TV report card II
ROME (HBO) - It's done, and rumor has it that either it's not coming back at all or we'll have to wait until 2007 for the next season. 2007!!! What is this, THE SOPRANOS? But you know what? I'm this program's minion, so I'll totally be back to watch. What a finale. I couldn't get my mind off of it for days. Caesar's assassination--whoa. I haven't seen better acting than what happened during this sequence, unless it was during the rest of the show, especially when Lucius Vorenus's wife committed suicide. Talk about feeling a sucker punch for the characters. Just...wow. I'm really happy that my two guys--Lucius and Titus--lived (I mentioned in a previous blog that I feared for them.), but sometimes living is worse than death, and that's the case with Lucius. Poor guy.
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO) - The finale is tomorrow night. Larry totally bugs, but I like to squirm anyway as he gets himself into trouble with his big mouth.
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - According to the TV message boards I like to visit, there's a lot of discontent with this season of DH. I have to agree that it isn't as interesting as last year, and that some of the characters have strayed from what we once loved about them(er...Bree, why didn't you get some spine with George earlier like you would have in seaon 1?) . I don't know--maybe it's also because there's not a really compelling mystery that's stringing this season together, like Mary Alice's suicide. I'm not that curious about Caleb Applewhite. All I do know is that if I miss an episode, I'm not terribly sad.
GREY'S ANATOMY (ABC) - Can we please get George some action? The guy deserves it, you all, especially since every other person at the hospital is making the beast with two backs. Still, I really like how this series can be really funny one moment (Sandra Oh, you are awesome.), and make my throat burn the next (the man who woke up from a coma only to find that his family had moved on without him? Oh. My. Gosh. I can't even talk about it.).
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (Fox) - Okay, here's where I get on my lil' ole soapbox. Fox, you stink. Not only because you've messed with PRISON BREAK's schedule so that it'll probably die a slow death when it comes back in March (and this is just the epitome of your scheduling ineptitude), but because you don't know how to market one of the funniest shows ever. In case you all didn't know, AD is in purgatory--Fox has cut its orders for episodes this year, but the last I heard, they also hadn't exactly committed to cancelling this show. I ask another network--especially HBO--please, please, please pick up this hilarious comedy.
KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL (Fox) - The last time this was on the air was...hmm...oh, yeah: back when men used their enemies' heads for soccer balls (BTW, thank you, SURVIVOR, for that bit of trivia. It was a touch of TMI that I didn't need to...okay, yeah, I enjoyed hearing it. I'm a freak.). I think I remember kind of liking this series, and I know Michael Vartan will be guest starring, so I'll be tuning in again. Who can resist even one second of an ALIAS hot-guy reunion? Not me. Couple that with food, and I'm so there.
PRISON BREAK (Fox) - See mini-rant above (in ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT's blurb). March? I have to wait until March to see how the guys overcome this latest setback??? Fox, you are my personal enemy now. PRISON BREAK was doing pretty well, and you take away its momentum? Brilliant. I can accept a cliffhanger that I have to mull over during the summer, but this was needless. I only hope the ratings come back stronger than ever for the sake of the show. Anyway, the characters have grown on me (even T-Bag, for heaven's sake) and my adoration for Hottie (Wentworth Miller, you can ring my bell.) knows no bounds. I love that he's, like, Phantom of the Prison, crawling around in all the air vents and secret passages--especially when he saved the doctor that one time. All he needed was a half-mask to complete the illusion.
OMG, I am getting a hottie flash. Bring him back. NOW!
AMAZING RACE (CBS) - I was optimistic about this season back during the first TV report card, but now? Ugh. For so many reasons. But my fuse was blown during the last episode when for the second time in a row there was a "production error" that drained a team's car battery and sent them to last place. I'm sorry, but that's complete BS. And a show that has that much disregard for logic and an audience's patience doesn't deserve my loyalty. We'll see if I continue to watch next season. Right now I'm so disgusted that I don't know if I want to come back.
MY NAME IS EARL (NBC) - Still totally funny! Do you ever get the feeling, though, that most of Earl's bad karma stems from Joy? He's spending a lot of time making things up to her. Not that I'm complaining. She's a side-splitter, that Joy! It should be interesting when this show moves to Thursdays in January. NBC is campaigning to get Thursday nights back.
THE OFFICE (NBC) - Love, love, love, love, love. Yes, the last episode wasn't as funny as most, and that's the one I forced my Thanksgiving company to sit down and watch in an effort to win this show a couple more viewers. But even a less-ROFLOL episode is way more clever than a whole seaon of YES, DEAR. Talk about having characters grow on you--the humor on this show is so engrained in the personalities of the office workers that it feels as if you know these people. What's interesting is that they play merciless tricks on each other to entertain themselves (Jim? Pam? Yes, I'm talking about you two, and I adore you for it.)...yet, in spite of all the aggressive trick-playing, you never get a sense of anyone being mean spirited. That's a tough thing to accomplish in comedy. THE OFFICE...so damned good.
NIP/TUCK (FX) - Ay-yee! The Carver is back! Leave Kimber alone, you psycho! We all know that this is a show that "pushes the envelope," but the last episode outdid anything I've ever seen before on TV. Holy paper bag. I have a theory of who The Carver might be, but my dumb idea would mean that the production "cheated" by misleading us with false points-of-view and flashbacks. Don't read the rest of this if you don't want any speculation: I'm thinking that The Carver is not one person, but two--our "heroes." It just goes along with the whole theme of the guys never being able to separate themselves from each other. It's a totally whacko theory that makes no sense, but then again, this is NIP/TUCK.
THE APPRENTICE: MARTHA STEWART (NBC) - Not a whole lot to say except that I'm still watching every Wednesday. I loved when Jim, the villain, talked Marcela, the sweet heroine, back into the game, and I wonder if the editors are setting it up so that this move bites Jim in the butt. Wouldn't that be awesome?
LOST (ABC) - Still addicted. And I get a lot of flack for this, but I find Ana-Lucia to be a fascinating addition. A lot of people absolutely hate her, but I see her as introducing a lot of conflict to the camp. She's also going to have the hugest redemption arc of any character, unless she turns to the "dark side." Interestingly enough, the writers haven't shown us A-L before the first phase of her obvious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder kicked in, so it's tough to like her. But she's intriguing because of her failings: she's buried under layers of machismo that cover her fear, and she has no idea how to cope in society. Due to her PTSD plus the conditions that the tail-end passengers have had to endure from the get-go (They were instantly attacked by the Others and have been fending them off without a break.), she's become the worst of what the island has to offer. I feel like she's a tragic figure with a heart of darkness, so even though I wouldn't want to be within ten feet of her in real life, I'm completely enthralled watching how she functions from a long distance. And the last few minutes of the last episode? "Dad?"
VERONICA MARS (UPN) - Here's another show that just keeps getting better and better. VM is actually as puzzling in its cryptic bread crumbs as LOST is, but in a more sedate way. Like BLUE VELVET, every episode is a dark glimpse under the manicured grass of that lovely lawn you see in front of a beautiful, seemingly perfect house. And things are getting downright creepy in 09er-ville. A little girl in a white nightgown who's being punished by being kept in a closet? A supposed good girl who was the supposed victim of a bus-crash, in a coma and pregnant? What the...? And what's with Duncan? Wouldn't it be great it he really was creepy and evil and there was no convenient excuse for the way he's been acting?
ALIAS (ABC) - As I moaned about in a previous blog, this has been cancelled. Whaa. But Sark is coming back, and that's all I care about right now. It'll be gross seeing him with Rachel, a new character I haven't really gotten behind, but I'll just pretend like one half of my screen is all blond bad boy and the other half is ether (and with Rachel, that's not really hard to do--rimshot, please).
SURVIVOR (CBS) - Now I'm finally getting interested! Can I ask when Stephanie became irritating? She was so great last season, but now...bleh. I really like Rafe and Danni, so my hopes are with them. Unfortunately, Gary Hogeboom got booted just when he started being a real fireball and calling everyone out at Tribal Council. I think two of my favorite SURVIVOR moments came within minutes of each other and were provided by Gary: the comment about all the starstruck players getting Steph's autograph after the show and then when he absolutely, completely mortified Judd about lying re: the immunity idol. Awesome.
EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS (UPN) - Always funny with good continuity about character details (Dad and his cheapness, Mom and her "I don't have to take this--my husband's got two jobs.).
THE APPRENTICE (NBC) - Dear, Alla: where did you bite the dust? I thought you were so great before the last episode, when you just imploded into one mass of nattering overkill. Was your evil disguised under a cape of unbelievable effectiveness this whole time? Go, Randal.
REUNION (Fox) - Pretty fun stuff here. Every episode has a neat little twist in the mystery of who killed Sam. Speculation: At this point, I'm wondering if she's even truly dead. The Thanksgiving episode was really good because it showed that disfunctional feasts aren't limited to family gatherings.
MASTERS OF HORROR (Showtime) - At first, I was impressed with that albino-DELIVERANCE-WWF killer who gets the tables turned on him by a supposedly meek woman. But the rest of these episodes have been, "meh." I'm stunned that some of these masters (the best directors in the horror biz) aren't paying attention to the title of their series: Masters of Horror. Being scared out of your gourd isn't always about blood and guts and carnage--it's about dread. I know I've said that often in my blogs and Crystal Says... reviews, but tapping into primal fear isn't really such a mystery. Yes, it's hard to do, but you'd think Masters of a genre would have a handle on this. Kind of disappointing, but since a different director is in charge of every episode, I'll stick with it.
And that's it, for now. Until TV report card III, have a good time slogging though all the holiday specials and waiting for PRISON BREAK to come back....