Thanks, CW, for a bloody good time

Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev do a great job with their respective characters, Damon and Elena. I’m guessing we will see a lot of these two young, talented actors in the future.

As you may know from previous posts, I am a die-hard Truebie. So at the end of season two, I was suffering some severe depression. Then came Vampire Diaries (CW, Thursdays at 8 p.m.), which immediately lured me in with the hope that I could somehow survive eight months without Sookie, Bill and Eric.

When Vampire Diaries was announced I thought it had potential, but I was a little worried that it might be Gossip Girl with fangs. I was even more worried when I picked up the books, which are really quite ridiculous. Trust me, as an avid reader of science fiction and horror, I can say with confidence that the show’s writers have done remarkable things with the weak material from the books by P.C. Cast.

As the first season progressed, it became clear that the show was much more than a teen romance drama that happens to involve vampires. It’s got some great young actors – Nina Dobrev (as Elena Gilbert) and Ian Somerhalder (as Damon Salvatore) really stand out, and the story has mystery and intrigue. And it’s not afraid to take risks. This season major characters like Vickie, Pearl, Anna and John Gilbert all bit the dust.  

Of course, last week was the season finale – and what a finale it was with the return of Katherine, Damon’s newfound conscience, Jeremy’s suicide, John Gilbert’s murder and the revelation that Tyler is more than a high school football player. As with all shows, you can’t really judge it until a few seasons in, but the final episode really has given fans a lot to think about and look forward to.

Throughout the course of the year, I tried a few new shows (Eastwick, Parenthood, Funny or Die and Happy Town) but none of these held my interest. Except Vampire Diaries. So if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and catch the first season online, on DVD, or on re-runs. I think you’ll be sucked in.

Big Love: It’s like Parenthood, if Parenthood was awesome

I really like Big Love. I’ve been watching it on DVD through Netflix, and yesterday I watched episodes nine and 10 from the first season.

The strength of this show lies in the actors’ talent (Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin) and the character development of Bill Henrickson and his three wives. Somehow, with a concept that is foreign to most people – polygamy – the writers and actors have managed to make a show that is, at its heart, about family.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an HBO production without plenty of crazy drama, but that is what makes the show interesting. The storylines that involve The Prophet and the compound are really gripping, even if they can be a bit off-the-wall at times. And that’s what keeps me coming back for more, because let’s face it – who wants to watch a show that’s just like real life? It’s like this – if NBC’s Parenthood was actually a compelling show it would be Big Love.

I, like Bill, am fond of each of the wives for a different reason – Barb for being the sensible anchor of the family; Nicki for being the crazy and stubborn, but tough-as-nails second wife; and Margene for the silly, but sweet, personality she brings into the mix. And I love Bill’s parents – Frank played by Bruce Dern (you might know him as Rumsfeld from The ‘burbs) and Lois played by Grace Zabriskie. These two play off each other so well. The Easter episode, in which Frank peed in the sink all weekend long to the horror of the wives, had me in stitches.

Do any of you watch Big Love? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Catching up on The Office, 30 Rock, Parenthood

 I did some catching up last night with my DVR, so you’ll have to forgive me for the delayed reaction to one of the better episodes of The Office in recent memory. Although I love Jim and Pam, it is the awkward, quirky interpersonal relationships that make this show really great. This week’s episode “Happy Hour” got back to basics – Michael making a fool of himself as “Date Mike,” Andy acting like a complete lunatic with Erin, and Dwight in classic form. I mean, who didn’t cheer when Isabel whacked Angela on the forehead. I replayed this scene twice.

We also got a big surprise on 30 Rock with the return of Floyd from Cleveland. I, like LL, was hoping Floyd was back to rekindle their love connection, but alas he has moved on to an exercise instructor. Bummer.  I laughed my butt off about the Silver Panthers and “Twig and Plums,” and Kenneth’s silver NBC hot pants.

That brings me to Parenthood. Honestly, the show is just not that great. But I keep watching it. Why? Because it will always do in a late-night pinch when I’ve watched everything else on my DVR, there’s nothing on HBO, and I haven’t received my Netflix in the mail. Maybe the show is just too vanilla for my taste. It definitely should be on at 8 p.m. instead of 10 p.m.

On the fence with Parenthood

One of the greatest things about watching TV today is the flexibility – with a DVR you no longer have to worry about being home at exactly the hour your show is set to start. On Tuesday nights, I have been recording the new NBC show, Parenthood, which airs at 10 p.m. DVR is great for a show like this, which I am still on the fence about and not willing to lose sleep over.

I was initially quite skeptical about Parenthood, and I am still not sold on it. However, it has kept my interest the past three weeks. The show has a simple, easy-to-relate to subject matter – crazy family life. And for the most part, it comes across as believable. The interactions between Julia, a corporate attorney juggling her work and home lives, and the all-too-perfect neighbor hitting on her husband, have been priceless. Crosby has also had some funny moments.

They have some great cast members, including Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls), Craig T. Nelson (Coach), Dax Shepard (Baby Mama), Erika Christensen (Traffic), and Peter Krause (Six Feet Under), who all do a decent job, and the show is executive produced by Ron Howard, who has delivered quality in the past.

Here’s the problem – the show can be boring at times. And there is a cheesy “awww” factor here and there. You know what I mean – moments of family strife and making up that seem to be lifted from the pages of Full House.

So I’d like to know what others think about this show. Are you watching? Will you keep watching?