02/03 Reactions

UPDATED NOTES JUNE 2003.

not much time to write up my Reactions to the current crop of TV shows, but here’s a quick take

FASTLANE: Incredible fun. Buddy cops with fast cars, cool clothes, and a hot police lieutenant. Under 30’s will love it; me too. Won’t last. CANCELLED.

PRESIDIO MED: Hospital show with sexy stars, and some of my favorites: Oded Fehr (The Mummy), Dana Delaney (who could forget China Beach?), Blythe Danner (va-voom!). Interesting story lines, and that’s good because after all these years of ER and Chicago Hope, any medical show better be different to keep me watching. Won’t last. VANISHED.

ANGEL: Saw about half of the Premiere and really enjoyed it; looks like a better season than last year’s boring stretch. Stuck forever on FOX, and will be for years.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: What can I say? The High School is back, the HellMouth is back, Spike is back... albeit with prettier hair. Still some of the finest acting on television. I mean, did you catch last year’s finale? Wow. ENDED FOREVER. Except maybe a movie...

SMALLVILLE: A serious show about a comic-book hero who hasn’t come of age. The way the writers are handling this series, it’s believable and entertaining. Five seasons at least.

THE HAUNTED: Private Investigator almost dies, leaving door “open” between this world and the next. Not your usual horror puffery, either. I thought it was just a good cop show for a while. Good writing; tons of feel-it tension. Won’t last. DEAD AND GONE.

CSI MIAMI: Terrific opening. Moody acting from the David guy, but that’s what he does. Kim Delaney always fun to watch, but not a star in my mind. Could be good; best bits were in the lab. Looking forward to the “real” CSI tomorrow... We’ll get a few good years out of it.

JOHN DOE: Dynamite sci-fi on earth. Great story, lots of intrigue. Can’t wait for the next one. Won’t last. CANCELLED. Lasted one season but never got to see a finale.

CROSSING JORDAN: Missed every episode last year; enjoyed the first half of this season’s opener. After all, it has Miguel Ferrer. Too light, though, to watch all the time.

Wednesday, Sept 19, 2002
THE NEW SEASON: NIGHT 3.

Push, Nevada: Black Box

Again, the series that the critics are calling the new Twin Peaks offers zippy, interesting writing mixed in with weirdness and a cute-as-a-button IRS agent who is falling heavy for the town... what is she? Tramp? Agent? Gun moll? Guess we’ll find out in time. This episode left me clueless; that is, I didn’t get what the clue is to lead me to the $1,045,000. Did you? Bottom Line: Definitely not for those who like speedy plots. CANCELLED.

Survivor, Thailand

These contestants get prettier with every season... girls and boys. In fact, this time there is a whole whack of big-breasted babes bouncing on the beaches of Thailand. The first “ejectee” was a pastor, so you can see what the rest of the gang is going to be up against already. Not too many whiners this time, which is good. This will be an entertaining season, since all the contestants have seen four previous versions and have learned a lot of the tricks already. I’ll be glued. Bottom Line: watch it, don’t watch it.... everyone else will be. BEST ONE YET.

Wednesday, Sept 18, 2002
THE NEW SEASON: NIGHT 2.

Star Trek: Enterprise

The season opener was a good, fun show... about the level of the best shows of last year. But it still lacks a certain excitement for me. Maybe that’s because I’ve seen a zillion sci-fi shows in the last 30 years. The original Trek was fabulous, but notable mainly because there was really nothing else on like it at the time, and because sci-fi fans were still considered to be geeks. I know what’s missing, even while I appreciate the fisticuffs that have come back into play (horribly absent in shows like Next Generation and DS9): they’re always, always, always fighting a war with one race after another. In the “olden days”, the lads were discovering new, weird planets with strange people who had strange powers. The writers really explored the potential of “different civilizations”. Now it always seems to be about the social issues, not the scientific ones. And I really miss that. Bottom Line: what can I say? Like all the other Treks, it has a seven year run. - Mike THEME SONG TO CHANGE.

The Twilight Zone

An interesting attempt to stir up the excitement of the original series. For me Rod Serling had a lot to do with that excitement, because he was pretty weird himself. But I can say that the two stories from tonight’s episode are in keeping with the old style: normal people in unreal situations. In fact, if I had been a lot younger, the first segment... about a community where families bring their “bad” teenagers to live, only to see them hauled off to the recycling bin if they don’t conform... would have scared the pee out of me. I recall stories with similiar, “oh my god” situations, from the shows in the Sixties. Bottom Line: another Canadian offering from Pen Densham, who does the new Outer Limits and other similar shows, it’s just professional enough to be diverting, but maybe only when nothing else is on. It’ll be here for a while because it’s great TV filler. - Mike CANCELLED.

Tuesday, Sept 17, 2002
WHAT A NIGHT.

The Wire

Very nicely done drama about cops and the law and the gangs. Pretty much the place to be if you’re a black actor these days, I’d say. Sort of like Law and Order, but with an edge, less of a focus on the BS in the courtroom, and a lot closer look at life on the streets . Because it’s HBO, you’ll get your share of cussin’ and skin. Bottom Line: This one will be around for a few years. UNEVEN BUT INTERESTING; GOOD TO WATCH DURING SUMMER RERUNS.

8 Simple Rules For Not Dating My Daughter

John Ritter, pleasantly plump after all these years, plays the part well and reminds me why he was popular: he’s likeable and has excellent comic timing. The show gave me a few chuckles, but the highlight was his hot teenage daughter hiking up her thong undies in defiance of Dad. No real laughs, some good lines, and a lot of right-on stuff about raising teenagers. Bottom Line: I can think of 8 good reasons why it won’t make it, and they all start at 8 o’click too. We’ll see. STILL HERE.

Bonnie Hunt

Wow, manic energy or what. A hyper-kinetic family, a maid who gets away with being waited on, and some pretty damn funny happenings on Bonnie’s TV show-within-a-show. I want to see more of the two Italian chefs who start drinking red wine at 11 am while cooking, because “the day gets along”. I’m pretty sure that 7 minutes was unscripted, and it was worth the whole half hour. The rest of the show was better than John Ritter’s. Bottom Line: If it can stay original, it will stay around. DISAPPEARED.

Push, Nevada

If you liked Twin Peaks, this is for you. This is one weird, neat, interesting show. Hosted by Ben Affleck, it’s also a mystery: you figure out who’s got the money, and you win it at the end of the season. Skilled acting, dynamite movie-filming techniques, quirky characters , and a star turn by Armand Assante as The Nasty Guy make the first episode a great show and the one to wait for next week. How can you not be interested in show about an IRS agent who tells chicks how to cheat on their taxes, in exchange for a slow dance? Bottom Line: If it lasts past six episodes, it’ll go for a year or two. This type of show only seems to attract cult followings, even though it’s better than 90% of everything out there. ABSOLUTELY CANCELLED.