Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Couple of More Reasons For Me To Live

So, Monday didn't suck in terms of TV watching. In addition to being the strongest night of the week for programs on the tube, there were two good pieces of news.

The first was I finally got my complete 40th Anniversary DVD set of "The Prisoner," complete with fold-out map of The Village and an episode guide among its extras. Many happy returns to me, indeed.

The second was the news TV Guide broke on its Web site yesterday, that "Battlestar Galactica" would be renewed for another season. One of TV's best and most critically acclaimed shows has always battled low ratings, but its encouraging to see the Sci-Fi Channel stick with it.

Actually, "BSG" had a rare mis-step this past Sunday in an episode that involved the Sagittarons, a rather radical religious sect among the colonies that refuses to use modern science and medicine. The episode involved a ruthless physician (Bruce Davison) who ended up killing members of the sect in order to preserve medicine for the rest of the fleet.

It wasn't so much a mis-step as it was a missed opportunity. The episode was re-written rather late in the game because other episodes involving Sagittarons had been changed and that aspect of the story didn't appear.

"BSG" is at its best when in mirrors the attitudes of our post 9/11 society and forces us to question how we as Americans would act in the face of a massive disaster. For example, an episode involving whether or not people had the right to abortions when the human race was down to its last 40,000 or so people was, for me, a high mark in the series.

This past episode had a chance to examine religious culture in our society and how prejudice like anti-Semitism or anti-Muslim feelings can dictate the actions of what might otherwise be decent citizens. The episode ended up floating the ideas but not really tackling them.

Still, considering the e-mails and other Web postings about the episode that were generated, even mediocre "BSG" makes for compelling TV, and we will get at least one more season of it now.

"24" BIZARRO FACTS OF THE WEEK: Wow, two hours of "24" last night really did provide lots of fodder.

--The show's streak of bad cabinets continue. Three hours after an attack on U.S. soil, the best plan these guys can come up with is a coup d'etat by assassinating the President. Um, yeah.
--Of course, maybe something needs to be done about Wayne Palmer. He tells a terrorist last night that "if a second nuke goes off, war is inevitable." So, that means, the first nuke is free? It's OK to nuke the U.S. once, because we'll let that pass, but nuke us twice and we really get pissed? Seriously?
--I really thought Jack's sister-in-law (Rena Sofer) was going to do the right thing and tell Jack of the set-up, what with Phillip Bauer (James Cromwell) obviously being off his gourd nuts. But, of course, she says nothing, which is absolutely the stupidest thing imaginable. She knows Phillip has just confessed murder to her and is threatening her son. What does she think he will do after he kills his other son in an obvious trap? Let her and the kid walk away? Jack's the one guy who can save the kid, so of course, keep him in the dark.
--I might concede that anyone getting tortured like Morris might eventually give in to the terrorists, but in this case, Morris KNOWS Jack is coming because of the fire alarms. All he has to do is stall for an extra couple of minutes, which shouldn't be a problem since the device he is fixing is highly technical and apparently he's the only engineer in L.A. that can fix it. So what does he do? He fixes the device, knowing what it will be used for, then acts shocked when the terrorists are about to kill him. What does Chloe see in the guy?
--Bill calls Jack to the carpet for killing his brother. Seriously, now? Jack's been killing, maiming and torturing suspects for six years now, and this is the first time CTU seeks to discipline him?

Stay tuned.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: Two of reality's best hit the air tonight with "American Idol" (Fox, 8 p.m.) squaring off with "Dateline: To Catch a Predator" (NBC, 8 p.m.) If there were a way to combine these shows, maybe I'd watch then.

Two hours of various "Law & Orders" run on NBC from 9-11 p.m., while "House" (Fox, 9 p.m.) is also new. Girl power reigns on the CW with "Gilmore Girls" and "Veronica Mars."

CBS has a full lineup of new stuff tonight with "NCIS," "The Unit" and "Without A Trace."

I've never understood the appeal of dog shows, but the "131st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show" runs for three hours tonight (USA, 8 p.m.) Enjoy.


Anonymous said...

Edge (I'm having the hardest time with my login)

You must not have dogs, if you don't like to watch a dog show. Maybe not all three hours, but having a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, I look forward to the 'sporting group' my self.

As for 24, come on already. Of course if Milo made it not work, the season would be over right? As for bizzaro facts, why not point out Jack's de-arming the nuke himself one. Even as a 24 fan I found that to be over the top. I did not even stress, because it was like 'of course Jack will not die, it's to early in the season'.

Phillip Ramati said...

I'm not sure why you are having problems with the login.

I've had 4 dogs, I love dogs, but the dog show is dull as hell.

Jack had Chloe talking him through the bomb dis-arming, so I'll let that pass, though the CTU guy who was giving Jack an update WHILE HE WAS DIS-ARMING THE NUKE was a little idiotic.

Hotspur said...

Phillip, I agree with you r comments but both my wife and I agree that last night's show was very gripping. I think that in this kind of drama complete realism is imossible. I know that you enjoy Superman, Batman and Heroes. Are the realistic?

Phillip Ramati said...

Obviously, Hotspur, you didn't read my Jan. 12 posting that talks about the willing suspension of disbelief and how characters actions must make sense in the real world.

Again, I detailed how it was possible to accept a fantasy character like Superman so long as his actions followed general logic and he stayed true within the confines of the universe created for him. Same goes for Heroes or Star Trek or any fantasy show.

As I've pointed out with 24, the actions of the characters don't make any sense. I'm not saying it isn't exciting or gripping; one thing you can say about 24 is that it's never dull.

But having the characters do stupid or illogical things in order to simply move the plot along is a no-no in any good drama. Of course if Jack catches the terrorist or Morris doesn't fix the device, the season would end right here with over a dozen episodes left to show, so that have to keep pushing the plot along. But having the characters do dumb things as the means of moving the plot is insulting to viewers (at least, this viewer, apparently not the millions who enjoy 24 more than I do.)

Zodin2008 said...

Phillip, let me echo the chorus of boos in your direction again for your continuing nasty fixation against "24", despite the fact that yuo haven't missed one episode in 5 1/2 seasons of episodic Television.

What gives already? Either stop watching it altogether (so you stop looking like a giant hippocrat) or sit back and do like the rest of us do and enjoy the ride. My goodness. My wife & I are both fed up erading your constant "24" bashing. Seriously already. It's enough to make me stop being one of your 4 posters.

Generally, if it's a show I dislike, say like "CSI Miami" or "American Idol", shows I think are pure drivel, I don't watch them at all. If you hate "24", why dedicate so many hours to bashing and hating it?

My attitude is this...I get that there are tghings every week that happen that are completely out of touch with reality but SO WHAT? If I am riveted by the Drama I am watching, then I let myself go and enjoy it. I enjoy "24" a ton and what makes the show go for me is the intensity of the performance by Kiefer Sutherland who's a deserved Best actor candidate every year.

As for your flimsy excuse to rail against and bash "24" because 'willing suspension of disbelief' is OK in the universes of "Smallville" and "Heroes", it's rather pathetic and unfair. So ridiculous things happening and ridiculous decisions by characters are OK in "Heroes" or "Smallville" (two shows I also enjoy) but can't happen because "24" is dealing with terrorism rather then Lex Luthor or Sylar? They are all TV shows, and unless a show is an actual reality Show, then NONE of them are grounded in reality.

You sit and defend "House" calling it the most brilliant hour of Television, yet, I don't know a lot of Doctors who walk around verbally abusing patients and colleagues on a weekly basis and is the only person in the hospital smart enough to solve the weekly mystery disease? C'MON, PHILLIP.

Seriously, all Television shows take creative licenses but you've taken it upon yourself to be the judge and jury of "24" and spend one of your five columns each week ripping this show, though every show I watch I name and find an equal number of ridiculous things in it, yet only "24" feels your wrath--yet you keep watching. It's just mean spirited.

So unless you quit the "24" bashing, you've lost a reader my friend.

Phillip Ramati said...

Well, Zod, if that's the way you feel, that's the way you feel.

I never said there weren't elements of 24 that I didn't enjoy, and I've taken other shows to task for similarly egregious mistakes. It's just that 24 so brazenly flaunts the stupid actions of its characters.

And YET again, I've explained the difference in a drama of the willing suspension of disbelief ad nauseum. If you don't get it by now, you never will.

Other people like the 24 Bizarro fun facts. And no doubt, the 24 producers would rather me watch every week and criticize than not watch.

Since I tend to look at things from the writer's perspective, I make NO apologies for criticizing a show's logical flaws.

You yourself and others just yesterday pointed out that I'm one of the more positive critics out there (albeit with a much smaller audience) and I tend to look for the positives in all shows rather than the negatives. I don't even go out of the way to bash reality TV.

Does House hit every week? Of course not. But House is a show built around characters, not an active plot a' la 24, so you're comparing apples and oranges.

Read the blog and feel free to continue to bash me each week for criticizing 24, or don't read the blog. (Or don't read the blog on Tuesdays). Your choice.

Phillip Ramati said...

So, besides Zod, does anyone else have a problem with my treatment of 24, or any other show for that matter?

Anonymous said...


Well, I don't mind the Bizaro facts, just not the bashing. there is a differnce.

Zodin2008 said...

I find it very interesting Phillip that you felt bad attacking "What About Brian", a show you don't watch because a reader you don't know pointed it---yet, when I have asked you to lay off "24", you condascend in a nasty way with righteous indignation ignoring completely that you are offending some of your readers and in general, being a royal prick.

Maybe instead of spending your life arguing with people you should read what others have to say and maybe some of us are getting sick and tired of your weekly "24" bashing.

Gina said...

Um...I'm okay with it...

Have a good one, friend.