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Note: There are massive spoilers below for The Venture Brothers, Supernatural, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Day 26 - OMG WTF? Season finale

I always seem to get behind these on the weekends, and this one is no different. What is different is that a family tragedy is behind the delay. I should be attending a wedding in a few hours, but there's now no wedding to attend.

I can't think of many season finales that completely blew my mind, so let's do a short list of those that made me and Quixote flail. In order of increasing flail:

5. The Venture Brothers, S1: "Return to Spider-Skull Island"

Not only does Rusy have a tumor that ends up being surgically removed only to skitter away and scientifically engineer itself a robot body so that it can kick Rusty's ass... but the boys run away in a fit of jealousy, get "scared straight" by the Monarch in jail, and then get themselves blown up (for keeps!) by the Monarch's henchmen.

4. Supernatural, S1: "Devil's Trap"

This cliffhanger had me scramblin for the Internet to double-check that the series had actually been renewed, because it was so macabrely perfect that it could've served as a suitable end to the show. It was and I sighed a sigh of relief... but, holy hell, it would have worked.

3. Lost, S5: "The Incident"

We get our first glimpse of Jacob, along with his mysterious counterpart. Just in time for Ben to kill Jacob, stabbing him repeatedly at the behest of John Locke. Who, and here's the shocker, is not actually John Locke. That was the most upsetting thing for me, realizing that Locke was actually dead and something terrible was wearing his face.

2. Battlestar Galactica, S1: "Kobol's Last Gleaming" (Part 2)

Sharon's not just a Cylon, she's a sleeper agent! There's a military coup! Apollo is arrested for mutiny! Starbuck abandons her post to pursue the Arrow of Apollo! But, most shockingly... Sharon manages to shoot Commander Adama twice in the stomach before the episode ends. At that point in time, as Quixote says, no one knew if the show was going to be back and Edward James Olmos with it. A truly shocking moment. (Luckily, I didn't start watching until S2, so I just scrambled to secure the first of the second season episodes after I finished my DVDs.)

1. Star Trek: The Next Generation, S3: "Best of Both Worlds" (Part 1)

Captain Jean-Luc Picard is no more, Locutus of Borg having taken his place. Commander Riker orders the Enterprise to fire upon the Borg ships containing our former beloved captain. It doesn't get more OMG WTF than this.

30 Days of TV: The List )
infinitejest: (star trek: kirk is awesome)
Day 25 - A show you plan on watching (old or new)

At any given time, my husband and I tend to have several television plans in the pipeline: last year, these watching projects involved all of The X-Files, all of Supernatural (which I'd enjoyed, but Quixote had never seen), Pushing Daisies, The Tudors, and a ton of Penn & Teller's Bullshit.

Here's what Quixote and I have lined up for the rest of the year:

Star Trek - We're watching TOS now (me for the first time) and entertaining thoughts of carrying it over into a rewatch of TNG and then to Deep Space 9.

Doctor Who - We're re-watching all of Classic Who at an extremely casual pace, and I don't expect us to finish before next year. We'll probably carry it through to a New Series rewatch as well.

Deadwood - We keep hearing good things about this show, so it's our summer project now that we're out of new Doctor Who episodes and all of our other shows are on hiatus except for True Blood and Burn Notice.

And my independent project:

House - I'm watching this one slowly on my own, although Quixote tends to be in the room when I do watch them (but painting or gaming or something like). House amuses me, and I've always found the errant episode incredibly absorbing.

I'm also toying with the idea of Madmen and How I Met Your Mother, but we'll see what I feel like after I've got a season or two of House under my belt.

30 Days of TV: The List )
infinitejest: (community: crazy pharaoh)
Day 24 - Best quote

Another difficult and poorly-worded topic! Do I share my favorite quotes? Or the quotes which I think are the best? And in what way best? Most dramatic? Funny? Philosophical? Most representative? I don't know, and I couldn't decide. Also, the sheer amount of work it'd take to ponder each of my favorite shows enough to dredge up favorite quotes? Not an attractive prospect.

In the end, Quixote and I decided to share those quotes most quoted around our household. To wit:


"Pod 6 is jerks!"
-Captain Murphy, Sealab 2021.
I couldn't find a link to any video, so here's an Ode to Captain Murphy instead.

"Bullshit! God has horns."
-Terry, True Blood.
1:18-1:20. Link contains spoilers for True Blood S2.

"Tea. Earl Grey. Hot."
- Captain Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation.

"And what do you say to a cup?"
"Feck off, cup!"
- Mrs. Doyle and Father Jack, Father Ted.

"Bowties are cool."
- The Doctor, Doctor Who.

I'm not sure what that says about us, but there you have it.

30 Days of TV: The List )
infinitejest: (star trek: kirk is awesome)
Day 23 - Most annoying character

When someone asks me about television and most annoying characters, young Wesley Crusher immediately springs to mind. (Sorry, Wil Wheaton.) He's just a kid, yet he knows everything, but the adults never listen to him even though he's so often proven correct (at first)! ...and it's all really just Mary Sue Goes to Starfleet.

Quixote concurs!

30 Days of TV: The List )
infinitejest: (star trek: kirk is awesome)
Day 22 - Favorite series finale

The problem I have with this question is that so many of my favorite series have not had actual series finales. Or, you know, they're still on the air (yay!). Also, of my favorite series, the ones that did have series finales tended to be incredibly underwhelming or downright awful (I see you over there, Lost).

All that said, I have go with Star Trek: The Next Generation. I remember watching it in real-time at 13, feeling sad and yet also satisfied with the send-off of my beloved Enterprise and her crew. At that time, I felt like the finale had done right by the show. (I haven't re-watched an appreciable run of the series in the past 16 years, so I don't know if I'd feel differently as an adult.)

Also, curmudgeonly Picard is totally awesome and, while I don't normally support barking at housekeepers, his grumbling about Darjeeling breakfast tea1 is classic.

In any case, the Star Trek: The Next Generation finale was a far cry better than The X-Files overdue close, Buffy the Vampire Slayers' poor stab at epic-level battles, Battlestar Galactica's teeth-grinding nonsense, Lost's contemptible malarkey, Angel the Series' cliffhanger, etc.

Quixote reflected long and hard, finally concluding that he had to go with The Prisoner. The first time he watched it, he felt like he had gone mad. He describes this experience thusly, "The first time I watched this, I had a 102 F fever, and it was in the middle of a hurricane. I thought that I had gone insane." He continues to describe the finale as a magnificent episode with the balls to continue being quintessential The Prisoner: never apologizing, never flinching, and reveling in itself as a great, big unraveling ball of WTF allegory.

Also, he adds, it had the absolutely fantastic spectacle of 6 slaughtering brightly-colored henchmen to the Beetle's "All You Need is Love."

And there you have it.

1. There's a bit of an amusing anecdote in my continued mis-remembering of Picard's interactions with the housekeeper re: Darjeeling vs. breakast tea.

30 Days of TV: The List )
infinitejest: (Default)
Day 19 - Best TV show cast

I should probably stop observing how difficult some of these questions are to answer, eh? Ah well. This one was also difficult to answer: do you define "best" in relation to the overall quality of the acting or by how well the actors are subsumed into their roles? Arguably, I suppose the two should be one and the same; in practice, however, you get to know many fine actors as one character first and, when they go on to something else, their skill level doesn't necessarily diminish. Their ability to sink into later roles and become indistinguishable from the character does.

For example, Adam Baldwin is pretty good at what he does. However, he is Jayne Cobb. I've seen him play a Lawyer from Hell (Angel) and snatches of him as a super-spy (Chuck), but I just can't see him as Marcus Hamilton or John Casey. Of course, that also hinges on which role you see them in first, and may be a handicap of the viewing mind rather than the actor's later abilities to become a character.

Well, anyway. When judging best cast, you must also consider how they all work together. Great actors can be great separately and just never manage to jive in the established narrative. So, after taking all that into consideration...

I essentially can't decide between Battlestar Galactica and Carnivale.

Both casts are top-knotch, full of excellent actors who integrated seamlessly. Battlestar Galactica is consistently better on a greater scale, and Quixote agrees - especially considering the cast had more episodes to perform and, perhaps, with less lead-time.

Quixote adds that another aspect of "best cast" should be defined by how relatable the cast is as a whole: how well can the viewer empathize with all those assembled? Answering his own question, he suggests that Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation fits this bill for him, with TNG being more in the lead because of the schism undercurrent between the Big 3 on TOS (Kirk, Spock, McCoy) and all the rest.

30 Days of TV: The List )
infinitejest: (Default)
Day 18 - Favorite title sequence

I'm going to go with my gut instinct on this one:

Alas, that video doesn't show you the actual opening because I can't find it on YouTube. It does let you listen to the song, which is ridiculously catchy and is something I often burst out with randomly. I love how absurd and irrelevant the opening of Aqua Teen Hunger Force is... which, as Quixote says, is perfectly definitive of the show.

Good times. If you're unfamiliar with the show, you can watch episodes (including the title sequence!) online at Adult Swim.

Although the opening of ATHF is one of Quixote's runners-up, his leading favorite is The Outer Limits:

Except I am unable to embed it, so you must click here.

Quixote considered the title sequences for both Star Trek and The Prisoner, but eventually concluded: "Even though both Star Trek and The Prisoner have their own appeal and are incredibly strong (and Star Trek is completely iconic), neither was as creative as The Outer Limits. It's the earliest title sequence I remember that integrates the viewer into the show right away, and it was creepy as hell (especially before they shortened it)."

30 Days of TV: The List )
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Day 12 - An episode you've watched more than 5 times

I thought this was going to be an incredibly difficult answer to figure out; after thinking about it on and off for a few days, I came to the conclusion that there were only a couple of episodes I'd seen maybe four times: "Once More With Feeling" of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and "Passing Through Gethsemene" of Babylon 5.

Of course, then Quixote pointed out to me that we have several go-to series we enjoy putting on in the background when we feel like a guaranteed laugh. For some reason, I hadn't even thought of those!

So, yes, I have seen many, many episodes of both Father Ted and Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law more than five times. Especially of Father Ted: the series just never gets old, and Father Crilly, Dougal, and Jack never fail to elicit guffaws of laughter.

Oh my. I ♥ Father Ted.

Quixote adds to his list Star Trek: TOS1, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Kolchak the Night Stalker, The Prisoner, and many episodes of Aquateen Hunger Force. He does enjoy him some reruns.

1. Except for "The Empath" and "Turnabout Intruder."

30 Days of TV: The List )
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Day 05 - A show you hate

I don't pay much attention to shows I don't like, so it's hard to qualify something that I feel enough distaste for to say "I hate that show." (At least without spending a lot of time dwelling on this subject, which I'd rather not do.)

I don't like The Family Guy or Squidbillies; they annoy me and I'm forever turning them off whenever they turn up on Adult Swim. That's really all I've got.

Quixote comes up with Dollhouse and Heroes, with Heroes as a show he cares much more strongly about. We loved the first season, but then were truly horrified by how it devolved. He was especially intensely disappointed and ended up turned off enough to turn off the show (and never check into future developments, as I would periodically do).

Short answers today! As I said, though, I don't spend much time on what I dislike completely. And I have to run off to work soon.

30 Days of TV: The List )

P.S. LOL, Quixote wandered back in here to give a mini-rant about how much he hated Star Trek: Enterprise, and that he'd like to add that to his answer. He was infuriated by how Berman and Braga used Enterprise to try and rewrite Star Trek to suit themselves and was incredibly displeased with how the show failed to live up to its potential.
infinitejest: (Default)
I've been thinking about doing the 30 Days of Me meme for a little while now, but then enna_xor went and posted her first entry in the 30 Days of TV, which promises an interesting daily reflection on viewing habits and preferences. I find these sorts of informative memes to be interesting, so it's time to give one a try.

I'd love to engage with y'all in the comments - even if you don't pursue the entire meme in your own spaces, tell me your answers in mine.

Day 01 - A show that should never have been canceled.

Four shows immediately spring to mind: Firefly, Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me1, and Carnivale. Firefly was cut down in its prime and was a show that made me fall in love with it within two or three episodes; however, in retrospect, I can admit that it had some problematic aspects in its worldbuilding and execution.2 Pushing Daisies is my heart's true whimsy-love, but it was episodic enough that I don't feel a bone-deep ache of loss over its cancellation. Dead Like Me's cancellation affected me very strongly at the time, as I felt an intense connection to its story and characters in the midst of watching it; since then, though, I feel more distance from it, and don't feel as terribly.

But, oh, Carnivale.

Carnivale was brilliant and dark and gritty and, most importantly, it was fully planned out. More aggravatingly, the creator refuses to tell the story in any way except through film, how he originally envisioned it. At least Pushing Daisies and Firefly either have had or are planning sequential art continuations of their stories.3 And Firefly and Dead Like Me got feature films.4

So, that's my answer: Carnivale most emphatically should never have been canceled. I first watched this show five years ago, post-cancellation, and I still haven't finished mourning that loss. Discovering that HBO offered not to cancel it if the producers would limit expenses per episode to 2M and that he refused to compromise at all further complicates my feelings.5 I just want to finish watching this remarkable story unfold.

And, for fun, here's my husband's answer: Star Trek.

He doesn't feel this needs elaboration, considering the cancellation of the original show to be one of the most tragic assassinations in the history of television. Although, he did unpack it a bit further to remark that even one more season of Star Trek would more than likely have made science fiction a viable television enterprise thirty years before it finally became one thanks to Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Sin of sins, I myself actually haven't seen a full episode of Star Trek (the original series) beyond "Space Seed." One of our summer television projects therefore has been set.

1. Yeah, I have a thing for series created by Bryan Fuller: I almost put Wonderfalls on that list as well.

2. The Companion element being one of the most glaring that wasn't working out as it should have at the beginning.

3. See: Serenity: Those Left Behind and Serenity: Better Days. As a side note, there's also been some additions to Firefly canon in the recently released Firefly: Still Flying. Pushing Daisies had one short comic that was a Comic-Con goodie, but this news article shows there's plans for more (although those plans keep getting pushed back, it's still apparently in production).

4. See: Serenity and Life After Death. (The collector's edition of the Serenity DVD includes the River Tam sessions, which are a must-have.)

5. See the Wikipedia article's section on the cancellation.

30 Days of TV: The List )

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