Friday, February 09, 2007

Extra-good Fun

I recently e-mailed my brother an article from the L.A. Times about shows in their sophomore season, and that how the networks that showed patience through low ratings were now being rewarded with some success.

"Supernatural" was one show mentioned; "Close to Home" (CBS, 9 p.m.) was another.

For me, however, the show that has improved the most over its second season has been "Extras" (HBO, Sunday, 10 p.m.), which went from a pretty nice sitcom from "The Office" creator/star Ricky Gervais to what may be the funniest show on TV.

You read that right. In a season with the likes of the American "Office," "Scrubs" and "How I Met Your Mother," (and believe me, I'm not dissing those shows at all) "Extras" has totally blown me away this season.

"Extras" follows the mis-adventures of longtime background player Andy Melman (Gervais) and his best friend Maggie ("Ugly Betty's" Ashley Jensen). Andy, trying for his big break, created a sitcom that he sold to the BBC at the end of the first season. Andy's original concept was a clever, well-written comedy, but the network powers have reduced it to a silly, mindless sitcom that is drawing big ratings in spite of itself. Andy has had to wrestle success with the idea of selling out. He gets no help from his agent (series co-creator Stephen Merchant), possibly the worst agent in the history of TV.

What makes "Extras" so brilliant has been the guest stars, real-life movie and TV stars portraying caricature versions of themselves. So we have gotten an overly narcissistic Orlando Bloom, who can't conceive that Maggie doesn't find him the sexiest man alive, and Daniel Radclyffe, who is overcome by his hormones (and who gives us the funniest sight gag of the season involving a condom and Dame Diana Rigg).

If you like the humor of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," in which the protagonist manages to shoot himself in the foot constantly, you'll love "Extras." There are only two episodes left this season (and for the series, which Gervais has decided to end), but since it's not TV, it's HBO, you'll have plenty of chances to catch up with the entire show.

R.I.P. ANNA NICOLE SMITH: One thing you can say, she was never dull. I don't understand, however, why it was necessary for CNN to broadcast stuff about her death for something like 16 hours. This wasn't Jackie Kennedy who died, after all.

FRIDAY'S BEST BETS: "20/20" (ABC, 9 p.m.) has two hours of political misconduct to expose. CBS has a full night of new shows, including "Numb3rs" at 10 p.m. NBC is also completely new, and while Fox is trotting out new episodes of "Nanny 911" and "Trading Spouses," it makes me weep for TV.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: Natalie Portman lends her voice to a new episode of "The Simpsons" (Fox, Sunday, 8 p.m.), kicking off a full night of new animation offerings.

Before you jump on the "Extras" bandwagon, make sure you check out "Rome" (HBO, 9 p.m.) as well.

The most interesting prospect of the night might be "Masterpiece Theatre" (PBS, 9 p.m.), which presents a new version of the old classic "Dracula," with Marc Warren ("Hustle") as the Count.

1 comment:

Zodin2008 said...

I don't understand the Anna Nicole Smith hoopla either. She was someone who should have been famous for 15 minutes and she kept getting another 15 minutes all the time, ala Rob & Amber from "Survivor" or Danny Bonaduce. Some bad celebrities will never stop being talked about and that wass Anna Nicole.

Yeah, she was never dull I suppose but 16 hours of CNN coverage is downright embarrassing for us as nation.

The only TV worth watching is "Monk" and "Psych" and saying "Monk" is worth watching these days is a stretch. They have changed the show so much it's pathetic. Remember when we used to try & guess the murderer? The good ole days?

Now they just tell us the murderer in the first five seconds and instead now think the only thing that matters on this show is Monk's latest phobias. I can't stand it at this point and close to cutting this shell of a show.