Continuing my tour of television shows I watch:
So am I watching too much TV? I’m retired (at least I’m not working right now) and we are empty nesters so the time thing is not as much of a concern for me. We DVR everything so we can spread things out over the whole week. It’s nice to sit down and watch something together at the end of the day. There are a lot of shows on the table this year. Usually shows cancelled and shows losing their edge balance new ones coming on and the list stays small. Not so much this year.
Dr. Gregory House is a brilliant diagnostician at a hospital in New Jersey. He is damaged physically and psychologically. He limps around with the aid of a cane. He has been addicted to pain killers, been in therapy, committed to a psychiatric hospital, in prison. He is self centered, angry, sarcastic, mean to bosses, coworkers, and patients. But he solves cases. He saves lives. At its best House can make me cry. Well not bawl you know. Just kind of tear up.
This was the best writing and acting on TV till The Good Wife came along. I think it faltered a little last year, its seventh. This is the last season for House. Eight episodes left. I wonder what they will do to him. Kill him off? Prison for life? I don’t expect them to solve all his problems, clean him up, make him happy. I would like to see him come to some reconciliation with himself though.
Alcatraz was closed in 1963, the prisoners transferred elsewhere. Or not. They just disappeared and now they are back, not a day older, and on the loose in San Francisco. Some of the murder and mayhem they perpetrate is kind of graphic, hard to take. A secret team of FBI agents is on their trail.
The team leader is played by Sam Neill. I’ve always liked him. The first time I saw him was in The Hunt for Red October where he made an impression in a small part. Also in the cast is Jorge Garcia who played Hugo on LOST. I try to keep up with actors from LOST. The attraction to this for me, though, was that J. J. Abrams is executive producer. I’ll try anything that has Abrams connected with it.
This is a good story. And it is a story. If you compare it to literature it’s not character driven stuff. The characters are well drawn but they are not the compelling thing about Alcatraz. Alcatraz is plot driven. It’s not episode television. There are mysteries. There are questions. It’s like reading mystery or detective or crime stuff. And you want answers. The mystery has to be solved. The questions have to answered. And you don’t want to read a two thousand page mystery novel. Something in the neighborhood of four hundred pages is what you want. So this Alcatraz kind of stuff should be at the most five seasons. Three would be better. I doubt that the networks would like that.
I’m a little embarrassed about this one. Maybe a little ashamed. I think it’s the most R rated thing I’ve ever seen on network TV. One of the executive producers is Steven Spielberg so that’s what attracted me. It’s about a Broadway musical that’s in development. Great singing and dancing. Stunning production numbers.
But here’s the thing. These people are children. Needy, stupid, children. They do stupid things. Like a passionate kiss with your ex-lover on the street where your teenage son can see you. Like sleeping with your ex-lover. Like sleeping with the director. You want to shout at the screen, ‘No, no, don’t do it’ but they do it anyway.
We are emotional people and that’s not wrong. But we should control our emotions instead of our emotions controlling us. Paul said this:
I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. (I Corinthians 9:27)
Discipline and self control are good things.
These people (Broadway, television, Hollywood) seem to be driving our culture. They are on magazine covers at the checkout. They are in the news, on talk shows. You can’t get away from them. They affect those around us and so affect us whether we want them to or not.
Kind of scary.