A Good Yarn

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Summer TV

If you sit down and knit, you actually get things done! What a concept. I finished the first of my Drops Alpaca Socks:

They fit really well, but I'm afraid they're a little too small and the tension when they're on the foot is too much. Here's the side view:

When they're off the foot, they look so incredibly skinny. I tried them on several times while I was knitting, which is really unusual for me, because they looked way too skinny for my feet. I think it's just that they draw in on the sides when you switch from reverse stockinette for the top of the foot and regular stockinette on the bottom of the foot. Plus the cabling of course draws in too. I have no problem getting them on and off, so they're probably ok.

I knit the hat and this sock while getting caught up on my summer tv shows. I really enjoyed the Fringe Festival, but I missed my tv shows. I'm such an addict. Since the new fall schedule is starting up in about a month, I figured now would be as good a time as any to do my annual review of the summer tv schedule.

A couple of shows started this spring and finished earlier this summer that I enjoyed. On FX there was "The Riches" with Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard as a couple of Travelers, Irish American gypseys who run scams. They and their family run away from the rest of their clan and assume the identity of a suburban family called The Riches. It was a bit wacky, but I really liked it. Driver and Izzard were fantastic as very complex, full characters and despite the fact that they were scam artists, you really came to care about the family. I look forward to that one starting up again.

Speaking of Travelers, there was another show on ABC called "Traveler" that wasn't about a Traveler but rather a mysterious man called "Will Traveler" who sets up his two best friends when he blows up a museum. It was a pretty interesting show, but it's been cancelled, so don't worry if you missed it.

The Tudors played on Showtime - it's about King Henry VIII and the rest of the Tudor family. Henry VIII is best known for all of his wives and so the emphasis is definitely on the budoir, but there is also a fair amount of political intrigue thrown in. I love Historical Fiction, so this was worth watching for me. It sparked an interest in learning a little more about some of the characters and Jonathan Rhys Meyers was a very sexy King Henry (Meyers is an Irishman, but I don't think he's a traveler).

A show I sampled and didn't care for on Showtime was "Meadowlands". It was a dark and spooky show about a community of people who are all in witness protection. I think it wanted to be like "Twin Peaks" or something of that ilk, but it just didn't work for me.

Another show that I didn't care for this summer that has now been cancelled is "John from Cincinnati" on HBO. It was written by David Milch, whose done fantastic stuff like Deadwood and NYPD Blue, but this one just didn't click with me. It was about a family of surfers and this stranger who comes into their life. Lots and lots of wackiness ensues and it was all just too weird and nonsensical but still boring for my tastes.

One last show I tried this summer and didn't like was "The Starter Wife" on USA Network. Debra Messing played the newly separated wife of a Hollywood producer who's trying to start all over alone. The writing was just awful.

New shows that I did like and would recommend are:

Damages on FX. Glenn Close plays an attorney who hires a fresh young associate played by Rose Byrne. Their big case is a shareholders lawsuit against a rich businessman played by Ted Danson. I like Glenn Close and Ted Danson's work in this show where no one is quite who they seem to be. There are all sorts of little twists and turns that keep me coming back to this one, although it's really a dark and depressing view of human nature. I like it, but don't love it.

Mad Men on A&E is also a little dark and sad. It's set in 1960 in the world of advertising. That's a period of American History where things were starting to change in a huge way. The production values are fantastic - the costumes are gorgeous, the sets are beautiful and everything is shot like a little movie. It's fun to see little differences in the way things used to be - like the smoking of course. The characters in this show are also deeply conflicted and I'm still interested in seeing what will happen next. Another one that I like, but don't love.

A show that I do love is Flight of the Conchords on HBO. It's about a novelty song duo from New Zealand and they're sad little lives in New York. They are truly fish out of water and they express themselves through their hilarious folk songs. This is really an odd show, but I think it's really, really funny and always look forward to each episode.

Burn Notice on USA Network is another show that I really like. It's about a CIA agent who has been "burned" - basically kicked out of the agency. Since being a spy is pretty much your entire life, when you're burned, you don't have much left. He's dumped in his home town of Miami to contend with his ex-girlfriend, who is an ex-IRA member and rather fond of explosives, his mother who he has a conflicted relationship with and another ex-agent who just wants to drink and sleep around and have fun, but is willing to help out every now and again. It's a fun summer show. It fits in well with the other USA shows I've been watching this summer - Monk and Psych.

The other new show I've watched this summer is one that I actually can't stand, so don't ask me why I've watched it. It's called The Lot and is on Fox. I don't generally like reality tv, but there are a couple of shows that I do watch. Since this was basically set up like American Idol (which I sometimes watch) except in the world of film, I decided to check it out. The films they made were not very good or fun to watch. However, there was one guy that I did think was pretty talented and one guy from Minneapolis, so I sort of kept watching just to see how they would do. They've both been eliminated now, but all that's left is the final show to see who wins, so I figure why not just finish it off. I don't think they'll renew the show next year, but if they do, don't waste your time.

The other reality show that I watch in the summer that I'm totally and completely embarrassed to admit to is "Big Brother". This is the 8th year it's been on and every single year I say it's a horrible show and I'm not going to watch it and every year I get sucked in again. This is the worst year ever, though, so this year I really mean it. I'm already sucked in and want to know who is going to win, so I'm going to finish up this year, but I really mean it. Next year I'm not watching!

I watched the second and last season of Hex on BBC America and it's also sort of a guilty pleasure. It's about a boarding school in England - one of the students is the son of Satan and another one is an angel sent to kill him and save humanity. Yes, it is as silly as it sounds. Some of these shows I would never give a second look during the regular tv season.

The other returning shows I've been watching are "The Closer" on TNT and Entourage and Big Love on HBO. This may be the best season of The Closer ever. I'm really enjoying it.

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