Doctor, doctor, give me the news

23 02 2017

Well, that’s been disappointing.

I’d loved the first half-season of Code Black, loved its bitterness and edges and the stumbles into sorrow, loved Marcia Gay Harden and Luis Guzmán and Raza Jaffrey and the adorably cynical Kevin Dunn. It slackened as the season went on, lost Dunn, softened up a bit, but it was still good, reminiscent of early E.R. and St. Elsewhere.

This season, uck. Harden’s tough-ass doc has melted into goo, and the über-obnoxious surgeon Will Campbell (Boris Kodjoe) has, of course, been revealed to have a heart o’ gold. Jillian Murray’s Heather Pinkey managed to hang on to some of her attitude right up to the moment they killed her off.

And Rob Lowe? Don’t really hate him, but his soul-wounded army doc character is a bit of a bore.

None of this means I’ve stopped watching it—I’m still watching Criminal Minds, for chrissakes—but it went off right quick.


I’m not really watching The Blacklist anymore, although I’ll probably dip in to watch the current season once it hits Netflix. I still enjoy James Spader enormously, but I just can’t get over that his objet d’art, Elizabeth, just. . . really isn’t any good at her job.

Still, I’ll probably take a peek at The Blacklist: Redemption when it airs.


Watched the first season of Breakout Kings, which is basic and fine in the best possible way; second season TK.

Watched a few episodes of Containment, which has been compelling, if not exactly enjoyable.

Two episodes into  Travelers, which, we’ll see. I mean, I’ll think I’ll like it (presuming it doesn’t go to shit), and it is nice to catch all those Canadian actors.

Gotta be better than The OA, of which I saw 2? 3? episodes? I don’t know why I watched even the entire premiere.


Still haven’t gotten all the way through Person of Interest. I really like this show, but knowing that things are going to get very bad. . . well, I just can’t handle that right now.

Conversely, I don’t think I’ll be re-watching any of The West Wing. Yes, it was a fantasy and yes there were some truly, truly awful episodes and story arcs, but man, that was a hell of a cast, and CJ and Toby were two of the best characters ever to walk and talk. Anyway, can’t watch (the honestly not-that-great) Bartlett in the t.v. White House knowing who’s in the DC version.

No, my comfort watching of late are the crew from Leverage. Nate and Sophie and Eliot and Hardison (“Dammit Hardison!”) and Parker (Parker!) are exactly who I need to get me through.


Oodly oodly oodly oo

27 03 2016

Hecate, I’ve been lazy.

I’m mean, I’m taking care of business teaching-wise, but when not prepping or not in class? Bupkis.

Oh, well I have been spending some time with my new phone (a Moto G, in case you’re interested) trying to figure out how it works. It’s quite seductive, really: shiny and new, and with far more power than my first three computers—nice, really.

But also, really: still a phone. My parents called earlier today and it took me about ten seconds to figure out how to answer the damn thing (don’t just hit the icon, but slide it over to the other icon); I also experimented while on the phone with my friend J., figuring out if the earbuds I’d bought for my other phone (which didn’t work because the phone was so, so old) would work (yes), how to look things up while on the phone (gotcha), and how to put it on speaker (failed at this, but I think I know how to do it now).

Oh, and I downloaded the only apps I’ll probably ever need: weather and MTA, and one which might be useful: Twitter. Hell, I might even start tweeting on the regular.

Anyway, it’s a phone, and it’s nice, and it works. As a phone.


Netflix put up the latest season of Crossing Lines, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch it. I’d more or less enjoyed the first two seasons, but it got increasingly, ecchhh, baroque? operatic? ridiculous? as it went on, and the last episode of the second season was, frankly, dumb.

Still, I was bored and thought, What the hell, let’s see how they get themselves out of that last episode jam. Whaddya know: not bad.

Only three of the original cast members returned, and the plotting is much cleaner. It’s still only okay, but now it’s okay+, as opposed to okay- and falling.

And it has Goran Višnjić who is, well, who is someone I always enjoy.


Code Black, alas, fell off from it’s strong start. It’s still pretty good, but what was wrenching early on became sentimental later. And instead of letting the complications of the cases lead into the characters, now the characters are being wrung through unnecessary wringers to supply the drama.

Too bad.

Still, not too, too bad. It still had (the season ended in Feb) Marcia Gay Harding, Luis Guzmán, and Raza Jaffrey, after all, so if they bring it back later this year, yeah, I’ll check ‘er out.


Oh, and I don’t know that I’ll ever take a selfie. I was fiddlin’ around with the camera function on my phone, wondering, Hm, how does one take a selfie with this thing, when I noticed the little rotate-camera icon on the bottom and tapped it.

Ook, bad idea: Sunday morning, just out of bed, pre-fully-coffeed, laying on the loveseat with my neck and face all sorta scrunched and. . . yikes, it’s good I live alone.

Yeah, yeah, accept yourself and all that, but y’all know that my hippie streak only extends so far, right?

Paint it black

8 11 2015

Oh my Apollo, CSI: Cyber is so bad. So so so bad that I can’t even watch it.

I mean, I hated CSI: NY and I still watched it to its wretched, moralizing end, but Cyber‘s writing is so ridiculous that all I can think while watching it is why am I watching this?

So I stopped.

I do know exactly why I watch Code Black, however: because it’s good.

Again, a procedural, and, again, I started watching it because of Marcia Gay Harden and Luiz Guzmán—and they are terrific—but I keep watching it because I want to see what happens next.

Okay, so having Raza Jaffrey (a terrorist in Dirty Bomb, yet another sacrificial analyst in MI-5) doesn’t hurt,  and Kevin Dunn is amusing as the ER’s director—and Moesha‘s dad is there, too, with his son (on the show),  foxy character actor Cress Williams. And, slowly, I’m starting to warm to the various residents.

But I’m into procedurals because I like the cases, and Code Black does a great job with its cases. Okay, some aren’t great—the what-the-hell decision to unkink that woman’s ovary was a bit much—but they keep moving, moving, and in all of that movement you get to see the characters of the docs emerge.

It reminds me of early ER, where all of the action was focused on the work, and before it strayed from the fragile and weird in the ER and into the soapiness of life outside of it.

That the characters have lives outside is clear: Harden’s character, Lianne’s, family was wiped out by a drunk driver, the older resident’s son died of a glioblastoma, the asshole resident is a recovering addict, and you know there’s something going on with Jaffrey’s character to explain why he left surgery for emergency med.

Again, however, all of this is handled through the work, how their “outside” lives affect how they’re doctors. I like that.

But what I’m really impressed with is how they handle grief. It’s accepted that people will grieve in an ER, and the show let’s them do it. In one episode, a mother attacked her injured son for the drunk-driving accident which killed her other son. When one of the residents tried to intervene, Lianne said simply, This is what grief looks like.

Later in that same episode she tells the mother, who hasn’t left her dead son’s side, that she needed to be with her other son. He killed someone, Lianne said, and like any decent person who’s done that, he wants to kill himself. You need to help him want to live.

In another episode, a man comes into the ER to dry out, which he does, but by the end, he’s back, with Lianne stitching up his head. She’s gentle, matter-of-fact, when asked if she’s frustrated: No, a terrible thing happened; this is his grief ritual.

Sappy? I guess it could be, but I see it as a kind of rawness: a terrible thing has happened,  and sorrow follows.

And that’s it; the sorrow remains.

I hope the show, even amidst the predictabilities of the procedural, can keep that rawness, and that sorrow.