Everyone has a few ‘guilty pleasure’ shows. Programs that while you may find them entertaining, you can’t really argue that they’re good. A lot of reality TV shows fall into this category and the fan bases will forever tell you they watch for the train wreck.
While I try to avoid most reality TV, I’m not immune to the allure of Guilty Pleasure Programming. Something where you can just turn off your brain and watch the pretty moving pictures. What follows are the 2 shows that I deem to fall into this category. Not great, but they’ve drawn me in.
If you scroll down the page, I’d be interested to see what your own list looks like in the comment section…
This one is hard for me because of where it’s aired – CBS. Since the invent of this site, I’ve made my distaste for CBS’ programming loud and clear. I don’t like it. But that doesn’t mean they can’t occasionally put out something decent. This TV season they premiered
an extraordinary original a remake of an old cop show that took place in Hawaii. And while I’ve only sparsely seen bits and pieces of the original, the only real parallels I have been able to draw are the title, the setting, and the catchphrase. Of course, to a TV Exec, what else do you need? Hell, MTV launched a remake based only on a title.
The only reason I checked this show out to begin with was the cast;
- Scott Caan (Enemy of the State, Novocaine, Ocean’s Eleven), son of legendary Godfather actor James Caan.
- Daniel Dae Kim, who earned my respect because he had Jack Bauer‘s respect for three season’s worth of ass-kicking on 24.
- Grace Park, who most people know as ‘Boomer’ from Battlestar Galactica.
Then you have Alex O’Loughlin as ‘Steve McGarrett’, who had a short arc on The Shield a few years back, but with whom I wasn’t too familiar.
So I entered with little to no expectations – actually, less than that – CBS expectations. And I was pleasantly surprised to see Dae Kim joined by fellow Angel alum James Marsters, who played ‘Spike’ on both the aforementioned Angel, as well as on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He murders McGarrett’s father and then appears to die at the end of the episode, only to reappear later in the season. Thus giving us a nemesis for our principal character. It was like the old school McGyver vs. Murdoc dynamic.
This aspect alone makes me want to continue watching.
After the death of his father, Steve – a Naval Intelligence Commander/All-Around Badass is sanctioned by the governor (24’s Jean Smart) to create his own investigative task force on the island. This is how our team comes to be. McGarrett first recruits a reluctant Danny Williams (Caan) who is a Jersey cop still pretty new to the island, having moved there to be closer to his daughter. His constant complaining about the island cultures, and his longing for New Jersey reminds me of myself when I visit friends in California and can’t seem to stop thinking about Detroit. ‘Danno’ is the tie to the police, as McGarrett is actually military. As can be expected, they start out at each other’s throats but eventually become friends. Touching, I know. The next member to join the team is Dae Kim who plays Chin Ho Kelly, a disgraced HPD Detective, accused of stealing money from evidence, but who was a friend to McGarrett’s father. And finally, Chin’s cousin Kono Kalakaua (Park – who despite actually being older than Caan or O’Loughlin), plays a rookie – fresh out of the academy.
The main advantage to being on CBS (aside from a barrage of advertising) is the budget. I will openly admit that this show has action sequences that put some movies to shame. Maybe that has something to do with the show being produced by the same guys who did the last Star Trek movie, but suddenly what I expected to be ‘just another cop show’, turned into ‘just another cop show…with a cast I really like, beautiful scenery, and legit action sequences’. And while a lot of the ‘case of the week’ stuff is a little played out, this show is actually pretty enjoyable. And since How I Met Your Mother took its recent ‘Quality Nose-Dive’, this remains as the only show I regularly watch on ‘America’s #1 Network’.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I am a fan of Nathan Fillion. I loved him in Firefly and for that alone, I’ll check out anything he is in. Castle is that newest thing. Fillion plays ‘Rick Castle’, a wise-cracking, super-rich, but kind-hearted mystery writer, whose friendship with the Mayor has granted him access to shadow ‘NYPD Homicide Detective Kate Beckett’ for inspiration.
Beckett is played by Stana Katic, who – while not a bad actress, looks more like a runway model than “A Murder Po-lece”. ( <— That’s a Homicide reference…anybody?) Beckett is played by Stana Katic, who previously appeared on both The Shield and 24, but was probably best known as Bond Girl – ‘Corrine’ in Quantum of Solace.
The two of them work together on murder after murder, as Castle writes an entire series of books about ‘Nikki Heat’, a character based on Beckett.
Typically the case seems clear-cut, we find out the initial suspect is a red herring, and something Castle said earlier, that seemed ridiculous, now is made plausible. Eventually though they hit a wall and it’s up to Castle to interpret something said to him by either his mother or his daughter that breaks the case wide open. Man, Beckett’s close rate must’ve been terrible before they brought a writer in to teach them how to solve crimes.
It’s pretty cookie-cutter.
Fillion and Katic are joined by a capable, but not extraordinary supporting cast, who can all be seen above. Actually, that statement sounds harsh. I really can’t imply that any of them are sub-par actors since they aren’t given much to work within the script department. I will say that the on-screen chemistry is there for the most part.
Now for all the bitching I do about CBS, in honesty, the Disney-owned ABC isn’t much better. This show is more generic for sure than Hawaii Five-O. It’s a cop show, set in New York, with 2 white lead actors, and a supporting cast filled out by a Black female doctor, a Latino Detective, and a Black Police Captain. All of whom are very capable and respected, and then the white Irish cop who is obviously the moron of the bunch. Very PC Disney spread it around. ABC is so terrified of offending someone, that it’s actually become a detractor from the show before. Like the episode dealing with terrorism, where they had a very short clock to find a bomb in NYC and Beckett was more interested in the rights of the suspect than in finding the bomb. I don’t know about you, but if I’m a New Yorker, and there is a Nuke ready to detonate, I think I’m ok with the cops using harsh language and verbal threats. Profiling be damned!
Overall the show is entertaining, but its draws its ratings from the oldest trick in the book: Will They – Won’t They? While the show each week is driven by the most recent murder scene, the underlying narrative of the show focuses on the sexual tension between Castle and Beckett. Much like Pam and Jim on The Office before it sucked. Or David and Maddy on Moonlighting, this theme will drag on until they eventually have to sleep together, which will destroy the show and it will be forced to limp off into a TV graveyard. For this reason, fans who want them together should stop hoping so fiercely, because the minute they do, the fuse on the time bomb of mediocrity and cancellation will be lit. Save the hook-up for the series finale…
This video however is enough to make me keep watching and soaking in my weekly Fillion Fix.
So those are the 2 biggest guilty pleasure shows of mine. That’s not to say I don’t have others. I could put Nikita, or Storage Wars, or Breakout Kings on this same list. Those though are shows I’ll watch if on, but don’t go out of my way for. Hell for that matter I could even include SNL if I wanted to because that show has become something awful.
Anyhow, what are yours? Big Bang Theory? Real House Wives? Anything on MTV?