Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Glass Is Half-Full These Days

On the heels of the announcement that arguably the worst new show of the season, "Viva Laughlin," has been axed is the even better news that TV's arguably best new show, "Pushing Daisies" (ABC, 8 p.m.) has earned a full season's worth of episodes.

It's nice to see originality, when it's done right, rewarded. Some people have criticized "Pushing Daisies" for being too cute, but for me, I love the fairy-tale whimsical nature of the show. And actors Lee Pace, Chi McBride, Kristen Chenowith and Anna Friel are pitch perfect in their roles on the show.

In even better news, "How I Met Your Mother" actually has shown a slight ratings increase this season, getting an extra 600,000 or so last week. Hey, every little bit helps.

So, my mood remains optimistic for another week, until the writers strike ....

TUESDAY RECAP: "Damages" ended with a bit of a whimper rather than a bang (Ted Danson's fate not withstanding), and if this show doesn't get renewed I won't be too emotional.

On the other hand, between John Francis Daley last night and Stephen Fry last season, Booth (David Boreanaz) should be in therapy every week on "Bones." I think Daley has signed for a few episodes, so Booth's mental health woes should continue to delight fans of the series, especially with Bones (Emily Deschanel) now joining him.

And I continue to love the job interview process on "House," especially the candidates known as "13" and "Back-stabbing bitch." But I am going to miss "Bosley," unfortunately. After its clever takes on "The Bachelor," "Survivor" and "Charlie's Angels," which show will "House" producers mock next?

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: I've seen ads for "Phenomenon" (NBC, 8 p.m.) running on the network for the past few weeks, but I really have no idea what this show is about. Uri Geller and Criss Angel are the hosts, and I think it's something like "American Idol" for magicians, but other than that, I really don't know what to tell you. It's followed by new installments of "Bionic Woman" and "Life."

My boy Josh Beckett takes the mound against Jeff Francis as the Boston Red Sox play host to the Colorado Rockies in Game 1 of the World Series (Fox, 8 p.m.) I'm not really a Red Sox fan, but Beckett is the only guy on my fantasy team that is actually good, and he's amazing during the postseason.

"Private Practice" (ABC, 9 p.m.) and "Dirty Sexy Money" (ABC, 10 p.m.) follow "Pushing Daisies."

It's not like I watch any of the "CSIs" any way, but man, do the ads for tonight's "CSI: NY" (CBS, 10 p.m.) - about murder during an online role-playing game - look corny. I'm trying really hard to remember that Gary Sinise is one of the finest actors of his generation, but that's difficult when they have him shouting into the camera saying "Get out!" to an online game player. It follows "Criminal Minds," (CBS, 9 p.m.), which is in the process of introducing another great actor, Joe Mantegna, as Mandy Patinkin's replacement. Let's get these stars material worthy of them!

12 comments:

AlexR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zodin2008 said...

I was looking at CBS' lineup tonight with the horrifying "Kid Nation" and the dull "Criminal Minds" and the stupid "CSI NY" and thinking how they couldn't pay me to watch these shows. But then I remembered - CBS did actually give me something worth watching on Wednesdays last year when "Jericho" was in the 8 pm slot. Oh, please come back, "Jericho".

By the way, I know we're a few days past "Heroes" but I had a thought - if producer Tim Kring is going to keep introducing the various characters parental generation, and well, we've already now had George Takei and Nichelle Nichols on the show, doesn't Leonard Nimoy now HAVE to play Silar's long lost dad????

Anyway, I digress.

I am happy for "Daisies" and not surprised about "Laughlin" - frankly, I didn't even realize CBS had even aired 2 episodes!!! But back to "Daisies", it's a fun show and certainly the most creative new show and the best visual new show - but it's just not as wildly entertaining as "Chuck".

You mentioned "Chuck" is at 'risk' of being formulaic, but if that's the formula every week, what's wrong with that? It really is like kind of like "Alias" meets "How I Met Your mother". That's about as entertaining a combo as I can find.

Plus, it's obvious long term they will explore the relationship between Chuck & Sarah - and probably at some point in the future, Chuck's sister Ellie and Morgan will be in on Chuck's secret spy-dentity. I see lot of fun potential for growth in this show, and it's mix of humor, action and entertaining characters is just a slam dunk in my mind.

I am guessing a possible reason for no Capt. Awesome was to give Morgan's obvious crush on Ellie - and her being nice to him finally - a chance to actually happen one week. If Awesome is around, it would be harder to buy.

As for "Bionic" tonight, I can't say I am looking forward to it at all - I am more interested NOW in watching "Life" than "Bionic' and can't see committing to this show long term. And unlike "Journeyman", "Life" and "Chuck" (NBC's other 3 new 1 hour shows), I don't see any real potential for "Bionic" to get better considering the absolute weakness, blandness and poor acting of it's star, Michelle Ryan.

Phillip Ramati said...

Well, in terms of the spy stuff, Chuck is basically: Chuck tips the spies off on a mission; the spies tell Chuck to stay in the car; the spies get captured; chuck gets out of the car and rescues them.

At some point, you have to vary that somewhat. chuck actually works better when you have the rest of his life interferes with the spy stuff and he has to find a balance between the two.

I'm not ready to give up on Bionic yet, though Life is the better show. As I've posted here before, I don't think Ryan is a bad actress, I just think the role as written is bland. And you can't deny that Katee Sackhoff has been fantastic as the show's villain, and alone makes the show worth watching.

Gina said...

Do I get paid for the correspondence? Yeah, just kidding...

Phillip Ramati said...

Hey, they don't even pay ME for doing this blog!

zodin2008 said...

No, Phillip, you are wrong and I will not admit Ryan is a good actress because she is the biggest problem on the show.

You can choose to "blame the writing", but aren't the exact same group of writers writing for Katee Sackhoff, yet somehow, Sackhoff's performance is fantastic and she's the only interesting person on the show?

Say a different, less interesting actress like Elisabeth Rohm was playing the Sackhoff role - then the entire show would be a dud with no redeeming qualities.

Phillip, you can't have it both ways my friend - you can't say "blame the writers" because Michelle Ryan's bland or her role is bland, but then say, "but Sackhoff is brilliant". Either way you slice it, it's the same writers.

But then again, this is a trend I have seen from you for years - you absolutely REFUSE to ever criticize a British actor or actress. You refuse to ever criticize Damien lewis, you call Hugh laurie's performance the greatest in the history of Television - and while you have a right to enjoy any actor or actress, I won't stand idly by and not call out your absolute biases when I see it.

You don't give the same free pass to every American actor or other nationalities, the way you do any Brits.

And it's coming through again in your absolutely vehement defenses of Michelle Ryan and Damien Lewis.

Phillip, I hope your sitting down, but yes, oh my god...it's actually possible for British actors to not be good!!!!!

C'mon, I like Gervais but you were openly rooting for him for best actor in a comedy, even though pretty much all critics agreed the strongest comedic performance of the year was by Alec Baldwin.

I guarantee you - if Baldwin had been a Brit and Gervais American, you'd have been rooting for Baldwin.

You need to actually be a critic who can look at things fairly. You have it in your mind that you hate every single moment of every single episode of "24", yet along with watching every single episode for all 6 seasons (which if I really hated a show, I couldn't commit to that many episodes) you can never give one shred of a compliment EVER to "24", even if you secretely like something - because you feel you've established your mantra as a "24" hater, so god forbid you ever backtrack and go 'mea culpa'.

You have always felt this undying love towards "Heroes", and it's why you are the only critic out there who can't see how genuinely poor this show really is or frankly, was in season 1.

But back to my first argument, you can't defend the writers and attack the writers vis a vis Ryan and Sackhoff - you have to come out and admit that Sackhoff is a better actress and far more interesting - and that is Michelle Ryan's fault.

Phillip Ramati said...

Uh, I don't think I've ever used the phrase "greatest performance in TV history" for anyone, though most people who aren't you agree Laurie is fantastic in the role, and it has nothing to do with his being British.

And if you take the time to scroll through the posts, there are many, many American actors I have praised (and a few Canadian ones as well).

But back to Bionic, I've seen Ryan in other things and she has been good. I just don't think the writers have developed the character enough. Sackoff is a terrific actress, which I already knew from her BSG days, and the Sarah Corvus role has been written real well - probably the only one that has. I think Miguel Ferrer is a terrific actor as well, but his role has been extremely dull.

Would Bionic be a better show if Sackoff was Jamie and Ryan was Sarah? I don't know. Sackhoff brings a certain presence, a certain charisma to all of her parts that might make the part more interesting than Ryan, but if Ryan had the juicier role of Sarah, would she be as effective in the role as Sackhoff? Again, no one can know for sure.

If anything, because I write myself, I am more critical of writers, because in TV, they shape the direction of a series. But sure, there are plenty of bad actors on TV right now; I just choose not to single them out.

For me, I look forward to when writing and acting merge perfectly, when you take a great part, like Carmela Soprano or Tommy Gavin, and stick an Edie Falco or Denis Leary in those roles.

Anonymous said...

Zodin, you SO need to get a life.

Gina said...

Yeah, I figured you'd say that...

zodin2008 said...

Anonymous, you don't know me at all but I have know Phillip for a long time so it's perfectly reasonable to let us disagree on this subject.

If you have nothing to ADD other than to tell ME to get a life, that's rather pathetic - why not add to the discussion rather then come in and say something stupid?

Anonymous said...

I rest my case.

Anonymous said...

I rest my case.