Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I will hold this blog together with my TEETH if I have to

Some random TV thoughts for a lazy, late July evening (well, lazy unless you actually work IN television or are a TV critic -- if that's true, then you're busy tonight or sleeping):

  • Rescue Me is a huge frustration to me right now. It has scenes that work on all sorts of levels (like that one with the school counselor last week that concluded with Tommy realizing he has survivor's guilt). It has some of the funniest stuff on TV right now (Garrity's sleepwalking, complete with some sort of dried dip all over his face, was maybe the funniest thing I've seen on TV since the episode of The Office where they opened the complaint box). But it also has some of the most frustrating stuff on TV. Tommy's punishment for his rape (or borderline rape, if you will) of his wife is to have his wife become sexually aggressive with him in return? And then to have his ex-girlfriend drug him and rape him because she just NEEDS HIS LOVE so much? AND Marisa Tomei (of all people) can't keep her hands off of him? I'm willing to go with the flawed protagonist thing. I'm willing to go with the idea that this is a guy's show, through and through. I just wish that it didn't feel like such a boy's club. Despite all of these queasy moral issues (I know, a big caveat), this season has had a lot of fine work and solid performances. I just worry that Leary may have lost the Emmy (like he cares) with his recent comments to TV Guide.
  • Deadwood's third season was not, apparently, going to be its final one until HBO and David Milch forced it to be. But it's probably the show's strongest, most consistent season yet (it, of course, could go very, very wrong as it heads to its denouement). And what's more, it feels like a final season, its thematic concern with death and the end of things hanging over all of the proceedings. Gerald McRaney is as good as he's ever been, and Ian McShane makes even some of the show's clunkier writing (some of his recent monologues haven't been as spot-on as they were in seasons one and two) shine. The writers have even figured out how to make Timothy Olyphant simmer believably before bursting out into rage. This show is shaping up to be one of the few true masterpieces in the history of the medium.
  • It sounds like ABC made all of the right moves to fix Desperate Housewives. While I was never that high on the show, I'm glad that those who loved it might get their dream show back. Hiring Joe Keenan was a good first step, and opening season three at the point of maximum dramatic impact was an even better second one.
  • The Television Critics' Association award winners are better than the Emmys can possibly hope to be, even with only one acting category for comedy and one for drama.
  • That teaser for Battlestar Galactica aired during Eureka's pilot was gloriously overwrought and heartpounding immediate, just like the show itself. Starbuck meets her daughter? Lee has to do something he should have done a long time ago? Baltar wants someone to kill him? Mary McDonnell and Edward James Olmos are still in the show? Sign me up, Sci Fi!
  • I was over in LA the other day, and the billboards and bus ads for The CW are everywhere. Honestly, the "Free to Be" campaign is probably a very smart one because of how dumb it seems. It's insidious in that way. And I dare you to not start describing everything you encounter with "Free to Be" in front of it. This Coke can before me is Free to Be Red.
  • Reno 911! just isn't as funny as it was in its first two seasons anymore, but it's still a pleasant enough way to while away a Sunday evening. I wonder if, as more and more cable networks jump on the summer TV bandwagon, we'll have to make calls about what we watch in the summer, like we do in the rest of the year. Right now, for example, I kind of halfheartedly watch The 4400. I would NEVER do that in the regular season. And how much more TV will it take to push that one off of my radar screen?
  • I'm impressed that Entourage fired Vince from his Aquaman gig, possibly creating a situation where he'll have to reflect on. . .who am I kidding? This is just a momentary setback in the overall season structure. Eventually, I have to believe, Vincent Chase will get what he wants.
  • I don't watch ads (TiVo makes that possible). Which networks are promoting their new shows the most effectively? I've heard that NBC is doing so, but I haven't seen any of the spots.
  • A lot of the critics were not impressed with the episode of Nightmares & Dreamscapes called The End of the Whole Mess, but I thought it was the best of the series so far. Ron Livingston and Henry Thomas' performances really grounded an eerie, potentially unbelievable situation, and it was one of the best (and most unusual) apocalypse scenarios TV has had the temerity to air.
If you absolutely must have more news, go to The Futon Critic and read their ComicCon coverage. Lots of great spoilers and the like.

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