It’s a busy time of the quarter for me, which is both fun and time consuming. Thoughts in brief:
- Lane Kim definitely gets the short end of the stick at the end of Gilmore Girls. Sure, everything gets rough around the edges in that final episode, but Lane has to waddle around for nearly a full season with the most ridiculous, enormous pregnant belly. And then, her husband goes off to be the lead guitarist in Vapor Rub, and Lane has to stay home with her twins, Steve and Kwan, who have purposely silly names and now, a mother who resents her premature domestication.
- Law and Order:UK is infinitely better than any of the current American versions of the Law and Order franchise.
- I cannot believe NBC gave a full season order to Outsourced. I only watched the first episode. Does it get better? Am I missing something?
- I haven’t been writing about it, because Mad Men has always taken up my Monday blog post, but Boardwalk Empire has been stellar. The world is appealing, there are many fabulous minor characters, and I have a weakness for well-read women who do crazy things like report powerful men to the authorities because they didn’t accept a loaf of homemade soda bread. At this point, my biggest stumbling block is actually Nucky Thompson. I love the character, but I still look at him and say “Oh hey, it’s Steve Buscemi!” The acting is strong, the costuming and writing are excellent… maybe I just need more time.
So, I haven’t been watching much of the new TV this week, as I’ve been barreling through season two of Parks and Recreation. (One of my friends is here visiting, and I try to be a very accommodating hostess by allowing my guests to watch whatever television they’d like, taking for granted of course that what they’d like to do most is sit and watch hours of television. I’m quite hospitable.) Obviously, it’s a terrible burden to watch Parks and Rec again, so it’s been a rough few days.
Which brings me to the point – as excited as I am that it’s fall and television is returning, I am so disappointed that NBC has chosen to push Parks and Recreation back to a mid-season premiere in favor of the new “aren’t people from other countries with funny accents funny?” comedy, Outsourced. I haven’t seen Outsourced yet, so it’s not completely fair to write it off, but re-watching this second season makes it so obvious that Parks and Rec was the strongest comedy on NBC last year, The Office-be-darned.
In other news, Telephonoscope may be spotty this week, as the awesome computer elves are transferring the blog so that it will now live in a brightly lit blue box under my desk. Yay!
Last night I stayed up way past my (lame, freakishly habitual) bedtime to drive out to where it was pitch black and watch the Leonid meteor shower. It was gorgeous – completely clear and not so cold that it was uncomfortable to wait around for a little bit, and there were several very bright, impressive meteors. I sat outside in a nature preserve at two in the morning watching shooting stars, and I thought to myself, “I am really jealous of Doctor Who.”
Or, to be more clear, I am jealous that the Brits have a protagonist who zips around the universe in a spaceship that looks like a police call box, and that this protagonist has become part of the national culture. Americans have plenty of mythic space-travelling television, most significantly Star Trek, but for the most part we carefully segregate it into a big, locked box of genre fiction and put a giant “FOR NERDS ONLY” sign on the outside. From what I understand about Doctor Who, though, the Doctor’s relationship with British national identity is a crucial aspect of the entire series, whereas Star Trek goes out of its way to abolish nationality by the time the 23rd century rolls around. The difference is reflected in the plotlines. While Captain Picard’s out there in the future representing humanity as a whole, the Doctor is capable of traveling through all of time and space and yet somehow keeps ending up in London. Even at his most distant and inhuman, the Doctor’s deep love for humanity seems to be perpetually deflected into a fondness for fish and chips or a nice cup of tea.
Slitheen spacecraft crashing into the Thames (after knocking a chuck out of Big Ben)
Maybe I’m grasping, but I think the differences have important ramifications for how we view these shows and, in turn, how we feel about space and the future. Star Trek is idealistic and distant, and gives us an aspirational vision of the future, but its persistent remoteness from our world makes it very easy to shove off into the scifi corner. Doctor Who’s world is all about shoving the known and unknown into the same place and watching them try to work it out. I don’t think it imparts the same feeling of manifest destiny that Star Trek conveys. Still, for Doctor Who, space can’t really be the final frontier because it’s already here, even if we’re not paying attention. I love American scifi, but Doctor Who is all about connecting the aliens and sonic screwdrivers and the majesty of space with the world we already have. So yes, I’m envious that the British have Doctor Who. Nothing much to do about it, I suppose, except drape myself in a Union Jack and join the Doctor for fish and chips.