Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Must See TV

I'm not one for watching a lot of TV shows, on DVD or otherwise. There's a few I've wanted to watch but haven't had a chance to (Entourage, Sopranos), some I've watched and really want to buy (Extras, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Twilight Zone) and some I can't live without (Futurama, Simpsons, Robotech, Twin Peaks).

But there are two that I've been addicted to in recent weeks.

The first is the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles...

I've been watching a couple of episodes a week with my kids and it has been great fun. And it's not just a fun show to watch, but the documentaries they put together for the DVDs are top notch.

I'm also struck by the painstaking level of detail and research that went into to fashioning these adventures. And it's fun to see Indy run into notable historical figures episode after episode. Highlights so far include Max Von Sydow as Sigmund Freud and James Gammon as Teddy Roosevelt. (I'm more excited for other guest stars who seem now to be a veritable who's who of kick-ass talent: Daniel Craig, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Christopher Lee, Jeffrey Wright, Keith David, Lukas Haas and Ian McDiarmid.)

Add to that the stable of writers and directors that include Frank Darabont, Monty Python's Terry Jones, Mike "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" Newell, Jonathan Hales and others and you've got a dynamite team working on your series.

And above all, it's fun.

So, I would recommend the hell out of these for people. Particularly if you like Indiana Jones, but especially if you fancy yourself as any sort of person interested in history.

The other show I've been watching (after the kids go to bed) has been Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

I've just finished watching the first season and it's like a breath of fresh air. Each compact 25 minute episode is an interesting and often times nerve-wracking experience. And the guest stars on this show complement it to no end. Episodes I particularly enjoyed featured Vera Miles, Joseph Cotten, Claude Rains, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Charles Bronson, Cloris Leachman and Darin McGavin. This is the precursor to shows like "The Twilight Zone" and "Tales From the Crypt" and it might even be superior. And the fact that Hitchcock supervised all the episodes and personally directed 17 of them makes it all the more special.

TV shows nowadays are all about all the different things we do to catch murderers, but why can't shows be like this? Like every day, average ordinary people planning murders? It's so much more entertaining. Like, for instance, the first episode is about a guy who wants to kill a traveling salesman who raped his wife. And the episode where John Williams kills his wife just before they go on an extended trip to America. Another great episode had Cedric Hardwicke trying to cover up a murder on behalf of his daughter because she beat a man with a croquet mallet and the family name couldn't bear to handle any shame. But things always unravel on them in the end....

TV should take a turn back to that route. Orwell wrote of the decline of the English murder and tt seems like we've had our own decline in the states and it's just too bad....

I suppose my point is that these shows are at the very least 100% better than 99.9% of the crap on television right now and you need to check them out.

Like, right now....

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