Monday, December 15, 2008

TV Winter Clearinghouse

Been quiet on this site for a few weeks, because mainly...nothing much to write about. Most shows I love are either being cancelled (I'll miss you, "Pushing Daisies"!) or are otherwise going to bed until January.

But a man needs to write about TV from time to time, so here's what I can offer:

1) Speaking of "Pushing Daisies," the lone bright spot of that show wrapping up is that creator Bryan Fuller will be returning to his old stomping grounds at "Heroes." And what's more, he seems to know what the hell is wrong with that show (something about "it's focused on half-assed mythology, rather than characters people could give a shit about," or some craziness).

Now, granted, last year around this time, it seemed like series creator Tim Kring also understood where the show had gone wrong, but the difference this time is, Bryan Fuller is a good writer, and also not an idiot with a grudge against his show's fanbase. So it is possible I'll check out a few episodes of the upcoming arc when it returns next year. It's the least I owe Fuller for 23 episodes of "Pushing Daisies."

2) "Dexter's" third season finished off strong, pitting our hero the serial killer up against Jimmy Smits, a loose cannon who could've been his friend and maybe even his partner if he wasn't also a power-mad lunatic.

This show is at its best when it explores its recurrent theme of how grown men deal with absent father-figures. Last season ended with Dexter's feelings toward his foster father Harry (who had given him a strict "bad guys only" code through which to channel his murderous urges) colored by new information about Harry's indescretions. This one ended with him making peace with Harry's damaged reputation, as Dexter prepares to become a father himself.

Which is all great, but makes everything non-Dexter-related that much more of a chore. In the end, the only way to view Deb, Angel and Quinn's annoying stories is that they all tie into a "nobody's perfect, not even cops" theme, but man, that's stretching it. Hopefully next year they can finally figure out how to integrate the cop stories into the Dexter character arc. But it's been three seasons, so I'm not holding out hope.

Still, I am looking forward to next year.

3) So, "Leverage," huh? Yeah! No? Nobody watched it? Hm.

I watched TNT's new caper series for two reasons: 1) Showrunner John Rogers developed the lamented "Global Frequency" pilot, and 2) Timothy Hutton's cool. Hutton is an actor who really should get better material, and there are a few sparkling lines of dialogue (Hutton's casual threat to a man making overly-personal observations about him: "You know that part of the conversation where I punch you in the neck nine or ten times? We're coming up on that real soon!").

But ultimately...was anyone clamoring for a new "A-Team" series? I mean, it's okay, but when there's so many better shows on, and TNT usually blows their budget on a show's pilot, thus ensuring subsequent episodes will look pretty crappy...who has time for this?

4) Rather than try to come up with halfway decent shows to run at 10pm, NBC has decided to give Jay Leno a pre-late-night show, presumably to ease the transition into absurdist Conan O'Brien humor old folks just ain't ready for. Good for you, NBC. Because trying is just so damn difficult.

Granted, after all the effort you put into "Knight Rider," "My Own Worst Enemy," "Journeyman," "Raines," "Crusoe," "Kidnapped," "Studio 60,", we're really putting together quite a list here...okay, you sold me. Who wants to bother with anything new that costs more to produce than "Deal or No Deal"?

5) Okay, so all's quiet until January, when...holy jeebus. "24," "Lost," "Burn Notice," and "Flight of the Conchords" all return, along with premieres of potential curiosities like "Castle" (Nathan Fillion's new ABC show), "Kings" (NBC's 'David and Goliath' in modern times series with Ian McShane). You can forgive me my rest until then.

6) Okay, not exactly. I've been watching "24" from season 1 to view the series on the whole, a la the "Lost" retrospective I did during the summer. Now, apples and oranges, obviously, but it's still interesting to watch the show, knowing how it'll evolve over time (what with most of the cast being killed off and all). So: expect that.

(Also expect this site to move over to Wordpress at some point, because holy crap, can I not abide the shittiness of Blogger anymore.)

So that's it for I Speak TV until after the holidays.

Merry XMas! Ho Ho Ho!