Monday

Monday Television: Lost Girl, Continuum, and Bunheads

Monday is a strange night for television.

The "SyFy" Channel has two Canadian series that they run: Continuum and Lost Girl.

Lost Girl, currently in its third season and airs eight days after it debuts in Canada, is only one episode into its new season, but it's hit a new stride. Part of this is I think due to the fact that the lead character played by Anna Silk is now a little evil. For the first two seasons, Silk's character, the succubus Bo, has been the calm and somewhat dull-ish center of a show where the supporting characters were far more colorful and interesting. In just one episode though Silk has shown that she's having a lot of fun playing evil and it's injected a little energy into the show. And hopefully we'll get more Rick Howland as well–can never have too much of him.

Continuum is a show of which I expected very little. Part of that is simply because of the casting of the main character Rachel Nichols, an actor I've found to be, well, dull. Dull in many different projects over the years so I wasn't expecting a great deal. It's hard to build a show around an actor who can't pull off being the center of a show and have the strength and talent to be the center. The show though was much better than I expected, interesting and offers a lot of possibilities.

In 2077, a group of terrorists are about to be executed. In this future corporations have taken control of the government, something that it's suggested most people are fine with. The terrorists manage to pull off an escape attempt landing them in 2012 and accidentally take one cop played by Nichols with them. The terrorists' first move in the episode is an extremely violent one, and the dissonance between that and the idealistic underpinnings of this revolt voiced by the fabulous character actor Tony Amendola at the beginning is confusing. The degree to which this is the part of a larger calculated plan or having crime be key because it provides our heroine with a reason to join the police force easily is unclear.

I'm also curious the degree to which Alec Sadler, in both 2012 and 2077 plays a role in the series and exactly what theory of time travel the show is backing. (I think that only geeks spend a lot of time thinking about which time travel theories are used and how fiction utilizes them). The older Sadler is played by William B. Davis, the actor best known as The X-Files' Cigarette Smoking Man, and while he may not be as devious here as he was then, he's just as hard to read and playing just as complicated a character with conflicting–and confusing–loyalties. It's an interesting first episode with a lot of potential, but I'll stick around to see how the first season plays out.

My favorite show of Monday though has to be Bunheads on ABC Family, which I know will raise a lot of eyebrows, just because it's so different than the previous two series and a show about a ballet school doesn't quite seem to be something that I–or most straight men–would watch. Much less be absorbed and obsessed by. But I am. For many reasons.

First, Sutton Foster. I saw her on Broadway in Anything Goes where she was terrific and she's just a lot of fun to watch. I mean she can dance, she can sing, she's a great comedienne and she manages to play the dramatic moments perfectly. It's a rare range of talents and it's just so fun to watch her. Amy Sherman-Palladino's dialogue is also just a lot of fun to listen to. She doesn't get enough credit as a talented wordsmith, and the show's many characters are a great deal of fun. The three generations of women in the show and their interactions are a pleasure to watch.

At the heart of the show is sadness and tragedy and a fear that life has passed by and yet there is also joy and laughter and the potential for change and the idea that no matter how hopeless we may feel, no matter how much we may believe that we are lost and beyond any possibility, there is a community that we can be a part of and a place that we can all call home.

I know that more people will watch The Following, the new serial killer drama starring Kevin Bacon, which premieres Monday night, than will watch Bunheads, but I can't help but think that watching a show lacking in violence that makes us laugh and is about multiple generations trying to work through their varied issues and keep their sense of humor doing it is something we could all use.

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