Last night was the Emmy awards and, well, I…don’t really care! I still enjoy TV a heck of a lot though! So, I figured I’d throw out my own personal Emmy award list with four shows that have really caught my attention this summer. There’s no limousines or fancy dresses though, in case you were excited about that.
I’ll freely admit that when I first added scheduled “Broadchurch” to record, it was completely site unseen and due solely to the fact that David Tennant starred in it. Let’s face it; he was a great Doctor Who and a good actor in general from what little I had seen of him outside of the Doctor. I really wanted to see if he could separate himself from the character and shine without the special effects.
Guess what…he really can!
“Broadchurch” is about as far flung from science fiction as you can get, giving us gripping drama that leaves you on the edge of your seat and emotionally floored at time. It’s dark and brooding, as is Tennant’s character and it all flows together so well. The show follows the exact formula of AMC’s “The Killing”, an entire season spent on the investigation of one crime. While “The Killing” itself was pretty great, I’d dare say that “Broadchurch” executes the formula even better. There are so many solid side characters, all with great performances, and the mystery is written so well that it’s taken most of the season to be able to form a solid guess as to ‘who-done-it’.
While I wouldn’t call the ending of each episode a cliff hanger, every episode of “Broadchurch” finishes off with a heavy emotional gut punch that leaves you chomping at the bit for the next episode. Not because you want to see what happens next, but more because you need to.
I had never even heard of “The League” until I saw it pop up on Netflix. Once I became aware of it, I started catching snippets of people talking about it in their usual haunts. Late last week, a friend mentioned that Seth Rogen shows up in it at a later date, so I started to be come curious. I mean, I’ve played fantasy football, I like crude humor and I’m an unabashed Seth Rogen fan. I figured it was something I needed to watch, so Friday night I had some spare time and was caught up on the DVR so I decided to check out the pilot. This morning, I watched the first episode of Season 1 before heading out to work.
In a nut shell, “The League” is hilarious. It’s crude humor, quite offensive at times, but the cast is made up of a great group of lesser known actors and comedians. They all play perfectly off each other and makes for a lot of eye watering hilarity. The tag of “The League” being about Fantasy Football shouldn’t turn you off. It is indeed about Dungeons and Dragons for Jocks, but there’s so much more to it. You don’t need to know anything about Fantasy Football to get the jokes, as they’re most there for setting. The real fun comes with how this group lays into each other with the taunting and slams that I”m sure all of us can connect with in our own friendships. When you find out Katie Aselton can be just as crude and crass as the guys, it gets even funnier. Jon Lajoie’s songs are just icing on the cake here.
“Siberia” has been one of the biggest surprises of the summer season. If you are a horror fan, you really should have been watching this one. The setup is akin to “The Blair Witch” in the way it is presented and used the first person point of view to great effect. Pair this with the fact that these people are on a “Survivor” style reality show and you realize that you’ve been thinking “What If…?” while watching “Survivor” longer than you would have thought.
While the show is far from terrifying, it flows far better than Oren Peli’s attempt at bringing the first person gimmick to TV in “The River”. The editing is well done and works to fool you into believing the reality show setup. Once it starts to flow, it serves to make you feel like you’re uncovering the mystery right along with the contestants that are stuck in the wilds of Siberia. And again, “Siberia” is never really terrifying, but it is confusing, mysterious and creepy all the same. It’s a nice change from the usual attempts at abject terror that this little sub-genre aims for. Plus, the writers lean heavily on historical events, to the extent that actual footage from said historical events show up in later episodes. As a TV viewer, this makes everything even more fun as you sit and try and theorize as to what’s happening here. The show is one part “Blain Witch”, one part “Lost”. Let’s just hope they don’t wind up in Purgatory. I hate when the writers cop-out with Purgatory in these types of shows.
Simply put, “Longmire” is one of my favorite shows on television. While I don’t mind westerns, I don’t consider myself a die hard fan. “Longmire” mixes just enough cowboy with modern sensibilities to make this show a blast. Really, the stories in this show are second to the characters themselves. Walt Longmire is total badass with a humble streak that makes him the polar opposite of Raylan Givens. His past is dark and murky and he’s so humble you can’t help but like him. Lou Diamond Phillips was a bit forced in the first season as Walt’s indian friend, but he’s found his stride in season 2 and really feels like an integral part of the show. Katie Sackhoff is tough as nails, yet endearing. Ferg is a bumbling deputy, but lovable. Branch, Walt’s antagonist is grating and infuriating by design and he carries off the roll well. Even the bad guys are great.
Story wise, “Longmire” is no slouch though. Based off the Craig Johnson novels of the same name, the episodes contain fluid dialog and non-sappy drama. The mysteries are well balanced and well told, with over arching mysteries that grow from season to season. It’s kind of like the “X Files” without the aliens and monsters!