Monday, September 22, 2008

First Impressions: True Blood, Merlin, No Heroics

Just some quick notes:

"True Blood": Too stupid to live, IMO. The central innovation - that the world knows about vampires - doesn't overcome this series being one big mega-cliche made up of a bunch of little cliches that interlock like those lion robots on "Voltron". You had that abominable Ricean thing with vampires being hypersexualized to the point where seeing one gives a pure-minded virgin all sorts of nasty thoughts, and how vampire blood is the new cocaine (plus it makes you frisky, since everyone knows the undead just exude sex appeal). Plus, the inane soap scenario where everyone has unrequited feelings for everyone else: Sam loves Sookie loves Bill , Tara loves Jason loves Dawn loves no one in particular but herself... Ugh. Pass.

"Merlin": I was ambivalent about this at first - Anthony Head is Uther Pendragon, I like - but after watching the premiere again, I've got to give it a pass; it certainly looks good, and while Colin Morgan's performance didn't get my attention he's hardly offensive... it's just one of those situations where the parts don't add up to a good enough sum. It might be that the Arthurian legends are particularly "set" in my mind, and I find it hard to accept deviations that aren't especially interesting: Arthur and Merlin being the same age, Arthur being such a negative figure (at least initially), Guinevere as a servant to Morgana, and that annoying Great Dragon with the cryptic Secret Destiny talk... none of that works for me, not just because of the divergence but because, based on the first episode, these changes don't seem to lead anywhere I want to follow.

"No Heroics:" Quite amusing, maybe because it takes the X-Statix approach to superheroes as fame-hungry media whores whose powers are comically useless. I can see how the premise wouldn't support a full-length series, but it's certainly amusing to watch a hero whose only power is the ability to see a minute into the future - it's a repeating punchline that practically writes itself. Clever!