Just Keep Swimming

Hey, Look It's March! Let's Have a TV Round Up

My social media presence has been a little pathetic over the last few weeks. I blame it on pulling 10 plus hour days writing pay copy and trying to sort out my major plans and projects for my writing business for the rest of this year. On top of that, I've had some other work that needed my attention, plus there is this whole having a family and trying to be an involved member kind of thing. But I'm hoping in the coming days that I get my regular blogging routine back on track. But I also know once I promise that things will be on track that is exactly when I disappear for a week or two. So, I'm not making any promises besides telling you I'll try to get this back into a regular flow.

Despite being busy, I've been able to squeeze in some TV here and there. Here are my thoughts on some of the shows I've caught over the last bit.

Oh yeah, I'm not even going to bother being spoiler-free, so consider this your warning.

Once Upon A Time: I realize Lost has sparked this whole phenomenon of shows that jump from current time to flashbacks, while slowly unraveling a mystery. I admit that is a plot device/gimmick that is going to get more and more tiring as it gets adopted by different shows, but it totally works in the context of this series. I've loved almost every reimagining of classic fairy tales and how they've been able to incorporate all the iconic characters into one world. The "Beauty and the Beast" episode was a real doozy as it not only continued to show the sympathetic side of the Rumpelstiltskin character, but also dropped the massive bomb that his Storybrooke character remembers his fairy tale past. Now, there is the big cliffhanger of King Midas' daughter's disappearance in Storybrooke (I love how they finally explained her place in fairy tale canon), and that is sure to give us some delightful mysteries and tension as we zoom towards the season finale. The show has done a remarkable job of integrating both worlds, while also teasing us with many mysteries, but also satisfying us with enough answers to avoid us getting frustrated or impatient. I'm predicting that the writer character ends up holding a lot more power and being connected to the fairy tale world in a much more significant way than has currently been revealed (I'm thinking creator/God type). This continues to be the show that gets my mind racing and I find myself thinking about it during the week. It is good enough that I've now forgiven them for stealing this idea from me -- even if I never actually bothered to turn it into an actual story.

The Walking Dead:
The second half has given us a much larger dose of "walkers" then the first half. The last episode served up a healthy helping of blood, guts, and violence. It also finally gave us the much anticipated showdown between Shane and Rick, though this battle seems far from over. The farm has also become pretty explosive, and it looks like the gang is going to be split pretty soon. Lori is also turning into the most annoying and illogical character in television and will likely be the main impetus for the eventual dissolve of the group. I've enjoyed the second half so far, and intrigued to see what happens to many of the characters, who all seem to be experience some form of nervous break downs. Of course, there is still that group of thugs that are out there, and I'm sure will eventually pay a visit to the farm.

WWE: I've actually not seen any WWE wrestling for almost year. Wrestlemania season is upon us, and I'm debating back and forth if I bother trying to come up with a plan to see this year's version. It's the Rock's first singles match since 2004, and it is against wrestling's current biggest draw, John Cena. It is the biggest possible match wrestling could put on, and the rest of the card sounds pretty appealing too (Undertaker vs. HHH in "Hell in a Cell"). But at the same time, I haven't been watching wrestling over the last few years for a reason, and I'm not sure I want to plop down $60.00 to remind myself why. But I'm actually interested in this show, and that is a pretty big feat for WWE after years of making me pull away from the product.

How I Met Your Mother:
Things picked up over sweeps, and delivered some really funny episodes. I find myself completely uninterested in Ted ever meeting his future wife, and that is partly due to the last season or so making him the character I care about the least. He also hasn't had an interesting storyline in ages, and the "falling in love with Robin" storyline was a retread we didn't need and another obvious red herring to drag out the major plot of him finding his wife. The last few months have done a great job of developing Barney, Robin, Lily and Marshall, and made me care about them more than I have any previous seasons. I'm interested to see who Barney ends up marrying at this end of this season, and I really hope it doesn't end up being one of those swerves where he leave her at the altar and nothing has really changed. This show needs major developments and changes in the characters to keep me caring for a few more seasons. The second half of this season has picked up in storytelling and more importantly, it has actually been funny. I also want to send out a request for more Martin Short, who has done some great guest spots.

Alcatraz: I've enjoyed learning more about the '60s mythos of Alcatraz, and it has dropped some interesting little mysteries. I'm intrigued to find out how much Hauser really knows about the events in Alcatraz, and learn more about the psychiatrist's connection to the "leap" in the '60s. There is a lot of mysteries that I'm interested enough about to continue to follow this season, and so far they haven't made this too muddled and incomprehensible. But I can see myself tiring of the "convict of the week" format if there aren’t some bones thrown about why particular prisoners are returning. There has to be a reason why they've been brought back at this particular time, because each one seems to have a mission to accomplish. Things are going to start becoming a mess if they don't start to tie in some of the convicts and begin to push the major story forward. I'm enjoying it, but I can see it starting becoming formulaic, and risk holding back too much in order to keep things mysterious (thus just begin to bore me).

Movies: This isn't TV, but I wanted to bring up the fact I haven't gone to the cinema once this year. Pathetic. How can I claim to be a pop culture guru if I haven't seen any of the current crop of films? The Oscars was a reminder of how little of the last year of movies I've actually seen. I do hope to find time to catch up on some of these movies. If any editors or publishers are reading this, you can help out this goal by throwing money at me to ramble about modern films. I am more than happy to take your money.

Survivor One World: The switch seems to finally been flipped, and the woman tribe is starting to offer up real competition now. The first two and half episodes did a rather fine job of setting the woman's movement back by about 60 years or so. This had to be one of the worst starts ever for a tribe, and I'm not just talking about losing the challenges, but also their inability to communicate or run a livable camp. This is the fourth time they've done a woman vs. men season (though, one of those seasons it only lasted for 2 episodes so I don't really count that), but this is the first time they've had a woman's tribe that seemed so incompetent. I thought, the disaster would continue when they voted off Nina instead of the useless Kat, but I turned out to be wrong. This week's episode was the strongest of this season, and renewed my hope that we're in store for one of the better seasons in a while. There already is a lot of scrambling and switching of allegiances, and there are a lot of players that are in this to win, and that is always what makes for a great season full of twists and backstabbing. I love that the men already overthrew the "shirtless frat boys" and it was rather sweet watching the cocky Matt take an early exit. I like Clayton's game play, but I can see him getting overly confident as well, and misjudging his control over the tribe. Plus he plays the "gay card" way too much, and his need to flock to the women is going to make him untrustworthy. He is a unique character, and if he gets control of himself, he will go deep. The person who I don't think will go deep is Tarzan. I know the guy is a surgeon and apparently has the highest IQ in show history, but he is one dumb player. He revealed way too much in tribal council, and the guy just seems oblivious to what is going on. I can see people tiring of him, and the only reason he may stick around longer is because Bill is even more annoying than him. So far, this has been a really fun season, and is full of big personalities.

I love the fact this show can deal with issues like divorce, "coming out", popularity in high school, infidelity, and so on, and it provides a meaningful message on all these issues, but still able to deliver tons of laugh out moments. It takes a really good comedy to deal with serious issues in a provocative way, but still be absolutely hilarious. Suburgatory is that type of show, and it will be interesting if it can keep up this kind of quality for many years to come.

Modern Family: A women's menstrual cycle is no laughing matter, unless of course it is a major storyline on Modern Family. This show always has a theme that they try to tie into a deeper message, and this week seemed to be about dealing with emotions. Or something. I was laughing way too hard to really bother figuring out what it was trying to teach me. This episode was absolute gold, and has allowed the show to get a clean sweep of super hilarious episodes throughout February. This show is on fire when it comes to the funny lately, and I can't see how it won't get the Emmy once again this season. This week I think every single characters had an incredibly funny moment -- even Lily made me laugh this week.

Revenge: We've finally caught up to the scene they teased at the start of this series. I thought, they'd try to drag it out until the finale, but I'm glad they pushed things along at a quicker pace. The last two episodes have been pretty wild, and have unleashed an army of subplots and storylines. This show has grown to the point where the major storyline of Emily's revenge can be slowed down a bit, and we can focus on some of the other interesting issues that have arisen thanks to her actions. I can't see how Emily isn't going to get outed this season though, and so it will be interesting to see how the show shapes up after her revenge plot is far more public. This show is pure soap opera, but the storytelling and characters are far smarter and tighter than the usual fare. I also like that the main "villain" is becoming more sympathetic and well-rounded as the weeks progress, and I get a feeling at some point she may end up even helping Emily. This show has grown and improved since it first started, and in a lot of ways, I think it is a different kind of show now.

Parks & Rec: Ron Swanson continues to grow into one of the funniest and most interesting characters in television. I just hope the producers don't start thinking he can have his own spin-off. I've love this campaign storyline, and this show has done a great job at skewing pop culture and current events. It is no coincidence they birthed this storyline during a one of the biggest election years in a long time.

The Office: I'm laughing out loud again, and the episodes in Florida have been the strongest of the season. It seems like the series has finally found its post Michael Scott groove. Though I still think it is time to wrap this series up soon, and no, I'm not interested in the proposed Dwight Schrute spin off. I'm glad that I'm not watching out of habit anymore, and I am laughing through most of the show.

Awake: A new show that premieres tonight. I almost guarantee that I won't watch it tonight. I am interested in catching the premier at some point. I like the concept of a guy living in two parallel worlds, and not entirely sure which is real and which is the dream. It can either be a compelling mystery or a convoluted mess. Either way, it promises to at least be interesting for the first hour or so.

So, what have you guys been checking out lately?