2013 Fall Television Preview: Tuesday

E: Tuesdays in 2013 are bursting with new television shows.  Vampires?  Secret agents? Comic cops?  Seth Green?  You got it. Will you like it?  Will we?  Now those are the questions.

M: You had me at Seth Green.

Here’s a quick key to help you as you read:

  • Titles in blue are new this season
  • Each * means one Quibbling Sibling will be tuning in
  • Monday’s schedule is up

8:00pm

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (ABC, September 24th)***

E: This might just be the network series I’m most excited about for 2013. It’s certainly top 3, clunky name not withstanding.

C: People will just call it “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” I imagine?

M: I, for one, will always include “Marvel” as part of whatever name or nickname I use. Because really, that’s what’s important.

E: Ha ha. Clark Gregg stars as a mysteriously resurrected Agent Coulson from the Avenger film universe, setting up an agency staffed by, among others, ER‘s Ming-Na Wen. It looks like much of the energy of the pilot goes toward recruiting Nashville‘s Chloe Bennett.

C: I don’t know them, but I think this is a great direction to take the extended Marvel franchise. At least, in theory. We’ll see how good they are at writing superhero-wrangling antics on a week-by-week basis.

M: It seems like Avengers-meets-Heroes to me, which could be fantastic, or could fail miserably. I’m hoping for the former, but unlike just about all my geek friends, I have my doubts.

E: Cynic!  No, of course you have doubts. It’s foolish to assume every cool concept will work, even if the advanced word — snark and adventure in the style of Joss Whedon — promises very very good things. I have doubts and hopes in equal measure.

C: I’m pretty hopeful. Even if it does take some (heavy-handed) poignancy out of Avengers if Coulson was actually fine all along… but who cares. Superheroes, yay!

NCIS (CBS, September 24th)

M: HUGE issues in the off-season for NCIS, as the lone female main cast member, Cote de Pablo, is leaving the show over a contract dispute. There’s a lot of rumors, and not a lot of fact, but it appears that the show was unwilling to pay her on par with co-star Michael Weatherly.

C: Well that’s despicable.

M: The fact that Ziva and Dinozzo would be paid differently is patently ridiculous, unless it was a minor amount and based on negotiating at different times or in different years. The fact that other CBS female leads, like those on Criminal Minds, allegedly had similar contract issues and are similarly being paid less than their male co-stars is just baffling to me. Maybe it’s because I have always worked at a company that starts everyone at the same level, and gives raises ENTIRELY based on performance, maybe it’s naivete, but I can’t understand how this could be an issue in 2013.

E: Or maybe it’s because you were raised to be fair and grew up with two smart sisters?

C: Maybe, but it’s still a reality in many industries, and some say Hollywood hasn’t even improved as the decades go on.

M: As for the new season, the producers have promised an emotional, satisfying but heart-wrenching end to Ziva’s time with the hit show.

E: I had heard she was leaving, and I know fans of that pairing are pretty livid, but I had no idea that the network screwed it all up for everyone.  Badly done, CBS.  Badly done.

The Originals (CW, premiers Thursday October 3rd for some reason, starts its regular time slot on October 8th)

E: For fans of The Vampire Diaries, it’s a dream come true: a spin off, set in New Orleans.  Which is obviously where vampires belong in America: just listen to Sting.  Or ask Anne Rice.

M: That is one of my all time favorite Sting songs.

C: Is that what TVD fans dream about? I thought they just dreamed about Ian Somerhalder’s blue eyes.

M: I think they dream about more than just his eyes… just sayin’. As for the show, it appears to center on the battle for control of New Orleans between a vampire-werewolf hybrid (let’s see a Toyota Prius try to top THAT!) and his former protege. If that’s not enough, the vampire-werewolf hybrid dude has apparently “miraculously” impregnated a non-hybrid werewolf. I think they stole their plot from the original miniseries of V, a miniseries which included the immortal line “Yeah, I’m hip,” delivered with all seriousness by the legendary Marc Singer. I’m thinking that’s the bar for The Originals, coming up with something so bad that it’s remembered fondly decades later.

Dads (FOX, September 17th)*

E: The good: Seth Green, in the flesh!  The bad: sitcom.  And what a sitcommy-looking sitcom.  Live audience, big fake laughs over jokes that are either obvious or not funny.

C: So wait. There’s a new sitcom called Dads, and another called Mom? Really, neither creative team had a better idea?

M: Yeah, seriously. At least with Dads there’s no confusion over the title. With Mom, Anna Farris and Allison Janney are both “mom.”

E: See, I would call that a mild attempt at layers of meaning rather than confusion, but whatever.

M: I’m sure you would.

C: Um, my problem with the title wasn’t confusion on who the “mom” or “dads” in question were.

E: Thank you.

M: Okay, back on topic, this has a fantastic cast — not just Green, but Giovanni Ribisi…

C: Lightning boy! Love him.

M: …Martin Mull and Peter Reigert — and is produced by Green’s Family Guy boss, Seth MacFarlane, who is trying to harken back to the days of comedies like All In The Family, supposedly. In this, Green and Ribisi are roommates whose dads unexpectedly move in with them. Hilarity ensues, or so we hope. I’m interested enough to check it out.

E: I’m all for the return of great television comedy, but I don’t know what it is with this year and amazing casts in terrible-looking sitcoms.  All four of those actors are eminently watchable, but yeesh.

The Biggest Loser (NBC, October 8th)

M: I haven’t watched the last few seasons of this extremely DVR-friendly show, but have always found it inspiring when I do watch.

E: It’s true, both about the show being moving (I always cry when I watch) and being DVR-friendly, but I haven’t tuned in in a few years.  For those who do: the show’s slimmed down to an hour instead of the very unnecessary two.  And there’s a contestant you might have heard of — American Idol season 2 champion Ruben Studdard.  Not enough? The trainers will have the ability to “save” contestants this season.  Hmmm.  This might be the rare occasion where I’m in favor of such a step.

M: That actually sounds really good to me. I’ve always been in favor of more control from the people in the know (trainers, judges, etc) on reality competition shows, at least up to the very end. As we’ve seen on TBL before, weigh ins can sometimes be manipulated, votes can be totally biased, and quite often audience voting is just dead wrong.

8:30pm

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX, September 17th)*

E: Okay, so it’s a sitcom.  I don’t know, though; I keep getting flashbacks to Barney Miller, and those are some warm and gooey childhood nostalgia flashbacks.  And it’s probably not an accident, because the creators are going for a M*A*S*H vibe; Andy Samberg excels at his job but is also a joker. What sort of tension does that create in the workplace, especially when his boss is a type A hardliner played by Andre Braugher? Also, it just looks funny.

C: I don’t know what Barney Miller is, but this looks very unremarkable to me. Andy Samberg plays a goofy manboy cop with an uptight, by-the-book female partner. Sounds like a cliche-fest.

M: But it is Samberg, which means it has a chance. As for Barney Miller, I hate to say it but E… we’re old.

E: Hush.  C is just uneducated. Maybe we’ll have to fix that with her Christmas present…

M: Who could possible be upset with a box of Abe Vigoda for Christmas!

9:00pm

The Goldbergs (ABC, September 24th)

E: I love the 80s as much as the next person, but there’s not a lot that looks funny in this family sitcom throwback to the days of the great family sitcom. George Seagal is a plus as the free-minded, sports car driving grandpa, and Wendy McClendon-Covey was a hoot in Bridesmaids, but eh.

M: Yeah, like you said above on Dads, not thinking this is the one.

NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS, September 24th)

M: All that stuff I wrote about NCIS? Yeah, that’s not going on with the west coast version of the show. What is? Despite my liking of LL Cool J, I have no clue. Sorry.

E: Well, as best I can tell (or as best as Entertainment Weekly can tell me), the premiere sees two of the main characters (including your boy LL) rescued from the clutches of Russian arms dealers.  I’m sure that will be very exciting, but like Grey’s Anatomy a few seasons ago, NCIS: LA will spend a good chunk of the season dealing with the agents’ post-traumatic stress disorder.  I’m usually down for the realism, but at least with Grey’s Anatomy it was not very enjoyable to watch.

M: Well, at least it won’t be usually Hollywood fare, where people are tortured with no short or long term damage (see 24).

E: Fair enough.  Wait, does that mean you kind of said something good about Grey’s Anatomy?

Supernatural (CW, October 8th)

C: I know some people who are very, very glad this is back. Apparently, despite fluctuations in quality in the past, the show’s diehard fan base has been quite happy lately.

M: Seriously, how the hell (reference intended) is this show still on the air? C, didn’t it debut when you were in Jr High?

C: No, but close. There are plenty of older shows around though — American Idol, for instance.

New Girl (FOX, September 17th)*

E: Jess and Nick navigate the perils of dating as roommates.

C: Which, gosh, sounds incredibly hard. Seriously. Not to mention very awkward for their other roommates.

E: Oh yeah.  Very very awkward.

M: But this show is built on awkwardness, so that works.

C: New Girl is very hit or miss, but I do enjoy it more often than not, I’d say. It can be extremely charming. And Jess and Nick’s first kiss was seriously good — I’d rate it second, I think, on my all-time list of great TV kisses. Or third. But maybe second. Let’s hope they can keep up their great chemistry!

E: Ooooh!  Now that’s a blog post we need to write. Best kisses on television!  (I’ll confess – I only occasionally watch snippets of this show, but after hearing about the kiss I watched it on youtube. Definitely swoon-worthy. Too bad it no longer seems to exist there outside of fan videos, or I would link you to it so you could see for yourselves.  It’s not the same with soppy background music.  Or in slow motion.)

M: I think it’s far more hit than miss personally, but now that you have teased everyone, you have to let us know what #’s 1 and 2-maybe-3 are on your list. Kirk and Uhura on the Star Trek:TOS?

C: Well, no. That was more historic than intrinsically amazing. Veronica Mars episode “Weapons of Class Destruction” (1×18) for the win–

E: YES!

C: And The Office episode “Casino Night” (2×22) for runner up.

Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition (Lifetime, September 3rd)

E: How can people stand to watch the way this woman and all these stage mothers speak to their kids?  I don’t get it.

M: I didn’t know it existed, so I won’t be of much help there.

E: The dance teacher from Dance Moms runs a competition show.  I’m all about the dancing, but not the “excellence through verbal abuse.” Yeesh.

C: It’s too bad this is a reality show, that would be a great title for a silly, offbeat work of fiction.

The Voice (Results Show) (NBC, September 24th)

C: A results show! E’s favorite thing!

M: Mine too!

E: Ha ha.

9:30pm

Trophy Wife (ABC, September 24th)

E: Strike one: the name.

C: Strike two: the concept.

M: Strike three: …crap. I was trying to come up with something witty, but I got nothing. Then I was hoping the time slot was packed, but it kind of sucks. Help me out here.

E: Malin Ackerman stars as Bradley Whitford’s most recent wife; an elegant, smart and bitter Marcia Gay Harden co-stars as an earlier model.

C: Well doesn’t that sound pleasant.

M: So pleasant that I’d actually be open to watching The Mindy Project by comparison. Speaking of which…

The Mindy Project (FOX, September 17th)*

E: I wanted to like this show so much.  I really tried.

C: Really? I like it. I’d kind of forgotten about it, but now that I’ve been reminded, I’m looking forward to watching it again! The show’s freshman season started out poor, but made a drastic improvement and, from about January onward, turned out consistently funny and charming episodes.

M: Um, no it didn’t. We gave it a shot at the start, and you’re right, it started out poor. We tried it again late season, and it finished poor. Could there be much worse than the whole “amoral girl dates a youth pastor, who decides that he’s just too much of a stickler about that whole live-for-Christ-and-for-others-and-have-morals thing because of her” plot line? Ugh.

C: That was a weird subplot, but he was a very nontraditional pastor to begin with, and didn’t really change for her. I think the show’s funny, and I stand by it. For the moment, anyway!

E: I didn’t get as far as M, but my issue is similar: likable woman with no self esteem throws herself at every possible lame guy and is clearly destined to end up with her allegedly wonderful caveman competitor/coworker.

M: I will disagree with only one thing there, most of the time she has no self esteem, but at times she has too much. Regardless, as we’re rehashing this, I’m now rethinking my interest in The Trophy Wife.

C: Boooo. Y’all are haters.

10:00pm

Lucky 7 (ABC, September 24th)

C: Isn’t that a movie with Kimberly Williams?

E: Yep.  And for at least part of September and maybe even October, it’s also a TV show. Five poor and desperate friends win tens of millions playing their lucky number; also included in the ensemble is the guy who didn’t put in that particular day.  See how it ruins their lives!  Watch the tackiness of the nouveau riche!

M: Wasn’t there was a short-lived show maybe 7 or 8 years ago with this EXACT premise?

E: Yep.

M: I mean exact, to the detail of the guy that didn’t join in, and to it ruining everyone’s lives? Okay, looked it up. 2006’s Windfall. It stunk then…

E: Yep.

C: And probably will now.

Person of Interest (CBS, September 24th)*

C: This seems to be the most popular show with the parental units these days.

M: Not just them! This is vying with Castle for my current favorite network show. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes now, especially after the NSA spying scandal that makes the premise of this show look non-intrusive by comparison. Also, on the plus side for season three, Amy Acker’s sort-of-evil hacker Root has been upgraded to full cast. For my money (and since this is a network show, that’s none, but still), if they can bump Sarah Shahi into the same category that’d be great.

E: Really?  I had no idea either of them were involved in the show.

M: Acker’s character was introduced (without being seen) in the middle of season 1, then appeared in that season’s finale, and became a pivotal character in the second season. Shahi was only in maybe three epsiodes from last season, but was fantastic as basically a female version of Caviezel’s character (both in personality and skill set).

E: What’s going on with Enrico Colantoni — is he still on?

M: He is occasionally. They’re not overusing him, which makes it both excellent and poignant when they do. I’ve said it before, I really like this show’s level of patience. Their willingness to let things sit, and to build plot lines over weeks and months before there’s a payoff is so rare.

Sons of Anarchy (FX, September 10th)

E: Fans of Fifty Shades of Gray looking to see if Charlie Hunnam was a good pick as Christian or not?  I have no idea if this show will help or not, what with him walking around with greasy hair and loose t-shirts.

C: Wait, they’re making a movie of that? How? Isn’t it porn? (Let’s not even start on the idea of having Nicholas Nickleby star in it…)

M: That’s what I’ve been saying.

E: Oh, it’s totally porn, which makes the adaptation a great question which we could address at length in its own post if we wanted. Which we probably don’t. In terms of this actual show, however, the acclaimed drama will be focusing on the fallout from the premiere; a school shooting occurs in the biker gang’s town, with a gun that was illegally traded to the shooter’s family by Hunnam’s character Jax.  The aim seems to be to show the big picture, the muck of one man’s thoughtless but benevolent intentions meeting mental illness, gun laws, public outcry, and an avenging D.A. played by the excellent C.C.H. Pounder. In other words, chaos theory.

C: Thanks, Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.

Chicago Fire (NBC, September 24th)

E: Is anyone else shocked that this show got renewed?

C: That would require me to have remembered that it existed.

M: What C said.

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11 comments on “2013 Fall Television Preview: Tuesday

  1. Pam says:

    Clark Gregg is a lucky bastard. His neighbor needed somebody to play Coulson… now he gets a series off all the big movies! and he got to swoon over Captain America in a goofy fun way. Plus, he’s married to Jennifer Grey and has a cute daughter. I liked him on New Adventures of Old Christine.

    That looks like the fun show.

    Dads looks cringeworthy and got slammed in Slate. I like the cast, I want Sam the Pickle Guy, aka Boone, to do well. I want Martin Mull to be funny, and I have a soft spot for Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi from their young roles. Sick of Macfarlane’s sexist/racist shows though. American Dad is pretty much unwatchable, as are Cleveland and the revised version of Family Guy. They had their glimmers (well Family Guy) in the beginning, but then it all became the same jokes.

    Lucky 7 looks likable enough, mixed cast of unknowns… I could see it doing well on ABC Family where there are lower requirements for ratings.

    Trophy Wife looks kind of funny. Sort of the other side of things of the stepmother – think of Reba and New Adventures of Old Christine – told from the first wife’s perspective, these “Yay, older actresses/women finding themselves after bad luck/love” … but ditsy Babra Jean and new Christine had some great lines. And Maline Ackerman is no spring chicken, so she’s in her 30s getting a damaged goods husband…. the object of scorn and envy, but is she really that lucky? if they play it right – make her kind of get the first wives’ frustrations, it could work… but it will probably be a silly show.

    Brooklyn 99 looks funny. There’s a woman who makes all these inappropriate comments in the previews that looks fun. I like Andy Samberg. Think of the potential for SNL castmates to show up or Justin Timberlake to have a low-level crook cameo! and aspiring to be like MASH is a good thing.

    as for the Barney Miller line, you’re dealing with a young-un, E,M. Think of the talent of that cast!

    • E says:

      Barney Miller, I mean come on. Loved that show. I wonder if it would still make me laugh? Our expectations of production values, etc, are so different now.

      I think you’re right about Lucky 7 being better for an ABC Family sort of show, Not that there’s anything wrong with a cast of unknowns (they could be amazing) but we have literally seen this show before.

      I watched Brooklyn Nine Nine which was funny but not overly so. Will we tune in again? I’m not sure. Loved Braugher as the captain, anyway.

      If I were interested in Trophy Wife at all it would definitely be for Marcia Gay Harden; she does snotty and bitter so well. Dads – UGH.

      And, yay, SHIELD! So looking forward to it.

  2. thepresidentrix says:

    So here’s your usual round of embarrassing admissions from The Presidentrix, heh heh:

    1) Ugh, It is true. I actually watch The Vampire Diaries, and I have since before you made fun of it in your annual Fall Television preview this time last year, LOL. (No hard feelings. Seriously! It is pulp to the max!) I think you could explain the trajectory of my interest in the show like this: In a phone conversation with my sister a couple of years ago, I admitted that I’d gotten unexpectedly hung up on The Mentalist (though I’ve dropped that show for now and intend not to binge my way back into it until I hear word that there’s some closure or other to be had; when I left the show, Jane had gotten so hard-bitten and touchy that he wasn’t fun to watch anymore), and my sister admitted she’d gotten unexpectedly hung up on The Vampire Diaries. It was free on Netflix and she was bored, and next thing she knew, she’d watched over 20 episodes in two days. I was not really into the idea of giving the show a try (vampires have never really been my mythology of choice; they’re too attractive and smug and not I’M A MONSTERRR enough), but a couple of months later I decided to bite the bullet, so that I could tell her what I thought of it. For the first eleven episodes, I was mostly impressed by *how* bland the two leads were – I mean, surely you have to work at it to create two people that generic? But I felt like if I just quit watching, it would hurt my sister’s feelings. Then I hit the eleventh episode and was suddenly like, ‘OH NO, WHAT HAPPENED I THINK I LOVE THIS SHOW.’

    It’s hard to explain exactly how it got me in the end, but for about a season and a half (midway through the first season through the entirety of the second season), The Vampire Diaries exhibits a certain niche virtuosity: palpable smolderangst and often-genuinely-unexpected hairpin turns. Plus, a cast of young actors who are *often* only about as good as you expect but are occasionally *marvelous.* (The first time the werewolf boy turns, it will rip your heart out – no pun intended). You really can burn through, like, a season’s worth in a day. I was texting my sister all-caps messages in real time as I caught up with her.

    Admittedly, the seasons since then have been, at best, a mixed bag, but my sister and I both still follow the show and talk it over, so I still watch. At the very least, there are Price Peterson’s photo recaps on tv.com, which are pretty much worth the price of admission, just in themselves. (Though Peterson and I often seem mostly to disagree about which parts of the show are The Best and which parts are The Worst. Like the vampire-werewolf hybrid guy that they finally shipped off to be on his own awful little show. Small mercies!)

    By way of explaining much more than you ever wanted to know, I think the show has made a few key strategic errors in recent years which have made it more and more like the show people probably assume it is: a) not giving their supporting cast much at all to do and abandoning some genuinely amusing subplot relationships – for example, between Ian Somerhalder’s unstable vampire character and the good-mom town sheriff; they used to investigate crimes together, b) poor pacing that treads water, while still introducing constant “twists”, just ones that go nowhere. But mainly: c) insisting on a “proper” love triangle; I never interpreted the core dynamic that way, at least not until they forced me to. I liked the show best when the female lead’s choice was a foregone conclusion, thus making it a story about a genuinely monstrous person whose love, however inexplicable and unwelcome, makes him want to be better – but who will *never* get the girl. So his reserves of moral resolve are very low, he gets few puppy treats in exchange for the good things he does do, and his well of envy and self-loathing runs very deep; you more or less never used to know which side of him would win out in a crisis, which meant that virtually any plan could go completely awry). And finally, d) introducing a bunch of regular characters who are obnoxious, petty, repetitive, and basically indestructible, such that you get episode after episode where they threaten to do awful things to the main cast (but don’t, because that would break the show), and everybody else threatens to do awful things to them (but can’t, because they’re indestructibiggle). At least those characters are mostly gone now, off to be on the New Orleans baby whatnot show, which will probably be awful, but which I hope survives a long time, because I don’t want Klaus to come back.

    In conclusion, at least on this show, Ian Somerhalder’s eyes typically appear to be a light shade of seafoam green.

    2) I watched the premiere episode of Dads, because it was right there on Hulu and Seth Green was there and I just clicked on it. WHY DOES THIS SHOW EXIST? THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS TO WATCH NOW, WHO WOULD EVER PICK THIS??? It was incredibly tired. Why on earth would Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi agree to be connected to such a brainless series? Are they completely flat broke? If so, let’s have a kickstarted for Oz the Movie (featuring Giovanni Ribisi) or something. Anything but this dull embarrassment. The show couldn’t even muster any enthusiasm for itself. Then again, I detected a tiny bit of enthusiasm for the ugly, sexist/racist subplot where Green and Ribisi’s staff of video game creators tell their one female employee that she has to dress up as a sexy schoolgirl and giggle her way through a meeting with Asian investors. When the employee puts on the outfit as required, clearly hating every minute of it, the male staff members all make sure to take a long moment to ogle and humiliate her before the big meeting, really enjoying the part where it’s fun for them but they can be reasonably sure they won’t ever have to be subjected to the same nonsense. I hope this show tanks hard and Brenda Song goes back to New Girl. It’s fun seeing her character in her uber-geek game designer duds, be she deserves way better than this; she deserves a show that’s actually funny.

    • E says:

      Pres, I had a momentary twinge of regret at not checking out Dads just to be thorough and not completely merciless in mocking shows I haven’t seen, but you have convinced me that my initial impression was right. I’d like to throw something at whoever thought of that sexy Asian school girl plotline. Vile. How did they get four good actors on such a pathetic show? Could it have been the chance to work with Seth MacFarlane? Sigh.

      Don’t feel like you have to apologize for watching The Vampire Diaries. I love your analysis of the suck being siphoned off to The Originals; maybe it will improve now that Klaus and his ilk are gone?

    • C says:

      I’ll be honest with you: the main reason I cannot watch The Vampire Diaries is not the horde of flat, pretty characters or the loose plotting or any of the things you identified which I also do not love. I have watched eye candy shows before. No, the reason I cannot watch it is Damon. I cannot STAND him. I hate, absolutely hate loathe and despise, the classic Byronic Hero type.

      He is outside your morality! He is smug and really full of himself! He hurts everybody around him all the time! But we love him because he is BEAUTIFUL and TORTURED. Well, some of the time. I mean, he mostly enjoys himself when he’s evil, but every now and then we see the gaping wound deep in his soul! And most of all, it’s all okay because he LOVES ELENA. As if that somehow counterbalances the unbelievably long list of unbelievably bad things he has done to her, everyone she cares about, and hundreds of random bystanders.

      I will not, and could not even if I tried, enjoy a show that is essential constructed around admiring this character.

      • thepresidentrix says:

        I don’t blame you for being put off by Damon – or by the show at large, either, C. Damon *can* be completely grotesque, sometimes you’re supposed to find his wild irresponsibility/violence cathartic or funny, and, factually, his record includes some incidents that should probably just be straight-up deal-breakers for any character. But when the show is actually good (and I’ll be the first to admit that TVD has a way of mindlessly undermining its own best canon continuity from time to time by somehow missing its own point), I would argue that he’s not actually treated as someone we ought to admire because his sadness and broken beauty excuse him from moral conduct (or somehow give him his own special moral code).

        When the show is actually good, it doesn’t treat Damon as absolved or as deserving of much of anything from us at all. It finds major fault with him (and I don’t just mean in the sense that the more woodenly judgmental characters lecture him; they do, consistently, but the writing as a whole condemns him). To me anyway, the story is actually about how rotten Damon’s made his own life with his selfishness; he’s a wrecked individual, not just because he has a lot of angst and hundreds of years worth of things to be vampire-sad about, but because he’s out-of-control, self-destructive, spouts alienating lip-service to his Ring of Gyges lifestyle but hasn’t the least idea how to be happy, and knows he might be beyond forgiveness. And the main occasionally-redeeming thing about him is not that he has the capacity to feel “love” for a pretty girl (because who doesn’t), or even that he’s keen enough to hate himself for what he’s let himself become, but that despite his total self-protective unwillingness to give up being a super-powered douchebag, what he really wants is wholesome: to be human, to be mortal, to be good, to be trusted, and to be loved. And he vacillates between hesitating steps toward approximating that simpler, more authentic life (with plenty of premature self-congratulation and self-pity, of course) and feeling humiliated at the futility of wanting something he’s sure can’t have.

        Wanting wholesome things is in no way enough to make you admirable, of course, and Damon’s reactionary swings are proper-troubling, but… I think I only tend to like the sexy-monster genre when it ultimately undermines its own supernatural sex-appeal and affirms the importance of ordinary lives: “The monster wants to be normal” – well, you can hardly blame the monster for feeling that way sometimes, but so far I’m not compelled. “The sexy monster just wants to be a real boy again, even though being a real boy makes you vulnerable (and less sexy?)” Ugh, damn. You got me.

        • C says:

          You’re making your argument clearly – I get that this is why people like the show – but the point you’re making is exactly what I was trying to get at when I explained why I don’t like it.

          When I called it “a show that is essential constructed around admiring this character,” I meant nothing to do with him being presented as an “admirable” person; of course I know he’s not (mostly). I meant in the way that a museum exhibit is constructed around its finest masterwork. You might admire the other art or even like another work better personally, but he is the showpiece, the Mona Lisa, the thing all the fuss is about. You can analyze his twisted but supposedly vulnerable psyche at such length because the show revolves around him and these aspects of him. And I find it inherently unappealing for that reason.

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