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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

TV Round-up

THE WEST WING ends in a few weeks. The show is a pretty pale shadow of its former self, but from about 2000 to 2003 it was my favourite new show on TV, and the momentum from those years, along with the generally outstanding cast kept me watching for three additional years, as painful as they sometimes were (I never checked the credits but I think there must have been one writer on staff who understood how to write it after creator Aaron Sorkin left, so it would shine whenever he/she got to script). Anyway, I'll stick it through to the end, but at this point I'm more looking forward to Sorkin's upcoming STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP in hopes he can capture the magic of SPORTS NIGHT and the early WEST WING again.

I don't write much about new TV on this weblog, so might as well take this chance to do so. Starting with US network shows from this grid.

Sunday is pretty dead after THE WEST WING ends. I liked GREY'S ANATOMY as mindless medical drama for a while, but it wore thin pretty fast. I may try THE SIMPSONS again. Last few times I watched haven't been that good, but every now and then I hear praise for a random episode.

Monday has PRISON BREAK as a guilty pleasure. Often as dumb as a rock, but not without charm. However, after the recent several month long break with a cliffhanger, only to return to the status quo right after, I think it's worn out its welcome. I might watch out the season, doubt I'll watch much of the next.

Tuesday is a grave of shows I used to watch. NCIS was entertaining dumb crime drama for a while, but got repetitive and a bit too cute. HOUSE was a semi-decent disease-of-the-week medical drama its first year, but almost unwatchable now. LAW & ORDER SVU is wildly uneven, so I avoid most weeks since the chance of a decent drama isn't worth the risk of a preachy trainwreck.

Wednesday, I think I'm close to over LOST, skipping a few episodes in the last month and not missing them at all. I'm pretty sure they have no master plan. LAW AND ORDER is usually okay, though never great, so I watch it about once a month.

Thursday is THE OFFICE, which is great stuff. Can't get enough of that. I watched MY NAME IS EARL for a while since it's in the same hour, but I think I can live without. Used to like WITHOUT A TRACE briefly back when it was about the cases they were working, but as soon as they started trying to develop lives and plots around the characters I bailed.

Friday I liked NUMBERS for a while, and like the idea of math based crime solving, but the second season the quality of the writing has been pretty uneven and the math has gotten increasingly either completely out of left-field or completely superfluous.

Saturday, nothing of interest.

Doesn't leave a lot, THE OFFICE is the only network prime-time show I watch and unabashedly enjoy.

Off network prime time, I enjoy the DAILY SHOW / COLBERT REPORT combo. They don't always hit, but there's something funny in every episode, and sometimes they're gut-bustingly funny. The only other talk show I ever watch is LETTERMAN, that about once a week on average. The show tends to coast a lot on regular bits that aren't funny, but I can take it in low doses. I have to confess a bit of an affection for CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN, which can be mind-numbingly dumb at times, but entertaining with the right combo of celebrities. Can't watch it live though, I tape it and fast forward vast bits, cutting the two hours down to about 45 minutes max. I'm looking forward to the new season of DOCTOR WHO, whenever they decide to show it. Can't stand most TV news, though word that MSNBC will start morning repeats of Keith Olbermann's COUNTDOWN has me considering adding MSNBC to my cable lineup.

Y'know, I pay way too much for cable given how little I actually enjoy (most of which is available free with a good antenna).

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