Viewing Notes August 2009

I was watching a few older shows on DVD recently, namely J.A.G. and The O.C. Neither were very impressive.

J.A.G. was tolerable, with about a dozen enjoyable episodes. Which is sad given it ran for a whopping 10 seasons. I liked Petty Officer Coates, and Harriet and Bud were usually fun. Admiral Chegwidden was good and Ice Queen, Singer, played the villainess so well.  Mac just was annoying beyond belief and Harm was an idiot far too often. There was not enough of interest in any of the relationships to ever make it worth buying the whole series. My family watched it from about 5th season to its end, which was disappointing to say the least. The one good thing to come of it was the spin-off series, NCIS.

The premise is that of a group of  JAG officers applying the stipulations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and international law as well as providing increasingly ridiculous relationship melodrama and angst.  It was interesting at first to see what the Judge Advocate General office was and the work, however highly fictionalized, that the officers did, but that only lasts for about three episodes when the rest of the story is not that engrossing.  From the beginning, the show regularly incorporated elements of real-life military actions into its storylines, e.g. the aftermath of the Bosnian War, the attack on the USS Cole (DDG-67), the events of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the subsequent War on Terrorism. I think that was a big draw for a lot of viewers, having a show that portrayed military branches and many of the struggles that they went through. I just wish they could have made a better, more intelligent show out of that premise, with stronger characters and tighter writing.

2 out 5. Episodes: 2 x 8, 13; 4 x 1, 2; 5 x 14; 6 x 1,2, 22, 24; That is all the farther that I have rewatched these so 7-10 will have to wait.

The O.C. was the next one I watched. Talk about failed potential!

I liked the Cohens. I really liked that family centered dynamic, with them taking Ryan into their lives and family and how they struggled with the many situations in which they found themselves. I especially liked Seth and Ryan’s friendship as it progressed. The show had some serious potential, but they lost it. I hated every romantic relationship on that show other than Sandy and Kirsten’s. The secondary characters staged a take-over and won. They were ok as the neighbors and as foils and troublemakers; however, I did not care to know them better. I wished that they would have just focused on the Cohen’s, perhaps more on how their lifestyle and community could have been positively impacted by Ryan coming to live with them. Ryan saved their lives and their family (as shown in 4 x 1) and I wished that they would have shown that more powerfully and made it the focus rather than allowing the show to become little else than an evening soap opera that wallowed in self-absorption and pettiness, glamourizing infidelity, selfishness, arrogance and elitism.

I liked the initial premise in those first few episodes. A family in trouble. The ice queen mom Kirsten in real estate. Dad Sandy so focused on solving everyone else’s problems that he fails to see his family’s. Seth, a boy who hates the people around him, recognized the futility and insipidity of their lifestyle. Then Sandy brings Ryan home, a young man from the wrong side of town, with an alcoholic mom, a convict for a dad and a brother well on his way to career criminal. Seth immediately strikes up a friendship with Ryan. And Seth is quite a talker, while Ryan is not big on conversation, so watching them interact can be very amusing. And Kirsten is worried about bringing this troubled teen into her “perfect home. But quickly it dissolved into a teen romance-fest. Booooooring.

2 out of 5. Barely. Episodes:  1 X 1,2,3,4, 13 and 27; 2 X 1 and 2 x 24;  4 x 1, 2 5, and 14 – 16.


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