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Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: June 12th, 2021, 1:09 am
by Pretentious Hipster

Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: July 3rd, 2021, 6:51 pm
by AdamH
Any thoughts on Cheers?

I've started watching it. I've been a huge fan of Frasier since it was first one and watched it many times. It does have a bad patch later on and the parts with Daphne's family are almost unwatchable (I genuinely fast-forward through the parts with Simon - what constitutes a check?).

I started yesterday and have already watched half of series 1 of Cheers. Feels like a 7/10 kind of programme so far.

What I like so far: it all being set in one place i.e. the bar, Norm, Coach
What I dislike so far: Carla, Carla, Carla, Carla, Carla, Carla.

Some of the storylines have been a bit weak so far. I'm rating each episode as I go. I'm normally more generous with TV episode ratings (as, if I'm watching a show I like, decent chance the episode will be at least ok...although there are exceptions when shows go downhill rapidly later on). Not giving many 8s so far and nothing above it. I'm also not invested in the Sam/Diane storyline so far and I know that becomes a big part of the show. Although what I've written is fairly negative, it seems like a nice and very watchable show so far so it's been very easy to watch quickly. I like the general feel of it and it's quite harmless and I really like that it's all in one location and the idea that they're all there every day.

Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: July 3rd, 2021, 7:34 pm
by OldAle1
I finished watching it earlier in the year. I don't rate continuing TV shows - perhaps I should, but I do keep track of what I've seen anyway, and I have a pretty good memory for the general feel of every show I've watched a significant amount of - but if I did, I might give it just a slightly higher rating, 7.5 maybe, 8 if I'm feeling very generous. No, probably 7.5 is right. I have it just above the halfway point of my favorite TV shows list that I did for the poll, which seems fair.

I can understand your disdain for Carla - I found her pretty irritating at first as well, but I got to appreciate her more as time went on, and she has more of a character arc and progression than most of the other characters, though it's inconsistent. This brings up a major area where the show differs from Frasier - there isn't much change in any of the major characters over time, certainly not the kind of development that you see on the later show in regards to Niles and Daphne in particular. And though there are some story arcs in the show, none of them are as serious or important in the show's overall design as the Daphne-Niles storyline, or even some of the smaller arcs on Frasier like Roz having a baby. Sure, Frasier and Lilith have a child but it doesn't seem to change them too much, though Lilith does leave Frasier - I guess that, and Diane leaving, and Coach dying, are the three biggest storylines, but all were prompted by circumstances outside the writers' control. (Should I have spoilered all that? If you've seen all of Frasier you already know most of these events though.)

It's a "lighter" show I guess overall than Frasier then, a bit less tethered to the real world, maybe a bit less "adult", but that's not a bad thing even if it is a limitation to some extent. I guess my favorite elements are, yeah, the bar setting, and most of the cast, particularly Sam and Norm and Frasier. Cliff grew on me, but there's only so much of him you want to see, and the episodes that focus more on him tend to be less interesting. Coach and Woody are both fun as the stupid comic relief, though I did wonder sometimes if they might have been better off replacing Coach with someone who was radically different, rather than a sort of younger rural version of the same dim persona. I think the biggest problem in the show is that both Diane and Rebecca are too neurotic and come off as kind of sexist portrayals of needy, man-hungry women. Kind of - but of course part of the gimmick of the show is that Sam is the greatest babe-magnet in the world, so their characterizations do make some sense in the context of the overall storyline. It's just too much sometimes, particularly Rebecca in the last couple of seasons.

Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: July 3rd, 2021, 9:56 pm
by AdamH
Thanks OldAle! Very interesting post. I appreciate your thoughts.

My post was a little bit more negative than I intended. I have liked it so far (I'm still on series 1) and I feel like I'll like it more gradually as it goes on but it's not striking me as "great" yet. There's a nice quality to it. It feels kind of homely. I suppose I just think some of the storylines in individual episodes have been fairly weak so far.

I like Sam so far. Might not be able to have a character like him on TV nowadays but he comes across as a good character. Not sure about Diane. Carla is irritating because she's so horrible and has had very few, if any, redeeming features so far. I like Coach (I can see that he's a fairly one dimensional character) but he's likeable. Norm is good too. Haven't seen too much of Cliff so far.

Don't worry about having post the spoilers. You hear bits and bobs in Frasier that give away some of the main storylines so nothing you've posted is new information really. I'll see what I think of it over the next few weeks (if I keep watching that long).

Out of interest, what is Frasier like on Cheers? Did you prefer the show with him in it? I guess I'm kind of going into this thinking "it will be great when Frasier comes in" but also realising that Cheers is a completely different show and Frasier will be in a different setting. The supporting cast are very important in Frasier (the show) and I feel like Frasier (the character) alone could be a little irritating in the wrong setting. Is he very much the same as he is in Frasier, does he change over time on Cheers?

Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: July 3rd, 2021, 10:19 pm
by OldAle1
Frasier is of course several years younger when he starts on Cheers - a young man rather than an early-middle-aged man - and a bit less fussy, neurotic and snobby. So he does fit in more with the bar crowd. They bring him in first (this is no surprise) as Diane's occasionally-seen boyfriend, but he was popular, and he was a good fit after Diane left, because I guess they felt they needed at least one intellectual type - whereas on his own show there's also his brother, so his snobbery and hoity-toity characteristics are the centerpiece of the show. But Cheers has a bigger cast, so any one character's extremes don't really matter as much; this is I think a mixed blessing - with as many as 8 main characters, you don't get too irritated with any of them - but they also don't get to play as big a role in any given episode (except Sam). I think that generally 4-6 main characters for a half-hour sitcom works best - Seinfeld and Frasier both fit that number perfectly, Cheers exceeds it. Not that some genius combination of writing/directing can't stretch things out more, but I think it's tough; this is probably in part why I haven't responded that well to a lot of the recent crop of mockumentary-based shows like Parks & Rec, Modern Family and the American version of The Office (the British original is a major exception to my rule, but that's because Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant ARE geniuses, and they knew how to fill up a half hour with a ton of characters - but of course they only did it for a very small number of shows). And the actors often resent having less air-time of course.

Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: July 3rd, 2021, 11:26 pm
by maxwelldeux
OK. I have a different perspective, as I grew up on Cheers. I was born in 1982, and my parents watched Cheers, so my memory of it is from the later seasons, when I was 7-11 or so. Sam and Diane was something I was aware of being a "thing", but I didn't know/care about it. Rebecca (Kirstie Alley) vs. Sam was the center of what I remember. Norm/Cliff were awesome as ever. Woody was a doofus, but funny. Carla was my favorite - sassy tiny talented woman who would take exactly zero shit.

Frasier. Now I watched that show through most (if not all) of the seasons when it was airing originally, and have since rewatched it. I'm a big fan of it.

Sixish years ago, I started watching Cheers got through about 3 seasons (stopped not because of the show, per se, but I discovered film around that time, so it got deprioritized). The early seasons are decidedly different from my memory of the later seasons. Frasier was entirely different - I just don't think his character was fleshed out particularly well early on, and watching early Cheers after watching Frasier is... jarring. Really, I don't think anyone was established well early on, besides Sam and Diane. But what the show was able to do eventually is write real character-driven humor. The sort of writing that you can only do if your audience has invested literally years in the characters.

I think it's a solid series, but I have limited interest these days in investing in sitcoms.

Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: July 3rd, 2021, 11:38 pm
by OldAle1
Good points, numero deux. I don't have too much interest in sitcoms either, or tv in general, but it does serve the purpose of what to watch while eating dinner, when I don't care if I miss a little bit, or when I know I'm not going to be able to watch a whole movie at the end of the night, but I'm not going to sleep immediately either. So I've been keeping 1-3 TV series going, slowly - one episode per night maybe on average - in recent years. Cheers was kind of a natural for me because I remembered seeing bits of it - the later seasons - when I lived with my second girlfriend in the early 90s. She was much more into TV and most of the TV she liked I despised - Friends and ER in particular, both of which I still hate - but this was an exception once I gave it a chance. And I loved Frasier immediately and love it more than ever now, so what the hell. The only sitcoms I have much interest in going through at the moment are The Bob Newhart Show (which I've seen quite a few episodes of, growing up, but little since the 70s) and The Honeymooners. I'm sure there are others, new and old, out there that I'd like, but it's just not much of a priority.

Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: July 4th, 2021, 2:09 pm
by AdamH
Almost finished S1. It's not been great. Maybe a 6.5 now. I'm not sure if I'll watch the whole show but I'll keep going to see what happens.

My main issue is I'm finding some of the plots really weak.

-Diane's mum telling her she needs to get married as it states in the dad's will that she will lose her fortune unless she marries within ten years of him dying
-Sam trying to force Diane to enter the Miss Barmaid contest
-Carla lying to a professor by saying he's the dad of her baby so he'll provide for the baby
-Diane's cat dying and everyone laughing about it
-Sam sleeping with an agent so he can be on adverts

etc.

Just finding it a bit weak at the moment. I have liked some of the episodes more than others so there's been some potential. I still don't care at all about the Sam/Diane storyline and that's starting to dominate things a bit more. I'd rather that whole plot was dropped but I realise it'll become even more important soon.

Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: July 16th, 2021, 9:17 am
by Armoreska
But wouldnt it be nice if they actually did personalize the order of episodes? I would like to have the most hetero, right wing libertarian episodes shoved to the back of the queue.
https://slate.com/culture/2019/03/netfl ... order.html

Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: July 20th, 2021, 1:40 pm
by GruesomeTwosome
I’m currently most of the way through Lovecraft Country right now, and while it can at times be very uneven I’m finding it quite a fascinating and unique series. The first episode (“Sundown”) and the one set in Korea during the war (“Meet Me in Daegu”) are particularly masterful pieces of television.

Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: July 21st, 2021, 1:50 am
by sebby
GruesomeTwosome wrote: July 20th, 2021, 1:40 pm I’m currently most of the way through Lovecraft Country right now, and while it can at times be very uneven I’m finding it quite a fascinating and unique series. The first episode (“Sundown”) and the one set in Korea during the war (“Meet Me in Daegu”) are particularly masterful pieces of television.
Yeah I thought it was fantastic. Bummer S2 was scrapped.

Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: July 21st, 2021, 1:53 am
by outdoorcats
GruesomeTwosome wrote: July 20th, 2021, 1:40 pm I’m currently most of the way through Lovecraft Country right now, and while it can at times be very uneven I’m finding it quite a fascinating and unique series. The first episode (“Sundown”) and the one set in Korea during the war (“Meet Me in Daegu”) are particularly masterful pieces of television.
Pretty much. Uneven but when when it's great, it's great. Sometimes I'd rather watch a show that constantly takes big swings and sometimes misses than something formulaic but good. There's another one late in the series that I think is the best.
Spoiler
(the Tulsa Riots episode)

Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: July 21st, 2021, 4:01 am
by GruesomeTwosome
outdoorcats wrote: July 21st, 2021, 1:53 am
GruesomeTwosome wrote: July 20th, 2021, 1:40 pm I’m currently most of the way through Lovecraft Country right now, and while it can at times be very uneven I’m finding it quite a fascinating and unique series. The first episode (“Sundown”) and the one set in Korea during the war (“Meet Me in Daegu”) are particularly masterful pieces of television.
Pretty much. Uneven but when when it's great, it's great. Sometimes I'd rather watch a show that constantly takes big swings and sometimes misses than something formulaic but good. There's another one late in the series that I think is the best.
Spoiler
(the Tulsa Riots episode)
Yeah, I’m with you on shows that swing for the fences even if they inevitably miss at times. Worth it for those home run moments. I just saw that episode you mentioned in spoilers (it’s episode 9, second to last), and it was a damn good one for sure, though for now I’m still thinking the series premiere and the Daegu episode were my faves. Only the finale left.

Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: July 24th, 2021, 4:00 am
by Torgo
That Masters of the Universe reboot series gets quite the shitstorm from fans who wanted more of the 80s and less of the 2020s .. to summarize what I'm seeing. 5.0 on IMDb for a new series are abysmal, lol.
I'm not interested in the project whatsoever.

Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: July 24th, 2021, 10:02 pm
by AdamH
I'm continuing to watch Cheers. It got a little bit better in the second half of series 3 although I'd still put it as very average so far and more like a 6.5 or 7/10 type of programme.

Still can't stand Carla (wish she wasn't in it at all), still have very, very little investment in the Sam/Diane relationship. There have been some better episodes recently which has given me some hope although I highly doubt I'll end up watching it all. Frasier showed up a couple of episodes ago which adds some more interest.

I'm definitely looking for a new programme to watch. Has been a while since I really got into something new.

Re: The TV Lounge

Posted: July 25th, 2021, 7:07 pm
by OldAle1
Been watching a few series lately - slowly going through Frasier for the umpteenth time, in the middle of the 10th (and I think probably weakest) season now; on season 2 of The Twilight Zone but that's slow because I'm taking them out from the library and they seem to be in demand for some reason. I could find them elsewhere but the BD of that show is exceptional with loads of extras and really high quality video and audio and in this case I like to be able to experience it at it's best - probably should just buy the set.

Those are two of my favorite shows, but today I'd rather write a little about two not-so-favorites that I've been watching for (more or less) the first time.

I wrote just a little about The Dukes of Hazzard HERE a few months ago. Having recently finished season 3, my opinion hasn't changed much, though I will say that the last two episodes of that season are definitely among the "best" of the show so far. Car crashes and chases and Catherine Bach's legs will only get you so far; if a couple of episodes here and there are better it's because very occasionally the show actually hits on a sort of zany farce and the narrative lines get briefly complicated enough - usually by having all the characters trying to get the same thing in different ways, crashing into each other or chasing each other, going to jail, breaking out of jail, jailing the jailers, etc - that it becomes kind of amusing. But on the whole this is just so utterly stupid that it's painful. To really enjoy a show like this I think you have to either a) imagine a world in which absolutely everybody is as dumb as the dumbest person you've ever met or b) imagine a world that resets itself every week - and only watch an episode of the show once enough time has passed that you've almost completely forgotten what you've seen before. Because every damn show them Dukes get in EXACTLY the same kind of fix they got in last week, and the idiot sheriff and totally corrupt Boss of the country (imagine DJT, only less purely evil and fatter) try to put them in jail illegally. Every. Single. Week. Was there something in the water in the USA in the late 70s and early 80s? Because this was I think the absolute nadir for American TV - the period when I was in middle and high school offers very little pitched at thinking adults and features some of the dumbest sitcoms (Three's Company), science fiction (Buck Rogers, Logan's Run and action-adventure (this show, Charlie's Angels) ever broadcast.

Then again TV today is a mixed bag, and high-concept shows are often just as stupid as they were 40 years ago. Witness Timeless which ran for two short seasons from 2016-18 (27 episodes total). I love time travel and like most people my age (and maybe most younger) when I think of time travel and TV my thought first goes to Doctor Who, a show I've always liked but which in it's earlier incarnation rarely got beyond the juvenile adventure aspects of the theme - GOOD juvenile adventure to be sure, at least sometimes, but it wasn't a show that seriously tackled the paradoxes or morality/ethics of time travel very often. And that's kind of what interests me. I saw the first 6-7 episodes of this when it was originally on - I guess I was watching it "live" on NBC - but then got bored, or wasn't able to watch it for a while, or something, and I just let it go. Realized a year ago or so that it had only lasted a short time and so decided what the heck, might as well give it another chance and go through the whole show. It's...not as terrible as The Dukes - obviously it's a totally different kind of thing - and not as terrible as a lot of those 70s SF shows, or other SF TV in general - Star Trek: Picard may in fact be the worst TV show I've ever seen and this isn't close to that level. If I rated TV shows Picard would be a 1, Buck Rogers a 3, and this probably 4-5. What's good - the principal cast is decent enough; I think they're all solid actors but as in most SF shows the writing typically lets them down. Hard to build good characterizations when you're not given much to work with and they're not, particularly Matt Lanter as Wyatt, the military guy. His wife's dead and he's a military guy - that's his story, period. Lucy (Abigail Spencer) the historian has the most backstory but it's curiously flat - she's a historian, her mother is one too, she's got a sister she loves who SPOILER disappears at the end of the first episode because of time travel changing history; it seems like her whole story is just there to make the plot move. Rufus (Malcolm Barrett), the scientist and pilot of the time vehicle, is probably the best character because he seems to have the most normal reactions to all the craziness that's going on, and he seems a little more vulnerable and prone to making decisions that just come out of real human weaknesses or lapses in judgment. His geekiness is maybe a little over-stated, but OK I can deal with that in a show made today where scientists are a major focus. And there's a bigger secondary cast which, adding to a primary cast of one white male, one white female, one black male, seems designed to be very deliberately diverse, though that I have to say is never pushed in the audiences faces and ultimately works fine.

The real problem, as I said, is the writing. Basic story is that some scientists have invented time travel, among them including Rufus' old mentor Anthony (Matt Frewer). As the first episode opens Anthony is kidnapped by apparent psycho Flynn (Goran Visnjic, almost too perfect and obvious for this role), and they take a time vehicle out and work to change history, and our trio are sent after them to stop carnage from happening. We soon learn, however, that there is more to Flynn than there seems to be and a sinister cabal called "Rittenhouse" - think the Illuminati or something - that he's working against, so maybe he's not such a bad guy. Maybe. Each episode involves Flynn and his group going to some time period, and the heroes (somehow) finding where they are and racing to stop him from killing George Washington, or killing Ulysses Grant, or stopping the Hindenburg from crashing, etc etc. Of course they meet every fucking famous person in American history - oh yes, this is very America-focused and even the few episodes that take place outside of the US are focused on American history (Lindbergh in France, commandoes in Nazi Germany, etc). There are loads of problems with all of it; first of all, the whole way in which they handle time travel - the fact that the heroes can follow the villains, that the same amount of time elapses in the present as in the time trips (maybe - not sure this is consistent or even explained), and the surprisingly extremely minimal changes to history that result - I just finished the 14th episode and apart from Lucy losing her sister, nothing much has changed in the world despite quite a few significant historical anomalies. And there's the notion that every single time/space location that Flynn goes to is VERY VERY FAMOUS, which is really just so that the dumbass audience will catch on - if they had a wild west episode that involved some 3rd-tier gunfighter but was important for some obscure reason, it wouldn't sell the show I guess, but "next week - Jesse James AND The Lone Ranger and Tonto" does. It all makes for a "see look at this cool thing, we're meeting Houdini" approach that is really tiresome. In the last episode I watched the characters manage to meet Lindbergh AND Hemingway AND Josephine Baker AND Picasso's in the room. Come on. It's all so trite and juvenile, and I've hoped that the whole Rittenhouse conspiracy plotline would add up to something, but it hasn't so far - it really seems like a huge red herring at this point and though I think it will be something more than that ultimately I don't have any hopes for it all making sense or being that interesting. The best episode so far is one in which Wyatt and Rufus go rogue and take the time machine to some obscure moment - somewhere in the midwest in the 1980s during a terrific thunderstorm, trying to change recent history such that Wyatt's wife won't end up dead. It had just a bit of real pathos, and it was in recent enough times so that the characters don't stick out like the sore thumbs that they really would - another issue I have is that these people never act like anything but 21st century characters, and their attempts to blend in would be absolutely laughable. I could go on about all the problems (here's one: how is it that Lucy knows something significant about EVERY historical event involved; aren't historians these days specialists?) here but when all is said and done it's really just another example of TV science fiction that assumes it's audience is nothing but dumbasses, and that seems like it has nobody with any real brains or vision behind it.