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February 07 2005

The networks are trading normal for paranormal. Interesting article discussing the rise of the supernatural and religious drama on TV. Cites 'Lost' and 'Point Pleasant' as examples. Includes plenty of comments by Marti Noxon.

the closest thing reality TV has given us to a female Antichrist is Paris Hilton

Best line I have heard in a very long time!
I suppose I'm happy the supernatural is making a comeback a bit, but since it's of a religious kind, I'm not cheering. America is such a christian country (and currently in such a conservative phase) that these topics are always handled in the same standard, dull and conventional ways and views. Because, hey, we can't risk offending anyone. Point Pleasant has so far not been an exception and the simple fact that the devil's offspring is a girl this time doesn't really change all that much either.
It's funny; they were saying the same thing last year with Wonderfalls and Joan of Arcadia as examples.
Note: of the mid-season debuts, I think Medium is hands-down my favorite. (What got it on my radar was Glen Caron being the creator producer).

As the Time article says, it's very strong points are (a) concentrating on Allison's home life, and how her abilities affect leading a normal life, and (b) Arquette's excellent performance.

I give it a very strong recommendation.
Writers have to be so cautious in the area of religion, especially as it deals with the supernatural. If you go too far into just general acceptance of Christian or Muslim or Jewish principles, then you automatically lose a percentage of your audience. Especially if you steer away from Christian values - you risk the ire of the fundamentalist right. However, go too far into Christian values and not only do you lose jews and muslims, but a large factor of the audience potential out there who's undecided, or agnostic, or aetheist.. Some might be religious to some degree, but don't go to the television or the movie theater to be preached to.

Medium dances that very precarious line. A recent episode dealt with the mother and daughter meeting with an 'imaginary friend' of her daughter's that turned out to be a ghost. It was very touching, and it insinuated Judeo-Christian concepts of heaven without ruling out the possible beliefs of other viewers in the audience. And that's very important.

I believe that might be one of the problems that Whedon's universe had with breaking into the mainstream. There were some general givens that one had to accept in the Whedonverse, that some closed-minded types would consider blasphemy to whatever their belief structure is. However, Whedon didn't just dance with that precarious religious line. He grabbed it by the scruff of the neck and ran three out of five rounds in the ring with a submission or a TKO.

The scene in season four where a vampire walks into a church and gives that great line: "It's hard to believe. I've been avoiding this place for so many years, and it's nothing. It's nice! It's got the pretty windows, the pillars . .. lots of folks to eat. Where's the thing I was so afraid of? You know, the Lord? He was supposed to be here. He gave us this address. (sighs) Well, we'll just have to start killing off His people. See if He shows up."

Dayam! I'm surprised Buffy lasted as long as it did.

I like how the first season of Dead Like Me handled it. And I say only first season cuz I haven't seen the rest of it on dvd yet. Each person who died got treated with their own way. That's how I personally believe it. The path to salvation is so narrow, only one person can walk the path, and it's a different path for each person. I love that. That's what Dead like Me proposes and I think that's so cool. However, that also would just tick off all those people who think their way is the ONLY way. So I'd be surprised if -is Dead Like Me even still being produced? Is it still on the air? I cancelled cable tv back when they cancelled MST3K so I have no idea what's going on there.
Dead Like Me got cancelled after two seasons due to a drop in ratings and because Showtime wanted to make room for new shows.
I agree, bookrats -- Arquette's performance on Medium is one of the best things about it. So far they haven't really surprised me with the plotlines, but her portrayal seems so fresh and unmannered that she consistently draws me in. Her chemistry with Jake Weber is palpable and never overplayed, making them one of the most believable, authentic TV couples in recent memory.

Makes me wish they'd bring some of that understatedness to Point Pleasant. So far it's been so hormonal and emotionally over-the-top, I can't really get into it on anything more than the most superficial of levels. It's not really scary, really passionate, or really sexually dangerous, though it toys with all those qualities.

I wonder just how much Rupert Murdoch's conservativism affects shows appearing on the traditionally bawdy, in-yo-face FOX network -- ironic, given they're known for putting on the most sensationalist shows on broadcast TV. The double standard operating there reminds me of a virginal 12th grade cheerleader leading a tawdry double life as an afterschool prostitute. They have all the worst reality shows appealing to the lowest common denominator of human nature, where no indignity or humiliation is spared, and yet their scripted programming has become strangely toothless, lacking the power that should come with having a reputation for playing things up to fever pitch and attracting viewer attention.

It's like they want to titillate, to tease and bring viewers to the edge, but they never genuinely go all the way with any show's potential (with the general exception of 24, although I think there are several times it's gone for visual drama or spectacle over genuine emotional punch). It's why I doubt PP will ever attain the heights MN has envisioned for it. Too much suds and butts, not enough blood and guts.

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