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Television Afficionado?

So part of this cancer trip, as you all may know, includes a lot of couch time. At first I thought great, it will give me time to catch up on all my reading (you know, silver lining and all), but that hasn't been the case. Many of the days my mind is just too fuzzy or my eyes a bit, well not blurry, but just not wanting to focus for too long, so what's a girl to do? Yes, as you've already guessed, watch television.

So let me tell you, there's a derth, of quality television out there but definitely some riveting stuff. Over the past few weeks, I've found a bit of both and I thought I'd share some of my recent discoveries with you.

Big Love

First off, my most recent discovery, Big Love, shown on HBO. Now, I don't get HBO but last Sunday, HBO was free to almost everyone (I say almost because Girasoli in Hawaii didn't get it) in honor the inauguration concert, which was held in the mall and broadcast on HBO. Luckily though, it didn't turn off right away, so I got to see what I believe is the third season premiere of this show about polygamists in Utah, starring Bill Pullman, and a host of women actresses, whose names escape me and who I'm too lazy to go look up. I found this show riveting and quality in having so many definitive characters that you don't need a scorecard to keep separate. I love the look into this foreign (to me) lifestyle, and though it's the third season, within a few minutes I was able to follow the story line. Needless to say though, I immediately added these to my Netflix queue and am anxiously awaiting their arrival on Wednesday (hey, if any of you have a Netflix account, we should really swap friend info). Oh, and I notice you can also download these from iTunes for $1.99 an episode (seasons one and two) or $23.88 for an individual season.

The Real Housewives of Orange County

Yes, I admit it - so can we let it go now? Thank you. Actually this shouldn't come as a surprise to you knowing that I became addicted to the Real Housewives of NYC last year (which by the way, starts its second season on February 17th - oh and apparently there's been some big falling out between Jill and social-climbing Alex and her husband (the sixth, maybe now seventh housewife, Simon). Quality TV? Uh, no. Riveting, yes, once you get the characters down. Unlike the aforementioned Big Love, it took several episodes before I could tell the difference between the show's resident blonds (Tamra, Laura, Gretchen and Vicki - though Vicki has a a different facial structure, so she was the first easily identified). Thank god when Laura left, they replaced her with brunette Lynn. For those of you who need a scorecard:

Real Housewives of Orange County Limo Ride
Ladies in the Limo - Left to Right, Vicky, Jeanna, Gretchen, Lynn -Tamra is Missing from this Shot

Vicky - attached at the fingers to her laptop - way to self-absorbed and pretentious if you ask me.
Gretchen - the youngin' engaged to poor Jeff (20+ years her senior, who during the show is battling Leukemia, which of course sickens me, and is rumored to have passed in the off season)
Tamra - she's the one with a bunch of kids, who does do a good job of keeping them off screen, doesn't seem to work, well, really, there's not much here I can define her with other than she too, is married to a guy named Simon, who seems to get too much screen time in my book.
Jeanna - not a blond and reminds someone, can't remember who said it, of one of the Judd sisters (yes, can't remember her name either - the joys of chemo) but I agree. She does. She's a Realtor of some sort, has a love/hate relationship with Vicki and I bet has a really good heart but has some self-esteem issues to deal with (I think). You can tell her from the other brunette by body size, Lynne, is a stick, I don't want to say Jeana is fat, because she's not, but as she even acknowledges, a regular work-out routine would tone her up nicely.
Lynne - is the newest addition and because of this is constantly out of the loop. She's the skinny (and sometimes I think too skinny) brunette who has two daughters (one of which is underage and has no problems talking and getting drunk on TV - stupid).

This show is like watching red-necks with money - and like Big Love attracts me because it's a look into a foreign lifestyle. Thank g-d I know others who live in Orange County, so I get the fact that these women aren't the "norm."

Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares Revisited

First let's not confuse this with Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares, which is how it seems BBCA differentiates between the American Version and the British Version, if not on their website then at least in the guides that get downloaded to my DirecTV. I prefer the British version more because he seems less confrontational, narrates the show himself, and well, it's just more soothing. He's almost too "in your face" in the American version, though I've only seen one. Also, Chris noted that in the American version, he doesn't return to the scene of the crime, but in the British version, he returns to the restaurant, sometimes a year or two later, to give updates, which we both prefer. Obviously, it's reality TV again but easy to follow because in each episode he is the one and only star. Of course, you do run the risk of getting grossed out at eating out but maybe a little knowledge is a good thing.

Battlestar Galactica

This show has a large, committed following but I have to admit, though a watcher of the original, campy series, I couldn't get into this. I tried when Chris did, back in 2007, after some friends loaned us the first season DVds, but I just found it too dark and too depressing. Seriously, nothing good happens to this group of under 40K survivors of 12 human colonies out in deep space. First their home worlds get nuked by their mechanical enemies (though many now look like the humans they seek to obliterate), the Cylons, so they're flee into space looking for a new home (aka Earth) harassed by the Cylons as they go. Along the way they find another planet on which to settle, hidden from the Cylons only to be eventually found, and over taken under marshal law by their conquerors. Uprisings and rebellions ensue and eventually the humans escape to space again, numbers dwindling the entire time.

Something falls apart in the Cylon secret plan (well, at least we're told they have a plan, much is made of this in the first season credits - and we're led to believe it's fallen apart as the Cylons enter their own civil war), and some Cylons end up teaming up with our wandering humans (will they wander for 40 years?), to finally discover "Earth". STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE FIRST 2 EPISODES OF THIS SEASON.

Only problem is, once they find Earth they find that Earth was nuked over 2000 years ago - oh and it doesn't appear that Earth was a homeland to a lost tribe of humans but to a lost tribe of Cylons instead, depression, suicide attempts and suicide ensue among the humans. We don't get a good feel for what they Cylons think of this latest predicament.

Anyway, as I said, I never got into this show when Chris did back in 2007, but during one of my bed-ridden days Sci-Channel rebroadcast all of last season in one day, so I watched. And I guess once you got bigger fish to fry in your personal life, you become a little selfish and the trials and tribulations of some fictional remnant of humanity doesn't get you down as much as it once did, so I was able to watch. Though I did find that watching the President of the Human Race battle cancer hits a cord but I do find it incredibly amazing that this advanced group of humans with their space-fairing technology, can't find a treatment for Cancer that doesn't result in the loss of hair, amazing. But then again, they also still believe in the Greek Gods and thus that Athena was born by popping out of Zeus's head - go figure.

So I committed to watching this show through it's end this spring, and then I will go back and watch much of season two that I missed. I think I caught most of Season three in drips and drabs but I'll make sure I get that too. Then we'll see if the story holds it's consistency from beginning to end. In the mean time though, this is one of the (if not the) most compelling shows out there with some pretty good acting, and not something I'd recommend you watching before bed; it can be that upsetting.

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Other Thinks (8)

Yes, Big Love is great!! And, as you know, I am addicted to Real Housewives of Orange County, too. Like you say - rednecks with money! They are so clueless it is just hilarious. And Vicki is so awful! Her way of speaking particularly gets to me.

I watched the first two seasons of Big Love when it came out. Then after The Sopranos ended, I dropped HBO. So now I'm thinking I'll catch the new season of Big Love via Netflix. It really is a fascinating story with great characters.

I watched the housewives of New York City but have not watched the Orange County ones!

And BSG. There are so many questions and mysteries and I'm starting to think that they are going to leave some threads dangling so that we will watch that new series Caprica!

It's an incredible show. I never liked science fiction at all until BSG.

Great post. I think good TV and "couch time" are very comforting and healing, so I'm glad you've found some stuff to watch

Lisa:

Well, I do have HBO, but don't watch any of the things mentioned, except of course for the concert on the mall. As you know I only watched it on demand because you told me about it first (and we really enjoyed it). Rich will kill me if I start watching the above mentioned series. Should I take the risk?

Marcia:

Oh, welcome to the Big Love world - it's riveting, but I think this season is going to some weird places already. And I can live without those Housewives myself, but then I think we all have some reality fantasty world, and good for us! i would think about getting HBO, but then we keep putting Netflix on hold, so whatever works while on the couch . . .

Big Love looks like a very interesting show. Too bad it is on HBO.

I completely understand the Real Housewives interest. I can so easily get sucked into a TV series. I started watching one of the America's Next Top Model shows during one of the marathons and ended up watching every show for all of the older seasons being shown on VH1 (or was that MTV?). I would have watched the newest season also but I don't get the CW channel - Hawaii sucks when it comes to TV coverage unless you pay premium for the box. I only get basic cable which costs me over $40.00 a month.

Have just ordered the first season of Big Love from Amazon on your recommendation.

I'm too embarrassed to admit to what I stooped to watching on tv while I was on chemo and after the surgeries. Though I also had a few pleasant surprises.


Hi Kim, it's me again. When I was watching Top Chef last night, I saw that a new season of "Millionaire Matchmaker" is getting ready to start on Bravo. If you need some truly mindless junk-food TV, I recommend this show. It's one that I'm almost embarassed to admit that I watched last season. :)

Hope you are feeling okay! Hang in there.

Get Friday Night Lights from Netflix! One of the best shows EVER. I'm so mad at myself for missing last week's Season 3 premiere - and now am going to miss tonight's show. :(

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