Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Reruns Worth Watching

If you are anything like me, the summer can get really boring TV-wise. There are only a handful of new shows that air over the summer, and they are mediocre at best. However, I feel that this is the season to Tivo those old shows you haven't watched in years, catch up on some newer shows on DVD, or pull out your own TV DVDs to review your favorites (Off the top of my head, I can think of at least 12 different TV shows that I have at least some DVD's of). Here are some suggestions that I am currently watching:

Ah, The O.C. I found out this show has a 2 hour afternoon block on SOAPnet that always squeezes in as much Marissa drama as possible (seriously, that girl attracts trouble). I have the first two seasons of this show on DVD, but I find watching Tivo'd episodes is much more enjoyable. I came in around the middle of season 1 reruns, with Luke discovering his dad is gay. That is definitely one of my favorite episodes because of the conversation at the end. Luke is afraid to go back to school because everyone is still talking about his dad, but the gang assures him skipping a day won't help.

Ryan: It's been months and I'm still the kid from Chino that burned a house down.
: And I'm still the girl who tried to kill herself in Mexico.
: And I'm still the... I'm still Seth Cohen.
: Oh, this is gonna suck.
: Yep. Welcome to my world.

For those of you who don't know the O.C. (you must live under a rock), the show's premise is that an activist lawyer from a rich town takes in a troubled youth, the sexy Ryan Atwood, and adopts him after his parents take off. Sandy Cohen, the lawyer, is married to Kirsten, a rich daddy's girl who makes up most of the family's income. They have a son named Seth, played by the witty Adam Brody, who redefines the definition of Loner. Ryan bonds with Seth instantly, and the two help each other out as Ryan gets acclimated to Orange County. Ryan soon falls for Marissa, the drama magnet (attempted suicide, alcoholism, running away, befriending a psychopath....all in season 1), and that opens up a way for Seth to woo his longtime love, Summer, who is Marissa's self-absorbed friend. Once the show gets underway, the four characters begin to balance each other out until they are all somewhat down-to-earth people.

Season 1 is definitely worth checking out because it is the best of the four seasons aired. I always enjoyed the Seth-Summer-Anna love triangle and the reactions it got from those surprised to see girls fighting over Seth, and I easily get sucked into the Marissa drama. The iconic image of Ryan carrying her out of Mexico is echoed in the season 3 finale. It's not to be missed.

And Luke. As dumb and ridiculous as he is, I love watching him become part of the group. He cracks me up especially when they go to the Rooney concert.

Season 2 begins this week! Look out for Marissa dating a gardener and a lesbian, Seth fighting again for Summer, and Ryan pulling out a can of whoop ass on his brother. Oh and did I mention someone gets shot? The O.C. airs every weekday at 3 and 4 pm on SOAPnet. The 3 pm episode is always a rerun of the 4 pm from the day before (just FYI).

The opening cello theme to this show should be enough to draw you in. Angel was one of the first shows I ever watched live from beginning to end, and believe me, it was well worth my attention. I noticed a few weeks ago they were airing the episode "The Magic Bullet" on TNT. This episode comes up at the end of season 4 after a long string of cliffhanger episodes. Season 4 went off the usual Angel script by having a long running plot line instead of a demon of the week scenario. This existed somewhat in season 3 with Connor, but I remember season 4 for being exhausting the way the plot line continued on for so long. However, the ending of it was pretty intense. In "The Magic Bullet" a goddess named Jasmine has taken over L.A. and everybody instantly worships her. The only way to see through her disguise is to mix her blood with yours. Fred does this accidentally and is now on the run from all her followers. She ends up getting Angel on her side by shooting a bullet through Jasmine into him. He then is able to get Welsey, Gunn, and Lorne to see the truth, too, and they all prepare for an epic battle to end Jasmine's rule.

I figured I would just watch a few episodes, but I easily continued on to Season 5 which kind of got back to Angel's roots. The gang decides to take up an offer to run Wolfram and Hart (an evil law firm they think they can control in a way to do good) and start fighting the good fight again. One of my favorites of this last season was the episode "Smile Time" in which Angel turns into a puppet. The pictures speak for themselves.

Anyway, the series finale serves as a stark contrast to the series premiere. Only Angel is left of the original cast, the others have either died, left, or have been taken over by an ancient demon (I miss Fred). The series ends with Angel (and what is left of his group) taking on an army of demons. You don't see the fight play out or how it ends, just that the show goes out with them fighting.

Season 1 just started airing on TNT this week. I just watched the premiere and was laughing my ass off when I recognized the first vampire Angel took on. Yup, it looks like Sawyer was a member of the undead before he was shipped off to an island in Lost.

You can catch Angel reruns on TNT at 6 and 7 am weekdays and some weekends. I am never up that early, so I usually Tivo them for the afternoon. If you've never seen the show, this is a great time to start watching. Many of my favorite episodes are from the first two seasons. Look out for my official top ten list soon!

I don't watch NBC shows apart from "The Office," so I'm not surprised I didn't follow Chuck right away when it started. Chuck barely survived being renewed for a third season, most likely due to the fact it premiered during the writers strike. Viewers were able to watch 13 episodes for season 1, and then had to wait about 8 months for season 2. For a first run show, this is a hard obstacle to overcome to maintain an audience (reference Pushing Daisies getting cut down after half a second season). However, lucky for Chuck viewers, it will be back for a third season this coming spring.

I noticed that season 1 of Chuck was available at my library, and knowing the premise, I figured it was a show I could watch with my dad. Chuck is a twenty something regular guy working at Buy More as lead Nerd Herder (think leader of the Geek Squad at Best Buy). He gets an email from a former college friend that when opened, sends Chuck into a catatonic state as he views thousands of images encrypted with top secret information. Bryce Larkin, the guy who sent the email, stole this information from the Intersect, a device that compiles all the information from the NSA and CIA so they can work together when needed. Larkin is assassinated for betraying the CIA and stealing the info, and his last action is to send the Intersect data to Chuck.

Chuck is unaware of the info he now possesses when he is woken up, but two agents, Sarah from the CIA and Casey from the NSA, confront him in an effort to protect their agencies' secrets. Chuck then starts getting flashes when he runs into suspicious people, places, or things (any nouns really), and is helpful in bringing down worldwide criminals. Sarah begins posing as Chuck's girlfriend to stay close to him, and of course this leads to Chuck developing feelings for her instantly. Casey doesn't enjoy having to cooperate with Sarah, but he, too, must stay near Chuck, and therefore takes on the identity of a fellow Buy More salesman. The unlikely trio gets into a variety of wacky scenarios, and Chuck offers his own version of help when he can.

I just finished season 1 on DVD, and I find the show quite endearing. Not only are Chuck, Casey, and Sarah interesting as they battle random criminals, but the supporting cast is also quite entertaining in their own way. Chuck's best friend, Morgan, is the hopeless geek who gets into many silly situations but is also a very loyal friend. Morgan usually plays a major role in the subplots of the episodes at the Buy More. One of my favorite Morgan adventures was him leading the staff on Black Friday in crowd control. Just make sure you don't use the word Pineapple lightly.

Chuck lives with his sister, Ellie, and her boyfriend Captain Awesome (a nickname he got for insisting everything is Awesome). Ellie and Chuck's relationship is very cute, and I'm glad they incorporated her well into every episode. It's nice to have that small family aspect amidst all the chaos.

Check out the show if you can on DVD and online. Half of season 2 is available to watch on NBC's site, though you might have to result to iTunes to see the other half. The third season kicks off in March 2010 after the Olympics, so you will have plenty of time to catch up.

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