Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Film Yap: Week Four TV Contest Results

As an experiment in recommendations, Austin is watching every show that was suggested to him during one weekend. He’ll watch 2-3 episodes apiece and write about what he thinks every Saturday on The Film Yap. After he gets through his list, he’ll award TV related prizes.

Corner Gas

Previous Relationship: I had only seen one Canadian sitcom before and that was the lovely “Slings and Arrows” which I highly recommend. Apparently this was their most popular show, so I was excited.

I watched Season One, Episodes 1-3 “Ruby Reborn”, “Tax Man”, and “Pilates Twist”

And…? People tend to say that English humor is dry. They have nothing on Canadian humor. It’s about a few people who work at a gas station. Something very small and quaint happens and then they all sarcastically respond to it. I never laughed, but I didn’t dislike the show.

The show captures a part of life that is worth telling to a friend, but not necessarily worth filming. Characters mix up the exercise pilates with Pontius Pilate; it’s an amusing concept that gathers a smile. This is one of the major comedic set-ups in the third episode. It’s sarcasm upon sarcasm without anything strong to be sarcastic towards. This makes it entertaining and light, but not necessarily that good.

Will I continue watching? Nope.

Rating: 2.5 Yaps

Pretty Little Liars

Previous Relationship: I’ve seen a tad bit of advertising for it. The high school murder mystery element made me think it could be the next “Veronica Mars”.

I watched Season One, Episodes 1-3 “”Pilot”, “The Jenna Thing”, and “To Kill a Mocking Girl”

And…? This is no “Veronica Mars”. It doesn’t really work as a high school drama or a mystery. The four liars interact with the world without any genuine scenes. They giggle at a joke that was heard before the scene started, they talk only in a way to avoid spoiling any secrets, and they are vapid dull people.

The mystery is centered around the year long disappearance and eventual death of the fifth member of their friendship. Before they found her body, they all have been receiving text messages from an “A” they assumed to be her. They try to keep every aspect of their path a secret to prolong the story as much as possible. It’s hard to keep track about what is not supposed to be known and why any of it matters. The texted messages in particular feels so contrived that there is no way they will provide an answer that makes any sense.

Will I continue watching? Nah.

Grade: 2 Yaps

All in the Family

Previous Relationship: I knew of how important this series was, but knew just a little about the plot.

I watched Season One, Episodes 1-3 “Meet the Bunkers”, “Writing the President”, and “Oh, My Aching Back”.

And…? Wow. I did not expect this. This doesn’t feel like any other sitcom I have seen. They have the typical amount of family banter, but they start to feel like a stage play. They take genuine positions on issues and argue them in an entertaining manner. Carroll O’Connor is unflinching as the bigoted father who is still seen as someone who is likable.

His loyalty to his family, despite his verbal abuse, is always evident. The pride he has towards his country, especially the title of the President. In some fights he’s right, most of the time ‘Meathead’ has the upper hand. Throughout all of the political substance, it still remains every funny. I’m shocked how well this lived up to the buzz.

Will I continue watching? Absolutely.

Grade: 4.5 Yaps

Adventure Time

Previous Relationship: I knew of its popularity with those who entertain a certain recreational substance.

I watched Season One, Episodes 1-3 “Slumber Party Panic”, “Trouble in Lumpy Space”, and “Prisoners of Love”.

And…? This was some silly fun. It’s not very long, but uses every single one of its minutes with an unrelenting pace. It feels like when you’re a kid playing outside. You’re making up the adventure while moving off pure imagination. The story could change at any given second as a new idea pops in your head. This show incorporates that ridiculous sense of direction as Finn and his talking dog Jake fly through the world (and sometimes space).

A lot of the humor is based off the randomness that ensues. Yet they have done incredible work creating these characters with just a little bit of time. They each have a unique voice and personality. Nobody questions their wacky world, but just has fun with it.

Will I continue watching? I won’t seek it out, but I’ll definitely casually watch some more.

Grade: 4 Yaps

Beast Wars

Previous Relationship: It sounds vaguely familiar. May have caught one episode as a kid.

I watched Season One, Episodes 1-3 “Beast Wars, Part I”, “Beast Wars, Part II”, and “The Web”.

And…? I’ve seen the three Transformers movies and didn’t like any of them. Some people have tolerated the franchise, because they have had some sort of nostalgic attachment to the toys and cartoons. I never had that, but I can kinda see the appeal. Not yet, though.

Sometime during the Transformers mythology, they crash land on Earth during the prehistoric times. They scan the planet for new forms to transform into so they become like cheetahs and dinosaurs. They fight and fight and fight. This is “Beast Wars” as the characters clearly point out.

The problem is there aren’t any stakes. They will shout their name and optimize, but there doesn’t seem to be any chance of anyone taking real damage. “The Web” was a bit better storyline since it was more plotting between the characters. There is opportunity for some clever things in the future, but right now I rather play with the toys.

Will I continue watching? Nah.

Grade: 2.5 Yaps


Previous Relationship: I think I’ve caught a few scenes on TV as a kid. Also I’ve seen “Man on the Moon” which featured the show for a good chunk.

I watched Season One, Episodes 1-3 “Like Father, Like Daughter”, “One-Punch Banta” and “Blind Date”.

And…? This has a lot of fun elements, but a lot of things that fell flat as well. The reason I’ve been watching three episodes apiece is because that gives the time a little bit more room to figure out what it is. Usually it takes more time into the season, but three episodes is enough to figure out the potential.

“Taxi” is one of the quintessential workplace comedies. Most of the show is centered around a taxi garage as their drivers come in and out. Yet they mostly just linger. Most of them are really solid characters like Alex, his insufferable boss Louie, and the simplistic Tony. Ones that aren’t so strong is the naïve new guy (who I hoped was just going to be in the first episode) as well as wanna-be actor Bobby.

Sometimes the plotline can lead to some great moments of comedy and characters, like when Alex meets his daughter for the first time in 15 years. Or it could be a big misstep as seen by Alex on his blind date with an insecure larger woman. When everything focused, this show seems like it could make some great episodes but I hope it doesn’t take that long to hit a streak.

Will I continue watching? I’ll catch a random one on TV every now and then. I would like to see Christopher Lloyd play his part.

Grade: 3.5 Yaps

Next week, I actually shall be finishing this with my remaining shows: Cowboy Bebop, Hill Street Blues Modern Family, Nathan Barley, The O.C., and Sons of Anarchy.


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