Daily TV Viewing – Tuesday January 30, 2007

January 30, 2007

After an excellent vacation (not much TV though) I’ll be back to a regular posting schedule tomorrow but here’s what I’m watching tonight.

8:00 – 9:00 Gilmore Girls (CW)

9:00 – 10:00 Veronica Mars (CW) *** Pick of the night ***

10:00 – 11:00 Boston Legal (ABC)

I’ll be recording The Knights of Propserity (ABC) which actually is starting to grow on me. 

My Vacation or Why Can’t I Get Excited About Movies as Much as TV

January 26, 2007

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a couple of days.  I apologize but I’m on vacation.  I should be back to regular posting next week.  In the meantime I’m away from the ice and snow and enjoying a little break.

I have an opportunity this week to go see some movies but there really isn’t anything I’m compelled to see. 

Over the past few years, generally since having children, I’ve been to very few movies in the theatre.  It’s not just that I don’t have time, but that I also have a pretty good home set up with a good size HDTV, a decent surround sound system and every movie channel I can get.  The really good big blockbuster movies that should be seen on the big screen are generally few and far between these days (e.g. Casino Royale).  The smaller good movies I can wait the 4 months until they make it to DVD or even the year until they are shown on the movie network (e.g. Little Miss Sunshine). 

I also find that I just enjoy my weekly doses of TV shows better than any movie, even the good ones.  For example, I liked The Departed but given the choice I would choose the equivalent number of hours of The Sopranos.  I liked Casino Royale but would choose Heroes or Lost.  Pursuit of Happyness was good but Friday Night Lights would be my choice.  I could keep going except that I haven’t seen many other movies to compare to. 

It’s not that I don’t like movies but I just don’t feel a compulsion to rush and see any.  I guess I’ll look for something else to do on my vacation. 

Back in a few.

24 – Day 6, Episode 5, 10:00 – 11:00

January 24, 2007

I’ve been kind of hard on 24 and what I see as its many, many, many shortcomings.  Still, I have to admit last night’s twist kicked ass.  One of my complaints with 24 has been its lack of follow through and the illusion of closure it provides at the end of a season.  Sure they may have nailed the president last season and stopped the attacks but the real mastermind – Dr. Romano, freaky Fame, headset guy – was still at large.  Based on past experience, I assumed that they would never pick up that thread again.

Then last night, in an otherwise largely forgettable episode (oh look, Jack saved someone seconds before the helicopter fell and exploded), we find out that headset guy is Jack’s brother.  Contrived coincidence, maybe.  But who cares.  Great twist that I never saw coming, the hallmark of fun TV.   Paul Crane is great in every show he’s in and I remember thinking last season what a waste that we didn’t see that much of him.  Well this season I think we’re going to make up for that.  Clearly this family reunion isn’t going to be a happy occasion with Jack immediately tying up his brother with his wife and kid upstairs as he gets ready to perform some Jack torture magic.  I’m actually looking forward to next week.

Avi’s Episode Rating: B+

Daily TV Viewing – Monday January 22, 2007

January 23, 2007

Great TV night.  Here’s what I’m watching tonight:

8:00 – 9:00 Prison Break (Fox)

9:00 – 10:00 Heroes (NBC) *** Pick of the night ***

10:00 – 11:00 24 (Fox) – Recorded at 9:00.

11:00 – 11:30 How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

I’ll be taping: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC) and What About Brian (ABC)

The Apprentice LA: Season 6, Episode 3

January 22, 2007

Watching the first 10 minutes of the show I sat there thinking just how ridiculous this show has become.  It’s one thing to put reality show contestants through a process of ad-sponsored, manufactured “business” tasks under the pretense of a job interview often with an arbitrary winner but making the losing team sleep outside in tents just takes it too far out of the realm of reasonableness.  In three months the winner is going to be able to stand up and say that they wanted to work for Trump so badly they were willing to sleep outside in tents, shower in makeshift showers, etc.  Oh yeah, that’s going to be impressive to your co-workers.

Which brings us to Michelle who actually had the balls to stand up and say that this wasn’t the way she wanted to get a job in the Trump organization.  Sure she probably would have been fired any way as her team sucked it up and she didn’t really provide any form of leadership.  This doesn’t make her wrong in saying that this is a line she’s not willing to cross to get any job.  Furthermore, I think Trump and the Trumpettes were kind of harsh calling her a quitter as if they or anyone they work with had to jump through any hoops to get their jobs.

Now I’ve liked the Apprentice over its 6 seasons.  As much as I think some of the tasks are stupid, it does test the human dynamic and see how different people react in different circumstances.  It’s not the ideal way of getting a job but the tasks do provide real insights into the potential hires.

This year’s twist of making them sleep outside is just a way to haze the contestants as if this was a fraternity.  I think next year, the losing team should have to do Trump’s laundry, clean his house with a toothbrush and maybe do shots until they puke.

Michelle, you had no chance of winning, but personally I applaud your decision to flip Trump and his reality show the bird.

Avi’s Episode Rating: C

Avi’s Michelle Rating: A

Daily TV Viewing – Sunday January 21, 2007

January 21, 2007

Lots on tonight but unfortunately not so spread out.  Here’s what I’m watching:

9:00 – 10:00 The Apprentice (NBC)

10:00 – 11:00 Battlestar Galactica (Sci-Fi,Space) *** Pick of the night ***

I’ll be recording: Desperate Housewives (ABC), Rome (TMN/ HBO), Brothers & Sisters (ABC) and Without a Trace (CBS).

Updated: Can I Hear a Booooooo – Veronica Mars off the air for 8 weeks to make room for Pussycat Dolls reality show

January 20, 2007

Updated: I have to echo Yoni’s comment on my blog with a boo for Veronica Mars for making its final 5 episodes self-contained. The best part about the show is its ability to balance the big arcs with the character moments and the mysteries of the week. All this does is upset the balance.

So let me make sure I understand, the CW is a new network that hasn’t been able to successfully launch a new series yet. Most of its shows are nearing the end of their runs or are way past it (yes I’m talking about you 7th Heaven). But instead of taking a risk and investing in a show that has the potential to be a long term asset, it puts on a reality show looking for a new Pussycat Doll. At least if it was for something good I could handle Veronica taking a hiatus but for something that is at best a one hit wonder (light on the wonder) I think the CW is out to lunch.

Here’s the link to the article discussing the change and the possibility of Gilmore Girls being renewed for another season. What’s that smell – oh yeah, another former good show way being pushed way past its expiry date.

Scrubs – Season 6, Episode 6 – My Musical

January 20, 2007

I know I haven’t written about Scrubs yet this season but don’t take that to mean that it isn’t one of my favourite shows on TV. How much do I love the Scrubs?  When it ends its run either this season or next, without a doubt it will be in my TV Hall of Fame.  I own the first 4 seasons on DVD and intend to buy the rest when they come out.  There is no other comedy that blends humour, fantasy sequences and emotional moments portrayed by one of the best ensemble casts on television.

Which is a perfect segue into a discussion about Thursday’s brilliant musical episode which was a great reminder just how big (and of course talented) the Scrubs extended cast is (although I missed Jordan’s presence).  I have a soft spot for musicals so I was somewhat predisposed to liking this episode but they really knocked it out of the park.  For those who haven’t seen it, the premise was a woman with a brain tumor who heard everyone around her speaking in song and let me say it just worked.

The songs were written by the creators of the Broadway show Avenue Q which is essentially a musical adult version of Sesame Street.  The influence of their previous work was best highlighted in the sure to be best selling, Everything Comes Down to Poo where JD and Turk explained how “they can find what’s wrong with you by looking at your poo” and Man Love.  They didn’t just draw influence from their own show as many other great musicals got their own homages.  Like the Les Miserables influenced group march to When the Truth Comes Out to the Rent influenced You’re Going to be Okay to the Grease We’ll be Friends Forever – all toe tapping numbers that will find their way on to my MP3 player in short order.

Also loved the Cox rant and who knew what a pretty voice Carla had?  Her duet with Turk reminded me a lot of the Xander-Anya number from the Buffy musical episode (couldn’t not mention it) as they sang about just how little Turk knows of his bride.  Still they are a great couple and it’s hard not to appreciate how the writers have developed their relationship over the past 6 years.

In writing about shows like Grey’s Anatomy I’ve highlighted how annoying and pretentious the voice over is.  With Scrubs though I rarely have that feeling and in fact it is the closing voice overs that usually give me the lump in my throat and tonight was no exception.

Most shows can’t pull off what Scrubs does on a week to week basis – see Boston Legal, for example, as a show that just can’t find the proper balance between the ridiculous and the serious.  For most other shows what Scrubs did this week would be a risk where the odds of failure were really high.  Fortunately Scrubs isn’t like other shows.

Avi’s Episode Rating: A+

The Office – Season 3, Episode 13 – The Return

January 19, 2007

Let me start this week’s review with a big whoohoo to NBC for giving The Office a well deserved early renewal.

Here’s what I learned from The Office:

  • When entering the job market, there is nothing more likely to seal the deal with a potential employer than a professional resume, an athletics & special skills resume, and a book of personal trivia
  • The universe works in mysterious ways.
  • Memo to self: if you want face time with the boss, stand outside the bathroom and wait.
  • It’s horrible when someone isn’t self-aware.
  • Mmmmmm – Mexican lemonade.
  • “Random co-worker” can be a euphemism
  • If you’re going to password protect your files use names of mythological creatures
  • Sucking up to advance your career is not a reason to suck up. Sucking up out of genuine love is.
  • Freakin is the new frackin – (I loved Dwight’s Battlestar Galactica sweatshirt)

This was a week where we got to see new sides of our favourite characters. Just when we think we get Michael Scott, we find out there’s more to him than we thought. Watching his complete and increasing disdain of Andy’s sucking up was a sight to behold. Also great seeing him apologize to Dwight, a truly touching scene. I also liked seeing the new Angela as she melted down while asking Oscar to join the party planning committee and confessed to Michael. Also, have to agree with Jim, I too liked Ryan better when he was the temp.

I had to feel a bit bad for Karen as she watched how in sync Jim and Pam were pulling a prank on Andy and especially after he admitted to still having feelings for Pam. It’s great how they’ve advanced this story.

Looking forward to next episode’s sure to be fun Dwight-Andy reunion.

Avi’s Episode Rating: A-

Daily TV Viewing – January 18, 2007

January 18, 2007

After some boring TV nights tonight is chock full of goodness.  I’m cheating a little with the 10:00 hour but here’s what I’m watching tonight:

8:00 – 8:30 My Name is Earl (NBC)

8:30 – 9:00 The Office (NBC)

9:00 – 10:00 Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)

10:00 – 10:30 Scrubs (NBC) *** Pick of the night – Scrubs the musical

10:30 – 11:00 30 Rock (NBC)

I’ll be recording The OC (Fox)