A couple of TV mini-marathons this holiday weekend, courtesy of instant-streaming:
The 10-episode second season of the tragically canceled Party Down started a little slowly, but hit its stride midway through (“Steve Guttenberg’s Birthday” and “Not On Your Wife’s Opening Night” are two highlights), mostly living up to the promise of its first year. As usual, low-key chemistry from leads Adam Scott and Lizzy Caplan anchors the series, while the antics of the rest of the crew color the proceedings. Attempting to replace the irreplaceable Jane Lynch is Megan Mullally, and she does an admirable job, bringing a little something different to the mix. Often crass, occasionally sweet, and usually very funny, Party Down was clearly too smart, witty, and fun to live — I guess the ratings were pretty dismal. Fortunately the final episode brings some rather satisfying, understated closure to the series. Sadly, I expect this one will develop its cult after the fact.
We also caught up on season three of The Guild, Felicia Day’s gamer-oriented, short web series featuring a sextet of misfits playing a World of Warcraft-style mmorpg. Codex (Day) assumes guildmaster duties in this season, which pits them against a rival, evil guild, run by (who else?) Wil Wheaton. The comedy is pretty uneven and the budget is shoestring, but it’s cute and charming for those steeped in the source material (non-WoW players really need not apply). Slight, but fun, and I thought this season was a step up from the previous one.