Bogner’s TV Guide No. 16

After month of sweating, getting sunburnt the minute I stepped out of my darkened room, and making shorts part my daily clothing routine, I cannot wait for the downfall of the yellow monster and for nature to wilt and die once more. But apart from the relief that comes with shortening days, there is another great joy: fall comebacks! Here are the ones that have me counting down the days to their triumphant return on air.


Homeland

 Without doubt Howard ‘24′ Gordon’s show about CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and her wild theory that a decorated war hero (Damian Lewis) has been turned and is now an Al-Qaeda sleeper agent, was last years best. Homeland Season 1 had it all: a weird jazz theme that perfectly illustrated Carrie’s mental health issues, thrills that sometimes brought you to the edge of your seat, and a setting that was as up-to-date as the new Batman wished to be. The Golden Globe for Best Drama Series in 2012 was more than deserved, and if season 2 is only half as great as the first one, Homeland will without a doubt win it again in 2013. And the chances are good… just take a look at the trailer.

Season 2 premieres on Sunday, September 30 on Showtime.


The Walking Dead

When I first heard about Frank Darabont turning The Walking Dead comic into a TV show, I came directly into my nerd pants (worn up to my waist, naturally). And while Season 1 turned out to be really great, Season 2 was, to put it simply, so-so. I don’t really know what to expect from the zombie apocalypse survivors around Rick after Herschel’s farm was ran over, but I’m sure as hell going to watch every season they make (until the dead come alive in the real world, that is).

Season 3 premieres on Sunday, October 14 on AMC.

Revenge

A few weeks ago I told you about my favorite guilty pleasure, Revenge. After more than twenty episodes I swore to myself that I wouldn’t waste a minute more watching this show, but now I find myself waking up in the middle of the night wondering who Emily’s mother might be (ok, I already spoiler’d that for myself, it’s Jennifer Jason Leigh) and if she will ever ride with her puppy love Jack through the Hamptons. Cheesy as fuck, I know, but sooo addicting… nd a lot better than Gossip Girl, which will be going into its last, ten-episode season.

Season 4 premieres on Sunday, September 30 on ABC.

Modern Family

Al Bundy is one of the greatest characters in TV history, and I still don’t get why it wasn’t him instead of Chuck Norris who became the internet’s number one hero (this is a good point, actually – Ed.). After all, Married with Children had everything you could ask for in a meme. So as you may have guessed Ed O’Neil is the number one reason for me to watch Modern Family, which shouldn’t discredit the rest of the cast who make this show extremely funny and make me really look forward to the upcoming fourth season, which brings a new baby to the show.

Season 4 premieres on Wednesday, September 26 on ABC.

(by the way, I know this trailer sucks, but you get the idea, right?)

 

Wait for next week to find out about exciting new shows to come up this Autumn.

 

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Bogner’s TV Guide No. 12

Revenge is a dish best served while avoiding doing anything productive. Even though the weather was perfect for floundering about in the water and I had shitloads of work waiting at my desk, I recently decided to neglect both. Instead, I spent about 20 hours (968 minutes in a row, to be precise) of my precious time on a TV show that isn’t even all that great. Why? Because this series is the newest member of the shitty-tv-shows-that-you-cannot-stop-watching-club which also includes such honorable (un)favorites as Gossip Girl, Prison Break, Dollhouse, Heroes (except for season 1, which was great), The L Word, Jericho, Spartacus, Desperate Housewives, Flash Forward and many others. The more I think about it, the more I have to admit the list is endless.

Revenge debuted in September 2011 on ABC and was created by Mike Kelly, who has already annoyed us with shows like Jericho and the much more famous The O.C. The plot is laid out pretty quickly: a young woman named Emily Thorne (Emily VanKamp) returns to the place where she spent her childhood (which happens to be the Hamptons) to take revenge on the people who conspired against her father and led to his death. Episode after episode Emily takes out another member of the tight-knit alliance that is dominated by the Grayson family, the most powerful and wealthy residents of the Hamptons. To be honest, it’s as much of a cheesy, predictable, stereotype-filled soap opera as it sounds. Still, I was totally addicted to the show, for a couple of reasons:

First there’s the setting. These huge stately homes in the Hamptons look better the more you realize you will never, ever enter one of those estates, let alone own one. It’s endless beaches, clear blue sky, fancy cars, yachts and so on. Then there’s the second reason, which helps a lot to comfort you as being a member of the 99%: every one of these filthy rich people is a fucked-up asshole of one kind or another, and you know it’s just going to be a matter of time before they all bite the dust. Then there’s the acting, an important part of any TV show you end up watching for hours on end. The performance of most of the cast isn’t half bad, but when it comes to Emily herself and her opponent, Victoria Grayson (played by Madleine Stowe) it’s damn close to exceptional.

But what’s most important, once you’ve made it through the first few episodes, is that you’ll be dying to know what comes next. Not how Revenge is going to end; that’s something you won’t spend a minute thinking about. As long as people are watching the show and the network earns money, Emily Thorne will continue her crusade but will always remain just shy of succeeding. What’s interesting are the little twists the team of probably about ten writers have to come up with, each and every episode. Like any other guilty pleasure show, I wouldn’t go as far as recommending it outright, but if you happen to be avoiding work, or heat, or just about anything else, bunker yourself in and press play.

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How to read about TV

If my last column didn’t tip you off, I like to write about TV shows. Obviously I love sitting in front of the computer or TV for hours or sometimes even for days, while characters evolve, stories gain momentum and I get sucked deeper and deeper into a fictional world. But hey (and this may come as a surprise) I also like reading books. For this reason, I’d like to dedicate this post to the common ground between the written word and TV shows. Not so much television which is based on books, such as Dexter, Gossip Girl, The Walking Dead and last weeks topic: Game of Thrones. Rather, I wanna focus on programs that have nothing to do with actual literature, but become something close to it… or at least try to.

My first encounter with extraterrestrial bad literature was based on Fox Mulder and Dana Scully’s X-Files. Back in the days it was much easier for me to get my hands on the books than to watch the actual TV show. All I can remember is one story about – no joke – cows and sheep that were mysteriously killed in a small rural county. I also had this ‘non fiction’ book which was called something like ‘The Truth Behind the Truth is Out There’ and pretended to contain scientific proof of alien life on earth.

Throughout the following years the X-Files books worked like a vaccine against producers’ aims to squeeze another buck out of me, the loyal customer. I didn’t even notice written offshoots of TV shows – with two exceptions: the book The Bro Code is written by a the fictitious character called Barney from How I Met Your Mother and it’ss some kind of guidebook on how to get women, but alas, I’ve neither watched the TV show nor read the book. I have to admit though I was tempted to buy a book that, similar to The Bro Code, was written by another character from one of my favorite shows from back in the day: God Hates Us All by Hank Moody. In the Showtime series Californication, David Duchovny plays an author who suffers from writer’s block after the success of his first book (the above mentioned). But then the show turned into shit after the second season and, expecting the same from the book, I chose to forget about it.

So it took approximately eighteen years until I bought a book from a TV show and I promise you, it’s worth every dime. It’s called How To Archer, and it’s based on the FX show Archer about a secret agency called ISOS in New York – and it’s just as funny as the TV show. So the conclusion could be: creators that are responsible for great pieces of TV probably come up with good books. Who would have thunk it?

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