Thursday, October 11, 2007

Too Much Of A Good Thing?

As much as I hate to criticize a show a like, I think these hour-long versions of "The Office" (NBC, 9 p.m.) have been a bit of a disappointment.

It's not that I don't enjoy the show; I still think it's No. 1 or 1A among sitcoms. But I've found these hour-long versions to drag in the middle just a bit.

Take last week, where Michael (Steve Carell) drove into the lake because the on-board navigation system in his rental car told him to. It was a little ridiculous, even for Michael.

It seems that the rhythm of the show is a bit off, probably because the writers need to stretch out scenes and add subplots to fill the hour out.

Not only that, but hour-long episodes mean "Scrubs" isn't airing, either.

WEDNESDAY RECAP: Any worries I had that "Pushing Daisies" might not live up to its brilliant pilot evaporated about five minutes in. The sequence with Kristen Chenowith singing Olivia Newton-John and dancing with the dog, plus Chi McBride's deadpan one-liners totally captivated me. This is frakkin' great TV.

Speaking of frakkin, last night was easily the best "Bionic Woman" yet, due in large part to the increased presence of Katie Sackhoff, who is quickly becoming one of TV's best villains. It's not that Michelle Ryan is bad in the title role, but the writers have made her fairly bland compared to Sackhoff's Sarah. Still, last night was a very positive sign.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: One of the summer's best dramas, "Mad Men" (AMC, 10 p.m.) has shown no signs of slowing down as the first season is getting set to wind down in a couple of weeks.

While "The Office" hasn't been quite up to par, "My Name Is Earl" (NBC, 8 p.m.) has been pretty solid if unspectacular. I've always found "30 Rock" to be hit or miss, and so far, that trend has continued this year.

Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I think Kara has been a solid addition to "Smallville" (CW, 8 p.m.), while I'm digging all the new demon hunters on "Supernatural" (CW, 9 p.m.)

For some reason, my folks haven't enjoyed "Ugly Betty" (ABC, 8 p.m.), but I think it's been pretty solid - maybe not as good as when it first debuted, but still worth watching. It's followed by "Grey's Anatomy" and "Big Shots," easily one of the worst shows on TV.

CBS is also brand-new with "CSI" at 9 p.m. and "Without A Trace" at 10 p.m.

Finally, "It's Always Sunny..." (FX, 10 p.m.) has dropped quite a bit since its first two seasons, but still worth watching.


Jonathan said...

I've never cared for the hour long versions of "The Office" either; I think most set-ups for sitcoms work in the thirty minute time-slot for whatever reason. However, much like you think of "30 Rock," I've always found "The Office" to be hit or miss. At times it can be extremely uncomfortable to watch to the point where I cringe more than laugh, but ovearll like you said it's still at the top of the sitcom heap. I found the season premiere of "30 Rock" to be outstanding. From "MILF Island" to "Seinfeld-Vision" to Kenneth the Office Wife, I laughed my ass off. Never have gotten into "Earl," but many fans have told me the same as you in regards to this season.

Kara is a fine addition to "Smallville," but I found last week's episode to be bogged down by the Lana subplot. Lana's storylines were getting old two years ago; part of me really wishes they had just killed her off. I also didn't care for how easily Lois was hired onto the "Daily Planet." Nor did I like the new boss character very much; that dude could not act worth a lick.

But "Supernatural" had a great season premiere keeping the motor running from its stellar second season. I'm worried for its fate with "Smallville" going off the air after this season. Since "Supernatural" doesn't get great ratings, I wonder if they will squash the Thursday night line-up in favor of something else. Personally, I think the genre fare is great counterprogramming to the soaps, sitcoms, and forensic dramas that are on the other networks.

zodin2008 said...

The Office - Yes, the 1 hour episodes are somewhat not needed, but I have enjoyed them. I do wish "Scrubs" would come back, but if any comedy can still make me laugh for an hour, it's "The Office".

30 Rock - I love this show a lot and thrilled it won the Emmy. I thought the season finale was brilliant and have found the show, consistently brilliant. It wasn't great in its first few weeks last year, year #1, but it's been brilliant since about late October of 2006.

Alec Baldwin was ROBBED at the Emmys.

Smallville - I am kind of done with this show and I hope this is the last year - I also hope The CW gives Supernatural a good lead in next year.

I could take or leave Kara - she's hot but this show only has hot people so that's nothing new.

I am completely in agreement with Jonathan about Lana. Enough already. I am beyond sick of her and I would have let her stay dead as well. The whole robot Lana trick and her sneaking off to Shanghai was annoying, stupid and completely ridiculous.

I also hated how easily Lois got the job at the Daily Planet - the new boss sucks and it was dumb. And where the hell is Jimmy Olson now that Aaron Aashmore is a full fledged castmember?

Supernatural - great premier and a show that never skips a beat. Kind of like "How I Met Your mother" or "The Shield", it's a show where I have never really seen any bad episodes.

And while this actor Chris Pine seems like a decent hire for Kirk, I am with Phillip's previous suggestion that Jensen Ackles (Dean) would have made an AWESOME James T. Kirk.

Ugly Betty - Yeah, the show's just on its stride in the opening 2 episodes, I don't see the problems either. It's not my #1 show, but still highly entertaining.

Pushing Daisies - We must have watched 2 different shows last night because I didn't really love last night's episode quite as much. But the pilot was so great, I am on board - I just found last night's episode beyond strange.

As soon as I saw the actor who last season played the bad guy professor at Hearst College on "Veronica Mars" (he was Veronica's crime professor) I KNEW he'd be the bad guy.

Phillip Ramati said...

I thought the Seinfeld bits were good on 30 Rock, but the rest of the episode was flat. Tracy Morgan has never worked for me.

Yeah, Lana has grown beyond tiresome, but what can you do? The new boss was pretty lame, but hey, wouldn't you hire Lois at the drop of a hat?