Bits & Bytes

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Some musings on various television-watching excursions this summer:

1) I'm currently watching 'The Riches' with my boyfriend, after the owner of the company I work for lent it to me. We watched the premiere eons ago (okay, months) and are finally making our way through it. Such an interesting show because SO much happens in every freaking episode, and's only been a week or two at most in the character's lives. And we're on episode eight already. I can see why the show got cancelled ultimately - their skewering of us everyday 'buffers', aka the people who watch highbrow cable concept shows like The Riches, would definitely alienate the show's target audience. Plus I want more 'gypsies fitting in the 'burbs' hijinks and less 'gypsies are going to hunt you and kill you' nastiness. Generally though, I'm enjoying. Super bizarrely funny.

2) Just thinking about Pretty Little Liars. This season has definitely been slower-paced than the previous one, and the revelations not quite as revelatory...almost reminiscent of the final seasons of Lost. It's nice that the girls clued in on Garrett and Jenna, and the show clarified that Jarrett are NOT 'A' based on the fact they 'suspect' the girls know that Ian didn't kill Allison (when in fact, A has told them as much). A is also getting pretty damn crafty, sneaking into Emily's hospital room, medicine cabinet, and garbage.

One thing that has crossed my mind this season in particular is how refreshing it is to see Aria outside of her still-wrong-still-creepy relationship with Ezra. Season 1 was SO focused on them being together, and Season 2 they're in this weird in-between of allowed to be together (and Ezra's ex KNOWING they're a couple) but also it still being super weird and they're clearly trying to split them apart via Jason.

I bring up Aria because the way she was introduced - and really, the way she's focused on in a lot of the marketing of the show, at least initially - pointed to her as the slightly-more-important / relatable protagonist. But really, out of the three girls, she is the character I understand the least. I could easily classify the other girls' personalities:

Hanna - often there for insensitive, slightly dumb-blonde-esque comedy relief. Defensive but also fiercely loyal. Critical. Along for the ride compared to the others.

Spencer - the brainy, investigative one who is easily the most consumed by the Ally affair. She will be the last one to let it go, even when she says she is. Her type A, overachiever traits are well-suited to being the ringleader of the Ally-vestigations.

Emily - the most anxious and freaked out of the bunch, she's also the most introspective and independent - surprisingly really. Just the fact she has other activities and friends that are often the focus of her plots makes me think she's okay being a bit of a loner, apart from the liars.

Aria - is a big question mark. She never really initiates things in the group, especially when it comes to Ally. The other three girls all have three very distinct viewpoints on every decision they make - Hannah, hells no! Spencer, hells yes! Emily, let's think about it! Aria...I just never remember her contributions to things, and it seems like she's only randomly involved in anything the group does, like Spencer pulling her into last night's candy striper mission.

Anyway, still a fun and twisty and freaky show. I'm curious to see where they go with it, but concerned they blew their load in season 1 a bit.

3) Degrassi is back! Hallelujah! Overall enjoying the season so far. I think they've come a long way in the way they're blending characters together - last season struggled when you had episodes focused solely on the characters who had plot lines in that episode. This season they're giving many characters a few lines per episode, even when it's not their episode. It helps progress people's relationships in a much more organic way - see, Fiona and Eli's little bed bug exchange in the last episode, although their relationship is odd to me, or Bianca's excursions with Anya - and is a nice way to keep new characters top-of-mind. I'm kind of glad they haven't pitched this as something that will peak in the mid-season finale like last year's 'Boiling Point', which was ultimately a letdown. The teaser stuff with Drew and the gun has already rolled out and we're now enjoying the aftermath. Sigh. Sometimes I really wish this show had an hourly format to really stretch its legs, although they manage to do so much in a half-hour.


- Britt's On


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