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.

Advertisements




I’m watching everything

15 03 2015

So, CSI:Cyber has premiered.

Is it terrible? Of course it is.

Do I watch it? Of course I do.

~~~

I remain [perhaps overly] fond of Numb3rs. As mentioned [too many times] previously, I like the relationship between the brothers and between them and the father, I like the humor, I like their guest stars (Jay Baruchel and Josh Gad, in particular), and what I liked most of all was that and how they dealt with the misuse of force by the main character, Don. Yeah, the show got a little loopy at times in the sixth season, but since the sixth was also the last season, all was ended before the rot set it.

What I really did not like, however, was how David and Colby would—repeatedly—from 10 yards away from a suspect pull out their badges and yell, “FBI: stop right there!”

The suspect always runs. Always.

Guys, this happens every freakin’ time you walk up on someone. Can you not learn to wait until you’re right there before pulling the whole “we’re cops/you’re busted” routine?

~~~

Why hasn’t Cryptonomicon been made into a cable series yet?

It’s too involved for a single movie, or even a trilogy, but it would seem to be perfect for season or mini-season show on, I dunno, TNT or Netflix. I’m not necessarily a fan of all things Stephenson—I doubt I’ll ever get through Anathem–but Cryptonomicon is, relatively speaking, pretty straightforward.

Okay, so that relatively speaking does a lot of work, but imagine breaking up the episodes by different chapters or sections, and then offering the viewers a guide on how to watch it: You could watch episodes in the same order as they were presented in the book; you could isolate the WWII sections; isolate the 1990s sections; note those featuring the different characters; even include those bits on the details of cryptography (which I most assuredly would skip).

Stephenson can be annoying because of all of his digressions, but those same digressions are also why so many people like his books: they’re nerdy and overstuffed and repay repeated readings. (I watch the same shows over and over again; you can’t be surprised I re-read novels.) A well-done version of Cryptonomicon would be watched and re-watched and blogged about and argued about over and over and over again.

There would be some real issues to do with regarding language, and given all of the war scenes, it wouldn’t be cheap to film, but given Wikileaks and Snowden, this would be a great time to turn this text into television.

And man, I’d really love to see Bobby Shaftoe and Goto Dengo onscreen.