After months of deprivation, T.V serial addicts are united in jubilation as the new season heralds the return of old shows and the debut of new ones. There’s the hilarity that is the Big Bang Theory and the barrel of laughs that is Modern Family (why is it that Sofia Vergaras accent seems to thicken by the episode?)
There’s my other favourite comedy, Parks and Recreations and of course Laura Linney continues to be superb as a woman struggling with cancer in The Big C (but even Linney’s performance might not carry that show far enough). The first episode of season six of Dexter was just screened this week. You ask, what will our friendly, neighbourhood serial killer get up to this year? Your guess is as good as mine and here’s mine: Dexter is going to go all religious. So, remember to check for errant serial killers before you step into the confessional.
Unlike in the cinemas, T.V viewers have enjoyed some stellar stuff this year – take the adaptation of George R.R Martin’s Game of Thrones. It was rather wonderfully done, with an incredible cast of young actors. My personal favourite though is Peter Dinklage who plays the dwarf Tyrion Lannister, but really the show is such a constellation of stars, you’re spoilt for choice. (But really, isn’t Dinklage the perfect name for such a little man?)
For anyone who finds those mammoth books tough going, here are the author sanctioned visuals. One of the season’s biggest successes though, came from the beautiful period drama Downton Abbey. Set in an England just before the outbreak of WW I, the series takes viewers into the lives of an aristocratic England that is about to be changed forever. We are introduced to the servants who run the mammoth house as well as to the Duke and his family – each character is lovingly fleshed out, and you can’t help but be absorbed by the unfolding of events both great and small. Season 2 is now underway, and we’re waiting, breathlessly to see who survives the war.
Unfortunately, some of the new season’s most hyped new programs are rather disappointing. You know I’m talking about Terra Nova. The tedious tale is signature Steven Spielberg, but it’s as if he and J.J Abrams of Lost had a love child together. And the poor, mutated thing is far from pretty – strangely, the nearly two decade old dinos in Jurassic Park looked much smarter than the lumbering, rather ridiculous ones here. Frankly, at $4 million an episode, Mr. Spielberg, I’d expect the dinos to be able to tap dance. The plot is also...well (yawn) nothing you and your three year old couldn’t concoct together from the usual formula. The series begins in the year 2149, where surprise, surprise, we’ve ruined the planet. However, a ‘time fracture’ allows a select few to travel 85 million years into the past where they found a new colony. They are mankind’s true hope of survival – but only if they don’t shoot each other first, and oh yes, get eaten by dinosaurs.
Spielberg opens with his favourite ploy – the coterie of annoyingly inquisitive teens who seem to think its a good idea to hop through the fence (which idiot made the fence hopable we wonder) and into a jungle full of homicidal, hungry dinosaurs. Unfortunately, most of them don’t get eaten. They do however, pave the way for subplots including a sinister conspiracy and a rival settlement.
If you’d prefer pretty girls over dinosaurs, the first few episodes of Pan Am are up. (If it isn’t running on your T.V, just google any of the series names and you’ll find episodes up for free viewing online.) The series takes you back to a time when airline travel was the most luxurious thing – they set the scene with one of their airhostesses making the cover of LIFE magazine. The debut spawned a hundred comparisons to Mad Men, but Pan Am is altogether lighter and at least in the first episode, somewhat less sexist. There’s even some spy hijinks thrown in for good measure.
Taken all together, the new season is the T.V equivalent of a buffet. I think I might not be the only one to abandon my brief flirtation with exercise and fresh air for the life of a contented couch potato.