Thursday, August 02, 2007

More Summer TV

Following up on my previous Summer TV post, here are a few shows I missed.

State of Mind: This new drama's premise, a group of therapists who are -- wait for it!! -- more messed up than their patients (ha!!!!!!! It's so crazy!!!!!!!!!), did not appeal to me much. And the fact that the show is on Lifetime didn't help, either (as Jim Gaffigan sums up the channel: "Meredith Baxter-Birney gets beaten with a rod in the Lifetime original movie, Rod"). But I was sold the second I saw it stars Lili Taylor. I love Lili Taylor. Just love her. Too bad the show is so lame.

I promise you, I wanted to like the show. And I actually do like Taylor's character, a bit. She seems a bit too abrasive and short-sighted to be a good therapist, and her catching her husband cheating on her didn't help humanize her, or make me sympathize with her, as it apparently was supposed to (the whole plot with her husband feels hackneyed and superfluous instead), and her dream sequences and hallucinations during sessions with her patients are annoying bits of quirkiness-for-the-sake-of-quirkiness, rather than genuine revelatory moments about her psyche... hmm, maybe I don't like her character.

But it's another character that I truly despise, and who has made me, after two episodes, give up on the show. It's the child psychiatrist, played by Derek Riddell. He's supposed to be this genius with children, but in the first episode, he lets a runaway kid spend the night in his bedroom rather than notifying the kid's foster parents. Uh... I'm no expert, but I'm gonna say that's a bad thing to do. (The parents, by the way, are no monsters: they're very sweet and trying their best with a very difficult child.) And then, when the police come looking for the kid, the therapist recklessly and deliberately plays up their fears that he might actually be a child molester. It's such an incredibly stupid and unrealistic thing to do, destroying any shred of credibility the show might have had.

And then, next week (where it sadly becomes apparent that this guy is as much the star of the show as Lili Taylor), we spend a large part of the episode finding out he's had a series of wives, and one of them is a dippy hippie who thinks she's dying (she's not) because her aura turned black, and then we have this interminable, maudlin hospital confessional scene from the therapist -- ugh. I can't stand one more second of this guy. I'm out. At least I've seen enough of the show to know that I won't be missing much else of worth.

Side Order of Life: Unwatchable. Sorry, that's a little harsh. Let's just say it barely took ten minutes to decide it's not for me. It's another Lifetime show; maybe that should've been a hint. If you like it, and its bland, simpering heroine (Marisa Coughlan) who second guesses her impending marriage to Jason Priestly because her best friend gets cancer, well, more power to you. Just leave me out of it.

Burn Notice: Tolerable fluff. Jeffrey Donovan stars as a spy who gets a "burn notice" in the middle of an operation -- he's blacklisted from the agency, his accounts are frozen, and all his former contacts disavow knowledge of him. He's now trapped in Miami, making ends meet by taking on odd detective-type jobs, while dealing with a psycho (but hot) ex (Gabrielle Anwar), a meddlesome mother (Sharon Gless -- hey, it's Cagney!), and a weaselly spy buddy who's simultaneously supplying him with info and selling him out to the feds, played by... Bruce frickin' Campbell.

Sold! Right? I mean, Bruce Campbell's in it? Done deal! Right? Well... not quite. He's highly enjoyable, of course, as a skirt-chasing, booze-swilling wisecracker, but his limited airtime as second banana to Donovan can't quite elevate the show above a mildly entertaining diversion. I'm not very interested in the main character (though Donovan is funny and smoothly charismatic), nor his quest to discover who burned him, and why. If I catch the show, that's fine; if I don't, that's fine, too.

Psych: I've mostly only been talking about new shows in my Summer TV roundups, but I wanted to throw in Psych, which I reviewed here when it debuted last year, just to mention quickly: did you see that episode a couple weeks back, about the dinosaur fossils that were dug up on that farmer's land in Ojai? Ojai, which is about half an hour from Santa Barbara, where the show is set, and where several genuine outdoor scenes for the show have been filmed? Ojai, which is where I grew up, and will probably always be, no matter how long I live nor how far I travel, the place I think of when I think of "home"? Did you see it?

Yeah, that wasn't Ojai. The minute they showed the farmer's field, I said to myself, "In this episode, 'Ojai' will be played by 'Canada.'" Nice try, Psych.

It's just weird. If they film outdoor scenes in the real Santa Barbara, why couldn't they be bothered to take a 30-minute drive to the real Ojai, and film there, too? And why can't the new Bionic Woman live in Ojai, like the old Bionic Woman did?? Ojai is nice, dammit! And extremely photogenic.

It's Shangri-La, damn your eyes!!

See?? Show some love for Ojai, you TV bitches. (Nobody mention Brothers & Sisters to me. That show doesn't count. Because I hate it.)

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by