I wouldn’t qualify myself as a reality TV junkie but I watch my fair share of shows that have no redeeming value, showcase incredibly talented people, or simply pit people against each other for a large cash prize. Although I’ve been a dedicated follower of MTV’s Road Rules and subsequent Real World / Road Rules Challenges I much prefer skilled competition based reality shows like Project Runway and So You Think You Can Dance. Perhaps that is why I’ve recently become so intrigued with SyFy’s new reality show Face Off.
Face Off pits special effects make-up artists against each other in a series of weekly challenges. Although the show has only aired four episodes I’m already blown away with the amount of talent and creativity showcased. The competitors really have to be skilled in a number of mediums and materials. They don’t just create masks or faces – they develop entire characters with back-stories along with attire and props. Like other similar shows, Face Off offers drama and bickery but also some actual teamwork too. Another aspect of the show I like is that the winner of the weekly challenge gets to give their two cents about who, of the bottom three, should go home. I think their input is generally insightful, if not spiteful because the judges don’t get to see what really goes on in the workroom.
Season 22 of Survivor premiered last week. Survivor has always been a show I’ve watched here and there. If I start watching a season I generally will follow through with it, but I typically don’t feel compelled to watch every single season. I find most seasons boring until the merge anyway, but I’m particularly unexcited by this new season. The Redemption Island twist sounds like a bad RW/RR Challenge idea and I could care less about the fake Russell versus Boston Rob feud. Honestly I don’t think Boston Rob gives a damn about Russell and I hate that this is Russell’s third time playing in the last four seasons. Give it up Probst; he’s never going to win the jury vote. I mean are they going to keep letting him play until he wins?
For those looking for another enjoyable yet mindless reality show, I totally recommend Winter Wipeout. Not that I am encouraging people to watch something other than Community at the 8pm hour on Thursday night, but Wipeout is pretty hilarious if you can get past the annoying commentary. DVR it or catch up on Hulu because Wipeout features really ridiculous people getting smashed, whacked, and tossed all over the place. It’s fantastic. Also the new winter course still features the big red balls and a lot of other insane obstacles.
If you were to look at a list of all the TV shows I love, or at the very least watch on a regular basis you would be able to pick up on two major trends in my viewership – 1) I have an affinity for medical shows of all kinds and 2) I’m easily entranced by dramas regardless of quality. Off the Map seems like the perfect blend of the two.
So for the un-addicts that happen upon this posting, Off the Map is the newest series from medical drama extraordinaire Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. Although I’ve never personally seen more than an episode of either, both shows seem to attract a dedicated audience and do well in ratings – two characteristics I can feel hopeful about. I don’t regret watching shows that are quickly cancelled, many are really phenomenal, but it would certainly be nice to get involved in a show with staying power.
Not that I need a show to be good to watch, I have a lot of guilty pleasures on my TV schedule, it would be an added bonus. And from what I hear neither of her other shows jumped the shark until a few seasons in, something about ghost sex… Regardless, I’m pretty psyched for the premier and I just really hope that this isn’t the unlucky one. Do audiences really need another medical drama, probably not but hell people watch a lot of stuff I think is unnecessary and ridiculous so one can only hope.
Another reason I intend to watch, and why I want to encourage others to do the same is because of a few of the actors involved. Off the Map stars Caroline Dhavernas from the short-lived and super awesome series Wonderfalls and Zach Gilford, former QB1 from the outstanding show Friday Night Lights. I loved both of their characters on their other series and I really do hope that these two talented actors can find success on TV so I can keep watching them do their thing.
So bring on the blood, guts, relationships, and tropical scenery, Off the Map premiers this Wednesday – January 12th on ABC at 10pm.
Scrubs has been really funny this season, even more so, when JD is not present. I just wanted to put that statement out there, before I get any further along, since this is where I am headed with this entry.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti JD and when I initially read that Scrubs was renewed for a ninth season, with a mostly new cast, I was less than thrilled. Sure Scrubs has had some great seasons and some less than great seasons, but overall I thought “My Finale Part I & II” (8.18 & 8.19) were a perfectly respectable way to go out. I wasn’t interested in a spin-off or a reboot with the same name and I wasn’t interested in seeing a new class of med students. After eight seasons I’ve gotten kind of attached to JD, Turk, Carla, Elliot, The Janitor, and Dr. Cox and I’ve also grown fond of the many colorful background characters that keep Sacred Heart Hospital so much fun to visit on a weekly basis.
So even though I had reservations, I wasn’t about to give up on Scrubs. Maybe it’s a personal weakness, but generally when I start a show—I finish it. To put that statement into perspective I watched all eight seasons of Charmed and I’m still watching Smallville on a weekly basis. Initially I was lukewarm to the new season even though the first few episodes heavily featured JD, Dr. Cox, and Turk. The changes made to the show just felt like too much too soon. I had difficultly wrapping my head around the fact that in a few short months a new hospital / med school was built and most everyone was suddenly a professor or gone. (Yes, I understand that it’s a television show…just stay with me, I’m getting to the point.)
Surprisingly, I found myself liking the new characters and their quirks. And while there were certainly some laugh out loud moments in the first few episodes, it wasn’t until JD left that I started to really enjoy the new season.
Here is the main reason why: The character of JD walks a fine line between character and caricature. While I understand that this show is a comedy, unlike the other main characters he has been the most inconsistent in terms of growth. No, I don’t want, or expect him to stop the daydreams or tone down the bromance with Turk, but his constant need for approval and outlandish ‘real-life’ ideas just grow old after a while. What I find even more frustrating about the way his character has been written lately, is that it seems to be a regression from the level of maturity he reached last season, settling down with Elliot and choosing to leave Sacred Heard Hospital to be closer to his son.
Perhaps that is why I don’t mind the ridiculousness of the new characters. Lucy’s horse obsession has been a constant and Cole has always unnecessarily abbreviated words, but I don’t really expect anything else from them. The show is just now starting to develop the new crop of “murderers, butchers, slaughterers, and slayers” into three-dimensional characters. On the other hand, the same character that worried about being man enough for his son (7.8) and willingly postponed steak night to stay with a dying patient (8.2) also wore a hairnet rather than a helmet so as to not mess up his hairdo (3.4) and taught class from a tree (9.2).