Saturday, July 8, 2017

plato's cave thirty (being a film journal) it is happening again, preliminary words on television

before devoting the art of memory for an indeterminate amount of time to twin peaks, here are some preliminary words on where the author stands in relation to telvision.

i watched twin peaks season 1&2 as it aired on television when i was in high school (1990-1991). i remember watching with my father, who was the first person to get me really excited about film (when i was around 10 we watched the exorcist together and my life was changed forever). viewing twin peaks had an extreme impact on me. the years after, i rented the vhs tapes and purchased the dvds and rewatched numerous numerous times. i had the laserdisc of the film and watched it many times and loved it (still do). of course the majority of season 2 is quite meaningless, the ones directed by lynch are worth watching more than once, and the last one is a masterpiece.

in college and for many more years, i was only interested in the movies, and with the exception of lars von trier's the kingdom from 1994 (which i saw projected at the castro theatre in about 1997 in sf), i didn't watch any television with the exception of rewatching twin peaks which was always my favourite lynch work.

sometime around 2002-2004 i started watching david chase's the sopranos (1999-2007) and david simon's the wire (2002-2008). both shows had a huge impact on me and renewed my interest in television. over the years i have rewatched these two shows 3-4 times. the sopranos came about because goodfellas was a film i watched over and over and this somehow seemed to be a truly original extension of it. also i was bored in a way with film, couldn't related to what was happening at that moment, like wes anderson.

around the time of season 2 of vince gilligan's breaking bad (2008-2013) my good friend recommended i give it a go as it was beyond words and as good as the two previously mentioned, in his estimation. the program knocked my socks off (and still does). the four shows together remain a standard for the potential of tv (twin peaks, the sopranos, the wire, and breaking bad).

in addition to these fine programs, i have enjoyed the following shows or mini series over the years :
  • bbc's tinker tailor soldier spy (1979) and smiley's people (1982)
  • alastair reid's traffik (1989)
  • alastair reid's armistead maupin's tales of the city (1993)
  • allan cubitt's the fall (2013-2016)
  • chris carter's the x-files (1993 - 2016)
  • jane campion and gerard lee's top of the lake (2013-)
  • paul feig's freaks and geeks (1999-2000)
  • david milch and michael mann's luck (2011-2012)
  • ann biderman's southland (2009-2013)
  • ann biderman's ray donovan (first season only, 2013)
  • fargo (first season, 2014)
  • rod serling's the twilight zone (have only seen various, 1959–1964)
  • todd haynes' mildred pierce (2001)
  • alan clarke's work for tv. saw much of it when living in boston, beautiful work
  • frank darabont's the walking dead (2010-) not the best quality but a guilty pleasure
  • sean durkin's southcliffe (2013)
  • dennis potter's the singing detective (1986)
  • lynda la plante's prime suspect (1991-2006)
  • jimmy mcgovern 's cracker (1993–1996), have seen only part, but enjoyed
  • steven spielberg and tom hanks's band of brothers (2001) & the pacific (2010)
  • joshua brand and john falsey's northern exposure (1990-1995), one of my wife's favs, have only seen some
  • louis c.k.'s horace and pete (2016), this show is truly profound
  • louis c.k.'s louis (2010-2015), another profound one
  • nic pizzolatto's true detective (2014), season 1 is one hell of a show. i personally think both vince vaughn's acting and character ruined season 2.
  • ray mckinnon's rectify (2013-2016), first couple of seasons
  • paul attanasio (and david simon)'s - homicide: life on the street (1993-1999), have only seen some, enjoyed.
  • terence winter's boardwalk empire (2010-2014), only liked the first couple/few seasons
  • larry david's curb your enthusiasm (200-2009) and of course seinfeld
  • richard price and steven zaillian's the night of (2016), one hell of a show
  • todd a. kessler, glenn kessler, and daniel zelman's bloodline (2015-), first season is quite good

these shows i feel ambivalent about or downright don't like. listed here to gives some clues of the viewer's taste and preferences :
  • game of thrones (some good moments and actorshippe, overall though i don't know....)
  • girls (the agony)
  • veep
  • the leftovers
  • lost (my wife always complains at what a waste it was to be addicted to this show.... it starts good)
  • westworld (i don't get it)
  • treme (lost interest when john goodman leaves)
  • six feet under
  • hannibal (i love mads mikkelsen and the books but this show just doesn't work)
  • the young pope
  • homeland (first season is good)
  • house of cards (i like the british version, us version is not bad, has some great actors)
  • better call saul
  • orange is the new black
  • stranger things (overfuckingrated, just popular because of the synth resurgence)
  • the office (uk & us, i like parts of it)
  • sense8
  • dexter
  • daredevil, luke cage, jessica jones
  • black mirror (couple of the brit ones are good like the pigfucker one)
  • love
  • the oa (good until it got ruined with the "movements" business)
  • lilyhammer (started good)
  • the strain (interesting for navigating nyc)
  • fortitude
  • narcos
  • sherlock
  • bosch
  • goliath
  • i love dick (listened to kevin bacon interview and show seemed interesting because of the donald judd element but could not get through the first episode)
  • the night manager
  • mad men (many good parts and actors, but overall not sure about it)
  • sons of anarchy
  • luther
  • broadchurch
  • marcella
  • river
  • happy valley
  • californication
  • fear the walking dead (started good, lost interest)
  • portlandia (some funny bits but mostly not funny)
  • miami vice (loved as a kid but not sure if it holds up)
  • many more i cannot recall


Glorious Jail said...

I'll go on record to defend the 2nd season of True detective.
If you turn its weakness into it's strengths it may be seen in a more positive light. Having multiple protagonists/ antagonist ,confusing narratives,unlikable characters,over the top internal monologue,
uneven flow,and scattered location of events are the problems that seem to sink it. To me though this is what gives it a better sense of true reality as i think things that are good don't need to be perfect/clean as life is messy,irrational,and its our mind that tries to form events into logical/coherent narratives even when there may not be one. People loved the first season and expected the same. Any worth while creator does not want to repeat himself so i respect that Pizzolatto chose different variables.
If you sit with it and take it in not so much as a puzzle to solve like the first but a world to inhabit,one may get a better understanding of TD2. It's the characters lives that are the mystery not the murder/conspiracy in Vinci.
Also take into account that Pizzolatto was rushed by HBO to get it finished.

Two show not mentioned that i enjoyed are Man in the high castle (esp So2) and 11.22.63.Both are set in my favorite aesthetically pleasing time periods.Being a huge PKD fan led me to MITHC and the JFK conspiracy(Librya is one of my favorite books)led me to 11.22.63.

Curious if you are planning on seeing A Ghost Story?
I'll watch the new Twin Peaks awhile from now as i prefer to seeing things outside of cultural peer pressure,but its not easy with this one.
Yes i am in agreement with a lot of these though.
Game of thrones-I'd rather watch Lord of the Rings
Girls-Like an Artsy reality tv series
Treme-nice location shots but tried to hard to be authentic
House of cards-became predictable
Fear the walkind dead-like the walking dead but for the O.C. audience
Portlandia-almost funny actually annoying
Lost-the hype alone was a turn off

I did like Stranger things cause the source material was based on MK ultra and the montauk project.The first being very close to what was actually being done and the second being way out there.
Did you only watch the first season of Black Mirror?
I enjoyed season 3 because of it's dual ability to depict present and possible future realities at the same time.Maybe a little heavy handed?

Well anyway they figured out how to suck in people like me who swore of tv years ago.
Whats next fast food,shopping,packaged travel vacations?

the art of memory said...

I understand what you are saying about True Detective 2. I did enjoy the majority of it, especially Colin Farrel. I love his character in it. I watched it twice I believe. Also really enjoyed Rachel McAdams and her part. I just found too much annoying about it I guess. I bought season one on blu and rewatching it a third (or fourth maybe) time. Great show. I will probably watch second season again though cause I did enjoy a lot of it.

I need to spend more time with Black Mirror. Only watched a bit. I haven't seen A Ghost Story, nor Man in the High Castle nor 11.22.63. Will check em out.

Yeah, LOTR over Game of Thrones. Probably watched LOTR 15 times now. Never gets old. I did like moments of Game of Thrones but overall it had too much annoying shit. 2/3rds of the characters I wish would just f*cking croak so I wouldn't have to deal with them anymore. The good characters are really good though I must admit, acting-wise and character-wise.

I forgot to mention The Returned and Les Revenants. I especially enjoyed the French version.

Kind of looking forward to David Simon's new porno show but I can't stand Franco or Maggie G. but it probably will be good.

thanks for the comments! I will try True Detective season 2 again.

Glorious Jail said...

Oh man i totally forgot about Les Revenants,really enjoyed it as it reminded me of Kieślowsk's Dekalog!

the art of memory said...

very much like dekalog. now that is a show. could have put that in here but it seems more like a long film and berlin alexanderplatz