Saturday, January 09, 2010



WASHINGTON – For some strange reason something happened. No one knows why, or how, but it happened anyway so ....

Monday, November 06, 2006


I am a TV snob.  I have been known to decide whether a show is good or not before it ever airs and rarely do I change my mind.  Most of the time I will just ignore the show, some of the time I will give it a try, and only one try before I write it off.
     Occasionally I will watch more than one episode of a show I am determined not to like and come to the conclusion that I don’t like it at all, but at least I gave it a good college try.  (Hello “Soprano’s”.)
     Then sometimes I will be forced to watch a show, usually by my wife, and become hooked.  I’m thinking “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
     On the odd occasion a friend will hook me on a show I wrote off.  That would be “Arrested Development.”
     And then, once in a very long while, I will give a show a second try and hook myself.
     And that bring me to what I believe may be the best show on television right now, and probably the best sci-fi show ever.
     Battlestar Galactica.
     I was a huge fan of both the original show and its spin off “Galactica 1980” back when I was a kid, and when Richard Hatch (he original Apollo) wanted to resurrect the show I was 100% behind him.  Especially when a second group decided it would be better to “re-imagine” the show for a modern audience.
     I was shocked and angry when the second group won.  I decided then and there to hate the new show.  And I hated it with an anger I usually hold for Oprah.
     And yet I was curious.  So when the original mini-series came out on DVD I purchased it.  Not at first, mind you.  It took the better part of a year and a major price cut before I committed this act of heresy.
     Even then it took me several more months before I dared watch it.
     And, probably to no one’s surprise, I hated it.
     In fact, I still hate it.
     While some of the mini grew on me, like to space battles that are filmed like they were done by newscasters, a lot of it still hits me wrong.  Why?  Because there were a hell of a lot of idea’s in there that needed the series to be realized, but since there was no commitment for a series when it was filmed it had to get shoved in to a four hour format.
     But now, having watched to series I get it.  I see the seeds that were planted have turned into beautiful flowers and I now cannot wait for the next episode to come.
     The characters, mere caricatures in the mini, are now fully realized.  The conflict, between the Cylons and themselves, is real and palpable.  Three seasons in and I no longer care about the original show.  I am now a convert.
     I could go into a lot of detail about the characters that I hated and now realize the point behind (Number Six, which in the mini acted like nothing more than a fantasy toy) and the additions that give it depth (politics, politics, politics), but that would take too long.  Just take it from me; Battlestar Galactica is most probably the best show on TV today.
     I still miss the robotic dog, though.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The New Season So far.

The 2006/7 season has officially begun. In fact for some shows it's been several weeks. While we all take a morbid fascination in figuring out which show will bite the dust first, I thought I'd take a look at some shows I've caught and see if I can figure out which will last and which will not.


The Class
Plot: A guy who met his fiancee in the third grade holds a birthday party for her and invited the whole now grown up class. She freaks and leaves and those who show up stay around for some reason.
How is it?: Not bad, but not good also. It's an interesting plot but it's really thin. The best thing going for it is that it's paired with How I Met your Mother, a much better show.
Hit or Dud?: Dud. It may make the season, but not much longer.


Plot: The wife of a senator disappears mysteriously and the FBI tries to find her while the husband keeps mysterious secrets.
How is it?: There are the odd twist and turn in this one, like the fact that the wife seems to have a mysterious past. And the fact that the media are all over this story gives it a here and now feeling. Unfortunately the best parts about the show were the bits with some mysterious secret society which may or may not turn out to be a mysterious sub sect of the Masons. This is bad because this part didn't rear it's mysterious head until about episode three then was mysteriously ignored for two more episodes. for some mysterious reason.
and, oh yeah, the Senators daughter is a slut. Not mysterious, but good.
Hit or Dud?: Dud. There is no way they can keep this interesting all season, let alone for eight or so years.

Plot:The legendary producer of a late night TV sketch show blows up on air, so two former fired members of the crew who went out and became famous are brought in to fix things.
How is it?: It's an Aaron Sorkin show, which means I was bound to hate it much like I hated Sports Night and just plain didn't care for The West Wing, but dammit I'm hooked. While the premier episode was slow, the second episode dove right in and blew me away. Folks, I am now a convert to the church of Sorkin.
Hit or Dud?: Hit, hit, hit. It is, as far as I am concerned right now, the best new show on TV.

Plot: Husband by day, art thief by night. That's pretty much it.
How is it?: Slow. Very, very slow. There was nothing romantic about the home life. There was nothing exciting about the art heist. And yes, the wife knows, there goes that surprise.
Hit or Dud?: Dud. A very long and boring dud.


Plot: Ordinary people from all walks of (naturally) American life find out they have superpowers. One man, an Indian whose father predicted these Supers, fiddles about the edges for some reason.
How is it?: The premier had it's moments, but it has timing problems. Each of the Supers have different levels of knowledge and understanding of their powers. From a (Naturally) good hearted stripper who has no idea what's going on, to an Asian (The only non-American so far) who knows, accepts, and can't wait to see where these powers take him.
The two twists at the end were good and made me want to watch more, but it's got to tighten up timing and get that Indian guy more involved or the whole thing will turn out to be a big old slow mess.
Hit or Dud?: Hit, but only if they tighten up the timing and get those Lost-esh elements into play and soon.

Plot: The prodigal son returns to a small town named (oddly enough) Jericho when it appears a nuclear bomb goes off in nearby Denver and (as we later learn) Atlanta. Now it seems the fate of the world rests in good old fashioned, down home people of Jericho.
How is it?: Eh. So-so. I saw something in the pilot and hope they start the plot moving in the second episode. It hints that it's going to go the Lost route, so they should start moving that way soon to keep interest hot.
Hit or Dud?: Sorry, dud. No matter how good it gets (and believe me, the building blocks are there) it's just going to be drowned out by better shows. I give it a half a season.
SECOND EPISODE UPDATE: Ok, I was wrong. The second episode was tight and added those mysterious elements I was waiting for, namely in the form of the Skeet Ulrich and Lennie James characters, both of whom seem to know more than they are letting on. I change my Hit or Dud rating to possible hit.

So there you have it. A brief overview of the new season as I see it. I'll do a quick update as new shows premier.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Trimming the fat, the black and the cupcake guy!

Well folks, Lorne Michaels has done it. He has trimmed the fat from Saturday Night Live.
He has also trimmed the black and the skinny white guy with wild hair.
Announcing cuts to the cast, he has let Horatio Sanz, Finesse Mitchell and Chris Parnell go, lowering the chances for "Chronicles of Narnia Rap: The Movie."
These firings, along with the volentary departure of head writer Tiny Fay, and cast members Rachel Dratch and Tracy Morgan, (All of which have jobs of Fay's new NBC Dramedy 30 Rock) leave eleven members in the cast.
Eleven not so funny people to carry on a rich legacy that started with John Belushi and Gilda Radner and is now a shadow of a shadow of it's former self.
Once upon a time Saturday Night Live was an institution. It undermined authority and politics with biting satire so sharp you could cut through any national monument and still slice this tomato into paper thin slices.
Today that knife can't even cut water.
Saturday Night Live is 32 years old. It is middle aged. It is at the time where, were it a rock and roll star it would release an album of slow songs. Trimming some of the middle aged fat is not the answer.
The answer is, I'm afraid, euthanasia.
SNL is long past it's prime and it's making Lorne Michaels look less like a subversive genius and more like a guy riding things out until retirement.
It's time to pull the plug. Death with dignity isn't even an option anymore. There is no dignity in putting this horse out to pasture.

The inevitable question is, if SNL dies, what will replace it?
Nothing, I hope. Whatever comes to fill the SNL void will be TRYING to fill the SNL void. More mediocre sketches low on comedy and high on possible full length motion picture deals ala "That's Pat."
Let the sketch comedy show die for a bit. When the time is right nature will decide to fill that void with something better. Something now, as opposed to something that desperately wants to be now but can't remember where he parked it.

And no, Mad TV is not the answer. Mad TV was also once good. Now it is also not good. Filling the void of bad with something just as bad but fifteen years younger will surely lead to the end of all we know.

Here ends the lesson.

Not So Lucky Louie.

Hello, and welcome to Bad TV, Bad! A commentary on the worst that TV has to offer and the dream of eliminating all that is rotten on the boob tube.
And it seems our first post is already written for us.
The good folks at HBO, who have given us such overrated pap like The Soprano's delivered unto us the best news the sit-com has had in a long time. They have cancelled Lucky Louie.
What? Never heard of Luckie Louie?
Consider yourself blessed.
Luckie Louie was HBO's first attempt at a three camera sit-com. Starring stand up comedian Louis C.K. (No, I've never heard of him either) the show, in typical HBO fashion, did not pull it's punches as far as adult language and situations are concerned. On Luckie Louie adults swore, they talked about sex (using swear words) and lived a typical blue collar existence (swearing).
That was it's hook. An ADULT sit-com, with ADULT situations using ADULT language.
The problem was they forgot to use funny language.
Luckie Louie premiered with 1.5 million viewers. It was cancelled at 1.3 million viewers. The whole thing can be taken as an experiment that some people will watch anything.
Ok, let's be serious. What exactly was wrong with Lucky Louie?
In a word, everything.
The scripts were terrible, the acting sub McGinley, the sets were minimalist at best and, this is the important part, the show was decidedly not funny.
Louis C.K., the star, could not carry a bag of sponges on his back, let alone an entire episode of a sit-com. Pamela Adlon, the long suffering actress who played the long suffering wife, reminds one of the range of a two-by-four. The only person on the cast who knew how to carry a line was Michael G. Hagerty. You know you've seen him, he's been in at least one episode of every sit-com since 1997, so he knows how to treat the script. And poor Kelly Gould, the actress who plays Lucy the daughter. How scarred is her life going to be?
But honestly, do we need this type of crap on TV, even cable? Hell no. HBO's attempt at sex and language in a sit-com failed, so why don't they go back to do what they do best, sex and violence in ensemble drama's, and leave the sit-com to someone with, I don't know, the ability to write a joke.

Don't think the sit-com world is any better without this show. Remember, we still have The War At Home, and until that crap is off our TVs the terrorists win!

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