Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I Watch TV.

Now that I have a 21st century TV and a nice selection of channels, I've been slightly more inclined to watch TV shows as they air, instead of waiting for them to come out on DVD. Not much, but slightly. I have, for instance, been tuning in for Under the Dome. So far, though, my reaction to the series has been much the same as my reaction to the book: it's a great premise with lots of potential, but the execution seems kind of off. And since the premise itself is no longer remotely novel to me, having read the book, I think I'm even more lukewarm towards the show. Even if I do really like Dean Norris (and find this a wonderfully amusing choice of role for him in the wake of Breaking Bad).

Man, it's always irritating to me when a show falls right in that ambiguous spot where it's not doing enough for me to make me feel enthused about watching it, but also isn't so awful that I don't want to give it a chance. This, I think, is one of the big advantages of watching stuff on DVD. By the time it's out on disc (or, these days, on Netflix streaming), I can find other people who've already watched a whole season to tell me whether it's worth bothering with, and to reassure me that if I stick with it through those almost inevitably awkward first episodes, it'll get better. Said awkward first episodes are generally more enjoyable to watch, somehow, when you feel reasonably confident that investing your time in them will pay off down the line. Whereas watching something as it's broadcast, well, you pays your money and you takes your chances. It might continue in that twilight zone between decency and suckitude forever. It might end up just pissing you off. Or it might get really awesome, and then get cancelled on the world's most frustrating cliffhanger. I hate that kind of uncertainty.

10 comments:

  1. When I saw the first teasers for the show, I thought, "I'd watch that if it were a book," because I can't see anyone carrying it beyond a movie-of-the-week or a miniseries. Lo and behold, it is a book! I'll look for it during my next visit to the library.

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    1. It's a book about which I had mixed feelings, and one that's long enough that you'd think it ought to have enough material for five or six miniseries. But it is a book. :)

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  2. I liked the book a lot more than you did and, I think, the series a lot less. I watched the first episode...and don't think I'll be watching anymore anytime soon.

    It's a complete failure as an adaptation of the book, but from all accounts intentionally so, trying to take the basic starting point in new and different directions. Which is all well and good -- for all that happens in the book, the events in it play out in maybe a single week -- but I found it to be largely unremarkable and occasionally terrible. (Several of the teen actors, particularly the one playing Junior, don't help.) It kept my interest mostly by being a strange parallel-universe version of the book. As enjoyable television...? Yeah, not so much.

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    1. Yeah, I don't think it's trying to be particularly true to the book (although it certainly does have some touches that come directly from it). Which is fine, and it's been long enough since I read the book for that not to be particularly jarring for me, as I don't remember most of the details all that well, anyway. I do think it has some potential, although that potential is mainly in the fact that there are interesting things to be done with the premise. But I can't say I'm remotely optimistic about it reaching any of that potential. It's just... not very well-crafted. Somehow, it manages to feel like it has lower production values than I think it objectively does, if that makes any sense at all. But it's not actively terrible, I think. Yet. And I feel weirdly compelled to give it more of a chance. I think because I really want it to be good. I want a version of that story I can unambiguously love. And the world keeps not giving it to me, dammit. :)

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    2. There's always The Simpsons Movie... ;)

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    3. Yes, maybe I should just watch that again. :) (They did reference it in the last episode, actually, which was cute in theory, but not actually delivered in a way that made me laugh. Stupid show.)

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  3. The Under the Dome TV show mentioned it? That's weird. King has acknowledged it, said he came up with the idea years ago and desperately didn't watch the movie until he was done.

    They're both obviously just ripping off Highlander 2.

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    1. Yeah, one of the kids says something about how his friends are watching the movie on continuous loop, and The Simpsons totally predicted what was coming. Or something along those lines.

      I remember reading a novel many years ago in which the island of Manhattan gets the dome treatment and then gets dumped somewhere in outer space. Maybe they're all ripping that off. :)

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    2. You've said yourself that there's nothing new in Hollywood, and I must admit that literature has lots of reused ideas, too.

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    3. I do think to a certain extent it's true that there are no new ideas, just lots and lots of variations on old ones. It's all in what you do with it, really.

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