Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Pushing Daisies (and TV in general)

Allison and I finally had a chance to watch the pilot episode last night, and thought it was great. I was a huge fan of Dead Like Me, and grieved more than a little when I got to the end of Wonderfalls, so maybe I'm naturally predisposed to liking the new series. But I honestly liked everything about it, even the bits I've seen others complaining about in blogs and reviews.

Of course, I can't imagine that it's going to be staying on the air for very long. It's just so odd, and a lot of the things that I like about it are, I'm afraid, things that will tend to turn a lot of viewers off. Still, here's hoping we get a full season of it, at the very least.

If anyone is interested, we haven't really bothered to sample many of the other new offerings this season. Watched two episodes of Chuck, and thought that the second episode failed to deliver on the promise of the first episode, settling pretty quickly into a status quo that gives every appearance of sticking around for a long while; verdict=good, not great. We Tivoed the first two episodes of Bionic Woman, and deleted them unwatched, unable to work up the enthusiasm to watch them. We'd already given Journeyman a pass, due to a similar lack of enthusiasm even for the basic premise, and nothing else in the mix even appealed to us enough to consider recording. We've been spoiled by things like Life on Mars, Deadwood, and Rome to expect more from our entertainment than most network shows seem prepared to deliver, and honestly, if a show can't sell you in a single episode (cf. our viewing of Heroes pilot episode last year), how can I have any confidence that it'll be worth my time in the long run?

We stopped watching Weeds a few episodes into this season, as well, when it descended too far into the absurd for my taste, and lost Allison with some of the extended subplots and unlikeable supporting characters. And I gave up on My Name is Earl when I discovered I lacked the will to devote an hour to watching the premier episode, which was not a good sign; at half-an-hour I'd probably still be watching it now, but twice that time was the proverbial straw, I suppose.

30 Rock, though, is still the funniest damned show that I have ever seen, and I am eternally grateful to see it back for another season. Allison watches Grey's Anatomy, but I'm sticking to my "No Doctor Shows, No Cop Shows, No Lawyer Shows" rule for another few years, at least, so she's on her own over there.

That's it, then. Pushing Daisies and 30 Rock for the both of us, and Grey's Anatomy for Allison. Other than the Daily Show/John Stewart double-header, the only other thing I watch in first-run these days are a handful of Adult Swim offerings (Metalocalypse and Robot Chicken) and kids shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender. Everything else is either documentaries, British shows that magically appear in our house in digital form (thank you, internet fairies!), and DVDs.

Oh, well, sooner or later Flight of the Conchords will be back on the air, and then I'll once more have a reason to go on...

Just watched the pilot of Pushing Daisies with Fiona and we both enjoyed it a lot. Not sure about Bionic Woman after two episodes so we'll give it third, but if it doesn't improve dramatically this week we'll cut it from our viewing schedule. Still enjoying Heroes, though, and House, and have enjoyed the cheesiness of Moonlight purely on the basis of the two lead actors. Fiona watches Grey's Anatomy too, but hasn't been impressed with teh spin-off show, Private Practice.
Have you tried Reaper? I like that more than Chuck. Although the only new show I truly truly love is Dirty Sexy Money.
I think the best show on TV right now is MAD MEN, on AMC. It's been running for a couple months now, but I think it's worth the effort to find the episodes and watch the season from the beginning.
And I think Life on Mars violates your "No Cop Shows" rule.
"Life" is the best new show I've seen so far.
Thanks for the recommendations, everybody. Allison has been hearing great things about Mad Men, so we'll definitely be giving that one a shot. And I'll see if I can work up the enthusiasm to try Reaper. Don't think I've heard of Life, so I'll have to look for that one. (And Jen, is Dirty Sexy Money another one of your reality shows? I'll have you know that you sucked me in with Scott Baio is 45 and a Sad Bastard, but I'm not sure I want to go down that road again so soon.)

Actually, though, Ted, there is a provision to my "No-Doctor-Shows, No-Cop-Shows, No-Lawyer-Shows" rule that excuses shows with a sfnal element. There's also a provision that allows for mystery shows (such as Monk, which I watched and enjoyed until it jumped the shark, since while there were cops on it, the cops weren't the focus of attention). Because of this second provision, I suppose I could watch House, since it's a mystery that happens to feature a doctor, but that brings me into conflict with my other standing rule, which is that I don't watch anything on Fox until it shows up in DVD, having been burned too often by the network showing episodes out of order, or not airing them at all before killing a series in its crib.

And yes, I really have given my rules way too much thought.
I stopped on MONK too, probably about the same time, but recently we caught a marathon and it seems to have jumped back over the shark to the other side, at least the two or three we've seen seemed back to form. Meanwhile, I can't believe anyone (sorry George) would give BIONIC WOMAN a second chance after the pilot. RE: CONCORDS - it's teaching me the true value of YouTube, because I honestly can't see wasting a whole half hour on it week after week, but I can spend 3 minutes watching the Lord of the Rings rap or the Bowie song and get all I need to without the time sink.

One thing I keep finding myself watching (in bits, inconsistently), not because it's good but just because it's on as we are getting into bed and need 10 minutes of tv or so to wind down is TELL ME YOU LOVE ME. Not recommending it (at all), but I'm fascinated in the way it seems to marry HBO's Drama series with their REAL SEX type offerings. An inevitable marriage, when you think about it.
I find myself watching very little of anything now. We don't have cable, so I end up catching up on some things (Deadwood, Galactica) on dvd. I taped the first episode of Bionic Woman, but have yet to watch it (and probably won't given word of mouth).

I stil think The Office is great (though I don't like the longer episodes). I should check out Pushing Daisies, since I was a big fan of Wonderfalls
One of these days I may finally get back into broadcast TV--as it is, I'm only now catching up on other shows I like (*BSG* and *Jericho* come to mind) by way of DVD.

On the other hand, my wife enjoyed *Chuck* immensely and figured I would too, so that will probably get a special pass.

--Danny Adams
It just occurred to me that the "Life" Scott referred to above may well have been "... on Mars." In which case I'm a big doofus.
Lou, if you're tired of the Conchords, you are tired of life, so far as I'm concerned. Truly the best thing in the history of ever, no question.
Howard, "The Office", in both its US and UK incarnations, is something I've sampled and enjoyed, but never found the time to sit down and watch straight through. I *have* seen both seasons of "Extras," which does that "cringe humor" so well it physically pains me to watch it, but I still do. Maybe someday I'll get my thumb out and find time to watch "The Office" series, as well.

And Danny, I'm just about with you, in terms of waiting for series to come on DVD. Isn't it just so much nicer that way?
I think the Life program that Scott Marlowe referred to is the new TV series about a police detective exonerated after spending many years in prison.

(And Dirty Sexy Money isn't a reality show, it's a comedy/drama about a lawyer working for an immensely wealthy family.)

As to The Office, it helps that sooo much of what happens I recognize, since I've been in an office type environment for a long time now.

The British version's strenght is that it has a very definite arc, and thus ends. I feared that the American version would be terrible, but I think that they've done a really good job making it very American, though I'm worried that by having to have so many episodes, they will wear out the show (that's one of the reasons that the cable shows, like the British shows, can be so good; it's a big help to only have to do 10 or 12 episodes instead of 22)

I love being able to catch up on things via DVD, but the big problem is that I'm behind in things (I'm still waiting for season 3 of Galactica, for example).
Bionic Woman sucked donkey nads. Katie Sackhof's character wore designer duds and high heels to fire a sniepr rifle and get into a rainy rooftop fight with a meek little girl who ends up threatening to kill a ton of people out of nowhere. Also, why do I see clips of her working out doing one-arm pull-ups with her bionic arm? Since when does anyone need to work out a piece of machinery? Have I been neglecting my toaster oven all these years?

Journeyman is good. It's smarter than I was expecting as the main protag makes mistake, but they're the honest kind, and not the stupid Ben Stiller kind. The way they handle the time travel as well is pretty interesting. A little clumsy, but I think that's what I like about it. Having him put on a no-fly list was a nice touch of realism as well.

Grey's Anatomy is for women who don't like good fiction. My wife loves that show.

I'm actually enjoying the new cop show Life. I miss Raines, it was quirky and fun and had Jeff Goldblum goodness, but this is an interesting and entertaining police detective show.

Basically, this stuff is television. It's supposed to sell us more soap. If you find anything worth your time, you're doing better that you really should be.
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