Monday, October 30, 2006

Not So Amazing Race

I've got to say, I've been pretty disappointed with the current installment of "The Amazing Race." (CBS, Sunday, 8 p.m.)

Perhaps it's just that there really isn't anyone to root for on this edition; perhaps it's just that the concept has become a bit tired.

In previous editions, even when teams I didn't like won the big money (anyone remember whiny Flo, who left all the work up to her saintly boyfriend, Zach?) there were usually enough teams I was pulling for to keep my interest. And there have been plenty of teams where I pulled for them at the start (Chip and Kim, Uchetta and Joyce) and they wound up winning.

I've got no horse in the current race. The brothers are the closest to a nice-guy team, but I can't pull for anyone who uses idiotic strategy, such as anchoring themselves down with two weaker teams. My parents think they are doing this to keep the weaker teams around as long as possible, an interesting theory that I feel gives the brothers too much credit in terms of being able to come up with a strategy.

The only other team I'm vaguely pulling for is the beauty queens, frankly because they are hot and they seem to be enjoying themselves.

The rest of the lot? That arguing cutesy couple? No way. Too mean. Alabama moms? Way too mean. Male models? Sort of meanish, though not as bad as the other previous two couples. Coalminer and wife? Only nasty to each other, and living on borrowed time, having come in last during both non-elimination checkpoints.

Plus, in previous incarnations of the race, teams have been all over the world — Europe, Asia, South America, Africa. This race, they finally just left Asia.

Perhaps that's the biggest curse of so-called reality shows. There's only so many times you can hear "The Tribe has spoken" or "You're Fired!" before redundancy sets in, especially when the team or individual you pull for loses to some jerk.

MONDAY'S BEST BET: ALERT!!! Friday Night Lights (NBC, 10 p.m.) is getting a brief try in the post-"Heroes" spot currently occupied by "Studio 60." In case you miss it, however, tonight's episode will be repeated in the show's normal timeslot (Tuesday, 8 p.m.)

This is what you get, NBC, for putting "supersize" bandaids on your problems instead of trying to come up with suitable replacements for years for shows like "Friends," "ER" and "West Wing." When you finally do come up with a crop of high-concept, well-executed shows ("Heroes," "Studio 60," "Kidnapped," "Friday Night Lights" et. al.) there's no one left to watch.

Also on tonight is a new, two-hour movie version of "Cracker" (BBC-America, 9 p.m.) Once again, the incomparable Robbie Coltrane returns as Fitz, the criminal-psychologist who is stupendous at his job but horrible at every other aspect of his life. Of all the British TV imports over the years, "Cracker" is No. 1 on my all-time list.


Anonymous said...

You really called it with the amazing race. Definately passed its prime.

While I love Cracker, Midsommer mysteries and Waking the Dead are at least as good.

Zodin2008 said...

I am excited that FNL is getting a shot in the post "Heroes" slot; it might be a better fit w/ the younger male set and if it gets the numbers might keep this position?