piranha: red origami crane (Default)
still watching criminal minds though tonight i almost gave up on it altogether. apparently JJ has been written out of the show (temporarily at least), and the ending of S6E02 was so smarmy i needed insulin. OMG, JJ was the glue that held "the family" together; whatever will they do now?! hotchner got all emotional, and garcia cried. surely if they're actually family, they could manage to remain friends since they're all living in the same city, but garcia's lines detailing how they'd now be drifting apart describe the actions of people who were just friendly co-workers. the music fit the saccharin feast. *bleagh*. such a let-down after the amazing tim curry as the serial killer du jour, perfectly accompanied by leonard cohen.

good grief. factually i am wondering whether this could actually be done. can somebody be transferred from the FBI to the pentagon without their consent? would anyone actually do that? how useful is it to get somebody one wants because of their abilities, who is hostile to the transfer? i am in general not happy with how this show portrays management above the unit chief -- section chief erin strauss is a contemptible bitch with no redeeming qualities, and most anything coming down from above seems designed to handicap the team. now, i've dealt with plenty of bad management, and the sorry grist mills bureaucracy often deteriorates into, but it was never THIS bad. so this strikes me as more unrealistic than much of the supernatural "profiling" these guys do.

the writing was very uneven for the mini-arc of the S5 season finale and S6E01. this might be a bit spoilery, so i am cutting it )

if i were more anal i would analyze the show's writers so i could see whether there's any correlation with my liking an episode, but nah -- i'm gonna take a break from it, and watch the shield next instead.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
the longer i watch a show the more i get annoyed by character traits in certain people. i guess familiarity really does breed contempt in this case (this is not usually true for me in real life). some time in season 4 of a show i start to feel more and more grumpy about what feel to me like serious learning curve problems on the part of characters and writers.

in criminal minds for example, derek morgan calls anyone younger than him "kid". that's a terrible tic for an agent who's supposed to establish rapport with a suspect, and i would expect a team leader to point this out. it's in general not a particularly good way to address any other adult unless you use it as a term of endearment with zir permission. he's now my least favourite main character, because all the hotness can't make up for the domineering posturing in which he engages. when hotchner gives a job to somebody, he sounds very matter-of-fact about it, "this is necessary to the investigation", and it becomes really obvious when hotchner is off his game because then he sounds much nastier. when morgan does it, it generally sounds like "i am the boss and i have the AUTHORITY to tell you to do this".

and i wish they got somebody who actually knows computers to help write garcia's lines. S5E13 has her type away like mad and spout nonsense like "there's nothing here! no directory structure, no operating system, no registry!". no shit, penelope. if there's no directory structure (ie your disk is not organized in a manner the BIOS recognizes), the computer won't get past the POST. the "no registry" bit is especially idiotic as only windows has one. if there is no operating system, ergo we don't have windows installed, why is a registry even a concern?

i usually don't expect much computer knowledge from TV shows, but it irks me if they feature alleged computer geniuses but show with every line they speak that the writers had not even a remote clue as to what makes a computer tick.

oh, in S5E09 it was particularly egregious, since the unsub found out the FBI was hot on his heels by setting up an "internet alert" for the pseudonym he was using, so he got warned when garcia searched for the name. uh huh. ghods, there was SO MUCH STUPID in that episode altogether.

well, at least it distracted me from the havoc wrought on hotchner. i'm glad that's over with. now there will be a lull in making agents the target of unsubs for a while.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i'm watching criminal minds, season 4, episode 24 "amplification". the unsub got rejected by the army because he failed the psych eval by answering "yes" to the question "is it ever justified to sacrifice the lives of a few for the lives of many".

the unsub lets loose a weaponized anthrax strain in a park as a test, and everyone expects a major attack. the entire episode spends much of its internal agony over whether it'd be ok for the agents to notify their loved ones so they can get out of town, and the official attitude is to keep this from the public for as long as possible, because otherwise mass panic would set in.

uh huh.

and then at the end, when emily gripes about having lied to a woman according to the company line, telling her everything was perfectly safe when in fact it wasn't at all safe, rossi asks her "how would people feel if they knew everything we've prevented since 9-11? would they feel safer, or more vulnerable?" as if that perfectly justified the lies. i think i wouldn't feel more vulnerable, but i would have a more realistic assessment of the dangers and counter-measures out there -- and i always, always rather know than don't know.

i think 9-11 proved that feeling safe isn't particularly good for people; so much overreaction came about in part because people had had no actual concept of the real and present dangers of terrorism. being realistic, being prepared, is important IMO, even though that doesn't make one safe, of course. it changes my mindset, and i am less likely to panic, more likely to have a plan, or at least reasonable objectives if actual danger hits.


i still miss gideon (though not greenaway whom i never liked). i'm sorry about gideon throwing in the towel, but that writing was large on the wall even before frank returned. though i really, REALLY hate it when shows like this put a team member in the direct crosshairs of an unsub -- once i can take, but they've done it to greenaway, gideon, garcia, and reid, and i am afraid it's just gonna continue, and since the boston reaper episode i am pretty sure it'll be hotchner. the show has drama enough, it doesn't need to artificially rachet it up. *grump*.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
with comedy-dramas. and i am trying to poke around the definitional edges so as to better predict which shows i might like.

total failures in recent past:
chuck
eureka

successes:
dead like me
weeds

when i look in wikipedia, i can see that it's not clear to people what constitutes a comedy-drama. which makes sense because there are no fixed lines; the definition only asks that approximately equal elements of comedy and drama be present. it seems that the definition slips easily: in the cases of comedy in which characters actually have some true emotional resonance, and with dramas that contain some element of comic relief.

but if i count all of those then the term becomes nearly meaningless, because there are so many shows now in which both comedy and drama are present in some combination. to me a show that's primarily drama with some banter thrown in doesn't qualify as a comedy-drama. for example, bones: this is first and foremost a drama, and there is no comedy outside of banter. criminal minds has comic relief through flamboyant penelope garcia and her interactions with other team members, but it's dead serious the rest of the time. or dexter, which has comedic elements in dexter's own observations about people (including himself), though the show inches a bit closer to the invisible line i draw.

i am quite happy with dramas that have comedic elements in the form of banter and black humour between characters, probably because those are my own native modes of dealing with stress. i'm also fine with comedy in which the characters become something more than spear carriers for a joke -- i guess ugly betty would qualify, since i did come to care about some of the characters, and their lives seemed quite real -- but that's a special case, i think. i am also fine with pure comedy where i don't emotionally care about the characters because they're just delivery vehicles for the humour, like in better off ted.

what rubs me the wrong way is if the writers get the melange of comedy and drama wrong. for example:

body parts strewn about in dexter are never comedic; they're dead serious. even if dexter waxes rhapsodically about the artistic arrangement, the body parts are not funny; if anybody is laughing, it is shocked laughter at dexter's alien-ness in that moment.

body parts strewn about in a monty python sketch: funny ha-ha, not serious at all -- no problem with that.

body parts strewn about in eureka: say what? am i supposed to feel bad for larry who got used by nanoids as a "carbon source"? then a) humanize larry for me at the start, and b) don't show me the bloody leftovers with taggart and the sheriff being not phased one bit. and i don't mean they crack "EMT under stress" kind of jokes; they simply do not react like real people would react to finding bloody remains. i cannot take any of the characters in eureka seriously, and in consequence i don't actually care when something bad happens to them. it also doesn't help that the science is horrendously boondoggled, and there too the comedic and serious aspects are confused.

in chuck the timing is off so badly that i don't believe any of the serious action is actually serious. chuck is a likeable guy. i WANT to like him. but i can't really care about anything because he lives in this totally fake-appearing world with all those other unreal characters.

both eureka and chuck get this sort of thing wrong as a matter of course. they try to make me like a character and then fuck with the process at the wrong time. they throw in a bad joke when i am feeling emotionally vulnerable. they constantly yank me out of their own story.

on the other hand, dead like me and weeds succeed because they give me time to move from laughing at the ridiculous stuff to feeling a character's pain. their characters feel authentic, even when they engage in antics that no real person would engage in.

i think that's the central point for me.

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piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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