Wednesday, October 31, 2007

HBO Evenings

We don't get good reception of Panamanian TV here, and we have not signed up for cable because I'm afraid that the temptation of 24-hour English programming will be hard to resist and we'll end up TV junkies.

Instead we order movies on Amazon and have them delivered to us via our Miami P.O. Box. We almost always order them used - it's much cheaper and we've never had a problem with quality.

Often we order entire seasons of TV shows. You get so much more viewing time for your money - for example I got the first season of NYPD Blue for $14 - and it's fun to watch an episode of the same show every evening. Every night after Salma has gone to bed we sit down with our dinner in the bedroom and watch one episode of whatever show we are viewing.

Over the last several months we've watched the first three seasons of The Wire. This is a fantastic HBO show. It's about a crack police surveillance squad in Baltimore that is approaching urban crime in a different way. Each seasons deals with a single case. At first it feels slow, but then you begin to realize that this is TV on an entirely new plane. The depth of characterization (of both the good guys and the bad) and the level of detail is unlike anything else on TV. Situations don't get neatly wrapped up in 60 minutes, and a as a result it feels very real.

More recently we needed a break from all the drama and we decided to try another HBO show, a comedy this time (we never had cable TV in the U.S., so all these shows are new to us).

Curb Your Enthusiasm stars Larry David, the creator of Seinfeld. Curb Your Enthusiasm is unscripted. That is, they come into each episode with an outline of the story, but the actual dialogue is improvised. In addition, they use the actors' real names for the characters. The result is that, once again, it has a very real-life feel to it, even if the situations that Larry gets himself into are ridiculous.

It's funny and I do laugh out loud, but I get frustrated at the idiotic situations that Larry ends up in time and time again. Still, comedies this good are rare, so I think I will order season two.

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