Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Underthinking Pilot Season: Backstrom


Cat here. Yes, I'm just racing through these today. I forgot about Backstrom. I think I'd convinced myself that I'd already written this post. I was looking forward to this show since I saw the trailer and yeah, I like it. I missed having a procedural in my life. House has ended. Psych has ended. I think Burn Notice has ended but I just stopped watching one day and never looked back so I can't be sure. I can't watch Bones anymore. It's too dumb. I tried, probably two or three seasons longer than I should have, but I can't watch that show anymore. Castle is alright but it's not a show I want to watch every week. And there are only so many Law and Order reruns you can watch. Backstrom fills that void for me.

There's not that much to say about it. It's a fine little procedural in the vein of all the other special, quirky dudes solving crime or illnesses with their unique brand of snark and insight. You know what you're getting into when you turn one of these shows on. On a positive note for Backstrom, I actually like the rest of the ensemble. I think the weakness of the show is when it wants to get too serious. Everything with Backstrom's back story and those little close-ups of Rainn Wilson... "feeling" things really deeply are just... Yeah, it's sweet that they're trying to go there but it doesn't work.

CONCLUSION: Do you need to watch Backstrom? No. But if, like me, you're looking for a procedural to fill that void... maybe check it out. You could certainly do worse.

Underthinking Pilot Season: The Grace Helbig Show

Hi there,

Cat here. I'm going to keep this one short. I'm a fan of itsgrace on youtube. I wanted to like this show. I did not like this show. It feels incredibly awkward... in a bad way, like they haven't been able to capture what makes Grace so funny. The camera feels like it's at a remove. The format does not feel strong at this point and I hope these aren't permanent segments. The monologue, Deal... it feels forced. And also like a long livestream where they're just throwing things at the wall. Her podcast is great. You should listen to it if you haven't done so already. Her book is alright but not really that funny. If you're looking for a good memoir, I suggest Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson instead.

CONCLUSION: I will keep watching. Of course I'm going to keep watching. I'm hoping they'll find their footing soon. You probably shouldn't watch until they do.

Underthinking Pilot Season: The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore

Hello internet,

This seems like an odd show to underthink as we've been talking about narrative fiction shows so far but I decided to throw it in the mix anyway. We've already talked about Blackish, which Larry Wilmore was involved with, and it is a new show that premiered this season and you know what, look, this is my blog, well, our blog (Hi Gab!), and we're going to talk about what we want to talk about.

I've watched almost all of the 35 episodes that have aired at this point. I may have missed five or fewer episodes because I didn't have enough time to watch them and they just expired from my hulu queue. Regardless of the exact number, I feel like I have a good grasp of the show at this point. The decision to go with the panel show was an interesting choice but it's ultimately a big weakness. Even on Fox News, the panel show format, not the shows with the talking heads but the ones on Fox News or Fox Business where people just hang out and talk, are the worst. They might actually contain fewer inflammatory ideas and comments and foster a real discussion but they are generally quite boring. And when people want to talk over each other or get in their soundbytes, things become a bit of a mess and there's no depth to the discussion.

I admire the fact that The Nightly Show isn't afraid of tackling big ideas but I don't think this is the right format to do it. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is just a superior show. For me, it's the news show that inherits the mantle of Stewart and Colbert and pushes farther into tackling big issues and provoking change. For the most part, I just don't find The Nightly Show that consistently funny and the panelists rarely delve deeply into the subjects they tackle and make any original salient points.

CONCLUSION: This isn't a show you need to watch but if there's a topic that interests you maybe tune in once in a while. You may get a laugh or two out of it but you probably won't learn anything and it'll likely just reinforce the viewpoint you already hold.