Comics Ate My Brain

September 28, 2005

Tune In, Turn On, Veg Out

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom Bondurant @ 12:12 am
When I was a kid I loved TV. It provided all kinds of surrogate relationships. I would get the TV Guide fall preview special and look eagerly for the entries marked “Debut.” I even remember the preview for Fall 1982, which made me anticipate “Knight Rider” but not so much “Cheers.”

As I got older my TV-watching declined. Finally, at the end of last season, attrition had reduced it so far that this season I have been more actively evaluating new shows. So far nothing has really jumped out at me like “Knight Rider” did, but there may still be some “Cheers” in the mix.

Monday: Last year I watched one show on Monday, “Everybody Loves Raymond.” This year I will watch at least one show, “Arrested Development.” I can’t say enough about this show, other than it works so well on so many levels. Please, tell all your friends to watch it, watch the reruns, and buy the DVDs, until FOX has no choice but to keep it on the air for as long as we say.

Last Monday I tried out the first episodes of “Kitchen Confidential” and “How I Met Your Mother.” This, of course, represents the battle of the “Buffy”/”Freaks & Geeks” couples — Nick “Xander” Brendon and John Francis “Sam” Daley vs. Allyson “Willow” Hannigan and Jason “Nick” Segel. Although “HIMYM” was a fun little half-hour with potential to transcend its “Friends”-ripoff milieu, I did enjoy “KC” more. Much of this was the presence of its leading man, “Alias” alum Bradley Cooper. “KC” also has a more distinctive setting, featuring a motley group of maverick chefs in a struggling New York restaurant. “HIMYM” probably has the longer life expectancy, but I’m more likely to buy the DVDs of “KC.”

(I watched the first episode of “Out of Practice” too, but it didn’t make much of an impression.)

Tuesday: “My Name Is Earl” and “The Office” brought me back to Tuesdays after they had dropped off my radar with the end of “Buffy.” I thought both were very funny, and “The Office’s” Dundle awards ceremony felt touchingly real to boot. (One thing about the American “Office” — it sometimes invites you to feel sorry for Michael where the original never did.) I’ve been watching “Bones” too but it hasn’t really grabbed me.

Wednesday: You know how after a while, the various Star Trek spinoffs started to repeat plots from previous shows? That’s how “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” felt right from the start. The details are different, but the core principles are the same. Among those principles: your team should win if you do market research and your project manager has a modicum of people skills. I kept thinking, Galaxy Quest-like, “Didn’t these idiots watch the other show?”

“Lost” has kept me and the Best Wife Ever as viewers for now, but over the past few days I have been hearing “This had better not be another ‘Twin Peaks.'” Revelations about the hatch were welcome, even if its tenant’s identity wasn’t so surprising. Personally, I think every season should put the castaways on a new “island” (underground, in space, in the Middle Ages, etc.) just to keep things fresh.

Thursday: “Everybody Hates Chris” is right up there with “Arrested Development” in terms of wit and originality. It’s apparently doing great things for UPN, so let’s hope it has a long run too. As for the original “Apprentice,” see above — the losers did their market research, and they didn’t lose by a lot, but they quickly found a scapegoat. As it happens, the scapegoat turned out to be a paranoiac of Captain Queeg proportions, so at least they cut off that avenue of irritation early. Still, this could be the year “The Apprentice” tips over irredeemably into self-parody.

Friday: “Battlestar Galactica” showed its last episode before a 3-month hiatus, and I ended up not liking it. Not because I am squeamish, or disdainful of all things “dark and gritty,” but because it was so one-sided. Everyone from Pegasus might as well have been from the Mirror Universe, so starkly did they contrast with the regulars. Many of you will snort with disgust when I say this, but I liked the setup better when it was a “Star Trek: Voyager” two-parter called “Equinox.” At least there, the suggestion was that Voyager could adopt some of Equinox‘s radical survival strategies. Here, the cliffhanger hinges on how Adama and Galactica can outfight the higher-tech Pegasus to rescue its crewmen. While we’re supposed to be shocked by how easily Pegasus‘ crewmen went over the edge, the episode portrayed them as so far gone that there’d be virtually no chance of Galactica‘s crew doing the same. Moreover, their tactics didn’t seem to be working as well as Galactica‘s. “Galactica” is a fine show, but I expect more nuance from “the best show on television.”

Saturday: I missed the first two episodes of this season’s “Justice League Unlimited,” but these were fairly good. I’m especially looking forward to the Batman/Orion/Flash/Rogues’ Gallery installment.

Sunday: “The Simpsons” was OK. I keep watching because it’s still more funny than not.

“Desperate Housewives” did a decent job of setting up a new status quo. I particularly enjoyed seeing flashes of the old “Sports Night”-style super-competent Felicity Huffman multitasking. However, I fear that before long, it will be back to the old klutzy Susan and scheming Gabrielle overshadowing the revitalized Lynette. I also don’t quite know what will happen with the widowed Bree, who last season was my favorite DH. Rex’s death deprived the show of a good, albeit strange, relationship, different enough from Lynette’s more normal marriage and Gabrielle’s broken one. And just what did happen to Paul in the desert?

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