All Along The Watchtower

films . videos . television

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

TV Dinners

After a week, I've had time to compare, contrast, consume, digest and expunge the new fall season of television programs. Some of the shows went down quite nicely. Many left a bad after-taste. Several of them require a second helping. I could torture this metaphor all day, so let's get to it.

I wish I had something intelligent to say about Heroes. I got suckered into watching Monday Night Football last night and missed the first part of it. Well first I got suckered into watching the idiot-fest that is Deal or No Deal. Then, I watched MNF. So, the last twenty minutes of Heroes was pretty good. Frankly, from all the promos they've been running for the last couple of months, it wasn't hard to figure out what was going on. As for the ending, in the words of Shyamalan, "What a twist!" We'll see how this show turns out. Despite a promising start, shows like this can degenerate into hacky freak of the weak stories pretty quickly. They also should look into getting it off of Monday nights.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which for some stupid reason I keep wanting to call 77 Sunset Strip, was on next. I have to get this off my chest. Although, I like the show, I'm not buying all of this Aaron Sorkin knob-slobbering that is going on. I didn't want to say anything, so as not to upset you sensitive writer types, but enough already. I liked Sports Night. But thirty minutes of people repeating the same dialogue back to each other four times while walking down the hall is my limit. By minute thirty-two, it is on my last nerve. That's why The West Wing was so unwatchable. Well, that and Martin Sheen. I like my Martin Sheen the way I like my women: tanned, youthful and in Vietnam. Wait, that's Gary Glitter who likes them like that.

I have to defer any further criticism of the show to The Studio 60 Drinking Game for a better look at the Sorkin style manual. I'm still of two minds about this show. Salon distilled my dilemma concerning it with the tagline, "Does Aaron Sorkin's "Studio 60" tackle the self-perpetuating mediocrity of the TV industry, or romanticize the self-importance of overpaid jackasses?" That is exactly what I'm trying to figure out.

On Tuesdays, we have a fight in the house about, well, House. The children hate the show until I make them watch it. Which is probably wrong given the subject matter. But they wind up enjoying it, especially when, say, someone's testicles explode. Unfortunately, they are enamored of Dancing With the Stars. I blame their mother for brain-washing them into liking reality television. I try to coerce them into not watching that show without resorting to gay-bashing, but after seeing Sara Evans in that revealing outfit last week, they may be on to something.

CBS has shown some brains by realizing that Jericho is a nice complement to the juggernaut that is ABC's Lost. Rather than trying to counterprogram on Wednesday, they have conceded that hour as, er, lost.

Jericho started out strong, and hopefully will keep up the momentum. I worry that they are going to start cranking out too much plot and not enough character study. How will they solve the issue of just driving out of town to see what happened to the rest of the world is going to be worth seeing. Unfortunately, the show isn't hip enough to use the words "Forbidden Zone".

What Jericho needs, oddly enough, is Aaron Sorkin. His dialogue would make a post-apocalyptic small town a lot less depressing and give the inhabitants some wisecracks to go along with their important work of rebuilding civilization.

Another family struggle is on Thursdays, when I get overruled on My Name is Earl and The Office. Why, you ask? Because the rest of the family wants to watch The Amazing Race War, er, I mean, goddamn Survivor.

The first thing that struck me about this season of Survivor, other than I can't believe people still watch this crap, was how the race groups automatically started into self-parodying stereotypical behavior. I ain't naming names, but if you watch it again, you'll see what I mean. As expected, they will integrate the tribes with forced busing, race riots and National Guardsmen walking the remaining members of the black tribe to tribal council. The white tribe will move to one of the suburban islands, still within easy commuting distance, but with better schools.

After that comes Celebrity Duets. Or as I like to call it, Yet Another Goddamn Reality Show. Let's just say I'm rooting for Lucy Lawless for less than noble reasons, and just leave it at that.

I haven't watched ER for a couple of years. It wasn't bad, despite it looked like I had only missed maybe two episodes in the interim. It is a still serviceable warhorse for the NBC schedule, but at what point will they take it out back, shoot it and call the knacker.

Until Battlestar Galactica comes back, I'm barely tolerating you Friday night. We get the bloated results show of Celebrity Duets, and that's about it. I will say this, Marie Osmond has gotten hotter as she's gotten older.

Saturday is, of course, the day I get to rule the remote with College Football. Although if the ESPN night game sucks, we can check out the reruns of shows from earlier in the week. I think. Last Saturday, they showed Law & Order:SVU's season premiere. After watching it, I feel they should rename it, Law & Order: WTF?.

I get that they were trying to figure out a gimmick to get Mariska Hargitay out of the picture for a while, but what in the name of Lenny Briscoe was that crazy shit about? Never mind the bad acting, nonsensical characters and illogical character motivations. It reached B-movie heights based on the awful Southern accent that Marcia Gay Harden tried to pull off. She sounded like Kevin Bacon's wife in The Closer, but with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. They threw everything but a zombie apocalypse into that dumb-ass story. I'm pretty sure a zombie attack would have improved that shit.

Sunday nights I get shafted again with The Amazing Race. This show makes me root for the contestants to break down sobbing, scream at each other and lose, lose, lose. I hate everyone on this show. I can't believe I'm missing The Simpsons for this shit. Although, after the lame-ass season premiere of The Simpsons I'm not that upset.

The hidden gem of Sunday night programming is The Venture Brothers. Last week's episode, "I Know Why The Caged Bird Kills" was well worth sitting through The Idiotic Race for.

What about The Wire, you say? That fine program show up On Demand the Monday before HBO broadcasts it on Sunday. In fact, I've already watched, next week's episode. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but let's just say it involves crime in Baltimore, and leave it at that.

Enjoy your television watching this season, as always, tip your servers.


At 9:25 AM, Blogger Michael said...

I think Heroes has potential...heaven help me I'm gonna watch the first ep of Friday Night Lights.

At 9:28 AM, Blogger Sarcastro said...

Hasn't MTV already beat them to the punch with the far more compelling reality program, Two-a-Days?

At 6:01 AM, Blogger Michael said...

I've not seen Two-a-Days so I can't tell you.....

But honestly nothing I saw in GG last night compells me to pick it over Friday Night Lights....


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