Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Confessions of a pathetic TV addict

I’ve never been a fanatical TV viewer. I’ve never been obsessed over a television show. I’ve never been a Trekkie, a Gleek, or whatever the BATTLESTAR GALLICTICA crazies call themselves. I loved LOST but never built a hatch in my backyard. I was a huge fan of THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW but never constructed the WJM newsroom in my dorm.

I have favorite shows, like THE SOPRANOS and MAD MEN but when they’ve completed their runs for the year I have a wistful pang for eleven minutes then move on with my life.

But not this year. This year I fear I will need to check myself into the Betty Ford Center for Pathetic Viewers. Everything seems so empty, so meaningless. My life has no direction. I have no idea how to fill my days. It’s the existential crisis I did not dare to even consider.

What do I do now that THE GOOD WIFE and JUSTIFIED are wrapping up for the season?

Yes, that’s right. Two shows. I’ve gone from no shows to two. And that makes it almost the perfect storm of epic one-hour-drama-deprivation.

People try to comfort me. They tell me a new season of BURN NOTICE is starting. And COVERT AFFAIRS is coming back. As is WHITE COLLAR. That doesn’t help. Those are just guilty pleasures. Piper Perabo in a cat suit shooting people is not the same as Julianna Margulies preparing briefs.

HAWTHORNE is returning (for some inexplicable reason). And some well-meaning nimrod suggested DROP DEAD DIVA. They just don’t understand.

JUSTIFIED and THE GOOD WIFE have been absolutely captivating this year. Best television in years.  I’d give Emmys to everyone involved (other than Christine Baranaski).

So what do I do? There aren’t GOOD WIFE conventions. I certainly can’t dress up like Alicia Florrick. I could wear a cowboy hat like Raylan Givens but on me it would look stupider than if I wore one of Alicia’s dresses. I guess to get my JUSTIFIED fix I could vacation in Harlan County, Kentucky, but no Jew has done that since 1937.

Oh well. I guess I’ll just wander around aimlessly. Maybe there will be GOOD WIFE action figures.  And perhaps I’ll stumble upon JUSTIFIED “ignorant hillbilly assholes” coloring books.

Mostly, I’ll just be envying you – you who haven’t seen these two remarkable television series. Because you can spend the summer watching the DVD’s and catching up. You can get swept away by the rich characters, engrossed in the sophisticated storylines, chuckle at the moments of humor (I laugh more in those shows than 95% of today’s current sitcoms), and marvel at the superb acting. Think of me, sitting alone in my basement, trying to construct a moonshine still.

But WARNING: Both of these shows are highly addictive and one year from today you too will be on the GOOD WIFE and JUSTIFIED websites, playing endless trivia games, collecting badges, moving up the leaderboard, and changing your wallpaper – replacing your kids with Raylan & Winona.

JUSTIFIED ended its season last Wednesday. THE GOOD WIFE’S season finale is May 17th. So I only have one week. I must make every moment count.

42 comments:

droszel said...

I am with you on BOTH of these shows. What to do, what to do, now that they're over for the time being>

iain said...

I certainly can’t dress up like Alicia Florrick

Sure you can! It'll make you that much easier to spot at Progressive Field this weekend!

SoulHonky said...

BBC's Luther is available on Netflix Instant. Six ep first season, quality show with a great protag/antag relationship that might remind you a bit of Justified.

I was also a fan of Dead Set on BBC a few years back if you haven't seen that but that's more like a long movie (I think the TRT for the entire season is only three.)

Chris said...

Here's one for your friday questions: is there any tace taboo involved in writing, like the "Mistaken Identity" episode from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that deals with institutionalized racism and which was written by Andy and Susan Borowitz. Is it weird/wrong for a white person to write about how hard it is to be black in America?

Chris said...

Sorry, race taboo, my mistake.

Anonymous said...

I love both those shows as well...though lately the whole Kalinda sleeping with Peter and Alicia's over the top reaction has left me somewhat annoyed with the Good Wife (nothing has annoyed me about Justified accept that it's over for the season).

I have two words for you: Rescue Me.

IF you haven't watched this show then you have a wonderful Summer ahead of you. Go get the DVDs or go to Hulu (I think it's on Hulu)....

Season 7 starts soon, I believe.

And you're welcome.

Matty said...

To survive without Justified, read the Elmore Leonard books featuring Raylan Givens. Pronto, Riding the Rap, and the short story "Fire in the Hole" are all great reads.

danrydell said...

The Killing is pretty darn good.

Gnasche said...

I've given up on watching current TV. I now wait until several years into the series. Since getting back into Netflix Streaming, I've watched all of Larry Sanders, The IT Crowd, and Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett).

I'm now 40 episodes into Battlestar Galactica, 15 episodes into Weeds, 3 episodes into 30 Rock, and half-way through Columbo.

I'll be adding Justified and The Good Wife in a few years.

Ben said...

Treme / Game of Thrones....

...Bless Mr. David Simon -- the greatest thing to ever happen to televison. The second season of Treme is hitting the THE WIRE level of excellence.

Bless HBO -- Game of thrones is a delicious mix of the Sopranos and DEAD WOOD -- Those two shows and the return of Breaking Bad, its looking like another busy summer. I'm almost glad MAD MEN is delayed, I would not have had the time for it.

kent said...

I hear THE GOOD WIFE is excellent but, just as few M.D.s watched ER I can't seem to enjoy lawyer shows. I suppose I could give JUSTIFIED a try. I gather it must be better than the early trailers led me to believe.

Please Don't Eat Me said...

As a fan of cop shows I wanted to love Southland and hate Justified (before it aired it sounded lame). Turns out Southland is lame (it's the Police Story--somebody just has to be re-reading those scripts and updating them--playbook all over again except the characters get to swear) and Justified (if somewhat predictable in places) is terrific.

Nothing else turn me on like that... Well, on Tv anyway.

Laceski said...

I'm feeling the loss as well! The thought of not seeing a new episode of Justified tonight is almost too much to bear. I've taken to watching Sons of Anarchy to tide me over. It's not on a par with Justified by any stretch, but it fits with the FX brand and helps fill the void.

The Good Wife is just as great a loss and I have yet to figure out a substitute. I still can't believe it airs on network TV (especially CBS). It's simply too good. Anymore these days, it's one of the very few network shows I can stand to watch. I'd recommend buying one of those talking lions to help ease the pain. Mine is in the mail. :)

Jen said...

I'm a big procedural fan, but none of them are shows that I will obsess over. I don't think I've obsessed over a show since Third Watch - even though it was a procedural, there were some great bits of writing. I was intrigued with how the writers had me hating a certain character and slowly turned that tide over the course of a season - and I was aware it was happening, frustrated they could play me so easily, but loved how they did it. I thought about the plots, the possibilities for where the characters could go next etc all summer long.

Michael Zand said...

Ken,

I hear you. Here's something to ease your withdrawal. If you haven't watched "Breaking Bad" this is the perfect time to catch up before season 4 starts. Brilliant writing and acting and talk about funny and horrific at the same time. I think it's a better show than the Sopranos ever was and it's right up there with season's Justified.

Steven E. Gordon said...

Speaking of procedurals I always wondered why the greatest written police Procedural was never turned into a good series - McBain/Hunter's 87th Precinct.
They've tried a few really lame movies but never a series....

Fawn Rairly said...

As anonymous stated, Rescue Me is a terrific show...as is that TNT presentation with Andre Braugher, Ray Romano and Scott Bakula - Men of a Certain Age...? But they think 6 shows is a whole season, the bastards!

And yes, read anything by Elmore Leonard and you'll be thoroughly entertained. But you probably know that.

On a serious note, the M's blew another good opportunity to win a game last night. It's probably your fault!

John Pearley Huffman said...

Go watch all the existing seasons of Breaking Bad. You'll be hooked for the fourth season that starts in July.

I too believe you should dress like Alicia Florrick. Those fitted suits flatter every figure.

Anonymous said...

THE GOOD WIFE is getting my Emmy vote this year. I'm a big fan of MAD MEN, and will undoubtedly nominate at least one script (possibly "Waldorf Stories" if they submit it) but unfortunately I can see a writing nomination coming a mile away for their wretchedly overdone episode "The Suitcase." It lacked all the subtlety for which the show has been justly celebrated. The only thing it was missing was a telegram at the end announcing that Don and Peggy's son was dead. "Obvious" often gets awarded, though, so it's probably a done deal. Oh, well. On the other hand, THE GOOD WIFE had a beautiful script titled "Nine Hours" which was probably the best piece of episodic television I've seen this year. If we as an academy can give Edie Falco, fine actress though she is, a comedy award for NURSE JACKIE then I won't hold my breath that we'll recognize the excellent writing on THE GOOD WIFE. But I can hope. And no, I'm not connected to any of the above shows. I'm just a fan.

Laurie A said...

Have you tried "In Plain Sight" lately? The first season was good, then they branched into way too much of of the character's family issues, and now they seem to be returning to the wit-sec dominated stories.

If you have access to "Spooks" on Netflix I'd suggest you start from the beginning of that (not the MI-5 version that airs on our TV). Good stuff.

The re-vamped L&O:LA is actually pretty good and the new season of L&O:CI that just started on USA is decent.

Are you sure there isn't a "Housewives of Myrtle Beach" or something that you can sink your teeth into to tide you over?

Sebastian said...

Don't worry Ken.

It was already in the glass ;-)

Jim S said...

Ken,

You're going to want to stab me in the head with a railroad spike for suggesting this, and I wouldn't blame you if I wasn't totally addicted to, yes, The Vampire Diaries. I won't get into the particulars of how I started watching the show. Let's say a woman was involved.

She's gone, but The Vampire Diaries have stayed. The show starts off as a Twilight wanna-be, and is kind of slow in the first season. But then something happens. It starts being good. Unlike Lost, things happen every week.

I know, I know. No doubt you'll roll your eyes at me, but damn that show's been hitting it out of the park lately. Having said that, I hate it when people tell me I have to watch the first few "not as good" episodes before a show gets good. The Vampire Diaries was never horrible, but it does take a few tries before it gets going.

Sigh, I am so lame.

gottacook said...

My recommendation (if you're not already familiar with it) is Homicide: Life on the Street, although the final, Andre Braugher-free, Michael Michele-plagued season (1998-99) can be ignored. That still gives you about 100 episodes of superior TV, plus the series wrap-up movie that first aired in February 2000 featuring everyone who had ever been a regular member of the cast (including those whose characters had died).

Carson said...

Ken, I'm with you on Justified and The Good Wife. As the end of the season nears for our friends at Lockhart & Gardner I get the same awful feeling I get a couple days before the end of a vacation or just on a Sunday night - dread that the fun is over and that sucks.

But for Justified I take it one step further. Like a four-year-old child who needs to know her blankie is there in a drawer of the dresser in order to sleep, I keep the entire season of Justified on my TiVo until the DVD comes out. I don't watch them. i just have to know it's there if I need it.

Justified is my blankie. How often do you hear that phrase?

Bill said...

I assume I would be either a Battlestar Fanatic-a or a Battlestar Galladdict-a.

Jason V said...

I'd recommend "Men of a Certain Age".

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

Aren't Battlestar fans called Republicans?

But seriously, as far as TV goes, I was never a junkie. Lost and 24 are long over. Fringe just wrapped season 3.

I still enjoy The Simpsons, with the show getting uncomfortably close to 500 produced episodes (it'll hit that number next season around january or february).

Entourage is about to air. As is the wonderful Treme.

Steve Zeoli said...

Those are both great shows. I've watched both first seasons on Netflix, burning through the episodes in a couple of weeks... Then I had a long wait until the next seasons' collections were to be available on DVD, so I'm actually glad the on-air seasons are ending. Means I'm that much closer to getting my fix in for each show.

I would second the recommendation for Men of a Certain Age... excellent.

cadavra said...

Steven Gordon: FWIW, there was an "87th Precinct" series back in the early 60s, with Robert Lansing and Norman Fell, but it's all but impossible to see today.

And Ken: Again you speak ill of the goddess Baranski. Again, it must be pistols at dawn!

Steven E. Gordon said...

@cadavra: that's right, I forgot about that...seems ripe to be made with today's sensibilities....IMO

Fitz said...

What Justified needs is a precedent-setting operation (a la Soapdish) to bring back Mags.

It's rare when a show has two supporting characters that dominate scenes like Walton Goggins and Margo Martindale. High octane juice - just drink it out of the bottle and not the glass.

Jason said...

Justified is what I watch when I can't go to the range and shoot Glocks myself. I suppose you could reverse the two.

The Jnow said...

Three Words:

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

'nuff said. I don't know a single person, once they took the pill, who didn't finish the first four seasons in less then a month, thanks to Netflix streaming. A year ago to the WEEK I watched the first 3 seasons in 5 days! And that only got me caught up to the first episode of season 4, which started airing on NBC. I think I learned what being a junkie was like.

There's absolutely no show like it on television, and I'm very sad it's over.

Jeffrey said...

The Good Wife, absolutely a 9 out a 10 most episodes. Never miss it. But nobody mentioned the underrated PARENTHOOD. So realistic, so well written and so well acted. Not a false scene, not a false line recited, all very good actors. The kids act like real kids. Shows that family life just ain't perfect all of the time...17 year old girls go to bed with their 19 year old black boyfriends despite great parenting.
Absolutely watch the reruns - you won't regret the hour spent.

Southland is great - best cop show since Homicide: Life on the Streets back in the '90s. (And Hill Street Blues in the '80s.) Gritty, raw, emotional, Detective Lydia is an outstanding, three-dimensional character. John, the twenty year beat cop is cynical, hard-bitten, but has a creamy center heart, especially for troubled youth in South Central LA. Watch this show! An hour well spent.

Blood Brothers with Tom Selleck is a wonderful cop/family show all rolled into one. Weekly sit down family dinners...a real cop family as close and tight as any fully functioning family. Three generations of good cops. Selleck plays Francis Regan, the NYPD police commissioner, constantly getting shit from the mayor of NYC for nothing he really did, because he performs his job with excellence as the top cop. Selleck is an honorable man - a true gentleman, a credible character very seldom seen on network TV. His oldest is a crack, street-wise detective. His daughter, ass't DA, his young son a rookie cop with great instincts and his father was a lifelong beat cop with a heart of gold - one of the best ever on the NYPD force. Same with Selleck. Don't miss this show!! On Friday nights. Selleck reminds me of Captain Francis Furillo on Hill Street, like, the perfect commanding officer. See it!

Anonymous said...

Walt Goggins will always be that corrupt cop from, what is it?..that Chicklis show. His speech morphed from normal on show 1 to southern whisper by show 3? Still I do like it a lot. But they gotta stop killing off all the bad guys, there's only so many to go around.
b

Mark said...

The Good Wife is just knocking me out right now. The characters' arcs are fascinating; I love the way Kalinda finally let herself feel and then was stunned by the pain -- immediately going back into her cool detached shell (one would have to imagine, for good).

Buttermilk Sky said...

I'm looking forward to the new season of LOUIE (FX). It's hit or miss, but when it hits -- like the trip to Birmingham -- you can hurt yourself laughing.

I'm also tired of these cliffhanger finales -- "to be continued." If the series is good, we won't forget to watch it again in October. If it isn't, one episode won't have us marking the calendar.

Lou H. said...

I'm watching reruns of Firefly.

I especially like watching the episodes while reading the (almost-final) scripts on the Firefly wiki. It's interesting to see the little changes that get made at the last minute, as well as seeing the stage directions and explanations of characters' motivations that you don't really get by just watching the episodes.

Mark said...

BTW, you need to read Coalfield Jews: an Appalachian history... Harlan County does have jews.

jbryant said...

Yeah, you might be surprised by the number of Jews in Kentucky. Growing up in a small Kentucky town, I bought my shoes at Simon's and my suits at Bernsteins.

HCarvalho said...

Two words: Breaking Bad
The best show on TV

bevo said...

Justified is really good television. Sppoks is very good. Life on Mars is worth checking out.

The first three or four seasons of Rescue Me are outstanding. After the Connor story line, meh.

I would have to vote for all five seasons of Friday Night Lights. I dare any man not to cry at the end of season four or bawl twice during the series finale.

Friday Night Lights exist so men can cry while watching television.

wv - zatio: An outdoor slab of concrete where your grandmother hangs out.