Monday, October 28, 2013

TV and Me

Good news for lovers of Drop Dead Diva: Lifetime network has already renewed it for a sixth season.  Last year at this time, nobody knew if it would be renewed or not.  Lifetime hemmed and hawed and finally announced that it was being canceled.

fans, myself included, were furious.  they had kept us, and the actors, writers, and everyone involved with the show waiting far too long. fans were also concerned that the actors were contract bound and thus couldn't look for new longterm work. so we wrote letters, petitions, and emails by the hundreds--and Lifetime changed its mind.  this  year, apparently, they didn't want to wait for the onslaught.

DDD is among the shows created by an interesting new programming device that the 2nd-tier cable channels have been using in the past few years--new programming for summer only. (this  year, however, that too has been tweaked: a few of the summer shows, DDD included, did half the shows in the summer and held the rest for the fall.  i'm not sure of the reasoning, but it's great to see my favorite shows through the early fall.)  DDD's fifth season ends next week.  it's been an up and down season, but overall a good one.i think the writers fail in consistency too often: a 'good' character suddenly turns nasty, or deserts his pregnant lover, etc, not in a way that shows complexity or nuance but simply in a way s/he wouldn't act. tonight's episode was one of the better ones, with Deb's mother being arrested for soliciting sex.  She is innocent of that; in her loneliness, and the bizarre effects of a recent surgery, she picks up a  lot of guys in bars.  What is great here is that we are not asked to condemn her promiscuity, but to accept it, in a world in which a woman over 40 is considered past her sell-by date. I love it when the show takes on social issues [over the years, it has won several awards from gay and  lesbian organizations).  yet  its major message--the sexiness of jane, who is fat--is diluted by the fact that everyone else in her law firm is model-thin.  again, this is inconsistent dramatically and in terms of its own theme.  still, given what we have on tv in general, it's a superior show.

next sunday is its last episode till the summer, but i'm not as bereft as i might be. a small but one hopes growing station is airing reruns of another of my favorites that, sadly, was cancelled and stayed canceled, leverage.  since i've missed a lot of episodes over the years, i'm glad for the chance to catch up; reruns are fine too.  leverage is an interesting show: sort of mission impossible meets robin hood meets m*a*s*h meets low-key marxism.   here a group of five ex-criminals turns its talents toward helping those exploited by the rich and the powerful. it begins each episode by announcing this, explaining that 'we give them [the underdogs] leverage.' thus it has been an implicit critique of the US economic policies that area knocking down more and more middle- and working-class citizens.  at the same time, it is always funny.  technically each of the characters has a different skill.  nate is the brains behind the whole thing, and working for him are a tough martial arts expert, eliot; a failed actress who can fake accents and characters of all sorts for their con jobs, sophie; an expert computer hacker , hardigan; and a cat burglar, parker.  in fact, everyone takes on some degree of 'acting' in their often convoluted and multi-faceted cons; all have intellects suitable to the work they do;  eliot is a splendid cook who can take on that role when they are undermining crooked restaurant owners; and geek hardisan can fight nearly as well as eliot if he needs to.

i have my favorites among these characters: parker, with her terrible social skills--the result of a dickensian childhood of crime and little parenting--can be funny and sometimes touching, and loves her work.  she frequently joins their meetings hanging upside down from the ceiling.  and hardison is witty, clever and fun in, as he gleefully admits, a geeky way. slowly throughout the seasons, these two have become close to each other, and ultimately lovers.  this has its downside, though.  granted, romance is a low priority on the show: still, nate and sophie have a vague, tentative relationship, and we do see them in  bed occasionally.  while the vibes emanate between parker and hardison, we never see a kiss or, as far as i can tell, a hand-holding.  i can only guess that this is to please any racist viewers around: parker is pale blonde, hardison dark black.  the intensity of their feelings for each other will sometimes be evident in an episode--most outstandingly one in which hardison has been buried alive, and the group is desperately trying to find him among hundreds of graves.  parker contacts him by their omnipresent hidden listening devises, and she fiercely talks to him, keeping him from giving up hope, keeping her own emotions in check yet clear to the viewer, until she does the impossible and finds him.  his gratitude, her relief, are clear: yet nary a clinch.   even when they move in together and tell the rest of the crew that they've done so, they sound and act like roommate chums rather than lovers.  it has been a disappointment in an otherwise gutsy show.

okay, we've covered my sundays, and as always i've written a long piece.  covert affairs will wait for another day, as will ncis:la. 

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