Tuesday, March 13, 2007

For Those With Varying Musical Tastes

The world, at least the TV one, seems to stop in the wake of "American Idol."

The two-hour block of "AI" (Fox, 8 p.m.) is just about the only new thing on the tube tonight, unless you want to count the newest installment of "Pussycat Dolls" (CW, 9 p.m.) - but really, who does?

Other network executives refer to "AI" as the Death Star, since it generally destroys other TV shows in its path and gets away with charging four times the average ad rate during its broadcast time. Fox has managed to spread the show across three nights a week, and would probably try even more than that if it could figure out how.

If you want some different alternatives in terms of music from "AI," you're best bet may be PBS, which is showing "Elvis Lives" (GPTV, 8 p.m.), a 25th anniversary concert dedicated to the King, and "Roy Orbison & Friends" at 9:30 p.m., a PBS staple during pledge season that still holds up extremely well after all these years.

ANNA NICOLE IS DEAD, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: You knew this one was coming.

The Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes is reporting producer Dick Wolf is adapting the death of (how should we describe her? Former model? Media personality?) Anna Nicole Smith for an episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" that could air in May.

De Moraes reports that Kristy Swanson is in talks to play the Anna Nicole character, while Jon Lovitz - seriously - may play the Howard K. Stern role of the drama.

Also on deck for "L&O" - the astronaut kidnapping story. No details on who would be cast for this one.

There are a plethora of jokes itching to come out of me right now, but in the interest of politeness and just because it's too easy, I choose to refrain from typing them up.

TRU FAITH: The return of Eliza Dushku ("Buffy," "Tru Calling") is usually a good thing, though her upcoming series on Fox may put that to the test.

According to zap2it.com, Dushku will be the lead in a new series called "Nurses," a medical soap opera about a young woman just out of med school working at a hospital. (Didn't something like this come out a couple of years ago? Wasn't it called "Grey's Anatomy?" How did that show do?)

Dushku replaces Katheryn Winnick in the lead role. Who said TV is running out of good ideas? It may join a lineup next fall that includes a time traveller who leaps around in time to help people that isn't called "Quantum Leap" and a show about a vampire detective that isn't called "Angel."

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: If you aren't an "AI" fan, you are pretty much screwed. If you are an "AI" fan, the world is your oyster.

Sports fans get a break with the official start of the NCAA tournament, the much vaunted play-in game between Florida A&M and Niagra (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.), sure to be a bracket-buster for someone.

The Braves play the Astros (SportsSouth, 7 p.m.) in spring training. With Opening Day in just three weeks, life will be worth living once more.


Zodin2008 said...

Go Braves.

Yes, I read about the Fall shows including blatant ripoffs of two of my all tiem favorite shows, "Angel" and "Quantum Leap". I suppose if TV is going to rip something off, might as well be two shows I loved.

As for "Idol", I wish it didn't exsist at all, but for some odd reason, people actually watch this dreck. I don't get it nor will I ever.

Jonathan said...

"AI" for me at least is a beautiful train wreck. I would never in a million years purchase anything released by these talent show winners, but it's fun to watch with the wife. And it gets you some brownie points at the end of the day.

Anonymous said...

What's there to get? AI is a show were people sing to win. I know you're aware of that. Do just not get why people are attracted to it? And I would hardly call it 'dreck', just because you don't like to watch people sing. And all you can cover on your 'reel' blog and Jeremy on this one is Buffy! A young girl running around with vampires. I don't care how well written that is....vampires really? So what if people enjoy the heck out of watching (mostly) talented people sing. I think your real problem with this show is that the other networks are so afraid of running anything against it. And that not AI's fault. If Buffy ran 3 days a week, I'm sure you wouldn’t complain. Besides, you and I both know there is way worse shows out there than AI, can I say Flavor Flav!

Phillip Ramati said...

Well, anon, I only understood about every third word of your post, but for me, comparing a scripted drama with AI is apples and oranges.

I've never denied AI was popular, nor have I said it was unworthy TV. Obviously, it gets huge numbers and has launched the careers of a number of singers, regardless what anyone thinks of their individual merits.

AI is simply not my cup of tea. But for the millions who love it, more power to them.

My two problems with AI: One, as I posted last month, I thought the judges were needlessly cruel to some of the wannabe singers. Obviously, a lot of people had no business up there in the first place, but some of the contestants were just average singers who were excessively criticized for no other reason than the judges could get away with it.

Two, my other problem is the scheduling. Three or four nights a week is a bit too much, especially when Fox yanks some of its better dramas like House or Bones in favor of AI. Also, the other networks are so afraid of AI, they don't program anything good or new against it, which limits individual viewing choices.

And too much of anything isn't necessarily good. I wouldn't want three nights a week of Buffy or any drama, because the overall quality would suffer.

Zodin2008 said...


Just because something is popular, does it make it better. There's a reason the average education level in this country is 5th grade.

If Buffy had big time ratings and Idol was seen as the giant karaoke contest it was and had marginal ratings, somehow I would think we were a whole lot smarter.

The fact is, we may disagree on the definition of quality television, but I have brilliant writing in the form of Joss Whedon on my side, you have a punch of camera whores pandering to Simon Cowell and a drunk Paula Abdul on yours.

So before you go around bashing "Buffy" as 'some girl who chases vampires', you should consider watching one of the best Television shows of all time with some of the best writing of all times and you would witness seven seasons worth of brilliantly played metaphors and deepers connections to our society at large, instead of a show like AI which plays to all the worst aspects of our society.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Phillip,

I was responding to zondin2008's comments. And then I called you by the wrong name-Jeremy...oops. I read your blog while at work, and had two many things going at once so that may be why you did not understand my post. Anyway, I think for someone who really dislikes a show you do a good job of not being to mean. But zodin2008 (aka 'reel fanatic' right?) is a bit harsh. I just don't like you guys making some of us who enjoy AI feel as though we are stupid Americans, and shouldn't be allowed to watch TV because we don't like “intelligent” shows like Buffy. That's all. I know we are all entitled to our own opinions, but you don't have to put people down.

To zodin2008,

I have watched your beloved Buffy movie, and TV show. But to quote you “I don't get it nor will I ever.” But I do not appreciate the fact you seem to have this idea that if you enjoy AI you must have a 5th grade education. If you don’t like it, fine. But DO NOT put down my intelligence just because I enjoy listening to up and coming artist. And just to let you know, yes there are some times on AI that I just have to turn the channel because the person is so bad. But when the show gets down to the finial six people or so…it gets really good. Have you ever watched AI when it was just down to the last few contestants? Just wondering…..

Phillip Ramati said...

Wow, guys, not feeling the love here.

Anon, I don't out contributors here, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that Zod is NOT our Reel Fanatic blogger, Keith Demko (though no doubt Keith enjoys the extra plugging of his blog!)

No show generates more responses on this site than "AI," so I'll probably have to keep plugging it even though I don't watch it personally. (Speaking of macon.com blogs, Maggie Large goes into much more detail about the show on a weekly basis on her blog, Amped.)

As I've said many times, but will say once more, I've never criticized people for their TV show choices. If you like "AI," that's great. Not my cuppa. I've been a critic of "24" before, but clearly I'm in the minority since it's still one of TV's best-rated shows.

"Buffy" had a small, but loyal audience during its run. For my money, it was the best-written show of its time, and no TV writer - not Aaron Sorkin, nor David Chase, nor anyone else - stacks up with Joss Whedon. It doesn't make me right or wrong; it's just an opinion. Plenty of people didn't like Buffy (including, unfortunately, the idiots who vote for the Emmys).

Anyone who wants to comment here, please feel free to do so, but let's not get into name-calling or personal attacks, please.

Zodin2008 said...

Thank you, Phillip. And I can second that I am not whomever this Keith Demko guy is.

Phillip, you also forgot to CALL OUT Anon for incorrectly associating that dreck Buffy film with Kristy Swanson and Dylan McKay, with the best series ever on Television, created by Joss Whedon and starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Allyson Hannigan.

And yes, I will steadfastly question the intellect of someone obsessed with AI who in turn, then bashes the best show ever on Television, Buffy.

Phillip Ramati said...

I'll give Anon and anyone else who saw the "Buffy" movie first a pass, because I myself didn't start watching "Buffy" the series until much later after it had debuted, precisely because the movie was so dumb. I think the movie put the series behind the 8-ball, turning off a lot of potential fans who never gave the series a chance.

As for the series, yes, it's one of my all-time favorites, but yet again I will stress people have different tastes and it may not be for everyone, just like AI. (Though AI fans who don't like Buffy may still like the musical episode, Once More With Feeling, one of TV's all-time greatest hours).