Monday, December 31, 2007
Happy New Year - R.I.P. 2007
Well, another calendar year rapidly winds down. I'm grateful for a healthy and productive year and look forward to 2008. The year promises good things; conferences, research in Spain, the first draft of a doctoral dissertation. Yes, it would appear that professionally - things are going very well. I hope my family maintains its health and that my friends prosper in the new year.
As for media musings, I'm knee deep in a dissertation prospectus at the moment, so I don't have much to babble about just now. However, I wouldn't mind sharing with you my favorite current shows on the telly - they bring me a good deal of pleasure:
DOCTOR WHO Doctor Who is in a word: Brilliant. Technically on its 30th season, the doctor shows no sign of aging, in fact for a bloke who is 900 years old, he's very well preserved in actors Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant. Fans wondered whether the BBC would successfully dust off their beloved cultural icon for the current cynicism and irony-laced collective psyche. I myself wondered if the show would translate well for the millennium generation, but my concern, wait, scratch that - concern implies something else entirely, let's say "curiousity" - was unwarranted. People fundamentally want quality. The contemporary media scene is shallow and largely pathetic, but that does not mean that quality shows don't exist. They just get lost often in an ocean of mediocrity, banality, and political economy. Sad, but true. The Doctor is back, going on four seasons now and is incredibly good. In my opinion, it is the farthest reaching (pun sort of intended) and most spellbinding show on Television. Do yourself a favor and tune in. As the Doctor would say, "Fantastic!"
Supernatural When I was a wee lad, I adored The Addams Family, The Munsters, and Kolchak. As a teen, I found Tales from The Darkside and Friday the 13th The Series (which would be a GREAT dvd release), so yes, I needed to have "horror" in some form or fashion on the tube. Apart from a few shows that had "horrific" aspects to them like, The X-Files, Buffy, Millennium etc, pickings were, as they say, slim. Supernatural addresses this, and it does so very well. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki are a great team as the Winchester Brothers; charasmatic, funny, courageous loners who fight monsters and demons for a safer and more secure nation! Good stuff. The writing is extremely solid (although the intertextual jokes come off very forced - Dean is forever trying to link pop-culture horror references to whatever situation they are in, and it's a bit labored). I find the show addictive and tremendous fun. Seasons 1 and 2 were outstanding, 3 is coming along very nicely. I never miss it because it is on just after...
SMALLVILLE My love affair with Smallville has been very life-like. Waxing and waning, mostly waxing - but season 5 nearly killed the show for me. Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy, an important progenitor to Smallville) never (or seldom) talked down to his audiences. His postmodern playfullness often exceeded or downright fractured genre expectations and raised Buffy way above the mediocrity of contemporary mainstream television programming. I feel that Smallville had the same opportunities but played to genre contrivances and the old fashioned tried and true "secrets and lies" module (the Lana/Lex relationship of season 5 insults the viewers intelligence). Why would Smallville pander to Soap Opera conventions for the "manufacturing" of drama? I dunno. At any rate, season 6 took care of my gripes, it came back very strong and continues to deliver the goods. The show continues to grow and shows no signs of aging or having lost its focus - not really anyhow. I still am very in love with Smallville, but like any relationship, it's had its ups and downs.
That's about it (Iron Chef is also a favorite of mine), I wish you all a very Happy New Year. Peace.