20 November 2009

Why Do We Watch?

As anyone who reads this blog will no doubt know, I've been reviewing House and Fringe for pulptone.com since the starts of their sixth and second seasons, respectively.  A few weeks ago, I wanted to review something else, to have a chance to look at another show.  In this case, it was ABC's revamp of V.

So what made me stop reviewing that show after two episodes, yet I continue to review House and Fringe, in spite of less than stellar individual episodes?
Both House and Fringe have been experiencing highs and lows this season.  House leans more towards the high points; Fringe towards the lows.  I freely admit that every so often, it's torture to watch those shows.  There have been some genuinely bad episodes this season.  Fringe, in particular has had an extremely rocky start - moreso than last season.

But what those two have in common is one or more characters and actors that I enjoy.  In the case of House, it's House and the rest of the cast, with the exception of Thirteen and Cameron.  In the case of Fringe, it's largely the whole cast, with the occasional exception of the main character (through fault of poor writing).

V, on the other hand, provided no joy whatsoever in characterization.  I simply didn't care.  The aliens can have them, eat them, whatever lizard aliens do.  Sure, it had castaways from Firefly, but while I love the actors, it means nothing to me if I don't like the characters they play.

A lengthy discussion on television with the tweeterrific @JoannaDangelo (be sure to have a look at her blog, Pop Culture Divas) brought up similar feelings with Joss Whedon's recently cancelled Dollhouse.  Though I feel the cancellation of Firefly was one of the greatest televised crimes in the history of TV, I feel the exact opposite about Dollhouse.  To all the lovers of the show, I'm sorry - but I didn't like it.  It was easily Whedon's weakest effort.  I couldn't get into it.  And why not?  I didn't like a single character on the show.  When the main character is a tabula rasa - endlessly changing - it's hard to find empathetic and/or likable characteristics.

Overarching story is extremely important, but in order for a show to hold a remote bit of interest, there has to be at least one character that you want to see every week.  It's like living with someone - no matter how great the sex is, if you don't like their personality, it's not going to work.


Joanna D'Angelo said...

Hi Tyler:

Great post! I completely agree with you. Gee, I wonder why *grins*. I feel the same way about Dollhouse - interesting premise but how can an audience connect with or relate to a character whose memories are erased in every ep? Perhaps the show evolved into something else in season 2 - but the fact that it was canceled tells me, no. I also hate it when great shows are axed - shows that are smart and connect with an audience - but unfortunately not a mass audience to warrant a second or third season. While I do enjoy watching medical dramas and police procedurals - each season I yearn for that quirky - break out show that's going to be "the one". I loved Eli Stone but clearly the suits didn't. I hope they don't do away with Glee - it's my fave new show on TV this season - great characters - love the musical numbers and the story lines are an hilarious exaggeration of what high school was like for most of us. BTW - my main blog is http://www.popculturedivas.com/ ;D

Tyler Weaver said...

Changed accordingly =)

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