TV to watch

I actually don't watch that much television at all. There are a few shows that I dip in and out of, largely because I seem to be sitting in the lounge at the time they're screening, but there are even fewer shows that I watch religiously. These days I seem to stick to buying or borrowing DVD boxsets (like the excellent 30 Rock, the first season of which I'm watching at the moment). For the record, unlike a lot of South Africans online, I don't download shows from the Internet - I don't have the cap and I don't have a "download dealer" who I can pester to get me whatever I want.

Anyway, over the past week I've encountered 2 shows that seem to be worth keeping an eye on.

Fringe is the new sci-fi series from Alias and Lost creator J.J. Abrams. Think of it as a 21st Century X-Files meets Without a Trace meets CSI, in which a group of "fringe" scientists and FBI agents investigate something known as "the Pattern", a series of paranormal events and experiments occurring worldwide. So, you know, rapidly ageing babies, telekinesis, teleportation and deadly parasites - that kind of thing.

I only stumbled across the 5th episode of the series last week, which is never really a good point to start watching a show. Still, what I saw looked interesting, and appropriately dark. This said, speaking to a few people, they lost interest after the first few episodes, when the intensity of the storylines dipped. It would appear then that the challenge facing Fringe's writers is to sustain audience interest by continually presenting disturbing mysteries while avoiding the tired formula trap.

Fringe screens on MNET and MNET HD on Thursday evenings at 21:30.

True Blood meanwhile is an award-winning No Under 18s series with supernatural flavour. The show's premise is that since Japanese scientists have developed a synthetic blood substitute (called Tru Blood), vampires have "come out of the coffin" and integrated with society. Not only is anti-vampire prejudice a problem, but you also have humans who get a thrill (and a high) from sleeping with vampires and drinking their blood.

Of course, being an HBO series, the word "fuck" flies around with as much frequency as fucking is depicted (See other HBO series like Rome and Big Love for a similar style of adult entertainment).

Anyway, I'm very curious to see where the storyline of True Blood will go. Last night's pilot episode did little beyond establishing the obvious - that telepathic waitress Sookie (Anna "X-Men" Paquin) is intensely bored by life in the tiny Louisiana town where she's lived her whole life. When the sombre Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) arrives as the town's first vampire, Sookie is drawn to him, much to the concern of her friends and family. Their concern is further elevated when a local woman is murdered.

True Blood screens on MNET and MNET HD on Tuesday evenings at 21:30.


Unknown said…
I loved True Blood - want me to ship dvd's with the season to you?

I have just gotten Fringe S1 but I haven't watched yet as I am watching Life first.

My "download dealer" is the UCT res-net so I tend to get most things and thus have up to E12 of NCIS S6 as well.
Anonymous said…
True Blood is brilliant, even if the first episode gets things off to a slow start. I cannot wait for Season 2 which starts in May - with all the other 'good' shows that never survived past episode 5, we should be happy that HBO is braver than most other networks.
MJenks said…
Are the vampires that have "come out" like "real" vampires (I guess "classic" would be a better term) or are they the pansy-ass Stephenie Meyer vampires?
Pfangirl said…
Mjenks, having only seen the Twilight trailer, the best comparison I can make is that the True Blood vamps are more like Twilight's villains behaviour-wise i.e. they come across as potentially quite dangerous. However, they certainly do not all look like twenty-something models. Physically they're as diverse as humans.

Magependragon, I may take you up on that offer - I'll just see how it goes in terms of keeping up to date with the shows. If I find myself falling behind, I may give you a call.

And Christopher, thanks for the comment. I totally agree with you about HBO giving shows a chance and having the intelligence to realise that it often takes a good handful of episodes for a project to reach its creative stride.

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