Mike’s Prattle

Miscellaneous

Mike prattles on TV (was What I’m Watching)

Posted by Mike on April 30, 2007

The following two links are my previous forays into this sort of thing, prattling on about the TV I watch…

https://mikesprattle.wordpress.com/2006/12/06/what-im-watching-update/

http://mikesprattle.wordpress.com/2006/10/20/what-im-watching/

This are my most recent thoughts as the summer approaches…

Monday

24 has always been something of a guilty pleasure despite its level of unbelievability. It always makes me chuckle when someone sneers at a genre program, usually due to being unable to suspend belief, yet of late I’m better off believing in space ships and little green men than the twists and turns of the increasingly witless 24. It’s gotten to the point that even after seeing the show have a pretty good season last year, that I’ve lost all connection to all of the remaining characters (those not killed off for some sort of shock value) and just don’t care anymore. The May 13th ep was the last for me.

On the other hand and at the same time, Heroes seems to be improving, particularly as all the various characters begin to interact. My problem with this show is that the acting leaves a lot to be desired, I’m already extremely exhausted by Hayden Panetierre’s plethora of teenage mopey looks and it’s really only actors like Christopher Eccleston and Malcolm McDowell (who strangely enough plays his character here a lot like the one he did in Entourage) that help to keep this part of it from sinking. What I do like is the complexity of the plot in that there does seem to be some direction to what’s going on.

24, FOX, 9 PM D (as in delete)
Heroes, NBC, 9 PM, B

Tuesday

Veronica Mars has been absent from the TV for weeks and comes back tomorrow night. It’s a show that’s been on the bubble for both me and its network. I love the writing and plotting, the dialogue even, but the angsty teenager/post-teenager stuff isn’t really of much interest. It’s a show I don’t mind watching but won’t be terribly disturbed if it gets cut.

The Shield, on the other hand, seems to be feeding off the energy brought into it during Season 5 last year, possibly the show’s best season. As “Season 6” seems to really be the last half of 5, it’s hard not to see it as a continuation. The stakes just keep getting larger and it finally feels as if the series arc is starting to turn the corner and take us to the conclusion at the end of Season 7. Chiklis and Goggins are particularly brilliant this year, witness Chiklis’ breakdown scene at the hospital at the end of episode 4. Cracking stuff and no miss television, maybe the best show on TV.

The Shield, FX, Tuesday, 10 PM, A
Veronica Mars, CW, Tuesday, 9 PM, C+

Wednesday

Always the busiest night in TV for me, although I was a hair from dropping Lost from my schedule after the season’s opening and rather dull first six episodes. Fortunately it seems like it’s regathered a bit of steam of late, the last 3-4 episodes reminding me of why I used to like the show. I’m not one of those who needs all the answers right away and am quite OK with their being a larger mystery needing resolved. And then there’s the actress who plays Juliet, who probably has done more than anyone else to help rejuvenate this sinking ship.

Jericho lies somewhere between Heroes and Lost in terms of a serial TV show. Like Heroes, I’m not utterly convinced or drawn in by the entire cast, but the plotting seems to have moved beyond the post nuclear war scenario into an “every town for itself” thread, which has been fairly interesting, although I’m really starting to detect and notice the typical cliche plot points, particularly the need for suspenseful situations to be resolved at the last minute all the time. The show could probably lose me at any time given a dive, but it’s also on at 7 PM, which makes it rather accessible overall.

Friday Night Lights, if you can forgive the occasional sports movie cliches, ended up as one of the season’s big bright spots, a show whose acting and plotting is all around excellent. It’s amazing in particular how they can turn a character you can barely be sympathetic for into a real draw, to the point where there were few people in town I wasn’t interested in by the end. As a show on the bubble, this is the one I want most to succeed, it’s only slightly promising that NBC has ordered more scripts given its relatively low ratings (not to mention it being up against American Idol).

South Park Season 11, the “a side,” started out with the brilliant and controversial “With Apologies to Jesse Jackson,” a classic that lives up to repeat watching, but then managed to get rather average for the rest of the 7 episode run (returns in October). This seems to be fairly typical of the show the last few seasons, although the second half run tends to be the best. But overall, even one classic SP for every 7 eps keeps the show well worth watching.

Jericho, CBS, 7 PM, B-
Friday Night Lights, NBC, 8 PM, A-
Lost, ABC, 9 PM, B-
South Park, Comedy Central, 10 PM, C+

Thursday

Not too many changes since my last report for Thursday, all shows remaining at about the same quality. Smallville has gotten a little darker, but its rather dull acting and predictable twists evens it out some. I suppose in some ways it’s a fun show to chuckle at occasionally, which makes it worth hanging in there. For now.

30 Rock seems to have improved as it reached the end of it’s first season run (it has been renewed), the introduction of Alex Baldwin’s foil with the avian bone syndrome had me in a couple spots of uncontrollable laughter. At times the show goes way over the top, in a similar way to bad SNL (which I haven’t watched since Tina Fey was the news person), but if that can be toned down a little, the cast is excellent and provides for some hilarious and rather bizarre TV.

The Office remains about the same, I can’t get worked up over it like I could for the English version, but there are enough good episodes and funny situations to keep me watching.

Smallville, CW, 8 PM, C-
The Office, NBC 8:30 PM, B
30 Rock, NC 9:30 PM, B

Friday through Sunday and others

The only network TV show I watch during the weekend, and then usually after the fact, is Family Guy, which remains at a more or less consistent level, perhaps not quite as good as it was before it was revived, but still containing enough brilliant ideas to make it worth watching.

Before that is HBO’s Entourage which is a very enjoyable half hour show about Los Angeles and hitting the big time. I’m pleased to see the addition of Carla Gugino to the cast, although at this point I’m more interested to seeing how this will affect Ari more so than Vince and his crew. With Piven’s Ari sidelined for now, the standalone stories seem a little beside the point, it’s always better when Ari is with the crew.

Entourage, HBO, 7/10 PM, B
Family Guy, FOX, 9 PM, B-

And this wouldn’t be complete with the nods to some great British programming, the incomparable and genius Life on Mars (A), the epic and wacky series 3 of Doctor Who (B+) and the opening series of Primeval (B-), most of which I hope to say more about when the first two air over here later in the year (DW in early July on Sci-Fi, LoM somewhat later on BBC America).

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One Response to “Mike prattles on TV (was What I’m Watching)”

  1. Grace said

    I’ll give JERICHO an *A* and BEG CBS to bring it back next season.
    LOVE Skeet….ADORE McRaney!

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