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Author Topic: Underestimating Middle-America Since 1950: Television Test Thread  (Read 28741 times)
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UnrealLegend

Space Pope
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« Reply #560 on: 09-11-2014 15:16 »

I started watching Breaking Bad today. The first two episodes were very good!
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #561 on: 09-11-2014 18:54 »

It's an alright show, I guess. I didn't get much further than season 5, it really seemed to drop quality after that.
Scrappylive

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #562 on: 09-11-2014 19:58 »

I've only ever seen the first two episodes, as well, but I haven't had the time to commit to watching it yet. Seems good, though.
wu_konguk

Urban Legend
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« Reply #563 on: 10-11-2014 17:58 »

Well I watched the first season of Seinfeld (granted only 5 episodes) as it is constantly claimed that is one of the best sitcoms ever made.

I am curious, is the first season a good indication of the rest of the show or does in get considerably funnier as it progresses? I chuckled maybe 4 or 5 times over the 5 episodes and would like some opinions before I commit to another 8 seasons.
Beamer

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« Reply #564 on: 10-11-2014 20:10 »
« Last Edit on: 10-11-2014 20:13 »

The early episodes aren't particularly comparable at all to the bulk of the show's run. It grew far more outlandish as it went on (and just darker in general... the characters became more dick-ish, too); the plotting also became increasingly ambitious for a multi-camera sit-com, and, after its first few years, it became known for always dovetailing all the unrelated story threads in hilariously contrived ways (a writing approach that would later be adopted - and then perfected - in my favourite show of all time, Arrested Development). And none of these elements are really present at all in the first couple seasons or so. Much like, say, The Simpsons (when comparing seasons 1 and 2 to the rest of the "classic era"), Seinfeld took a while to "find its groove."

It's also worth mentioning that the first few seasons pretty much flew under the radar upon their initial airing. It wasn't until this notorious season 4 episode that the show became a ratings juggernaut... It was on the bubble for quite a while when it started, and a lot of fans actually dismiss the first season entirely.

I'm not actually the biggest Seinfeld fan in the world, myself - I respect the hell out of it, but it doesn't make me laugh uproariously like Curb Your Enthusiasm does. But it's hugely influential and definitely worth watching (save from a few lousy episodes), so at least try a later-era episode (season 4-7) before you've made your mind up. It becomes a very different show as it goes.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #565 on: 10-11-2014 22:02 »
« Last Edit on: 10-11-2014 22:12 »

Pretty solid explanation there, UnrealLegend goddammit Beamer. I love the show, but it definitely didn't really find its feet until season 3, which I think is the first very solid season with classic episodes. I would start with that one, though I highly recommend the episode The Chinese Restaurant from season 2, and maybe also The Statue.

To be fair though, it makes sense that you won't laugh as much at a show from the 90s that you've never seen before when you've already seen lots of more recent shows that have improved upon its comedic formula. Just keep in mind that for its time, some of the raunchy subject matter it tackled and how unlikeable the characters were was groundbreaking for a network sitcom.
UnrealLegend

Space Pope
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« Reply #566 on: 10-12-2014 01:08 »

Pretty solid explanation there, UnrealLegend goddammit Beamer.

That was my reaction as well. I thought, "Wow, I don't remember typing all tha- oh..." tongue
wu_konguk

Urban Legend
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« Reply #567 on: 10-12-2014 13:26 »

Cool, thanks for information.  I will stick with it. If I can make it through all of Dexter without giving up I should be able to make it through.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #568 on: 10-29-2014 03:47 »
« Last Edit on: 10-29-2014 04:24 »

Josh's Fall 2014 TV Roundup For Shows That Don't Have Their Own Threads Yet:

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

This is five episodes into its second season, and at this point it doesn't even resemble the show it started out as. Ever since the big upset that happened in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that heavily affected the basic premise of the show, it's changed from an episodic Monster-Of-The-Week style show with some lingering running plots in the background to a very tightly plot-driven show. Unlike a lot of season one, all the character development, dialogue, drama, and action are tied into the story arc and it's a million times better for it. They've done a great job toning down the cheesier elements of the show (though it still retains some, it is Marvel after all), there are some good cast additions (notably Kyle MacLachlan as the super-powered father of a main character), and the increased budget they have now shows with better special effects and some of the best fight choreography I've seen on a TV show. It's pacing is much improved as well, with important revelations in almost every episode instead of dangling the same mysteries over our heads for way too long like the first season. They seem to be building to some very promising events that will tie into the movies in important ways, but of course that's just speculation.

Basically, if you're a big fan of the MCU and you gave this show a chance when it started but didn't like it, I'd say it's definitely worth giving it another shot now (though it might be worth catching some of the end of the first season to be less lost...episode 16 is where the Winter Soldier plot starts to come into play). I still wouldn't call it amazing television that measures up with the best dramas on these days, but I would say it is now a very solid action-adventure show as opposed to the somewhat guilty pleasure it began as.

Gotham

Well color me surprised, this doesn't totally suck ass. Ever since I heard about this show I expected it to blow chunks, but it's not bad, or at least not as bad as I thought it would be. It's inconsistent for sure, and especially in the pilot there's a lot of questionable acting/dialogue/directing. That's gotten better even as soon as the second episode, and though the writing still suffers noticably on occasion, the show achieves some good world-building and it uses the advantages of being set in Gotham in the DC Universe without shoving Batman references down your throat every other minute. My main worry originally was that it would rely too much on it's inherent connection to Batman without having enough of its own plot to be interesting, but so far it's defied that expectation decently enough. I certainly wouldn't call it good, but it's not trash and I've been sticking with it for now to see if they have anything huge up their sleeve. If they don't soon though, I'm prepared to drop it.

Sonic Highways

Dave Grohl directs and narrates this 8-part documentary that follows the Foo Fighters as they record each song of their new album in a different studio in a different U.S. city. Every episode deals with one city, and I'd say about two-thirds of it is about exploring the history of music in that city (with some focus on styles that the city is most known for birthing/developing and some focus on the rock/punk bands from there that specifically inspired Grohl) complete with interviews of that cities' musicians as well as some history of the studio they're recording in that week. The other portion of the documentary is just showing their process of recording the song or their album, with Dave writing lyrics for them that he tries to make reflect things he's learned about the city while filming interviews. Each episode concludes with a music video style performance of the song from that week shot in the studio they recorded it in. I'm enjoying it a hell of a lot so far.

The Flash

Watched the pilot: absolute dogshit. Great special effects, but everything about the writing is terrible. And that's coming from someone who just admitted to enjoying Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Gotham. Stay far away from this one.
Xanfor

Moderator
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« Reply #569 on: 11-24-2014 19:19 »

Really? I enjoyed the Flash pilot. Mind you, it has a lot of room to improve as the show goes on, but so far it has avoided a lot of the pitfalls of the superhero genre. Also, that ending. wtf?

JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #570 on: 11-24-2014 23:45 »
« Last Edit on: 11-24-2014 23:46 »

I guess I was so bowled over by how terrible the chemistry between the actors was and the incredibly clichéd dialogue that I didn't pay much attention to the story. Though I've never been a DC comic reader so I suppose it could have been incredibly satisfying to fans and I wouldn't have noticed.
Beamer

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« Reply #571 on: 11-25-2014 06:26 »

Naomi and I recently watched all of Transparent, which was sublime, and finished the first season of the brilliant series The Comeback, which was recently brought back for a second season 9 years after its cancellation (surely some sort of record?). Both were thoroughly enjoyable, and really unique viewing experiences different from most other things on television.

I think you can already guess my opinion on all these superhero shows, though. tongue
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #572 on: 11-25-2014 19:21 »

Twin Peaks will break that record by quite a bit.
Spacedal11

Space Pope
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« Reply #573 on: 11-26-2014 08:32 »

I'm not a big reality show person but lately I've been watching Kitchen Nightmares for poops and giggles. It's a good to have on while I'm cleaning the apartment and cooking dinner you know? And yeah Ramsey is a hardass but I like that ultimately the intention he has is to help people who really need it. Sometimes they don't want it but from what I've seen they do.
Beamer

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« Reply #574 on: 12-09-2014 12:58 »

Seeing as how I've already posted my top 50 albums for the year, here are my top 20 tv shows for 2014 (I haven't watched enough to make it another top 50):

1. Nathan for You
2. Orange is the New Black
3. Rick and Morty
4. Last Week Tonight
5. Mad Men
6. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
7. Fargo
8. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
9. Transparent
10. Louie
11. The Comeback
12. South Park
13. Veep
14. Silicon Valley
15. Bob's Burgers
16. True Detective
17. Archer
18. You're the Worst
19. Community
20. Parks and Recreation
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #575 on: 12-09-2014 13:40 »

I want in on the list action but I'm going to shove a list of my favourite episodes of the year here, rather than my favourite shows. And given that the season finale of South Park and Black Mirror's Christmas special are yet to air, I'm going to hold off from posting it for now.
Beamer

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« Reply #576 on: 12-09-2014 14:29 »

And given that the season finale of South Park and Black Mirror's Christmas special are yet to air, I'm going to hold off from posting it for now.

Yeah, I mainly put my lists together this early because I figured it may come up in one the AV Club's current "best X of 2014" discussions.

Though, having said that, I can't imagine the South Park finale will affect its place on my list at all, as I'm judging everything on its season (or, run of episodes throughout 2014) as a whole. If it's abysmal, the rest of the season's still strong enough to warrant its position, and if it's one of the show's all-time best, the weak moments of the season would still prevent it from getting a higher number. The Comeback hasn't finished its season either, but I feel confident enough that it won't change things too much for me. Season one remained at a consistent level of quality entire way through, and season two has been very much the same thus far.
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #577 on: 12-17-2014 20:38 »
« Last Edit on: 12-22-2014 12:34 »

As promised:

50. The Simpsons: "Simpsorama" - 7/10
49. Community: "Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality" - 7/10
48. American Dad!: "Introducing the Naughty Stewardesses" - 7/10
47. Community: "Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" - 7/10
46. American Dad!: "Dreaming of a White Porsche Christmas" - 7/10
45. Parks and Recreation: "Flu Season 2" - 7/10
44. The Walking Dead: "Strangers" - 7/10
43. BoJack Horseman: "Later" - 7/10
42. BoJack Horseman: "Our A-Story is a 'D' Story" - 7/10
41. BoJack Horseman: "Say Anything" - 7/10
40. South Park: "The Cissy" - 7/10
39. BoJack Horseman: "Horse Majeure" - 7/10
38. BoJack Horseman: "One Trick Pony" - 7/10
37. South Park: "Gluten Free Ebola" - 7/10
36. South Park: "Freemium Isn't Free" - 7/10
35. BoJack Horseman: "Downer Ending" - 7/10
34. The Trip: "Il Riccio, Capri" - 8/10
33. The Trip: "Da Giovanni, San Fruttuso" - 8/10
32. Veep: "The Choice" - 8/10
31. The Trip: "Il Cenobio dei Dogi, Camogli" - 8/10
30. American Dad!: "I Ain't No Holodeck Boy" - 8/10
29. Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle: "Context" - 8/10
28. Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle: "England" - 8/10
27. Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle: "London" - 8/10
26. Community: "Introduction to Teaching" - 8/10
25. Silicon Valley: "Optimal Tip-To-Tip Efficiency" - 8/10
24. Girls: "Only Child" - 8/10
23. Girls: "She Said OK" - 8/10
22. Girls: "Role-Play" - 8/10
21. Veep: "Debate" - 8/10
20. South Park: "#Rehash" - 8/10
19. South Park: "#HappyHolograms" - 8/10
18. South Park: "Grounded Vindaloop" - 8/10
17. Community: "Basic Story" - 8/10
16. The Walking Dead: "Claimed" - 8/10
15. Girls: "Flo" - 8/10
14. Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle: "Satire" - 8/10
13. The Walking Dead: "The Grove" - 8/10
12. Girls: "Truth or Dare" - 8/10
11. Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle: "Marriage" - 8/10
10. Girls: "Incidentals" - 8/10
9. The Walking Dead: "After" - 8/10
8. Community: "VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing" - 8/10
7. American Dad!: "Familyland" - 8/10
6. Family Guy: "The Simpsons Guy" - 8/10
5. Girls: "Free Snacks" - 8/10
4. Community: "Cooperative Polygraphy" - 8/10
3. Community: "App Development and Condiments" - 9/10
2. Black Mirror: "White Christmas" - 9/10
1. Community: "Geothermal Escapism" - 9/10
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #578 on: 12-19-2014 01:16 »

I don't think I'd be able to put together such a list, but I'd say my favourite episode of any show this year is probably Nathan for You's "Souvenir Shop/ELAIFF,” with Rick and Morty's "Rick Potion #9" as a close second.
tyraniak

Urban Legend
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« Reply #579 on: 12-19-2014 02:37 »

Anything involving the Bill Gates impersonator makes it to the top
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #580 on: 12-19-2014 02:48 »

I love the Bill Gates impersonator so much. The fact that a professional Bill Gates impersonator apparently didn't learn any jargon for his act beyond the words "computer" and "Microsoft" never fails to crack me up.
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #581 on: 12-22-2014 12:35 »

I forgot about BoJack Horseman so I've edited my list.
Beamer

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« Reply #582 on: 12-23-2014 01:12 »

Funny, my girlfriend and I just started watching BoJack Horseman last night! Really enjoying it so far. smile
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #583 on: 12-23-2014 14:17 »

Everyone raves about Orange is the New Black, and whilst I am enjoying what I've seen of that show so far, I haven't heard a word about BoJack Horseman despite it being absolutely excellent.

It doesn't really find its feet till about 4 episodes in, though, so that probably accounts for the luke-warm reviews.
Beamer

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« Reply #584 on: 12-23-2014 14:47 »

Yeah, I've heard its structure is a lot like the first season of The Comeback. As in, they start off as very niche character-based comedies and then about half-way through the season, you realise the show actually leans more on the drama side, and there's an incredibly dark story being told. Funny enough, the two shows have quite similar premises, too (both are about washed-up former sit-com actors trying to make something of themselves again). I'm seeing a little bit of an Eastbound & Down influence in BoJack Horseman, too.

For what it's worth, the show is getting the recognition it deserves over at The A.V. Club (where, just a few days ago, they reviewed the recent Christmas special), albeit to a far lesser response than what Orange is the New Black has received. The latter show does get better and better as it goes, by the way, so definitely stick with it. smile
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #585 on: 12-24-2014 13:28 »

That's cool.

I wasn't a massive fan of the Christmas special, to be honest. I loved that Netflix dumped it on us, out of the blue, as a surprise, but the whole thing was basically an episode of the show within the show and that meant that there was none of the darker, dramatic side of things that you mentioned... it just felt a little bit tedious and like it should have been left to small clips dotted around within the episodes like before.

Still, I'm excited for season 2.
Beamer

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« Reply #586 on: 12-25-2014 03:48 »

Yeah, I heard that was the basic concept. I kinda admire the fact that the writers (and Netflix, for that matter) had the balls to do it, though. Kudos to Netflix for encouraging something so unconventional.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #587 on: 01-29-2015 18:23 »

I've watched the first few episodes of Man Seeking Woman with Jay Baruchel and Eric Andre, and it's pretty great so far. If the idea of a show that explores the awkward and depressing nature of dating, but with a ridiculous supernatural element wherein metaphors become entirely literal, sounds interesting to you then check it out.
tyraniak

Urban Legend
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« Reply #588 on: 02-11-2015 01:23 »

This is a pretty big shocker http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2015/02/10/jon-stewart-quitting-daily-show/23196893/
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #589 on: 02-11-2015 01:55 »

Well, at least they can always replace him with Stephen Colbert! Or John Oliver, if Colbert's busy.

tongue


Spacedal11

Space Pope
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« Reply #590 on: 02-11-2015 03:33 »

Yeah what the h-e-double hockey sticks is that about?
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #591 on: 02-11-2015 04:05 »

The man's been hosting the same show for 16 years now. I'm guessing he just wanted a change (especially after getting a taste of film directing). It's understandable.

It'll be incredibly sad to see him go, of course, especially as he's basically the perfect man for the job, but it may also revitalise things a bit to have someone else take the helm (and I think John Oliver's proved that it's more than possible). Granted, I haven't really watched much of The Daily Show recently, especially since Last Week Tonight came out, but still... A big shock indeed.
tyraniak

Urban Legend
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« Reply #592 on: 02-11-2015 05:25 »

I'm guessing it'll either be jason jones or samantha bee, but I think jessica Williams would also be a good choice
Melllvar

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #593 on: 02-15-2015 04:28 »

^ I'd agree with any of those, and like Beamer, since Last Week Tonight and The Last Leg (in the UK), I've been not watching TDS as much.

In other news, I looked in on The Good Lady Mrs Her Indoors watching Extant and I'd like to arrange to have Hallie Berry's Oscar taken back off her for being uniformly terrible in everything since Monsters Ball...  Reasons being, (1) She can't run with those boobs...  and (2) watching the process of her taking in potentially life-changing information is like watching her trying to process a dodgy cheese-sandwich.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #594 on: 02-15-2015 19:56 »

Ya, she's not as great as her reputation would imply. Still, I actually kind of liked Extant despite it being pretty damn silly.
winna

Avatar Czar
DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #595 on: 02-28-2015 08:24 »

Appalachian Outlaws is secretly a television show about people who started a television show to steal ginseng from a local community and film themselves doing it without letting the local community in on the joke.  It's very ridiculous, and everything about the show tries to make the ginseng trade out to be this dangerous crooked world that fell between the cracks of society and the law.  The show follows people in West Virginia who dig up, buy, and sell ginseng; they call themselves sengers apparently, and the show often makes up terms and treats them as if they're a special jargon of this culture.  The sengers seek to get revenge on each other because they get robbed a lot, however, none of them seem to realize that the camera crews who follow them are clearly the ones robbing them; the show also never mentions this fact, however it's pretty obvious since the camera crews are following everybody around, the people getting robbed, and the thieves who are apparently robbing them.

I'm thinking of contacting David Lynch about creating a cartoon based on this show, then contacting Adult Swim for airing it.  It would be like a cartoon version of Twin Peaks, and what's great about it is that there's no need for writers; just copy the script of each week's Appalachian Outlaws, then change the camera views so the audience realizes the tv show producers/camera crews are clearly robbing the town blind. shifty
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #596 on: 03-02-2015 08:11 »

The Last Man On Earth is hilarious. That is all.
DannyJC13

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« Reply #597 on: 03-02-2015 18:50 »

The Last Man On Earth is hilarious. That is all.

I thought it was great, I'm a big fan of Phil Lord & Chris Miller and it's great to see them working with the awesome Will Forte once again.

It has been tweeted a few times by Chris and whatnot that there are many more twists in-store for the rest of the show, should be interesting to see where this goes. smile
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #598 on: 03-02-2015 19:24 »
« Last Edit on: 03-02-2015 19:29 »

It was easily one of the most unique and interesting pilots I've ever seen for a half-hour live-action comedy show, while also being legitimately funny. It usually takes shows like this a few episodes to fall into a groove and fine-tune a sense of humor, but this one had me laughing right away and I can't wait to see more of it.
Beamer

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« Reply #599 on: 03-03-2015 01:25 »

Yeah, I was thoroughly impressed by the first two episodes. They were really, really solid way to start the series. I'd been looking forward to the show since it was announced, though cautiously so, as I couldn't quite see how they were going to milk comedy out of the premise (much less have it sustain a tv series). I think they executed it perfectly.

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