Wednesday, January 11, 2006

TV Thoughts:
I know I haven't been posting here a whole lot... I'll try to get better.

At any rate, this post is mostly going to be about TV, because, well, I've been watching plenty of TV and DVD lately. And TV is about to get really, really good again. Battlestar Galactica started up on Friday, Scrubs is running two eps every Tuesday, The Shield started last night and Lost returned tonight... and not one of them has disappointed me.

Battlestar Galactica: The cliffhanger on episode 2.10 was just evil, leaving us to wait months to see the resolution of a gigantic epic action sequence. The resolution did seem to hit detente a little bit easier than I expected, with Adama and Cain actually sitting in a room together shortly after almost starting a deadly shooting war... but the tension that remained was nice. One of the really nice things about Galactica returning was that the podcasts by executive producer Ronald D. Moore also returned. This is the coolest thing in the world for a commentary junkie like myself, getting "DVD" commentary that I can listen to in my car on my iPod, and Moore's commentaries are always entertaining and full of intelligence that indicates how much thought goes into the writing on the show.

Lost: Which is also going on with the Lost podcasts. I'd love it if we got these for Arrested Development (sort of irrelevant now, I guess), The Shield, Veronica Mars, hell most of the shows I watch. Lost is kicking much ass in season two, in my opinion. The introduction of the Tailies, the revelations about the bunker, the building creep factor of the Others, not to mention further developments between already-existing characters, it's fantastic. Lost has a quality of writing and characterization that puts it notches above what you usually get with genre stuff. And the cast is amazing as well.

Scrubs: It's no Arrested Development, but Scrubs is innovative on its own terms, and certainly deserves more of a profile than it has. This is easily NBC's best show running at the moment, and probably their best comedy since Seinfeld ended. The character arcs move forward and develop, but the creators have not let themselves get caught up in the trap of many "Must See" sitcoms of thinking their dramas first. The show is always laugh out loud funny, and the "fantasy" element allows for some great pop culture riffing and outrageous humor. The "kung fu fighting" sequence with surgeons Turk and Todd in a recent episode was a definite highlight. I've just come off watching the Scrubs Season Two DVD set, and I'm struck by how solid this show has been, and continues to be.

The Shield: Best for last. If you're super-sensitive about spoilers (like, you don't even want to know who the new characters are) and haven't watched the first ep of season five, steer clear of this for now. The Shield has really never faltered for me, aside from what I thought were stylistic weaknesses in the David Mamet episode. Last season, with an Emmy-worthy turn by Glenn Close, was probably as good as the show has ever been. This season starts out strong as well. Tons of potential plots and subplots put into motion. A storyline which promises to pay off a subplot from all the way back in the first season. A fantastic new adversary in the cheerful, intelligent and clearly dangerous (to Vic Mackie) IAD detective played by Forest Whitaker. Interesting new character in Tina, Julian's new partner. A hilarious choice for new captain. Racial tensions making for a tough job on the street. And holy shit, I did not see Danni's new development coming!

I've heard that this is 22 episodes, which worries me a little (I'm a big proponent of the limited 13-ep seasons, as I think it helps avoid padding), but I've also heard that this might be the last season. I've gotta say, I'd be OK with that, because I'd rather the show go out on top, and if they can deliver the equivalent of almost two seasons worth of episodes with this level of quality, that's definitely going out on top. If not for my love of Arrested Development, I'd say this was the best show on TV.

Next week, guilty pleasure and action fest 24 starts up... which means I'm just wondering when we'll see new episodes of Arrested Development, Veronica Mars, Celebrity Poker Showdown and the HBO shows. I'm especially curious about when we'll get more Entourage, but it'll probably be a longer wait than I'll like.

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