Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Eff Ex

I've really gotten into a couple of FX shows lately.

On the comedy side, there is It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The story goes that these three guys from Philly shot a pilot video for $300 and FX bought it, and now they write and star in a show. Philadelphia is kind of like Seinfeld if it were younger and edgier. Practically every episode centers on a hot button topic that's calculated to offend.

Yet the series is clever and tonally sharp enough that it never feels like shock value is all it has going for it. The characters are uniformly amoral monsters, yet they manage to convincingly rationalize their behavior in ways that are logical, if hilariously wrong. On top of that, the performances are great and every episode has a few subtly timed reactions that are worth re-watching with TiVo.

I've also really gotten hooked on The Shield. Sure, it's gritty and dark, but while the drama is intense, it's never heavy. The show is brash, energetic, surprisingly fun and often darkly comic. Characters are complex; not wholly good nor wholly bad, yet still believable as individuals, as opposed to characters who are just arbitrarily good one moment and arbitrarily bad the next, as in the faux-complex Crash.

I am now one DVD into the second season. I rented the first season in a streak, picking up the next disc every time I returned one (and I don't have NetFlix). It's that good.


Steve F said...

The Shield is one of my favorite shows of all time. I always find that if I go write immediately after watching it, I'm a better writer.

The only downside is that they only make 13 episodes every 15 months.

I'll have to check Always Sunny. I'm glad you tipped me off to How I Met Your Mother, so hopefully this will be as good.

C said...

i had to watch crash for class. I'll never get those 2 hrs back. and i'll also never get back the half hour of in class discussion lead by the oldest, whitest man from utah i've ever met.

Sarah said...

I really like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It's damn funny.