Golden Globes/critic's ignorance

December 11, 2008
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I'm not one of those "TV is beneath me" snobs, but the reality is that, as your friendly neighborhood arts guy, I don't have much time to watch the tube.

Still, when I saw the Golden Globe nominations this morning, I had to wonder how so much of (alleged) quality TV has gotten past me.

At the risk of revealing too much of my ignorance, here are the Golden Globe choices for best stuff on TV. So tell me, TV watchers, are these shows the best that are out there? Are they worth searching for? 

DRAMATIC TV SERIES

"Dexter" (Never saw it)
"House M.D." (Never saw it)
"In Treatment" (No idea what this is, but I see a pattern forming)
"Mad Men" (Okay, everybody loves this one. I just fear I'd be coming in too late)
"True Blood" (No idea what this is)

TV SERIES, MUSICAL OR COMEDY

"Californication" (No idea what this is)
"Entourage" (Got a kick out of the show back when I had HBO. Heck, I even co-wrote a book called The Entourage Handbook. but I haven't seen anything from the last few seasons. Is it holding up?)
"The Office" (Okay, so I do watch this one. But usually on the Internet after it airs.)
"30 Rock" (I've only caught one or two of these. Worth tacking down?)
"Weeds" (As good as my college-aged daughter says it is? By the way, Mary Louise Parker will be starring in "Hedda Gabler" in NYC in early '09)

BEST MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

"Cranford"
"Bernard & Doris"
"John Adams"
"A Raisin in the Sun"
"Recount"

Your thoughts?
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  • Even though I laugh that the Golden Globes are given so much credence, especially when they are given out by about 83 old fogeys of the foreign press who are EASILY persuadable. (Gold watches for everyone? BAM! Sharon Stone gets a nomination!)

    Anyway, I've always enjoyed their television choices because they are much quicker to honor new, quality shows. The Emmy's are so overwrought with honoring returning shows and people who have won awards for the upteen millionth time for the same role, it is sometimes hard to take them seriously.

    With that being said, I love Mad Men, especially the second season, and I do not think the third season will be on for a while. Since it is only a 13 or so episode season, you should easily be able to catch up on DVD.

    Also, while I am not really a fan of the 30 minute sitcom form, I really adore the off kilter joy of 30 Rock.
  • 30 Rock is worthy of every bit of the praise it receives. Tracy Morgan, Alec Baldwin, Jack McBrayer (who attended University of Evansville) and Tina Fey are brilliant. Don't just check it out. Commit yourself to it. (Also, Elaine Stritch playing Baldwin's Mom, I mean come on!)

    It's difficult for me to describe how cooool I think Mad Men is and how it makes me feel when I watch it. For today's television selections, this show defines unique.

    True Blood seems to create the same passion in its viewers that Buffy the Vampire Slayer once did, or Battlestar Gallactica. I've never seen it, yet I'm surprised the Golden Globes have recognized it. It's about vampires, Lou, and it stars Anna Paquin, as well as two other UE theatre graduates, Rutina Wesley and Carrie Preston. (Not that I'm bragging or anything.)
  • Embeth Davidtz from Lafayette is in In Treatment.
  • I, too, am surprised to see a genre series nominated (True Blood), though I'm not surprised to see that it's not Battlestar Galactica . . . which, yes, is a stellar show (no pun intended), and consistently gets snubbed (well, except for that Peabody award they scored!). I have heard that True Blood is getting a lot more critical praise than that other American vampire-pop opus that recently hit the big screen. I guess vampires are easier to see past than spaceships and robots?

    Speaking of genre snubs, how 'bout the big fat lot of nothin' that The Dark Knight received, other than the acting nod for Heath Ledger? I admit that I haven't seen a whole lot of movies this year, but I sure haven't seen one better than The Dark Knight.

    Here's hoping that John Adams will clean up, by the way. I'm just starting to watch it on DVD. It's already riveting, and David Morse, Rufus Sewell, and Tom Wilkinson haven't even shown up yet . . .
  • 30 Rock is definitely worth your time! Alec Baldwin is genius in his role on the show. It's come to be my Thursday night highlight (vs. The Office). Check it out.
  • I love both Dexter (which is on Showtime) and True Blood (which is on HBO). Lately, I've turned almost solely to HBO and Showtime for truly original tv entertainment. And although True Blood is a vampire show, it touches on some societal issues that aren't the least bit typical of a genre show.

    With regard to Dexter, you've gotta respect a show that makes you identify with a serial killer . . .
  • Dexter is a great show that, among other things, really showcases a tour-de-force performance by Michel C. Hall.

    Mad Men is another fantastic show, but I haven't caught up with the second season yet.

    True Blood and House are both fun shows, but you're not missing too much. The same goes for Californication.

    I love 30 Rock and I feel that The Office and Entourage have been on air too long and neither of them show any signs of stopping. Weeds is a pellicular show. It has had such a weird arc throughout its series that it's hard to imagine that the first and fourth season are even the same show. I'm not saying that bad, but it's just pellicular.

    The shows that really got snubbed this year was The Wire (God, not even on its last season can it get any awards!), LOST (An incredible season. Should have at least got some acting nominations) and Pushing Daisies (Fantastically written and endlessly imaginative. So of course it's canceled.)

    Yet I really don't think too much about the Golden Globes. They have never had that much prestige, just buzz. I see it as a mental warm up to the Oscars, which I have fun with.
  • House is incredible. Hugh Laurie is fantastic as the cranky, sarcastic doctor that loves to take on tough challenges. Here's how much I love it, along with my brother: I was in the hospital on Saturday, and when I was clearned to go, my brother and I stayed in the room a bit to catch some more of an episode that was on. We didn't want to miss what happened. It's that good!
  • Hah! Chantal, I laughed out loud at your hospital story (although I am sorry to hear you were in the hospital and hope all is well with you now!)

    I have a big, old TV, but I don't get any channels. My TV is a substitute for a fireplace during the holiday season - I tape greeting cards to its sides and light evergreen-scented candles on its top - and a screen for watching movies on VHS the rest of the year. (I watch DVDS on a separate little gizmo. My brother tells me I can watch DVDs on my laptop computer, too, but I haevn't tried that yet.)

    Anyway, I don't know any of the shows mentioned here except Lost, which I love. When I was out Christmas shopping the other day, I saw that season four has come out on DVD. I got all excited...and then did NOT buy it because I have way too much to get done in the next month, and I know I will not do any of it if I have a whole new set of Lost episodes calling to me.

    After the TV writers' strike (last year, was it?) I learned that I am not helping writers by waiting to buy TV series on DVDs, but it is what works best for me.

    Thanks for all of the suggestions here!

    Hope Baugh
    www.IndyTheatreHabit.com
  • Well I can't say I've seen and liked all of these shows--but there are some real winners in the group--House and 30 Rock are must see TV, but you'll have to let old crabby House grow on you a bit. The ensemble cast in both of these shows are what makes it worth tuning in. I too will miss the vibrant colors of Pushing Daisies--how sad to see it go. We don't get cable which means I'll have to wait a while on Entourage, Dexter, True Blood, Recount et al. Mad Men is pretty hard to get into the plot, but it may be worth having a 'binge weekend' viewing. Another couple to check out include Bones and Earl--for widely opposite reasons. Buy yourself a tivo or DVR, tape these shows and watch them without commercials--you will enjoy them as stand alone or in the greater sense of the continuing plot. (But I still enjoy rooting for the 'old couple' on Amazing Race!)
  • House and Weeds are the only two I've ever seen. No, I'm not a tv snob...evidently I just don't watch GOOD tv. I think House and Weeds are both deserving of their nods and I hear 30 Rock is awesome (it's my goal to get the entire first season DVD and watch it during Christmas Break).
  • Pleeeeeasssseeeee. Ive seen cemetery's with better plots. What bilge, what hot wet garbage. Just a bunch of people living lives haunted by sin, ravening wickedness and all uncleaness. Although Mad Men is really a treat to watch.
  • Anything with Alec Baldwin and his cruel rants and evil deeds is a waste in my opinion.

    How about the last season of Boston Legal. A lot of really good satire and fun moments.

    Two other dramas with great characters, The Mentalist with Simon Baker and Criminal Minds with most of its cast being really interesting and well developed character roles.
  • Love Mad Men - It's smart and fun to look back at the psyche of our culture for the period of the show.

    Also love Entourage - and I don't think they have yet jumped the shark.

    John Adams was brilliant!

    In Treatment is very good as well - but at times difficult to watch in seeing the internal angst of the characters on display.

    I enjoy 30 Rock and The Office (the latter has crossed some lines this year, that I'm not sure needed crossing).

    The one I think missed is Life - which is smart, funny and surprising.

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