sab: (un >> read less: more tv)
[personal profile] sab
Here are some shows I'm watching that you're not (and some I'm watching because, earlier, when I was looking for shows YOU were watching that I was not, certain shows expectedly crossed consciousnesses and are MINE NOW) and maybe want to be, or maybe want to catch up on when all our regular season shows wrap themselves up two or three eps from now.

1. The Unit
This is not a new show, it's just a GOOD show that's somehow slipped under the radar because it looks sort of exhausting and oppressive and hard to get into. It is NOT, and the likes of the other two Unit fans (that's [ profile] svilleficrecs and [ profile] _oceana, if I counted right) will confirm. [ETA: the inimitable [ profile] _oceana posted a picspam and pimp post for the Unit a while back, and you should all go, if for no other reason than to look at the pretty boys. And then remember Sab doesn't WATCH shows just for pretty boys! And then think, hey, maybe there's more to this Unit business after all! Thanks, Oceana! ♥]

First realize it's a David Mamet show, so the dialogue is appropriately Mamet-ish, and Rebecca Pidgeon (for one) shows up from time to time to make it even more Mametian. Plus David's sister Lynn Mamet, who inherited the Mamet style of choppy and quick dialogue (think Sorkin combined with Alanis Morissette's weird word choices), is a producer and lead writer as well.

The Unit is an above-top-secret elite black ops group, tasked to do things the government needs deniability on. Led by the awesome Dennis Haysbert, aka Top, aka Snake Doc, aka Jonas Blane, and his crew rounded out with the likes of Scott Foley in a great and appropriate role, the sexy, freckled, Max Martini.

And then we have the wives on the base, keeping their husbands' secrets, keeping their own secrets, and all the Mamet-type twists and intrigue you can get away with on CBS. The wives are led by Molly Blane, played brilliantly by Regina Taylor, who keeps the other Unit wives in line while also orchestrating maneuvers of her own. Plus there's also Robert Patrick, in my favorite role of his, and some actors who are unknown enough that they allow you to suspend disbelief because they really might BE a secret black-ops troop.

If you like smart and clever and the sort of show where the characters know more than you do and things are satisfyingly untangled by cool and classy heroes against a background of conspiracy -- The Unit, dude! We're already on S4; you can start here or go back to season 1 and treat the show right.

2. Better Off Ted
It's not your fault if you haven't caught this yet as there have only been five episodes and they're on ABC which -- well, I guess you folks watch Lost or Desperate Housewives, but I don't, so I'm not around ABC much, ahem.

Better Off Ted is Kitchen Confidential meets jPod, and if you haven't seen either of those shows you really oughta. It's set at the megatechcorp Viridian Dynamics, where Ted Crisp leads a group of scientists on ridiculous high-cost R&D projects, like trying to weaponize a pumpkin or make a substance that can both be a meat substitute and aircraft paneling. Ted's foil is his boss Veronica, smartly played by the inimitable Portia di Rossi, who is all we loved her for in Arrested Development and MORE.

Like Kitchen Confidential, it has the main character's VO and similar moc-doc workplace feel, and like jPod, it's about a bunch of geeks inventing cool and frequently useless shit with a budget of nine zillion dollars.

Watch what they've got streaming on First off, ABC's hi-def player is SO BEAUTIFUL you can see every one of Portia di Rossi's GORGEOUS PORES. It's like that.

3. Breaking Bad
Though my love for Bryan Cranston is VERY VERY REAL, I still never caught this show, despite being aware of it vaguely from bus-bench ads. It's not my fault either -- the show is on AMC (yes, the movie channel), and who the hell goes looking there for original drama? Well, the nice people who share things at comms in which things are shared, that's who.

Breaking Bad is what would happen if Dexter Morgan ATE Nancy Botwin. Or, really, it's just Weeds collided with Dexter but with all the power of BRYAN CRANSTON in his dorky glasses and tightie-whities.

Like so: he's a chemistry teacher. He gets diagnosed with terminal cancer. His family is broke. He learns from his DEA-officer brother-in-law that those wacky meth labs make lots of money. Two and two are put together, and now Mr. White, chemist extraordinaire, is cooking up the best crystal meth the West has ever seen. But there's also his wife and his DEA brother in law and his son with Cerebral Palsy (played marvelously by RJ Mitte; this show to my mind has broken some ground with disabled characters; Walter Jr [or Flynn as he likes to be called now] is a regular and complicated 16 year old who just happens to have a disability) and his klepto sister-in-law and, mostly, Jesse Pinkman, the dude he cooks meth with; a strung-out former student who actually straightens up in the effort to perform the role of small business/meth lab owner.

Oh, plus there's drug wars and people get shot and there's gangs, but mostly there's Bryan Cranston, in his goggles, stripped to his skivvies so he doesn't get meth-stank on his clothes, cooking beautiful four-inch crystals in a cheap RV.

If you like Weeds or Dexter you unquestionably need to find this show; if you like Bryan Cranston, it's a no-brainer.

ETA!! Totally forgot the kicker; it was created by Vince Gilligan. Remember him? And how much we love his writing? Yeah. Him.

4. The United States of Tara
You guys told me to watch this one and you were right. My expectations were way off; I was expecting a Tracey Ullman type sketch show, and instead it's a scripted half-hour family dramedy with a killer cast and some great writing by Diablo Cody.

Mostly, Toni Collette is Tara, who recently went off her meds in an attempt to figure out what traumatic event led to her breakdown at boarding school, after which her personality splintered into four "alters."

Now Tara shifts from being Tara, to T, the punk-ass teenager, Buck, the hunter-trucker-womanizer, Alice, the Stepford Wife, and now Gimme, a freaky animalistic personality that comes out at night.

Her long-suffering husband is played by John Corbett, and her two kids are also great characters in their own right, including a fourteen year old matter-of-factly gay son trying to seduce the son of a preacher man -- and all the while Tara's personalities keep shifting and getting her family into trouble. So far, no amount of therapy (with the one and only Valerie Mahaffey, one of my all-time favorites ever) has gotten to the bottom of Tara's crisis, but then, this was just season 1.

And while I'm at it, the latest flailing from the reality-show sector (spoilers through latest eps as always):

Survivor: Tocantins
[ profile] furies texted me two weeks ago to warn me about the horribleness, and I'm glad she did. After Brendan and JT bonded on the retreat, after Brendan said in confessional what a mensch JT was, after JT went along with the psychopathic "warrior alliance" I would not have been able to watch Brendan get voted off without going into apoplexy. So, thanks for the warning, Step.

THIS week things are turning around. I said a couple weeks ago that Erinn could turn this thing around, and she CAN, and it was a JOY, a pleasure, and a complete PRIVILEGE to watch Tyson go.

So, predictions and fears. The one fear I have is for a repentant Sierra, running back to Coach to try and get his support/allegiance again. At this point Sierra is about the ONLY person Coach has around his finger (JT notwithstanding; that's gonna play out this week poss with a fistfight!) and that's the only thing that could derail Stephen's plans.

OH STEPHEN, how we love and hate you! He is a GOOD PLAYER, dudes. He is playing like nobody's business, and nobody but JT and Taj really know how hard Stephen OWNS PWNS this game. So if he takes Taj and JT to the final I will be happy. Debbie is a great competitor and deserves to stick around, but her alliance to Coach/Tyson has marked her forever with the pox of the crazy person.

So, next week we lose Sierra. Then, if they're smart, Coach. If Erinn works it she can stick till the final four, else it's Debbie plus Stephen/Taj/JT in the final. I was SO SO SO afraid for a Coach/Tyson/Debbie final three I nearly quit the show, but, as always, [ profile] furies got me through it.

Erinn, I'm saying, it's your game now. You can shift the alliance and be Erinn/Sierra/Coach/Debbie if you want to and turn the game on its ass -- but please please don't?

Tammy and Victor, dudes. I told you so. Did I not? Did I not from ep one say I LOVE TAMMY AND VICTOR? Did I not also say I LOVE KISHA AND JEN? And how right was I? Yes, yep. I was just exactly that right. IN YOUR FACE, PEOPLE.

From day one I said, I want Victor and Tammy to win, but Kisha and Jen remind me SO much of me and my sister that I couldn't help but feel connected to them. And though I am no where NEAR as hot as Jen, Lizzie is Kisha to the letter. And then [ profile] furies told me Kisha's out and gay, and I was like, DID I NOT TELL YOU PEOPLE SHE REMINDED ME OF MY SISTER?

I did, people.

BTW, meet Kisha and Jen just so you can see how hot Jen is. And how Kisha is the black version of Lizzie. And how frickin' hot Jen is. And how Kisha's queer and basketbally and awesome!

In conclusion, TAR is quite soothing, being down to the final four and really loving two of the teams left. Much easier to watch than Survivor, with its snakes and rats and goddamned martial arts dragon warrior chair-building bean-burning crying and whatnot.

GO TEAM Victor and Tammy!

I'm watching some other things, so, as always, keep your antennas tuned to EHCA... oh, wait. We're digital now. Please to be buying new electronics, America.

Date: 2009-04-26 06:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The Unit is consistently good. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Also, the first ep of Breaking Bad is REALLY hard to watch; they get a little less brutal after that and there's even some comedy. You could skip the pilot and be pretty much okay, also.

And I do like Tara! I eagerly await next season.


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