November 2, 2011

November 2, 2011

Television Internationale

Hulu is a boon to avid entertainment consumers. You know this. I know this. Most people know this, CBS and sports fans excepted. While I appreciate the fact that it’s free, and legal, and lets me watch episodes of network shows I missed, I really love Hulu’s recommendations feature. I love it almost as much as I love Amazon’s “You Might Also Like.” I mean, do you know how many amazing books I’ve found because Amazon’s AI knew I would like them? Yet another reason to open our robot overlords with open arms. They want to entertain us, in exchange for the inconsequential matter of harvesting our bodies’ natural resources! It’s not so bad being an organic cog in the machine if you have a really good book to pass the time.

Anyway, I’ve gone on a Hulu recommendation binge lately, and here’s a report of my findings. The most highly-recommended stuff is at the top.

Program: The Librarians
Country of origin: Australia
It’s a lot like: The Office, set in an Australian library
Watch it because: Michael Scott couldn’t even imagine this place. You’ve got library-related hijinks (literal crap in the bookdrop, hilariously-inappropriate weeknight workshops, etc.), you’ve got a cast of employees that put Creed Bratton to shame, and you’ve got words that should end in –er ending in –re! This is my number one suggestion to you. Everything below is just gravy.
I knew it was for me when: The first scene of the opening credits showed the main character, head librarian Frances, making a week’s worth of sandwich lunches at once. I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE!

Program: Goodnight Burbank
Country of origin: USA
It’s a lot like: SportsNight, but with local news.
Watch it because: The quips come fast and furious. Politics, race, sex: nothing’s off the table. Imagine if Sarah Palin and Ricky Gervais anchored a local news program. And there you go.
I knew it was for me when: The female anchor made a stunning Muslim joke, and the Muslim makeup artist gave as good as she got.

Program: The Palace
Country of origin: UK
It’s a lot like: The Tudors, set in the modern day
Watch it because: Royals are people too. The Palace is a bit high-concept: it’s not the merry Windsors we watch here, but a fictional royal family. There are two young guns, similar to pre-wedding William and Harry. In the pilot, one of them ascends to the throne as King Richard IV.
I knew it was for me when: The opening credits showed a servant measuring the distance between huge place settings at the royal table.
Caveat: One of the major plotlines involves the scheming eldest sister, who was passed over by the rules of succession. Those of you who follow monarchy news (I’M THE ONLY ONE!) know that these rules were recently changed to allow rule to pass to the eldest child, regardless of gender.
Caveat #2: This show only ran for one season. Apparently the Britons found it tawdry. Not respectful enough of the royals and all that.

Program: Spy
Country of origin: UK
It’s a lot like: Chuck
Watch it because: Sometimes good guys finish first, but can’t tell anyone about it. The main character is working a dead-end computer store job. His son despises him. He’s a perennial screwup. Until he ups and quits, and the employment agency refers him to a “civil service exam” that turns out to be a recruitment test for MI-5. He aces the exam and BOOM DIGGETY he’s in. Except no one can know about it.
I knew it was for me when: The main character completely overturned his desk in the MI-5 testing room. I laughed so hard I cried.

Program: Campus
Country of origin: UK
It’s a lot like: Community
Watch it because: The dean (here called the Vice Chancellor, or VC) is simultaneously evil and hilarious. He could quite literally be the boss from hell—he has some weird telekinetic powers.
I knew it was for me when: Not sure on this one yet. It’s definitely amusing, but there are many characters and not all of them are hits.

Program: Party Animals
Country of origin: UK
It’s a lot like: The West Wing
Watch it because: Parliament is even crazier than Congress. Drunker, too.
I knew it was for me when: Still waffling, actually. Knowing that this show only ran for one season lessens my enthusiasm.

0 Fish in a Sea of Diet Coke: