The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Cable box death match

The fall television season is winding to a close, and with the annual influx of socially conscious cinema also fading into recollection, media addicts like myself are searching for the next source of visual white noise to fill the entertainment void. The problem with modern media is that there are so many channels, all scrambling for attention, that it’s tough to know where to turn.

Factor in the considerable and increasing area of overlap, it can seem a daunting task to decide on any given night which lawyer show you should be watching or which auction reality show is not to be missed. For this I have devised the “Cable Box Death Match;” a system which pits new or returning shows against one another until one reigns supreme over selected similar concepts.

Round 1: Network Prime-time Psycho Showdown-
“The Following” Def. “Do No Harm”

The first round features two shows about characters struggling with mental illness in very different ways. “The Following” seems to be making a very precise grab at fans of the Showtime tent-pole “Dexter,” by introducing a charismatic, sociopathic, mass-murderer in the form of Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) and hoping he comes across as a semi-sympathetic character.

Unlike Dexter, Carroll plays the role of antagonist to Federal Agent Ryan Hardy, (Kevin Bacon) who is still struggling with alcohol addiction in the wake of their first interaction. What really makes this show superior to its opponent is the heightened sense of genre savvy, and poignant literary references. Over time, it becomes believable that Carroll could inspire others to follow him, turning the work of Edgar Allan Poe and Gothic romanticism into a religion.

“Do No Harm” on the other hand, follows the exploits of a neurosurgeon dealing with multiple personality disorder. By day, he’s successful surgeon and introverted nice-guy Dr. Jason Cole, (Steven Pasquale) but by night he’s the vengeful, sadistic drug dealer Ian Price.

While Pasquale delivers a compelling performance, playing both alter-egos in each episode, this show seems to fall apart in its own intrigue. Dr. Cole exploits his hospital connections to try and suppress his alter ego, while still struggling to keep his condition a secret from most of his coworkers, including the neurologist he has a crush on (Alana De La Garza). Rather than visiting a psychologist, who might actually be able to help, Cole confides in an opinionated priest (John Carroll Lynch) who seems to approach Jason’s very real problem with a “walk it off” mentality.

It just seems too much of a stretch that a hospital full of brain surgeons can’t figure out what’s going on with Jason. “The Following” wins by TKO.

Round 2: If you liked _____, then you’ll love…

If you liked “Iron Chef,” but wondered about what happened to all the scales, skins and furs, then you’ll love “Immortalized.”

If you liked “Boiler Room,” but didn’t think there was enough sex and drugs, then you’ll love “House of Lies.”

If you liked “The Voice,” but can’t hear, then you’ll love “The Taste.”

Round 3: Court Show, Face-Off Showdown-
“The Good Wife” Def. “Suits”

As a fan of both shows, it pains me to acknowledge the decline in “Suits.” Currently in the late half of their second prolonged season, the story of a college dropout with a photographic memory (Patrick J. Adams) masquerading as a Harvard Law School graduate under the wing of law powerhouse Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht); has painted itself into a corner with its heavy handed repetition of the “big secret.”

There’s a point of diminishing returns when your plot revolves around the same secret for thirty episodes or so, with the same characters playing “will they? won’t they?” “Suits” has reached this point and been found wanting. “The Good Wife,” on the other hand, continues to sustain its much longer run with fresh and socially aware plot-lines, while still teasing the central love triangle between Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), her boss (Josh Charles) and her ne’er-do-well husband (Chris Noth).

It might be an unfair comparison, but I’m making it. “The Good Wife” in a landslide victory.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Josh "Grassy" Knoll, Editor in Chief
Editor in chief, spring 2013. Arts & Features editor, fall 2012.

Comments (0)

By commenting, you give The Inquirer permission to quote, reprint or edit your words. Comments should be brief, have a positive or constructive tone, and stay on topic. If the commenter wants to bring something to The Inquirer’s attention, it should be relevant to the DVC community. Posts can politely disagree with The Inquirer or other commenters. Comments should not use abusive, threatening, offensive or vulgar language. They should not be personal attacks or celebrations of other people’s tragedies. They should not overtly or covertly contain commercial advertising. And they should not disrupt the forum. Editors may warn commenters or delete comments that violate this policy. Repeated violations may lead to a commenter being blocked. Public comments should not be anonymous or come from obviously fictitious accounts. To privately or anonymously bring something to the editors’ attention, contact them.
All The Inquirer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Activate Search
Cable box death match