The Week in Television

Kings

I just started watching this show, which Tristan turned me on to. At first, I didn’t want to watch it because I wasn’t really sure what it was about, and I didn’t really want to add another show to the very long list of stuff I am watching on a regular basis. And then I heard it was on the bubble and pretty much going to be canceled, which made me not want to watch it because I didn’t want to get hooked. But…I started…and I love it.

I think that Kings is up there with Terminator for being one of the best things on television. It is incredibly complex and intelligent, with characters I can really get into, and yeah, the premise is a little confusing and tough to follow at times, but there’s so much being unfolded in every episode. Everyone should be watching this show, because we need more smart television in the world, and I think that a lot of you would really like it. (Especially fellow fans of Jericho.)

And, like every other show I start watching and loving, it is in dire straits. NBC has banished it to Sunday nights, hardly the best slot, and they don’t seem to be investing much in promotion, which makes me think that they have no intention of renewal. But this is a show which could really grip people if it was given a chance at life. I think it’s an illustration of the huge divide between cable and broadcast, because this show reminds me a lot of The Sopranos, a show that was hugely popular, extremely complex, and very demanding. And it went on to become a cult favourite, which I could totally see happening with Kings if it ever got off the ground.

House

Fox has some sort of strange deal going on which means that episodes of House stream a week late, so I didn’t get to see last week’s episode until Tuesday. This proved to be very annoying, because the key event of the episode was, naturally, a topic of major discussion pretty much everywhere, so I got thoroughly spoiled and it wasn’t much of a surprise. (Likewise with the key event in this week’s House, which I now also know about thanks to the fact that it was blabbed everywhere.)

Anyhow, Kutner’s suicide makes absolutely no sense until you realize that Kal Penn took a job with the Obama Administration, and it was a good way to take the character out of the show. Look. I get that actors leave, and take new opportunities, and I think Penn’s new job is pretty awesome and great. But when the producers/writers take such a cheapie way of getting rid of the character…it bugs me.

It was totally out of character for Kutner, and it made no sense. I hear people saying that this is what made it work,but, let’s face it, the producers never would have done it if he hadn’t been leaving. I am all for killing off characters in creative and interesting ways, and pushing the boundaries, but this was a simple case of needing to get an actor off the screen, and not really caring about how it was done.

I did enjoy seeing the character explorations, with House searching for a reason and becoming hyperaggressive, 13 defending herself against the suggestion that they might be at fault, Taub dealing with it by pretending to be a tough guy. And I do think that Penn’s departure allowed us to see some things we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. As someone who has been very close to several suicide victims, I also appreciated the fact that the scene was played fairly tastefully, and it was relatively non-triggering. But it wasn’t right for the character, nor was it right for the show.

Numb3rs

I didn’t get a chance to watch “Animal Rites,” the 10 April episode of Numb3rs, until the middle of the week, so technically it’s last week in television, but I’m talking about it this week, because I think it bears some discussion.

Basically, this episode really pissed me off. The story revolved around a fringe animal rights group entering a lab to free the animals, and accidentally killing a researcher. As the episode progresses, it is revealed that one of the activists has schizophrenia, and the episode culminates in a hostage situation in the lab with two additional researchers.

The entire episode was really denigrating towards animal rights activists, vegans, and vegetarians, and it felt like the script was written by total experimentation apologists. Only at the end of the episode does one of the characters deign to acknowledge that there are some tricky ethical issues going on, but it’s framed in the context of him pursuing a woman, not genuinely coming up with these questions on his own.

I am totally opposed to animal experimentation in all forms. I have some very sound scientific and ethical reasons for my opposition. I didn’t see any of these issues addressed or brought up in this episode. Instead, the story was framed in a way which was obviously intended to make viewers think that animal rights activists are all crazed and psychotic with no respect for human life, and little capacity for rational thought. And yeah, there are animal rights activists like that. But there are also people like that, and I am sick and tired of the way that animal rights is treated on television.

Bones

Woo hoo, double episode week! Actually,  I don’t have that much to say about Bones, except for “woah, they are ramping up the sexual tension between B&B, big time.” Oh, and they made a factual mistake in “Mayhem on a Cross” when they assumed that because the body hadn’t been embalmed, it hadn’t been buried in a cemetery. Embalming is not required for burial, and people do have the right to refuse it. I’m kind of surprised that they got that wrong, but I guess it speaks to the corporatization of funeral culture in this country, that people would just assume you can’t be buried without being embalmed.

Dollhouse

No Dollhouse this week, alas! But I haven’t been Whedon-deprived, because I’m watching some pertinent Angel episodes to get ready for my next installment of the Joss Whedon/feminism series. You know, it’s weird, but Angel really was overall a weaker show (see: the whole Connor plotline. And Jasmine.) until the fifth season, when it started to rock. “Smile Time,” “Life of the Party,” “The Girl in Question,” and “The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco” are all totally awesome episodes. You know how it goes, you put the disc in with the intent of watching “A Hole in the World” and you just get sucked in…

2 Replies to “The Week in Television”

  1. Nope, it just wasn’t scheduled to air last week; I think it’s because Fox was relaunching Prison Break? All of Dollhouse is definitely going to air, no matter what, according to Fox.

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