|YaK:: WebLog #535 Topic : 2007-10-29 00.13.25 matt : what I'm watching on TV
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My top shows right now:
1. Heroes (NBC):The second season is doing a great job of keeping the momentum from the first story going. It's not spreading too thin with twists or new characters, and it doesn't feel hokey yet.
2. Tell Me You Love Me (HBO):This show is an amazing exploration of deep, subtle relationship issues. Tell Me You Love Me, like many of HBO's best shows (Deadwood, Carnivale, Big Love, John From Cincinatti), is not passive entertainment. The show is challenging, and very rewarding as a result. I just read it got picked up for a second season, which I am pleased about. I can't wait to hear the commentaries on the DVD, and I hope they allow for playing of all the end-credits music.
3. Dexter (Showtime):Showtime has a tendency to totally rat-fuck their popular shows in the second or third season (Weeds, Queer as Folk, Bullshit, etc), presumably in an attempt to make them even more popular. Thankfully, this didn't happen with Dexter. (Another great Showtime show, Huff, also didn't suffer this fate.) The second season of Dexter doesn't have the steady rhythm of the first season, and that's a good thing -- it feels different, yet familiar. The only thing missing is Michael Cuesta's directing , which was present in the first season. (He has an interesting style of framing and getting coverage of headshots similar to movie L.I.E. that I like.)I hope they bring him back.
4. Later ... With Jools Holland (RAVE):RAVE is a Voom HD channel that only shows music content in HD, and I have it via the Dish Network satelite TV service. The thing I love about this show is that number of artists on the show (5-7, most times), all facing each other in a circle. The diversity of the artists, from bands with #1 albums to little-known world music artists. Three more highlights: the opening of the show where all the bands are playing together -- I'd love to see more of that; seeing artists enjoying other artists, singing along or clapping to the beat; and last, the piano chats with Jools Holland where he and an artist on the show will play and/or sing some random song together. If you're a music-lover who likes Pandora , you'll probably like this show as well. I do wish the 5.1 mix was better -- it sounds like the are just getting a stereo output off of the bands' individual mixing desks. It's still great, even without the sub-woofer, center, and rears subtly making things more immersive.
5. Journeyman (NBC):With the broadest strokes, a better plot and character-driven version of Quantum Leap, this is a solid show. Kevin McKidd stars, one of our favorite actors from HBO's short-lived Rome series. The longer plot arcs that are slowly resolved and complicated break up and make engaging what would otherwise be an overly-formulaic show created purely for episodic syndication. Unlike NBC's other new series, Chuck, you actually care about the characters and their relationships. I really like all the shots of San Francisco -- especially the episode during the big earthquake.
6. The Sarah Silverman Program (Comedy Central):After an extremely short, but very amusing first season, the second season is on. Let's hope it's longer than the first and has more songs!
7. Bionic Woman (NBC):Gritty and interesting, this could be great if it doesn't get too episodic. When they drop the 'new mission each episode' formula, it should get much more interesting.
8. Brothers and Sisters (ABC):Am amazing cast with decent writing. I was judging this show by how they ended the first season, and they won me over to give the second season a shot. They have a gay character whose relationship issues are getting old -- the other characters' arcs are progressing along decently, though.
9. The Office (NBC):Starting to get stretched thin, for sure, but still entertaining. I hope they end it this season, or next, before it gets too lame. I also hope Harold Ramis directs more episodes this season; his contributions last season were nice.
10. Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO):Needs to end soon. This season, while amusing, is running out of steam in the same way that The Simpsons has. Larry does things that are just too outrageous to believe anyone would forgive him, employ him, or talk to him. I loved last season, but this season doesn't do justice to the talent involved.
11. Family Guy (Fox):After a down-season last year, this year's new season is very amusing.
Things I don't like:
1. Chuck (NBC):A high-production nerd-focused comedy is good for a mini-series, and that's about it. The lead character and his friend look like the casting call was for Jimmy Fallon and Seth Green, but they couldn't get either.
2. South Park (Comedy Central):The new season is just terrible, with not a single good episode to counter-balance things. I don't think it needs to end, they just need to not do it for a while.
3. Weeds (Showtime):Geoff gave up on Weeds last season, but I was willing to give it a little more of a chance. The new season is more of the same: the lead character making stupid decisions that are unbecoming of her intelligence for the sake of bad soap opera mechanics and humor. The first season was great, more dramatic with some comedy. At some point, that ratio got flipped. Shame on you, Showtime. I stopped watching after episode 5.
4. Dirty Sexy Money (ABC):Just lame. I don't care about any of the plot or characters, and there isn't any real danger to anyone. Ugly Betty is the same in my opinion, but with more of a focus on comedy and fewer white people. (I do like Peter Krause, but he can't save this show.)
5. Prison Break (Fox):After ending the second season in a completely unrewarding way, the third season is just stupid. I no longer care about the characters or anything else as it's all too complicated to be resolved decently. I've stopped watching after the fifth episode.
That's it. I'm curious about Pushing Daisies (ABC) and Samantha Who? (ABC), but not enough to watch even more TV than I already do. Looking forward, I'm sincerely hoping Huff (Showtime) is as strong in the upcoming third season. I don't know what HBO is going to do; Entourage is getting old, and I hope it ends in the next season. I hope they get the ball rolling with the Deadwood 2-hour specials that wrap up the series. Who knows, maybe they'll bring back Carnivale since that fits in with the sci-fi-/fantasy trend that happening right now.
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