Last year on Life is a Reality Show
So I just finished up a year-long extensive, intense Education program where I was constantly reflecting and writing papers and case studies and lesson plans and whatnot. Now I'm in my first real summer vacation in at least 4 years and I feel the urge to blog.. or at least to write and reflect. My fingers literally tingle when I find myself comparing shows and analyzing the editing in my mind. Although apparently I was much more clever and funny a few years ago. I was reading back on some of my earliest posts and was surprised at how much I had to say.
What's to come:
So who knows if I'll be able to keep up with this, and at this point, it's basically something I'm doing for myself. I had a lot of hits during The Mole and if that ever comes back, I will definitely be here reviewing the clues and figuring out who the Mole is. For now, though, there are a couple topics that I really want to talk through. I think my blogging skills have weakened as my analytical muscle strengthens. I see connections and patterns everywhere in TV these days and I'd have a hard time recapping any show without feeling the need to talk about other related shows.
So although this is a reality TV blog, I have been watching a lot of crime shows and feel the need to compare them. By crime shows, I don't mean 48 hours or any of those real crime shows--although I do watch those occasionally. I'm talking about the CSI-inspired genre. Although speaking of CSI, I have a bone to pick with that show.. the Vegas edition jumped the shark a long time ago, but I'm still watching NY because the strong character development within the first few seasons has proven to be worth it as it is the only version of the show I find still worth watching.
I have spent a good deal of time watching shows that I have missed out on and have always thought would be worth catching up on. First, I had to go back to what started it all, back when I was pretty young.. my fascination with these crime shows started with The Pretender, a show I can remember watching with my father. It was such a long time ago, though, that I remembered very little of the show. So I went through that series. I have a lot to say on just the development of the show and the characters throughout the seasons and the eventual cancellation of the show.
I watched the first season of the Mentalist after seeing a really good episode towards the end of the actual run of the first season. I really like the show.. the characters and the cases they work on. Not typical. Which is a very good thing. It's hard to follow 18 million seasons of CSI without taking a very original spin on the concept. So it's only been one season of this show, but I hear it's being moved to Thursdays, which I'm taking as a good sign because Thursday is always the best TV night, year-round.
Then, I finally took a chance with Boomtown. This has been a long time coming. I remember it when it was on and I may have seen parts of episodes, but I never committed to it. Then it was cancelled very early and suddenly. I had heard that it was one of those shows that was too clever to gain a widespread viewing public, and those tend to be shows that I end up liking. So I finally did it. Got ahold of the first season and the six released episodes of the second and probably watched it all in record time. Loved it. I will say that the first episode probably caused the eventual downfall of the show. It needed to be better introduced. It's the type of show that takes effort from the viewer's part. Absolutely brilliant, though. It's a shame there was no closure to the end of the show's run.
Then I was trying to decide if I should watch Bones or Crossing Jordan. Bones was rerunning a lot around the time that I was watching Fox.. which at this point is only when So You Think You Can Dance is on because I like to watch it when it airs. So I think I watched the majority of two episodes of Bones without really paying that much attention and at some point it piqued my interest. The show is brilliant. Love it. I would go through the episodes at record speed. It really is a unique take on the typical crime show. It gives such interesting perspective on relationships, personalities, and a range of different beliefs and issues relevant to today's society without approaching it in a blatant way. I love that each episode is clearly constructed individually with certain points in mind, but the overarching development of the characters and their storylines is so consistent.
I also find that crime shows can fail in two very opposing ways: either they (1) focus too much on the crimes and do not give the characters enough substance to make it an actual show instead of a series of separate individual shows compiled together, or they (2) focus too much on the characters so their lives eventually overtake the show's original concept and become the focus of the show. I think The Pretender clearly became the latter, and I completely understand the downfall of the show. The first season was brilliant and it started to slowly fall apart towards the end. I would argue that the two of the lesser CSI shows, Vegas and Miami, suffer from the first affliction. I think it's a slightly different issue for the two shows, but their characters do not have the substance needed to carry the show. You see this when characters leave the show. If the show was built on a strong enough foundation, it will not suffer from the lost of a main character. The death of Aiden on CSI: NY was fascinating and helped make for a thrilling episode. The death of Speedle on Miami did not have the same effect. And the loss of so many Vegas characters at once was not capitalized on. Just look at how Bones developed the Gormogon story arc. That was brilliant.
Now I'm watching Crossing Jordan and I'm finding it lacks so much compared to Bones, but that's what happens when you watch a superior show first. CJ is interesting, but it lacks the depth and honesty of Bones.
Anyway, briefly, that was what I wanted to discuss about crime shows. I may go back to this if I feel unresolved about something later, but I hope to go back to focusing on reality. I still follow most of the shows. I'm angry and disappointed that the Top 12 hip-hop curse has struck again on SYTYCD. I'm annoyed that Jesse is back on Big Brother because he clearly does not have an aptitude for the strategy necessary to do well in the game. Although Jess was labeled "Popular" (which by the way I think is the worse idea for a theme ever.. I don't mind the teams, but the premise seems very juvenile and makes me feel like BB is telling me I'm getting too old for their show).. I think Jess would've been a fascinating character to see on the show again. She might be stereotyped as a certain type of person, but she was a very smart player.. with a similar skill set to Janelle. I would've like to see how she played it the second time around.
I'm also watching The Fashion Show, Top Chef Masters, Here Come the Newlyweds, and will be watching Hell's Kitchen.