If it's crap ... We'll tell you
As I continue my barrage of new TV DVD releases, we move into three different shows.
I don't feel I need to mention Community because I've gone on long enough about how great the series and all I will say is that, buy the third season, it's great, it's enjoyable, it's a lot of fun.
I am going to talk about Happy Endings, because this week, the second season was released exclusively in a two-season box set featuring the first season on DVD (the second season is being released seperately on October 2nd).
The series follows the lives of six friends living in Chicago: married yuppies Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Jane (Eliza Coupe); Alex (Elisha Cuthbert), Jane's ditzy sister; Dave (Zachary Knighton), a food truck owner who used to be engaged to Alex; Dave's roommate, Max (Adam Pally); and their chronically single friend, Penny (Casey Wilson).
The series first begins with the six friends dealing with their group dynamic drastically changing after the breakup of the couple that first brought them all together, Dave and Alex. This leaves the rest of the group (Max, Brad, Jane, and Penny) in the awkward position of either trying to stay together as friends or having to choose sides. Dave and Alex decide to stay friends, but there are many more complications down the road.
While the initial "complications following Alex and Dave's breakup" premise was the focal point in the earlier episodes, this premise has mostly been abandoned as the series went on, as the focus became more about the group dynamic of six best friends, in a similar vein of "friends hanging out" ensemble comedies like Friends and How I Met Your Mother. Typically, each episode features two plot lines, in which varying combinations of the six characters find themselves involved.
Right from the beginning, the series had won me over. Mostly because it was a far superior ensemble friends comedy than Traffic Light, Perfect Couples, and Friends With Benefits, which all premiered in the exact same season.
In addition, you really get attached to all these characters. They all have a great personality to them, they're funny, and they are just very likeable people. That's the main goal to having a great TV comedy series where you can grow attached to the main characters, Community worked because of that, Cheers worked because of that, How I Met Your Mother worked because of that, all of those great comedies that I talk about work because of the very likeable characters.
One of the faults of the first season was that I felt the comedy wasn't as strong as I was hoping it would be but much like what happened with Parks & Recreation, as the show continues into season one and especially at the beginning of season two, the comedy gets so much better and the series becomes more perfect as the season goes on.
If anybody's worried about Community suffering without creator Dan Harmon and don't know if the new guys, David Guarascio and Moses Port, aren't up to the task. Watch Happy Endings, they both work on this show and the kind of quirky comedy that you see in this show, I think those guys will have no trouble keeping the heart of Commnity together on the show.
If you haven't been watching Happy Endings, definitely check it out on DVD and make sure to watch the new season on Tuesday October 23rd at 9pm/8c on ABC.
Moving over to the opposite side of Happy Endings, we have Starz's original series, Boss, starring Kelsey Grammer.
When it comes to original programming, Starz has been more miss than hit. The only really great show to come from Starz was Party Down, everything else was really piss poor with the worst being Spartacus. But then again, I think that this is because Starz doesn't order a pilot for most of their shows and just make it go straight to series. Which doesn't make sense unless you know you have a winner.
Now we get to Boss, which was already on my radar because of Kelsey Grammer, he rarely stars in anything shitty. I loved him on Cheers and Frasier, I really liked the short-lived Back To You, and the only really bad show I've seen him in was the really short-lived Hank in 2009 but even Grammer didn't like that show. After starring in four different comedy series, Grammer takes a serious dramatic turn in Boss.
The series follows Tom Kane, the mayor of Chicago, who has recently been diagnosed with DLB, a degenerative neurological disorder. Determined to remain in charge, Kane conceals the disease from everyone around him except his own physician, Dr Ella Harris. Those around Kane are too busy with their own lives to notice anything unusual. Kane's marriage to his wife Meredith is nothing more than one of convenience. Kane's closest advisors, Kitty O'Neill and Ezra Stone, begin to suspect something is wrong with the Mayor but respect him too much to ask any questions, while State Treasurer Ben Zajac is too busy cultivating his political ambitions to become the next Governor of Illinois to notice anything out of the ordinary.
Grammer really is the highlight of the show, he's just terrific in this role. He really creates this memorable character that's like a mix of Don Draper and Grammer's Frasier Crane. He's great on here.
The rest of the cast also perform very well with the highlights coming from Connie Nielsen playing Grammer's wife and Jeff Hephner as the state treasurer.
Over the season, the drama really doesn't feel overplayed and it feels very realistic. I don't think the drama works as well here as it does in the simlarly themed The Chicago Code but it's still played to a tee.
Boss doesn't quite handle the strong power than Party Down has but for a series on Starz, it's very good and this show really is one of the biggest surprises of the year. Definitely check it out on DVD if you don't have Starz.
Lastly, we have Dexter.
Much like Starz, when Showtime made the transition to original programming, it wasn't off to the strongest start. I think Weeds is one of the most overrated TV shows ever and I'm not a fan of The Tudors or The Borgias. But over the last few years, Showtime has gotten way better with their original shows with stuff like Californication, House Of Lies, and especially Homeland but the show that started the really good Showtime shows, Dexter.
The series centers on Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a blood spatter pattern analyst for the fictitious Miami Metro Police Department (based on the real life Miami-Dade Police Department) who moonlights as a serial killer.
The first five seasons of the show are very good, Michael C. Hall is well casted in the title role and they find the perfect balance of action, drama, and comedy to where the series has a really dark feel to it.
But what about the recently released sixth season on DVD? There was a lot of controversy over the last episode for something that happens that I will dare not spoil, you just have to see how crazy it is for yourself but either way, it's going to change the way you feel about the show.
Up until the last episode of the season, we get the same good stuff we come to expect from Dexter. But then the last episode comes up and some of the things they bring into the picture really made me wonder, "Why are you going down this path? I know the series is suppose to be a dark show but this is going way too far." It really felt like a last minute twist they decided to throw on for the last episode of the season.
What I hoping is that when the show returns for its' seventh season on September 30th, I really hope that the events of that last episode don't lead into storylines for this coming season because that's going to ruin the show and I won't want to watch it anymore.
So up until we get to the last episode, I would highly recommend Dexter but just be prepared for a twist in the last episode of the sixth season that's really going to make you change the way you feel about the show.
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