Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

Posts Tagged ‘castle’

Shows You/We Should Probably Be Watching

Posted by Mr. Feeny on April 8, 2010

Anyone else feeling overwhelmed with TV viewing? It just seems like there’s too much. This might be a side effect of half-season runs. Instead of taking weeks off during the year, thereby allowing you to change focus, everything seems to be happening all at once. And just when I think I’ve caught up on my DVR, there’s a whole new episode of something I haven’t seen. It’s daunting.

Because of that, I’ve been very resistant to starting new shows. Even some that I have started, I’ve stopped following. Not because I don’t care, it’s just that I prioritized. So, I fall behind, miss a bunch of episodes, then try to come back…with mixed results. It’s actually a little embarrassing. I should be better than this!

So, I feel like you most often hear us talking about the shows we ALWAYS watch. Lost, 24, ANTM, HIMYM, The Office, Mad Men. But there are a lot of currently running shows I’d like to get into if I had the time. So, if your DVR schedule doesn’t have 25 entries (like mine does), you might want to check these out. Then let us know how they are! Also, any we need to be watching.

I’ll get you started with two shows I’ve decided will be my Lost and 24 replacements next year, even though I’m not much of a sci-fi guy.

V – There have only been 6 episodes, but I’ve enjoyed them all immensely. It doesn’t seem like the rest of America is, though. I really hope it comes back next year, so start watching! It’s got interesting characters, hidden motives, good twists, pretty nice acting, impressive visuals. Basically, everything you want. Yes, it’s about aliens. But really, what show isn’t about science fiction these days? I know there are a lot of skeptics out there when it comes to V, because they loved the mini-series. But I implore you to give this version a chance.

Someone get this man an Emmy. And probably a root beer float.

Fringe – I watched almost all the episodes last season (I think…maybe I actually watched them all…I can’t remember…obviously didn’t leave an impression), but have missed about 6 this season. Which is ironic since the Fox show has really blossomed. I’m definitely going to diligently finish off the season (and this is the primary reason), and hope you come along for the ride. At first, this seemed like a simple science procedural, with completely stand-alone episodes. But as the series has progressed, the mythology has taken a central role. And leading the way is the incredible John Noble. Seriously one of the Top 3 actors currently on television. He balances senility and hubris, humor and heartbreak effortlessly. A pure joy each and every episode. And the support cast and storylines back him up well. Just over the past few episodes, Fringe has become must-watch television for me. It should be for you too!

Now, here are some shows that I really want to watch, but haven’t been able to. So why don’t you do it for me and report back!

Castle – More than just a cop procedural. Nathan Fillion apparently brings a unique light-heartedness to the show and makes each episode incredibly entertaining. So I’ve heard.

Justified – It’s brand new on FX, and I intended to start watching it. The previews seemed incredibly weird and stylized…almost surreal. A modern day western. But every critic I’ve read loves it.

Sons of Anarchy – Another FX show, one that evidently blossomed in its second season. The concept of bikers turned me off immediately, but the character drama is said to transcend that.

Undercover Boss – I’ve started to catch up a bit online. This is a great reality show for its entertainment value, but a few things concern me. I hate when shows use a cookie cutter for every episode. The structure is exactly the same. And some of the actions by the bosses don’t seem natural. They seem staged. But I think the reactions by employees are genuine, so there is a truth to the show. It definitely has a feel-good aspect that TV could use more of. And since it relies on people not suspecting video crews following the new guy, I think this show has a pretty limited run.

Chuck – I think it’s too late for this. Three seasons in. Maybe on DVD.

Lie to Me – A procedural by name, but not practice. There’s no set structure. The way things work constantly changes, and the lead character played by Tim Roth is fantastic. Very compelling stuff. I watched half the first season and some of the second, but it slipped off my list for some reason.

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Feeny’s Best Actors of the Decade

Posted by Mr. Feeny on December 29, 2009

I hate going last. My list is now just a hodge podge of theirs. But believe me…mine’s the definitive list. If I used emoticons, this is where I’d type 😉 In seriousness, though, I think my cohorts forgot one major actor on the list…just like they did for characters.

1) Martin Sheen (The West Wing) – Just further proof that the Emmys don’t know what they’re doing (disregard this argument for Tony Shalhoub). In seven fantastic years as President Bartlet, Sheen never once came away the winner. His costars did. Even Alan Alda did for his end-of-the-series run. But never Sheen. And that’s ridiculous. He was the best actor on the entire show. He mixed pomposity with compassion, resolve with confusion. You saw everything the most powerful man in the world must go through on a daily basis…and still thought of Bartlet almost as a friend or father. I waited on bated breath for every time he would respond to a crisis or lesser dilemma. And that was because of Sheen, not Sorkin.

2) Keifer Sutherland (24) – I’d just like to once again thank Keifer for sponsoring this blog. We couldn’t do it without him. (He is the only person on all three of our character and actor lists…we are clearly on the take…thus nothing else needs to be said).

3) Tony Shalhoub (Monk) – My comparison of Monk to mashed potatoes is becoming more and more accurate. Not only did both my colleagues leave him off their best characters list, neither gave credit to Tony Shalhoub, the man behind the OCD. I guess his three Emmy awards didn’t catch their eye. I’m not saying that needs to be a qualification for being on this list….but it’s THREE! And a yearly nomination to boot. That’s not the Emmy voters just being their usual repetitive self. Shalhoub deserved it. His lovable and sypmathetic character seemed incredibly natural. Almost as if you were watching a reality show about this obsessive detective.

4) James Gandolfini (The Sopranos) – Tony Soprano would not have been the character of the decade without the superb acting of Gandolfini. He’s what made you root for the bad guy. You’d kind of like to hang out with T. That’s because Gandolfini pulled off the always difficult task of making a gangster seem human. You understood all of Tony’s motivations, from the big kills to the minor gripes. And every glance was extremely telling. Probably the best actor on my list in terms of subtlety.

5) Nathan Fillion (Castle, Desperate Housewives, Firefly) – If only Fillion were better known, or his shows lasted longer. Then you might have to call Fillion the actor of the decade. His work is always superb (and underrated, because of his goofy smile). And, he played a large part in a ton of shows. I was hesitant to include him in my Top 5, actually, until I started watching the final arc in Buffy the Vampire Slayer today. He made his appearance as Caleb and was just astoundingly great. Every word he utters is commanding…you want to and have to listen. If Buffy‘s not your cup of tea (idiots), try his season on Desperate Housewives, or the short-lived and much-adored Firefly, or Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog, or in his current hit Castle (boy does he deserve one). Oh, and if that’s still not enough proof he belongs on this list, how about the fact that he was in Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, which had two seasons in this decade. We can’t ignore our blog namesake.

Honorable Mentions

-) Michael C. Hall (Dexter) – I’ll go even further than mention Hall. Even as the show has declined, and Dexter’s character has gotten dull and repetitive, Hall’s acting has not. He’s just as believable as the normal guy forcing his way through interactions as he is as the serial killer slicing up victims. You see the true spirit of his dark passenger constantly.

-) Hugh Laurie (House) – What Laurie does so well (besides his American accent) is let you see the inner workings of House’s mind. You know how he arrives at every conclusion. Even those in his personal life. And as a testament to his work, he’s a likeable curmudgeon, unlike so many grumpy doctors on TV.

Guest Star of the Decade

Zeljko Ivanek (24, Damages, Heroes) – I had to make a special spot for this guy. I love him. One of the finest actors of the decade, without a doubt, but his lack of being a series regular kept him off the main list. I anxiously await the credits on my favorite dramas, hoping to see his name. Of course, at this point, he’s pretty much been on all of them. He was Andrei Drazen in 24‘s first season. He was a regular during Heroes’ third season. And he won an Emmy for his supporting role in Damages. But look at his lesser credits. He was Juliet’s husband (the guy killed by a bus) in LOST. He held House hostage in one of last season’s best episodes. He was even the bad guy in the series premiere of The Mentalist, the #1 show last year. Add in a role in the miniseries John Adams, some guest starring spots on programs like ER and True Blood, and reoccuring turns on The West Wing, The Practice, and Homicide/Law & Order. I’m not sure if anyone worked as much as Ivanek in television these past ten years. And he did so with such conviction. Always a pleasure. Sadly, I haven’t seen him in anything this season.

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Moltisanti will surely note the absence of Hamm. He’s probably next on my list. But I never saw the layers of Don Draper that others see. To me, he’s stiff and rather dull. I don’t see much variety in his character. Moltisanti also may wonder why Soprano is #1 on my character list with Bartlet at #3, and yet Sheen is #1 and Gandolfini #4. Tony Soprano meant more to television as a character than Bartlet did. He’s much more lasting and impactful. And I thought they were both fantastic actors. But Sheen’s portrayal of the somewhat flawed and belabored president, especially in the middle seasons, really stood otu for me.

As for the others on their lists: Will Arnett’s probably the best actor on Arrested Development, but it’s too much of an ensemble show for me to select  just one. And while I think Kyle Chandler’s acting is fantastic in Friday Night Lights, it doesn’t quite match up to the others on this list.

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