I’ll pause from politics to review some television shows I’ve been watching on video.
My Name is Earl is about a criminal loser who decides to turn his life around. He makes a list of all the bad things he’s done, then makes up for them, one by one. The show uses karma as a device, but it’s not central to the theme. While karma in a supernatural sense does not exist, it is true, as Earl learns, that if you do good things, good things will happen to you, while if you do bad things, bad things will happen to you. The cast is superb, particularly Jason Lee as Earl. Each half-hour episode feels, not long, but complete. The stories are clever and hilarious; I don’t know how the writers come up with the situations that Earl finds himself in. I’ve watched the first season so far and look forward to more.
I’ve tried several sci-fi series, but they’ve disappointed with few exceptions. I enjoy Star Trek, and I adore Firefly. Other than that, the only series I’ve been able to watch is Crusade, which has a Trekian feel. After an alien race attacks Earth and unleashes a deadly virus, the ship Excalibur must search the galaxy for a cure. The crew run into all sorts of aliens and troubles along the way. After several episodes, I’ve come to enjoy the characters and the writing, which deals with topics from romance to death cults. Be warned: the computer graphics are horrible for the first few episodes, but then they improve.
Rome is a feast. It follows the rise of Julius Caesar and other key figures, and it creates rich characters out of two soldiers barely known to history. The acting is quite good (though Cato comes off looking like a nutty old crank). HBO substitutes steamy sex scenes for expensive battles.
I guess that, because I’m watching sci-fi and manly Romans, I can admit to watching Gilmore Girls. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stand the series because of the ridiculously dense jokes and the grating side-characters. They hired that whiny lady from the “Save the Children” infomercials, whose voice I can barely tolerate. Nevertheless, the central relationship between the teen and her young mom develops nicely, and the grandparents are delightfully portrayed. The girl reads constantly, studies hard, and sets ambitious goals, and the series is for that reason inspiring.