As I write this, I am about half way through Season 8 of Will & Grace. With the revival premiering tonight, I felt like I needed a refresher. Since the show has never been on a streaming service before it was a little difficult to watch. It's funny, because I thought I remembered everything. Turns out that I only remembered the first two seasons.
I had vague recollections of random story points that aren't in the first two seasons. But honestly, at this point? I’m not even sure how I've already sat through all of these seasons. Don't get me wrong, I still find the show entertaining, but I don't really remember any particular storyline standing out as character progression. The last three seasons have been just kind of a blob of random episodes.
Binge watching it like this presents problems in general. I've got all the episodes lined up in a queue, so unless it's a holiday episode I have no concept as to where I'm at in the series, numerically speaking. Storylines come and go seemingly forgotten. When you look at the show as a whole, it's excellent. The characters are well written and layered. The times when they forget those layers is a problem for me. Boyfriends and husbands are obtained and then barely mentioned or altogether forgotten for a few episodes. I can understand with some of the stunt casting they did, the actors they hired had other things to do and could be on the show full time. Or maybe they truly wanted to keep the main four the focus of the show.
One incredibly entertaining thing they did in season six was "hide" Debra Messing's pregnancy. Because the show constantly had the actors in motion, they did the standard hiding of the belly with baggy shirts and purses and pillows, etc. But there were times where they had her lounging and it was completely clear. Plus there were new jokes about how she never stopped eating and was too lazy to move.
I'm trying to imagine what it would be like to watch these storylines year after year and not binge them. I think I know why I stopped watching other than just my general busyness. There was an episode towards the beginning of the season where they discussed how network TV wasn't going to put two men kissing on the air. In the episode Jack and Will kiss on the Today show. Since then? I can't think of a single piece of affection that wasn't either hetero either naturally or visually. Running gags about how Will or Jack would grope or kiss or flirt with women are far more prevalent than anything related to homosexuality. They also seemed to be on a mission to take back the negative connotations of the words "fag" and "homo".
Don't get me wrong, the show helped usher in a new era of openness on TV. There were limitations then. 2004 doesn't seem all that long ago, but it really was. We've come so far with the LGBTQ rights movement in these last few short years, I am concerned that the revival won't have aged with the times. While I wouldn't want the character's main traits to have changed much I am a tad concerned that we're going to be treated to the 40/50 something year old characters acting in their 20/30 year old personalities. And that just won't do well.
I really do love this show, despite my critique. I'm looking at it with the eyes of a binge watcher after years of being away. If I hated it, I would have quit well before I got to season 7.
I am encouraged that they have already been renewed for a second season despite not even having filmed a single episode when that announcement was made. I can't wait for the stunt casting to continue and I am excited to see where these characters have been for the last decade. I really hope it doesn't suck.
Guys! The Good Place is back. I cannot tell you how excited I am. This was one of my favorite shows last season and I couldn't be happier that it's back this year.
We pick up right where we left off last year with a little reminder of where we left it things. We discovered that everyone is actually in the Bad Place and that Michael has decided to reset everything so that he can try to torture these people again. Eleanor managed to get herself a note when she and the others realized what was happening.
Once reset, we get a behind the scenes look at how the Bad Place is set up. We get to meet the "actors" who are playing the roles in our main character's lives. They are all upset because this isn't the normal way or torturing people and they want to know why they can't just go back to the old way.
Now that everything is reset, we see how the main four are set about to be tortured. Eleanor is immediately tipped off that something isn't right because of the note she left herself and Michael's plans begin to fall apart.
The whole cast is back and spectacularly on point as they were in season one. Ted Danson continues to be one of the best things about this show for me. His ability to play both the good guy and the bad guy in practically the same breath is both fun and disturbing from a plotline perspective.
If you haven't seen season one yet, I would suggest that you go back and check it out. I can't wait to see what happens next now that they've been really reset. I'm hoping that now that the wall has come down between the audience and the background players, we'll get more of that side of the world as well as the one the main characters are living in.
Yesterday when I got home from work and settled in to watch a couple of episodes of something, I saw that Hulu had an exclusive of the new show Ghosted starring Adam Scott and Craig Robinson. Then, later in the evening the show went live on Twitter. It's the first time I've seen anything like that. The show aired on Twitter and the live tweeting occurred below the episode as it played. It was a fun and incredibly interactive way to watch the show.
I'm a huge fan of both actors so when I tell you I've been excitedly waiting for this premiere I hope that you fully understand. I've been following their careers for a while now and I think they are two of the funniest "straight men" in the business. Their dead pan delivery of logic and observations have been practically their trademark up to this point.
Ghosted follows Max, a former Professor who was kicked out of Stanford for his belief that his wife was abducted by aliens; and Leroy a former LAPD Detective who is now working as a security guard. One day when they are minding their own business, they get picked up by a secret government agency and recruited to assist in finding a missing agent. They must work together in order to solve the case with the promise that they will be able to go back to the lives they had before they were disgraced.
Scott and Robinson are so perfectly cast for these roles I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the roles were written for them in mind specifically. Both characters come across with heart and humor and while some of the dialogue was flimsy or oddly delivered, the majority of it was incredibly funny.
The show is not without its problems, however. There is one edit in the middle of the episode that even after seeing the show twice feels like a blink and you miss it moment where the transition is so harsh you wonder what the heck just happened. It also suffers from trying to cram too much into a twenty minute episode. Even if they are going to end up in a half hour (with commercials) format, the premiere could have benefited from an hour long world building episode. Because they only have twenty minutes to tell the entire background of the story there isn't a ton of world building. Max comes off as pushy when demanding multiple times that Leroy tell him what happened at the LAPD. And even after seeing it twice now I'm still not entirely certain as to what happens to the agent they went looking for in the first place.
Even with that all said, with the banter, the premise, and the soundtrack, Ghosted has the makings of a fun show ahead. As a pilot, it was just OK. But I'm hoping that others can see the potential for greatness that I do. There's a great show in there, there are just some tweaks that need to be made.
Have you watched it yet? It's on Hulu for a couple more days and then it premieres on 10/1. I highly recommend you check it out.
The only real question I have left is whether Fox will invest in the show and let it find its footing, or send it to the land of cancelled shows.