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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Watched the first two eps of Northern Exposure last night, and they knocked my socks off. Naked Josh has been compared to NX before, and I see why -- similar main character, but also the sense of place and the comic dramatic tone.

NX surprised me because it seems to prefigure some of the big shows on cable now. It has a looser sense of story than most shows did then. Joel, the main character, is involved with various things going on in the town. Sometimes they connect, sometimes they don't. The show feels free to take a moment here and there to introduce us to members of the town without Joel's point of view.

The shows felt to me as if they had a sort of '70's Altman-esque feel. The characters were distinct but introduced themselves in mostly low key ways. The only one who begins as a cliche, the town landowner/booster/redneck/big man, immediately begins to deconstruct himself -- he's looking for love, it turns out, towards the end of the pilot.

Like Gilmore Girls, the show doesn't always go for the button or the big act out. (I'd love to one day ask Amy Sherman-Palladino what she looks for in an out.)

I think I'm going to watch the rest of that DVD...

I'm liking Rescue Me, too. But bear in mind, if you're trying to understand four act structure, loosey-goosey shows on cable may not be the best place to start. It's hard to tell exactly how those shows work. For a beginner, might be better to watch basic procedural shows like Medium or old Buffy's to see how act outs work.

UPDATE: Warren asks "where have all the warm hearted dramadies gone?" Dude! I created one!

3 Comments:

The series really gets interesting in later seasons when Joel goes native to discover himself. That show always holds a big place inside for me. I am finding the odd, but neat parka package hard to shelve in my collection.

Rescue Me is something I love, but don't like at times. It seems they go for an easy out for some situations that I would be more interested in seeing them explore (I can't explain because I don't want to spoil anything you).

How can you not love a show that has a main character arguing with Jesus Christ as the Son of God cooks a grilled cheese?

JDC

By Blogger John Donald Carlucci, at 12:41 PM  

NX was my favorite show in the early 90's. Where have all the warm-hearted dramedies gone? I'm very nostalgic for those shows!

By the way, there was a great series for six (?) seasons on the BBC called Monarch of the Glen that had a similarly tone and some great writing. I highly recommend it.

Warren

By Blogger Warren, at 3:50 PM  

I have to second Monarch of the Glen. British shows are great most of the time anyway.

JDC

By Blogger John Donald Carlucci, at 10:51 PM  

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