Odds & Ends

So CSI: Las Vegas is having a weird start to their season. I can't figure out if they are deliberately extolling the pointless-crime theme or if it is just lame writing. Whatever, I like my television to have a point.

I'm saddened that I can't watch Wednesday night's Criminal Minds. Mandy Patinkin! And the guy from Dharma & Greg! But I have class that night. I saw the first episode and liked it. Maybe this summer . . .

I have a theory that you can always tell when an actor/actress has kids, even if they are trying to play someone who is bad with kids. So kudos to Tony Shalhoub in "Mr Monk and the Kid" for believably playing someone who is unaccustomed to children. (Shalhoub has two kids.) Keep your eye on Hugh Laurie. He has three kids himself, but is supposed to be a kid-less misanthrope. I bet he gives himself away. This is why Hugh Grant is so good. He really is lousy with kids.

Speaking of Monk, isn't Ted Levine sexy?!

I watched Commander-in-Chief again. It's fun. But she's got to stop saving the world. The ambiguous Donald Sutherland character is carrying all the drama right now.

I confess to a sneaking liking for My Wife and Kids. It's a kind of Home Improvement, only more conservative (in terms of husband and wife roles). The show even has a "Wilson," the genius child from next door who doles out advice.

I prophecy that Out of Practice will last but Twins won't. After seeing the third Bones, it has a good chance of lasting (Boreanaz saying, "This is my space; that is your's. This is all mine," was well-done comedy. The man has talent; it just needs to be used right.) Good replacement casting on NCIS. Cold Case appears to have, thankfully, dumped the soap opera line, at least temporarily. (It's a very romantic show, though.) Ghost Whisperer will probably last but not because it deserves to. Unfortunately, despite the awesome Brent Spiner, I can't get into Threshold. How Numbers held out is beyond me.

Watched a brief scene of Boston Legal. I must say that Spader and Shatner are hilarious together: like watching two wits from a Restoration comedy. By the way, everyone on that show looks related. Everyone.

I get all sociological: I've wondered if the new influx of brother shows is a way of casting two males leads without having to imply a homosexual relationship. Ah, the good old days of Holmes and Watson, Kirk and Spock. On the other hand, maybe it is a way to imply a loving relationship between two unrelated actors who are playing related characters--the network can play up the homeoeroticism without having to worry about political correctness (in either direction).

You can tell I've been a grad student too long. Speaking of which, my professors still want me to extend ideological theories for more than one paragraph. *Sigh.*

CATEGORY: TELEVISION

1 comment:

Eugene said...

I had low expectations for both Threshold and Numbers, but find I enjoy both far more than I expected to. Besides Brent Spiner, I wish they would give Peter Dinklage better material to work with. They've got a pair of supercharged acting machines and they're just idling them. Maybe they're afraid that if given the chance, he and Spiner would steal the show and they'd never get it back.

The one big problem with Threshold is that so far it's been the same story: someplace/somebody catches the alien infection, they go catch it/cure it/eradicate it. They've got to eventually push the plot in another direction, but I'm not sure where.

The trick of Numbers is being able to shoehorn an abstract discourse on math into the criminal investigation, and so far they've been pulling off the trick rather well. But what sells the show for me is that it one of the few programs outside a Nova documentary that talks intelligently about science, specifically math and physics.

Now, I'm sure that the medical lingo on House is more or less accurate, but it's not like I would know. I do know enough about math and physics to know that whoever is writing the dialogue (or advising the writers) on Numbers knows his stuff. Plus, David Krumholtz, who plays Rob Morrow's geeky little brother, spouts the lingo as if he really understands it.

For all the talk about the "science" of Star Trek, there was precious little science in it. Any discussion of "science" was mostly a bunch of blather with a few hip scientific terms--that somebody probably cut out of a Discover Magazine article--thrown in. Heck, they couldn't even pronounce "xenobiology" correctly. But on Numbers, they very often talk real, recognizable science.

For that alone, I'm willing to tolerate whatever hackneyed crime plot they come up with as long as they can keep the science at this level. Sure it's formulaic, but television isn't about rising above formula, it's about getting the formula right.