The new television season was in full-swing as I left the country, leaving me a little despondent about not seeing all the cool stuff that was coming up. Fortunately, I have a dual-tuner TiVo to record stuff while I'm gone, so all that's left to do is catch up on all the crap I missed.
Just in case nobody cares about my TV ramblings, I've put everything into an extended entry...
Veronica Mars. Just when you think that the show can't get any more incredible than the mind-blowing season finale, Rob Thomas & Co. come up with THIS brilliant season opener that sets the stage for even more incredible things to come. The writing is just phenomenal. Witty, engaging, sharp, and unlike anything else on television. So much to love... Veronica's new, even more perilous social status. The freaky twist to her love life. The interesting new take on Keith Mars' career. This is what television is supposed to be. I am horrified that ratings will undoubtedly plummet due to being up against the ever-escalating crap-fest that is Lost.
Lost. Arrrgh. I watched the season premiere and felt that it was a pretty pathetic opener with very little new information... now that I've seen the second episode, WHERE NOTHING HAPPENED AT ALL, I can pretty much confirm that this is the most overrated, piece of shit on television. I was actually fast-forwarding through most of it. So sad for something that had such astounding initial promise. Looks like it's going to be another long, drug-out season with too few ideas and not nearly enough interesting material to keep things moving (ooohhh... a shark! yawn!). COME ON PEOPLE! Wrap some of this shit up and move on to something NEW. You're boring the crap out of me. It's Alias all over again.
Alias. What was once my favorite show on television has degenerated into a pathetic shadow of its former self. The last two seasons were pretty much crap. The commercials are saying that this season will change everything, which certainly sounds promising... but I remain skeptical. The premiere was acceptable enough, but just doesn't push the envelope like the show used to. It's like everybody (writers included) are sleepwalking and not even trying to keep things interesting. If they think Vaughn's current "predicament" is going to push the show into new territories, they obviously don't understand what made the show work so well in the first place.
Boston Legal. The season opener is not really a season opener, since it merely picks up from when the show was preempted last season to make room for Grey's Anatomy, but it doesn't make it any less amazing. How often do you get Betty White and Heather Locklear in the same show? How often do you get Betty White saying the word "fornicating." Still an entertaining and somewhat naughty legal dramedy that makes David E. Kelley continue to be relevant. The cool bit here is that total babe Rhona Mitra, who left the show after last season, is still around since (technically) we're not through with the season yet. Delicious.
My Name is Earl. White trash comedy that is surprisingly clever thanks to smart writing and the impeccable comedic timing of Jason Lee. Has displaced Arrested Development as my favorite comedy after Scrubs. Impossible to define in traditional television terms, and must be watched to be appreciated.
House. This medical drama is finally starting to break out of the boring cycle that makes every episode the exact same. Unfortunately, it has run into some surprisingly stupid criticism as of late because of an innocent kiss given by a doctor to a dying girl. It was not sexual in nature, nor was it in any way explicit. And yet perverted dumbasses with overactive imaginations are making something out of nothing because they just love the morality spotlight. For this alone, I encourage everybody to watch (even though Grey's Anatomy is a far superior medical show).
Grey's Anatomy. It could be my infatuation with Sandra Oh, but I love this show. Smart, sexy, and funny as hell. Far better than ER ever was.
Kitchen Confidential. While I like Bradley Cooper's deft handling of a potentially unlikable character, the rest of the cast just isn't clicking with me. It's really too bad, because a comedy set in a kitchen has such ripe potential. I'll continue to watch, because it's just good enough to be entertaining, but hardly the gem I was hoping for.
How I Met Your Mother. It's not bad, it's just not good enough to be taking up space on my TiVo. A pity, because Neil Patrick Harris is pretty darn funny.
Survivor Guatemala. The cast is entirely too boring this time. I keep hoping that things will get interesting, but everybody seems so nondescript.
Las Vegas. I'm pretty upset that Marsha Thomason is leaving the show, but don't yet know if it's a deal-breaker... Lara Flynn Boyle is certainly not making up for the loss so far. I want to like this program, but it's quickly losing my interest.
Invasion. Of all the "invasion" shows out there (including Threshold and Surface) this is the one I loathe the least. That's not saying a lot, but the characters are growing on me.
Threshold. Quickly becoming a pathetic attempt to be interesting in an X-Files kind of way. There's no "wonder" here to keep me coming back, even though the cast is pretty great.
Surface. Utter crap. Hopefully will be cancelled very soon.
Everybody Hates Chris. Chris Rock rules, and so does this program. The kid they got to play young Chris is brilliant, and carries the show beautifully.
Ghost Whisperer. It's a Medium clone, but without the interesting characters and complex storylines! Kind of like a remedial Medium primer for people who like their entertainment as mindless and simple as possible. Bad television! Bad, BAD television!!
Medium. Engaging as ever. All the "supernatural" clones that followed its success just don't measure up (including Supernatural itself). I sometimes wonder how much further they can go with the concept, but the first two episodes of the second season show no sign of slowing down.
The Commander in Chief. What makes The West Wing so astounding (especially in the Sorkin years) is that the dry, boring political bits are made interesting because of the witty dialogue, quirky characters, and overall charm that permeates every scene. Strip all of that away, and you have Commander in Chief, which features Geena Davis as the first female President of the United States. Sure its smart, but even post-Sorkin episodes of The West Wing make for better entertainment than this. I'll give it a few more episodes before I cancel it off my TiVo, mainly because Geena Davis is so fascinating, but as a show it's not working for me.
The West Wing. The early Sorkin years are unparalleled in quality, and re-watching them on DVD makes me a bit sad to see how far the show has slid since those days. It's still worth watching... still smart television with terrific dialogue... but it's not the same program I fell in love with. Accepting it on those terms makes it watchable, but no longer must-see TV. Oh, one more thing... TOBY ZIEGLER SUCKS ASS! I LOATHE TOBY! KILL F#@%ING TOBY!! DIE TOBY! DIE DIE DIIIIIEEEE!!
Desperate Housewives. A guilty pleasure that I am embarrassed to watch, but can't stop. I nearly quit after the season ended, but then they brought Alfre Woodard into the cast and I was compelled to watch. Not worthy of the critical acclaim, but entertaining television nevertheless.
Night Stalker. Let me get this straight... Stuart Townsend as Kolchak?!? It's not working for me, and this is despite the fact that co-star Gabrielle Union is a total goddess. It seems absurd to think that this show can possibly succeed, so I'm performing a preemptive cancelation from my TiVo's "Season Pass."
Bleh. Still have about six TiVo hours left. By the time I catch up, it will be time to leave again.