Ok, it’s time to talk US TV. I think the shows that I keep getting drawn to are the ones with the quirky, offbeat, dysfunctional kinds of characters. It started way back in 1990 with David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Who wasn’t riveted to their seat each week waiting to find out “Who killed Laura Palmer”? And while we found that out too soon for my liking (we can blame pressure from TV executives for that) the show kept us intrigued because of the crazy characters, the supernatural and sometimes scary nature of the plot, the visual and sound effects (the latter which is a trademark of any Lynch production – he loves playing with sound or silence) the killer soundtrack (thanks to Angelo Badalamenti and the hauntingly beautiful voice of Julee Cruise) and the superb acting (from Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sheriyln Fenn, Jack Nance, Peggy Lipton, Joan Chen etc…).
Mr Iced Vovo and I recently watched all the episodes again and we were still captivated, it holds up well and really didn’t feel dated. I was also still annoyed that the show finished way too soon. There were so many unanswered questions that could have easily seen another season of the show being produced.
At the same time as Twin Peaks was Northern Exposure. Thankfully it lasted until 1995. Set in Alaska we followed the resettlement of Joel Fleishman (Rob Morrow) who begrudgingly has to move to the eccentric small town of Cicely as part of his medical scholarship. Again, it is the combination of strange characters drawn together in an unusual setting that was the making for some sensational scriptwriting. These off-beat plots were brought to life with the help of Janine Turner (Maggie) John Corbett (Chris) John Cullum (Holling) and so on…
More recently the programs that I have loved have been The Wire – for its realism, stunning cast, gripping plots and subplots and raw soundtrack. Oz – for its sheer brutality and edginess – what do you expect with a program set in a men’s prison? Six Feet Under – for making dying interesting and human and it has Australian, Rachel Griffiths to boot!
The US TV show I’ve recently got hooked on is Breaking Bad, and while it is up to Season 6 (I think) I’m only at the beginning Season 3!!! Vince Gilligan (the creator/writer) has hit on a winning formula with this one. Bryan Cranston is fantastic as Walter White and with a core cast consisting of Anna Gunn (Skylar White), Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman), Dean Norris (Hank Schrader), Betsy Brandt (Marie Schrader) and RJ Mitte (Walter White Jnr) the continual coincidences, mishaps, crazy situations and quirky irony is captivating TV. These are everyday people put into extraordinary situations because life throws us a curve ball now and again…
But, the one I’m totally obsessed with is, Dexter.
Michael C Hall is the most superb casting as blood splatter expert Dexter Morgan. This character is 10,000 miles away from David Fisher, the gay funeral director, he played in Six Feet Under, but again we see Hall bringing a character to life with great skill and enthusiasm.
I’m a HUGE fan of this show – hey don’t we all have the blood splatter as our screen saver? But, having said that I’m a little concerned about what is going to happen in Season 7 considering where Season 6 finished. (Don’t worry no spoiler alerts needed!) I suppose we all have our own ideas of where we think the plot should go, so I’m somewhat wary, as it didn’t look like it was going to head anywhere I imagined. I’m holding my comments until after I’ve seen S7 – but I will be back – so hop to it for those that haven’t seen the show as yet.
The writing/plots are quick, humourous, engaging – there are real on the edge of your seat, eyes shut kind of moments combined with times of tenderness and great hilarity. The interplay between characters is fantastic and only works because of the combination of tight writing and punchy performances. Working so well with Hall are Jennifer Carpenter (Hall’s real-life wife as Deborah Morgan), Lauren Velez (Lt Maria LaGuerta), David Zayas (Sgt Angel Barista), CS Lee (Masuka), Desmond Harrington (Joey Quinn) and James Remar (Harry Morgan) amongst others.
While I don’t know where it’s headed I hope this show keeps on going for a while yet and no matter what I’ll be following it all the way.
(Photographs thanks to imdb.com)