Wednesday, September 03, 2008

TVDoaN: AVC, Hulu, Gina Torres, A Guilty Pleasure

So, I've been staying out a lot more lately, in a show (which closes this weekend), and have been spending most of my off time over at the AVClub. Of which I am a junkie, through and through. PalBrannon has, I have the AVClub. I seriously can't turn away from the fuggin' thing, the staff and community speak my language, and eerily seem to be aware of most every nook and cranny of my subconscious.

In the last month, they've finished reviewing the first two seasons of Buffy and Newsradio, have had a Woody Allen retrospective, done a feature on the Watchmen comic book, as well as weekly reviews of all things pop cultural. It's like freebasing all things geekly on a daily basis. Who needs work productivity?

It is through the AVClub that I discovered the joys of Hulu. Not that I hadn't heard of it before, but I truly didn't know the utter joy of the damned site until I was bored, between Netflix arrivals and looking at a recap of Mad Men, when someone mentions that it's possible to view episodes on the

Highly doubtful, I went over to check it out, and lo and behold: Current episodes of the Daily Show and Colbert Report; nearly full seasons of Newsradio, Heroes, 30 Rock; some Barney Miller, full seasons of Arrested Development, along with other cultural detritus like Love Boat and Fantasy Island...Egads, it has Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show (I'll explain the significance later, if I can remember it). And, yes, even, one of my favorite bits of brainless, worthless TV.

Most people became aware of Gina Torres as the Firefly phenomenon crawled across the nation; they then recognized her from Matrix: Resomething as the girlfriend of that guy who did things (she's married to Laurence "New CSI Guy" Fishburne, btw). Before that, she did a smattering of things, though a legion of assorted dorks and lesbians met her as either Nebula or Cleopatra in the Sam Raimi produced Hercules and Xen universes, respectively.

After Xena was cancelled, the Raimi team decided to take the budget of a typical Xena/Hercules episode (never all that high to begin with), split it in half and run two shows for the price of one: Jack of All Trades and Cleopatra 2525. How to describe these shows in a way not covered by Wikipedia...Think ElectraWoman and Dynagirl or Dr. Shrinker, with a tongue in cheek, more CGI and a hell of a lot more cheesecake.

I mean, check out the lyrics to C2525's theme song:

In the year 2525
There are women with the will to survive
Fighting for a brand new day
Nothing's going to get in their way

Hey, it's low budget feminist pulp! Why the fuck not? And the first act goes on to deliver on that premise, with Gina Torres and Victoria Pratt playing 26th century scantily clad Xenas who shoot some kind of loud plasma something out of their bracelet-weapons. They fight flying robots called Baileys.

So far, so dumb, but it's not like Xena was The Closer or anything.

Then you meet the titular character (pun pretty much inadvertently intended), Jennifer Sky plays an aspiring actress from the 21st century who, for unexplained reasons, is not woken up from an anesthetized slumber. She went under for a boob job, you see. She wakes up in the 26th century, and her first impulse is to look under her form-fitting top and mutter "good work."

It isn't long before she's aping Dirty Harry and screaming her fool head off. Good lord does she scream. Then you realize that Cleo is actually a pretty vapid heroine, sex- and looks-obsessed, and besides obviously synced mimicry as a "talent," doesn't really bring anything to the action portion of the program.

For a few episodes at least, then she starts kicking ass like Torres and Pratt. How the "plot" develops from there I'll leave for you to pick up. Odds are likely that this show is the reason why Torres initially passed on Firefly; she's quoted as saying that she had no interest in doing some cheesy sci-fi thing until she read Joss Whedon's script.

Yet, for all of that, I can't say that I don't enjoy C2525's no-brain appeal. It isn't just the cheesecake alone (though I'm sure plenty will accuse me of just that). There's just something about the show that clicks for me in the same way Blossom and Fresh Prince did when I had nothing better to do.

Maybe it's the fact that the bimbo hero gets elevated to bad ass status as the show goes on...a sort of feminist subversion masquerading as 14-year-old male fantasy (making boys comfortable with strong women by objectifying them). Which is all well and good, but the show is so dumb that it nearly makes this line of thinking ludicrous, especially when it seems that this is far more thinking than what the creators put into producing the show.

Ah well, who cares? I enjoy it.

[/dork stream of consciousness]


At 2:35 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Ms. Torres kicked ass on Firefly.

Also, I'm a giant AV Club fan.

Also, hi.


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