Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tower Prep Review

I usually manage to watch about one 50-minute hour of television per week. In winter/spring that's Doctor Who; in early fall it's the Sarah Jane Adventures. I used to be a devoted Criminal Minds fan, but the writing has declined, and after they dropped JJ Jareau and made plans to minimize Emily Prentiss, there just wasn't enough there to keep me watching.

And this was why I was so excited when Seanan McGuire started blogging about Tower Prep.

It seemed like a great show at first, for all the reasons that Seanan mentions: atypically gendered roles, pretty good jokes, an intriguing plot: pretty perfect brain candy. I didn't mind if it was geared towards younger viewers.

But the plots of each episode have gone in directions that don't seem to be connecting, and aren't being followed up on. Each episode is a standalone that then just gets casually referenced later on. And the characters, who I originally liked, seem to be falling into fairly flat rotations of shtick, and turning into whiny, self-absorbed students. The most recent episode, Field Trip, featured them plotting to make their lab partners do all the work on an assignment so that they could work on their escape plan. Maybe I'm still bitter from being the lab partner who ended up doing most of the work in high school, but I wasn't impressed -- nor was I delighted with the continual mocking of geeky, opera-loving Fenton.

To be fair, there was a scene between Ian and Cal that was thoughtful and interesting, but it seems unlikely that we'll get that dynamic again, given what happened. Will we find out why Cal chose what he did? If we do, I'll be delighted, but I'm not counting on anything.

For me, the moment that said everything about how the show has fizzled since its opening was when Ray, Emily, and Fenton put their heads together at the end of Field Trip, and I thought "Man, I wish Tower Prep were about these three teaming up!"

I don't suppose the writers are going to humor me and change focus; but if they do, or even if Team REF does continue to work together, I'll be back. Otherwise, so long, Tower Prep. You are not even worth my $1.50 per week on iTunes.

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