Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Week in TV

[NOTE: Edited to include 30 Rock.]

A bit late on this, but it's worth discussing regardless. In addition to this list, I've also been catching up on RuPaul's Drag Race, which is maybe the best thing I've seen on TV since The Paper. I wasn't able to fully catch up in time for last night's finale (though I know who the finalists were and who won), but once I do, I should get a post up here. So many wonderful things happening on that show.

Brothers & Sisters (3/22)
It's weird -- I'm still annoyed by it, but I'm more interested now. I think I'm happier following inconsistent writing where Ryan keeps sticking it to Justin and Tommy's a felonious schmuck than inconsistent writing where Holly is demonized and Robert gets to be an asshole with impunity.

Kings (3/22)
I've really enjoyed the first two episodes. Ian McShane is, predictably superb, and he's playing a morally ambivalent character, which is right in his Al Swearengen wheelhouse. I think the operatic tone works for a show like this, and I'm intrigued by Gossip Girl's Sebastian Stan playing, essentially, a gay Chuck Bass. Imagine the implications of that. Here's hoping we can get a full season before NBC pulls the plug.

Big Love
Now that it's the last HBO drama standing, is this the year Big Love makes the Emmy leap? It'd totally deserve it. What a fantastic season of television, wrapping up with Nicki's return to the fold (and, equally important, Barb's welcoming her back) and Bill's frankly beautiful decision to start his own church. Sure, there's a good chance next season Bill lets that whole self-made-prophet thing go to his head, but for now, this is where I'd hoped the Henricksons would wind up. With their respective religions failing to meet their needs, they settled into their own. That's exactly right.

Battlestar Galactica (3/20)
I can recognize some of the problems people had with the episode -- often when going for portent, the episode settled for bad writing -- but with action scenes that superior, that awesome shot of the Final Five at the end of the Opera House sequence, Boomer's tragic end, Adama's goodbyes to Kara and Lee, and that Roslin/Cottle scene, I ended up quite satisfied with the show ending on its own terms. God, the angels, and all. The one thing that truly didn't sit well with me was The Bad Death of Tory Foster. An undignified end for an underwritten character, and it played way too much like an applause scene for my taste. For a show that has respected the humanity of such scumbags and mosters as Gaius Baltar, Tom Zarek, and Admiral Cain, it felt ... I don't know, cheap.

30 Rock (3/19)
Best episode of the season, give or take the Oprah one. The "bubble" storyline was Seinfeldian in the way it heightened a very realistic social phenomenon, and Tracy's subplot was super strong, but it was the numerous quotable moments that really pushed it over the top. Liz breaking out the Baldwin voice, Dot Com once again being the smartest person in the room, the true meaning of BFF ("why would you celebrate that?"), Jon Hamm shaking Liz to keep her from choking (nice callback to season 1 there), "My girl has a fat neck," and most especially (see clips below) Kenneth's accent and Tracy's kids. Maybe the funniest half hour all TV season.

The Office (3/19)
Good seeing Michael stand up for himself, even if what he's standing up for is his right to be egregious. Even better seeing Jim get taken down several pegs; I love the character of Jim, but he needs to get checked every few episodes. I like that there's an actually respectable character (Idris "I still haven't seen The Wire but I do realize he played Stringer Bell" Elba, who was excellent) who doesn't like Jim.

Make Me a Supermodel (3/18)
Once again, happy to have Gabe stick around despite his poor performance. Keep walking around in your undies and we'll be cool, pouty-boy. So Jonathan's my favorite because he's the best, Brandon's my favorite because he's so dumb and because they're turning him gay, Salome's my favorite because she doesn't know anything, but actually my real favorite is Kerryn because she is awesome. And because she has very real intentions on taking Colin's virtue.

Lost (3/18)
Even more so than with the last episode, I am shocked by how much I really love the Sawyer character. I never, EVER thought that would happen. Chalk it up to seeing a petty, angry, stupid boy actually mature and evolve into a confident, thoughtful, decent man. I'm going to end up terribly annoyed by it all because clearly he's going to end up back with Kate, but for now? Watching him completely embarrass Jack and show him who's in charge, quietly and without overt bravado? I could watch that twice a day for the rest of my life.


Rube Goldberg/Mike McComb said...

re: Drag Race: I have not been as excited about a talent-based reality show finale since Project Runway season four. This show is all kinds of brilliant ("She mail"? Awesome.)

I don't know if you are catching up via Logo, their website, or VH1, but VH1 is having a full season marathon on Saturday starting at 3pm.

DuchessKitty said...

Totally agree with you about "Kings". And where has this Chris Egan boy been all my life? Huzzah!

Re: Supermodel - for whatever reason I'm not fully into this season yet. Last season I was hooked and immediately had favorites from the first ep. This year not so much. Although Johnathan and Sandhurst...siiiigh

Joe Reid said...

Rube: I actually have Sunday's marathon on the DVR; working my way through it. The catchphrases are all so delicious.

Kitty: I can't get into Sandhurst because he's is so obviously either the clear winner or the guy who is shockingly eliminated too soon. There's no intrigue in either outcome, for me.

Karen said...

What about Friday Night Lights? That show is pretty awesome.

JAM said...

Oooh, I'm so excited you're going to post about Drag Race. I have been LOVING that show. So freaking brilliant.

Kaitlyn said...

re: Brothers and Sisters, I was just going to stage a dramatic break up with this show a la Roommate Mark and Heroes. But now hearing that someone else is still hanging on makes me think I might check out the two unwatched eps this weekend.

SO happy to hear that there's a Drag Race marathon this weekend. I'll be sure to record.

BeRightBack said...

I don't usually like reunion episodes, but Drag Race has the best reunion episode you can possibly imagine.

"If I'm such a terrible person, why did I give that pair of brand new green contacts?"

"So you could say you did."

and so on.

Rube Goldberg/Mike McComb said...

I totally agree BRB. I posted my last comment before watching the reunion and I am still processing it. Especially Ru's extended diatribe, which I feel the need to deconstruct as it relates to the reality TV genre.

Leave it to a show about gender impersonators to hold a mirror up to "reality" television.

Jon said...

Count me as another enormous Drag Race fan. What I loved is that both Nina and Bebe (and Ongina) had more self-awareness than the entire cast of every season of Survivor put together. Whereas Shanel and Rebecca were two of the most clueless reality show losers to ever hit the screen.

Not as crazy about Supermodel this season -- not nearly enough nekidness so far.

And now I'm going to have to check out Kings. Thank goodness for Hulu.

Jon said...

I forgot to mention that Tracy Jr. on 30 Rock was one of the funniest child actor performances I've ever seen.

Jon said...

Watched both episodes of Kings. When do David and Jack start making out?

Joe Reid said...

Hopefully soon!