Sunday, April 21, 2013

What I Am Watching: Person of Interest, Doctor Who, Sons of Anarchy

I admit, I actually only watched the premiere episode of Person of Interest and then dropped it. Not sure if I remember actually why, considering this could easily be my new The Equalizer.  Good Guy with a dark past works with skilled assistants and helps people in trouble.  This time the want ads are not helping out but a really nice computer software system is.  And considering how many times Kent has recommended the show (he's batman!!), I am somewhat chagrinned to say it was actually a recent single episode that clinched it for me -- the episode where Sara Shahi plays Shaw, a killer for the other side of the coin that works for the The Machine.  Yep, I like her but damn that was a fucking good episode, possibly the best thing I had seen on TV this year.  So, back to the torrent-machine (another machine that probably knows a lot about me) to get all of first season.

What I am truly, completely enjoying is the evolution of the supporting characters. Fusco may have been the easily manipulated corrupt cop but he is actually, without a hint of overeager plot development, redeeming himself. He actually seems to be remembering why he liked being a cop in the first place.  And Carter is not just the cop grudgingly trying to figure out a case, but actually quickly realizing she respects what Reese and his accomplice are doing.  And helping where needed.  All that is missing is the too curious guy who works in the morgue.  That['s alright because we do get a rather brilliant scene in a morgue involving an immigrant surgeon and a bag of money.

There is that thing about money.  Good Guys always seem to need and use money but with no source.  But this show actually did two episodes where money is generated and stored, to be used quietly and unspoken of for what I imagine is the rest of the show.  That is the kind of stuff I enjoy -- supporting details that don't need to blatantly played with.  I am somewhat aware of where the show will go, with other supporting people and a full blown antagonist, but until I get there I am enjoying the progression.

And then we have Doctor Who, the latest season.  My favourite, until now considered irreplaceable companion Amy Pond, has been supplanted by Clara Oswald.  Oh, those big brown eyes and eager excitement for the unknown.  But another companion with a dark secret, one that we were introduced to long before she ended up in the blue box.

I am rather fond of a Doctor who is not currently haunted by his completely nasty history-future.  He really is trying to recapture his joy of doing the travel to rare and wonderful places and times.  Unfortunately, not much of this season has truly shown that.  There was that trip to the planetoids circling the monster-sun but that was about it.  But the rest have been random pops into British history.  Meh.

Speaking of that alien planetoid, I was left with an odd thought -- if the TARDIS does all the translating he needs, why were some of the aliens speaking in chirps and growls when the rest spoke the Queen's english?  Some beyond even the TARDIS's capabilities and since the Doctor seems to speak their growls and barks, its OK ?

Finally, we are climbing into the fifth season of Sons of Anarchy.  I avoided this show in the past, simply because the idea of idolizing a bunch of bikers didn't appeal to me.  But we were slipping into a mid-season rut of downloaded things to watch so Marmy snagged it.

For the first couple of seasons, I was rather impressed.  We got an appealing protagonist, a pseudo-Hamlet in a story where his mother married the best friend and nemesis of his deceased father.  Jax is the attractive young heir to a motorcycle club legacy in northern California.  The Sons of Anarchy run a repair shop but really do a profitable job of gun running out of the small town of Charming where they pretty much run the town, funding who they need to fund and keeping the bumpkin of a police chief in their back pocket.  They are a likeable if sleazy & violent bunch, where family is everything and the rules of the club are all.

That is what kept me going for a couple of seasons.  Oh sure, they are all pretty nasty, sleazy types with weird predilections and dark connections but they also have a rather charming (excuse the pun) love for the fellows.  Really, they have no issue saying they love each other with hugs and kisses; not what you would expect from big hairy bikers. And the violence that comes their way seems to be out of the ordinary, not in the norm for them but bad cases of circumstance.  So, we forgive the criminals because we like them and the completely deplorable choices are not their own.

As the seasons progress and the likeable characters make bad choices, because really there are no good choices in crime, we stick with the bunch of thugs because we are now invested.  We care what happens to them; they are our bikers now.  We want Juice and Opie to win and we want Clay to fall, and fall hard.  Jax is learning the ever elusive truth and we want, need, him to get to it.  But... but, they are murderous (yeah yeah, code only murders) gun and drug runners.  But they hug and kiss and are the teddy bears of crime.

But, and yes another but, for fuck's sake, we know that a popular show has to be extended. And while I get that the idea that it is about the road to hell being paved with good intensions, but does everyone have to fall ?  Sure, Hamlet is supposed to be taken over by his desire for vengeance against the man who led to his father's death.  But by season four, the ghost of John Teller is already faded and any reference to the Shakespeare story is gone. We just have things going wrong, and wrong and wrong and wronger.  Now getting into season five, I am not sure exactly why I am sticking with it.  Must be just to see what Tig would be willing to fuck this season.