Friday, July 16, 2010

The New Summer Shows-So Far

by Pat Gulley

The Gates

The Glades

Memphis Beat

The PBS version of Murder on the Orient Express

Rookies Blues

Rizzoli and Isles

Mystery’s Jane Marple

Well, the ‘summer’ season has started, and as it is nothing like the seasons of the distant past, it is a nice feature cable TV has brought to us. It has forced most networks to come up with summer shows, and though they do not outnumber the reruns, it is a relief. Not the reality stuff and these new ‘game’ show things. No, I’m just interested in the ‘stories’. My mother used to call the daytime dramas (soap operas) her ‘stories’ and I tend to think of anything that goes on and on as ‘stories’ now. And aren’t they all trying to do that? What with the success of X-Files and Lost, not only going on and on, but never ending or finishing in some cases—or (that dastardly, whine for a lack of creativity, ‘let the reader/viewer draw their own conclusions’. Humph!

I’m sure I’ve missed a few, but let’s start with The Gates. Boy, this better go beyond the yawn it is so far—Desperate Housewives meets Twilight. I’m not caring for any of the characters—whiney vampire, brooding werewolf, bitch witch with a good witch to nag, and what looks like a succubus, but could turn out to be your-everyday-demon. Who knows, we’re already in reruns. I certainly couldn’t care less about the Jaws wanna-be family of the sheriff. His motives are beyond belief. Oh well, will keep watching and hoping, things on shows like this have been known to improve. My whine: but this is the one I wanted to be good and succeed!

Scoundrels—only watch half of the first one. I need to go back and watch some more—so many people are telling me how funny this one is, but two teenage, angst-ridden teenagers! Pelleeeeeessssse!

The Glades—Great, just what we need another smart-assed detective tossed out of one city’s police force for being accused of something he didn’t do, only to show up on another force knowing way more than anyone else, and hating the new locale. Right? Has anyone ever heard of being grateful just to have a job in this economy?

Memphis Beat—okay, same stuff as above, but somehow this one is pretty good with odd bits to each story that makes it interesting. The main character and his sidekick are rather likeable and Memphis is proving to be an interesting locale.

Rookie Blues---nothing new with more women. Okay, nothing else is on, so maybe it will prove good, but so far all the same old clich├ęs about new cops.

Rizzoli and Isles---Well, I’ve never read the books so the characters were new for me and the story line was pretty good. Based, I’m told, on two of the books. I did like Isles, geeky as a pathologist should be, but with great taste, likes great clothes and 3 inch heals and wears them, has a great apartment, and turtle raising skills. Rizzoli turned out to be the usual hard-driving-know-it-all that everyone wants to love and care for and she won’t let them, and a mother she’s always hiding from. First story was quite interesting about a serial killer (a surgeon in prison) and his apprentice. The escape wasn’t very believable, but what do you expect in an hour show. Since I adore the Closer, and this is scheduled to follow her, I’ll probably give it more time. Of course, I said the same thing about Saving Grace and Hawthorne, and it didn’t work. Yuck on both of them. Okay, not fair to Hawthorne, I hate all medical shows.

The PBS version of Murder On The Orient Express—well, I love Agatha and all her books, and David Suchet’s Poirot is superb, but I didn’t care too much for this version. It seemed too rushed, as though it assumed you already knew all the characters and the story, so they added a conscience driven motive for his final decision. One, I found out of character for Poirot.

Mystery’s second season of another Jane Marple. This Marple is growing on me. She suits the stories Agatha wrote in the 1950s while keeping her of an age Marple was in the 40s stories. In the books she was become quite feeble of body, never of mind, with a lot more rocking and knitting. They will be doing Third Girl this weekend, and it is one of my favorites. It’s about working women who share flats because of high rents and low salaries. (Unless they change it.) And since that was an experience I enjoyed in my days living in New York City while working with an airline, I’ve always like the story.

What did I miss? Any dissents? Agreements?


Annette said...

The only one of these I've seen is Scoundrels, which I had high hopes for since I have a crush on David James Elliot (LOVED JAG!). However, I can't stomach it. Those angst ridden teenagers you mentioned have me diving for the remote control's off switch and a good book.

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

Didn't try the teenage thing.
Rizzoli & Isles the story has been done so may times that way that I stopped half-way through.
Little disappointed in the speed of MOME. But realize budgets are tight and maybe some who put these shows together would rather be doing modern thing.
Still not having a "must see" TV list.

Laurissa said...

Out of the shows that you mentioned my absolute favorite is Memphis Beat. It has interesting characters and is different from all the others. Jason Lee is really good in it. I think it's right up there with The Closer, as far as quality television.

Rookie Blues is actually beginning to grow on me, at first I wasn't too sure about it. I liked the first episode of Rizzoli & Isles and plan to keep watching it especially since it's following my old favorite, The Closer.

Another police/detective show that I like is The Good Guys. It started I think in late spring on Fox and it's one of the more unique shows out there in that it's a funny police show. Colin Hanks (son of Tom Hanks) is one of the stars along with Bradley Whitford.

Patg said...

I forgot about Good Guys, but then I only watch it occasionally. Hanks is good, but Whitford is just annoying. But I always preferred Bud Abbott over Lou Costello.
By the way, The Gates ended last episode with the hint that all would be known. Okay, depending on what its writers consider 'all', that should be work a watch next time.

Ramona said...

Paula, I am with you about there being something off with Poirot in the new Orient Express. I like the look of it, however--great visuals of the train in the snowbank.

I adore Mystery's Miss Marple! I'm completely addicted to her and have watched every episode multiple times.

I confess, I'm a total Masterpiece nerd.

Ramona said...

Sorry, Pat, you're not Paula, are you?

Great detective I'd make.

Patg said...

No problem. I forgive all Marple/Masterpiece lovers.
It's that little g hanging off the end of 'Pat'. There are so many Pats on our lists and in my family, I've had to resort to things that sometimes confuses people. I usually get Peg.
Does anyone know why the word verifcation does show when you first come into comments? Always have to post twice.

Anonymous said...

Like Memphis Beat, it's quirkly. Good Guys makes me laugh for whatever reason. The Closer will always be a favorite. Masterpiece Mystery Theater rules!

There was a time when a certain night, usually a Thursday, was the must see tv night and the next day was hashing episodes over with family, friends, co-workers. Loyal viewers. No more. Most shows if seen is an accidental convenience, if not seen no feeling of missing something. Sad.

Jo P