When I began watching The Knick, Steven Soderbergh’s prestige drama about The Knickerbocker Hospital in 1900’s New York City, I thought it would be the last show that I would be writing about, let alone thinking about on a daily basis. The show was dry, save for the litres of blood and guts spilled during the show’s obligatory operating room scenes (it’s not for the squeamish); the characters were cliché, save the one character, Algernon Edwards, that the audience was bound to love from the start because of his “underdoggedness”; the show was in almost all respects, aside from its beautiful look, cinematography and terrific score (the best on television) boring and bruising, a chore to get through. The Knick is positioned as a traditional hospital drama and it feels like a lot of other hospital dramas, at least early on. But then something strange happened. In episode 4, “Where’s the Dignity”, the show left me transfixed. For all of its “prestige”, for all of the moments that strived to say, “this is IMPORTANT” and “don’t I look beautiful?”, I was able to get a read on what the show was actually about. The Knick – at its bloody beating heart – is a show about the way move forward. It’s about revolution.
For the past few seasons my wife and I have been subjecting ourselves to Hell on Wheels, an AMC drama about trains (or something) set in the post-Civil War midwestern US. Why we would do this to ourselves is difficult to explain, other than the fact that it is quite literally a slow train wreck and we can’t turn away. I’ve also really enjoyed telling my friends about all the ridiculous things that have happened, and continue to happen, on this show. Continue reading
In my vast Canadian cable package, I get excited about the new content that comes in: 5 TSN’s, 3 Much Music’s are all vigorously consumed when they sign-on and then get relegated to a rare viewing. But one old warhorse has piqued my interest as of late, mainly for just one show. Vision TV is one of the originals of “specialty channels”, right up there with YTV and the old Shopping Channel that would just show still pictures rather than video. Mainly it’s the religions channel, not just Christian televangelists – although that is the bulk of their weekend offerings. It’s now run by TV guru Moses Znaimer and is geared towards geezers rather than churchies. “Zoomers” as they call it – baby boomers with “zip”. No moxie allowed. If you have spunk go elsewhere. You have to have zip. It’s now a mix of old British shows, movies, a strange talk show hosted by Conrad Black, and the very nub of my gist: Columbo! It used to be on weekly but now I’ve discovered it almost daily. Even though they are not making new ones – it’s one of the best shows on TV. Stephen Fry said so. So if you want to argue anything artsy or fartsy with him – you have more moxie and spunk than even the zippiest of zoomers.
This week on the roundtable, we continue our TV Secret Santa. Jane gifted Kerri the show In Treatment Continue reading
Here’s a recap, from the other week’s roundtable, as to the reasoning why Kerri made this choice:
This week on the roundtable, we start our first round of TV Secret Santa. Katie had Jane and gave her Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Continue reading
This week, and for a number of the weeks to follow, we will be doing Summer Television Secret Santa. We each “randomly” chose a name and were given the job of gifting a television show to that person. This week we will be discussing the person we drew, the show we chose for them and why. In the coming weeks we will be pairing down our roundtable to two and interviewing our Secret Santa about the show they were gifted (or forced) to watch. The rules state that you may watch as much or as little of the show as you like and that the gift giver must have seen at least a portion of the show as well.
In my Giller award-winning previous post, I went on various tangents and stumbled upon one that drew the consternation of the Twitter-verse and blogosphere. I lamented the unoriginal thought about the lack of basic competence amongst the TV dad. I talked about Carl Winslow of Family Matters fame being the last solid dad. I got some blowback, as others talked about other dads, which came from dramas and dramedies. So I went on a quest, I knew that they must be out there. A good half hour sitcom dad. Ty Burrell does not count. He sucks. I recently went on vacation, and amongst the whirlwind of activity (the ballad of Eddie Gilbert, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish inside a ball of wax) I visited my deadbeat brother. Rather than actually interact, my brother loaded up my computer with some content he thought I would like. This is always a gamble. I also think watching TV on computer is cheating. I don’t think Arrested Development should be nominated for Emmy’s. It’s a webisode. A big budget one, but its not TV, it’s a web show. Respect the box. Continue reading
I have devised a scientific method of predicting whether two actors on a sitcom will end up together. In the words of one of the all-time great TV lovers:
“If you have chemistry, you only need one other thing: timing. But timing’s a bitch.”
– Robin Scherbatsky, How I Met Your Mother
As much as I love television for the way it often allows you know shows intimately and characters inside and out, as I discussed a few weeks ago, I’ve also been known to become obsessed with the television oddity. Shows that are too strange, too complicated, too expensive or too under-loved to last. These shows are on the air for a season or maybe, if they’re lucky, two and live on via DVD or Netflix or YouTube. And they also live on in memory where they often turn into something more special, more exciting, more daring than they ever were to begin with. This happened to me with My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks, which I’ve talked about ad nauseam, in those early days before I could re-watch them on VHS or DVD. It happened more recently with the incredibly strange, indelible and wholly unique Magic City, which I can’t bring myself to re-watch yet, the death of the show too new and my memory of it, almost surely incorrectly, too glowing. Or, even Ebert Presents: At The Movies, a show that attempted and failed at bringing back duelling film critics to TV (although I loved it), and one that I was reminded of this past week when one of the reviewers, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, published an excellent and sad take on the demise of the show. But these shows, despite their one-hit wonder and cult status in the world of TV-lovers, are not true-blue oddities in the purest sense.