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Up To My Ass In TV

October 13th, 2006

I was almost dreading the beginning of the new fall season and the challenge of keeping up on all of what I consider to be “appointment TV.” Vic and I had just about cleared out the summer queue on our TiVo-Like DeviceTM when the deluge began again.

Now, I know that you’re saying to yourself, “Dave, it’s entirely up to you how much TV you watch. Just drop some shows.” That’s true, but that’s also where my compulsive personality rears its obsessive head. When I pick up a show, I generally stick with it until circumstances such as ennui or protracted suckitude cause me to stop.

For that reason, I’m loathe to sample new series. I did try out Eureka this summer, but at least I knew that one would only be 13 episodes. (It was picked up for a second season.) For years, I resisted watching The Gilmore Girls with Vic despite the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed it–and Lauren Graham–anytime I happened upon it. This year, much the same is true of Ugly Betty. I saw last week’s episode and liked it, but I refuse to get hooked, especially given the mass hysteria that is now Thursday network TV.

Thursday, as you may know, is particularly valuable TV real estate because companies such as movie studios want to hit the audience hard before the weekend. For years, it was so thoroughly dominated by NBC that no one else even bothered to compete. But with the decline of “Must See TV,” everyone has jumped on like gangbangers on a date. Thursdays at 7:00 pm, the TV-LDTM is tied up recording both Smallville and My Name is Earl, which leaves Vic watching Ugly Betty on the kitchen TV. And since I’m usually bowling on Wednesdays, we try to squeeze Lost in there as well before Vic moves onto Grey’s Anatomy and ER. (And, of course, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report always round out the evening.)

Here’s a list of the shows I regularly watch:

  • Sundays
    • The Amazing Race, The Simpsons (mostly out of inertia at this point), The Venture Bros. (season ends this Sunday), Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
  • Mondays
    • How I Met Your Mother (one of my two favorite comedies), Everyone Hates Chris, The Class (a promising newcomer), Heroes (I’m finding it addictive), Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (jury’s out on this one; more below), plus The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (Monday through Thursday for the latter two)
  • Tuesdays
    • The Gilmore Girls
  • Wednesdays
    • Lost (though I’m rapidly getting frustrated with the new season), 30 Rock (planning to sample this one because of Tina Fey)
  • Thursdays
    • Smallville, My Name is Earl
  • Fridays
    • Battlestar Galactica
  • Saturdays
    • Nothing, thank God.

Monday and Thursday are my big problems, and some of that may shake out as shows get moved and/or cancelled. I’m not convinced that I’ll be sticking with Studio 60: it treats the production of a crappy, Saturday Night Live sketch comedy series with all the earnestness and world-on-fire importance of The West Wing. I might be able to swallow that if the show-within-the-show demonstrated any signs of being as brilliant or hilarious as we are told.

As I mentioned, I’m also getting annoyed with Lost, though I’m not even remotely at the point of dropping it. Last season’s finale posed a ton of exciting questions which the first two new episodes have completely ignored. What happened to the folks inside the exploding hatch? What does it mean that the detonation was observed in the outside world?

Instead, we’ve had two straight episodes of Jack, Kate and Sawyer being abused, beaten and interrogated by the mysterious Others, who seem intent on making the viewers believe that they are really the “good guys” and are just trying to protect their way of life. That might wash if they weren’t constantly beating, stealing from, shooting, kidnapping and killing our heroes. Oh, and being arrogant dicks. Note to producers: This is not fun, or even interesting. Meanwhile, it’s maddening that Jack and Company can’t even be bothered to ask their captors–who presumably know ALL of the answers–what the fuck is up with them and this weirdo island. Sure, they probably wouldn’t say, but Jack could at least pose the question.

I’ve found Heroes surprisingly gripping in its second and third outings after the premiere left me a bit cold. Both of the latter episodes ended on wonderful “gotcha” moments. And, like pretty much everyone else, I’m enamored with the time-and-space-bending Japanese geek Hiro.

Battlestar Galactica got off to a terrific start in its third season, though it’s disappointing that the show has lost nearly a third of its audience from this time last year. It’s not only one of the best sci-fi series ever, it’s one of the best dramas currently on the tube. The occupation of New Caprica by the Cylons and the subsequent insurgency (no, no Iraq parallels here) have raised the stakes and it seems all too possible that any of the main characters might buy the space farm at any moment.

So, that’s fall TV, and that’s not counting all the stuff that Vic watches. Man, I’m looking forward to the Christmas hiatus.

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