier to go along with than maenads and even the werewolves (all though they are still around, and better in limited doses). Bill and Eric's rivalry over Sookie finally comes to an apex, and then gets really weird. Jessica and Hoyt finally split up, and Sam's brother is thankfully out of the picture. I was glad to see less Tara and more Pam. Whatever happened to that Werepanther storyline? Anyway, it's also possible that this show isn't really getting better, but rather that I am getting used to its bizarro twists and introductions.