Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Another "What I Watched" Wednesday - Boom Goes the Dynamite!

I'd like to start this belated log of my TV viewage from last week by thanking Cap'n Cluck for her aid in making sure the Boys of Benjiman Street didn't miss out on some vital TV shows; it's much appreciated, Cluckity.

**Tuesday Oct. 3**

Gilmore Girls (CW 7:00): It amazes me how many people were ready to write the show off after the season premiere; Hercules, the main TV columnist on AICN, went on a long tirade about how horrible it was, how the feeble attempts of the new staff to try to emulate Team Palladino proved that the show was doomed, yadda yadda yadda. Personally, I didn’t find anything in the season premiere to be out of character, and yes, some of the speeches might have suffered a bit from overcompensation, but come on! If you compare the first post-Palladino Gilmore Girls to the first post-Sorkin West Wing, I’ve got to say that GG has weathered the creative storm a whole heck of a lot better. Besides, Team Palladino are some pretty big shoes to fill; why not give the new team a chance to find their footing before throwing them to the wolves? All that being said, I thought this second ep was a little bit of a stumble, but it was all worth it just to see Kirk doing his best Luke impression.

Veronica Mars (CW 8:00): Oh, Veronica, how I missed you. So glad that Mac is finally a full-time cast member, she adds a great dynamic to the show. And while Michael Ausiello was all jazzed about Veronica’s adoption of “frak” into her vocabulary, I was much happier by the unexpected “Boom goes the dynamite” reference. What’s that you say? You’re not familiar with “Boom goes the dynamite?” Allow me to rectify that right now

There, don’t you feel much better after watching that?

Help Me Help You (ABC 8:30): Although The Class gained some ground last week, this one is still my favorite new sitcom of the season.

Boston Legal (ABC 9:00): This was the first episode of the series I’ve ever watched, since I’m a bit gun-shy when it comes to David E. Kelly shows. In my experience, they start off smart, funny, and off-beat, stay that way for a season or two, and then begin to add so many characters every few episodes that the entire show soon implodes due to its massive gravitational pull. But, with the cable out, and ABC already tuned in for HMHY, The Anti-Cap’n and I were just lazy enough to give last week’s ep a shot. My opinion? Strange, strange show. And you all know I loves me some strangeness, but this . . . I don’t know. There are two distinct acting styles on the series: normal, understand acting, and scenery chewing, caricatured, Shatneresque acting. If the show featured one or the other, I could probably handle it better, but trying to have them work side by side . . . distracting. It did make me laugh quite a bit, however, and I have to say I’m a bit intrigued by the mystery of who killed Quark’s wife, but I just don’t know if I have it in me to add this to my watch list, especially since I’ve missed so much of the backstory.

**Wednesday Oct. 4**

Lost (ABC 8:00): Finally, Lost has returned! My enjoyment of the premiere was dampened by the fact that it was a highly Jack-centric ep (when Juliette said “You’re not stupid, you’re stubborn,” I really wanted to argue with her that he was obviously both), but still, the glimpses into the status of The Others have merely whetted my appetite for more. I still have faith that the writers of the show know where they’re going with everything; maybe that’s na├»ve of me, but I’m going to stick to that as long as I can. Oh, and I'm pretty sure the Stephen King book that The Others Book Club was reading was Carrie.

The Nine (ABC 9:00): New drama about nine strangers whose lives become intertwined after being involved in a hostage situation. Kind of hard to judge what the show itself will be like, since this first ep was so obviously just the set-up. For now I’m in, although I have to wonder how the flashback-heavy premise will be able to sustain itself all season. At least Lost has the ability to pull flash-backs from all sorts of points in time, and not just the hostage situation.

**Thursday Oct. 10**

My Name is Earl (NBC 7:00): Although the storyline with the freaks was fun, it was Joy's continuing legal drama that gave me the most enjoyment. Her interactions with Marlee Matlin (not to mention her reaction to Matlin's voice) cracked me up.

The Office (NBC 7:30): The office filled with people playing Call of Duty cracked me up, not only because I've known of offices who've done similar things, but also because just a couple of nights previous PigPen had stayed up all night playing it, so a nice bit of synchronicity there. Lots of great stuff in the ep, as usual, from Dwight's strange knowledge of Jan's fashion preferences to Michael's attempts to get Dwight to crack to Creed's creepy perv stare. I do miss having Jim in the Scranton branch, though; it's just not the same without him and Pam giving each other looks during the latest Dwight-oriented prank.

Survivor (CBS 7:00): I liked the way J.P. reacted to getting voted out; was shocked to see that a couple of the guys voted for him.

ER (NBC 8:00): You know, I never thought I’d see the day, but the fact that Morris is going to be sticking around makes me happy. A big part of my turnaround on Morris was them actually showing him to have at least a modicum of competence; having a complete and total screw-up making it through med school might work on a show like Scrubs (and yes, deadly “Nervous Guy” Doug is one of my favorite supporting characters on that show), but on ER it rings false. So, letting Morris show some skill and allowing his character to be humanized has worked out well. What’s funny is, I actually would have been okay with him leaving the show after the season premiere, since it showcased his character so well; I should have known that that meant he was staying, since traditionally ER has been horrible about giving its characters weak send-offs. I still can’t believe that Erik Palladino isn’t coming back as Malluci.

Ugly Betty (ABC 7:00): Second ep was just as over-the-top as the first, which is a good thing; the fact that this show doesn't take itself seriously goes a long way towards making it watchable. Love the fashion TV reporter played by Lucy Davis, better known to most Yanks as either Dawn from the BBC version of The Office or struggling actress Dianne in Shaun of the Dead. Definitely not for everyone, but as long as it can keep its slapstick tendencies under control, I'm onboard for a while.

Grey’s Anatomy (ABC 8:00): George's behavior towards Callie is bugging the heck out of me, and not just because Sara Ramirez kicks ass and I want her to stick around for a long, long time. Having all the disenfranchised docs checking into the same hotel at the same time was a bit contrived, but funny enough to make me forgive it. And you gotta love George's denial of comic geekiness followed by his super-hero rant. Oh, and the super-hero girl repeatedly asking people to punch her in the stomach was great.

Six Degrees (ABC 9:00): Was a couple of eps behind on this one, but am all caught up now. The second episode really got on my nerves due to the way it practically beat you over the head with the "look, they're all connected and don't even know it!" idea. That works well on Lost because you only see a glimpse of it in flashbacks; but here, when every scene has one character narrowly missing an encounter with another, it gets old fast. Luckily, the third episode seems to have dropped this in-your-face method completely, and was much the better for it. Still not sure how long this will stay on my viewing schedule, but for now I'll keep watching just for Campbell Scott and Hope Davis, who are both doing great jobs with their roles.


Legion of Super-Heroes (Kids WB): My biggest problem with the translation of the Legion from the comics to the TV screen so far (outside of some of the really ugly design work) is the treatment of Brainiac 5, who isn’t the Brainy that Bubblegum Tate and I have come to know and love; no, instead he’s Silver Age Brainy’s brain stuck in a spray-painted Gear’s body. Yes, it’s fun to hear him talk constantly about his 12th-level intellect, but I much preferred it when that intellect was his only power, and he wasn’t some mega morphing machine. But, as quibbles go, that’s a relatively small one. Right now I’m just waiting to see when some of the other Legionnaires are going to make more than a background cameo. Speaking of which, was that Tyroc I saw in the back when Brin was making his oath? Interesting choice if true.

**Monday Oct. 9**

Heroes (NBC 8:00): Third ep was much better than the second, although some of the character choices are driving me crazy. The biggest annoyance is the fact that Peter, who is all gung-ho about finding out the purpose behind his powers, has not even thought about going back to talk with Isaac, whose pictures inspired Peter to finally take the plunge; you'd think that would be his first stop. But, a few clumsy logic gaps aside, I'm glad that this has gotten a full season order.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC 9:00): Liked this week's ep more than last week's, but still not quite up to the stellar level of the first two eps. I do want to go back and re-watch the episode, because I think this is a show which improves with multiple viewings. And while I've always loved Sarah Paulson, I never realized how effective a mimic she was until now; very impressive.

**Tuesday, Oct. 10**

Gilmore Girls (CW 7:00): Hey, wait, didn't I already talk about this show? Yes, yes I did; but, since I didn't get this posted yesterday, and I had already written my thoughts on the previous episode sometime last week, I figured I'd go ahead and talk about last night's shows while they were still fresh on everybody's brains. The show still feels a bit off at times(especially Emily's explosion at Sookie, which was way out of proportion), but there's still a lot of good stuff here as well.

Veronica Mars (CW 8:00): Nice to see that "frak" has remained a part of Veronica’s vocabulary; Michael Ausiello will be so proud. Quite a few familiar faces popped up in this one (Rider Strong, Samm Levine, Kerri Lynn Pratt), making me wonder how many of them will pop up again later in the season.

Help Me Help You (ABC 8:30): I have no clue how this is doing in the ratings, and I'm kind of scared to find out; anything that makes me laugh out loud this often is pretty much doomed to cancellation. And speaking of which, was nice to see Henry from the late, lamented Sons and Daughters make an appearance as the leader of the Frodo12 WoW collective.

Boston Legal (ABC 9:00): Still not sure what to make of this one; I think a part of my problem is the cognitive dissonance I experience by actually finding William Shatner entertaining. That's just not supposed to happen!


Cap'n Cluck said...

Oh my goodness! That was the most painful video. What was that kid, 15 or something? Was that his first time ever reporting? Was he really the best they could pick?

Cluckity's not feeling like Clucking after that.