Monday, June 16, 2008

Belle De Jour

A couple of weeks ago, I criticized CBS' "Swingtown" for being too tame because it was on a network rather than cable, making its depiction of sex and drugs rather boring.

That shouldn't be a problem with the premieres of Showtime's Monday night schedule.

Fan favorite "Weeds" (Showtime, 10 p.m.) kicks off its new season with pot-growing mom Nancy (Mary Louise Parker) moving her family to a new location after torching the old one. Specifically, she's moved them to her father-in-law's (Albert Brooks) house.

Following that is the US premiere of "Secret Diary of a Call Girl," as former "Doctor Who" companion Billie Piper shows a much different side (well, several sides) as Hannah, a legal secretary by day and Belle, a high-priced call girl at night.

The series is based upon the blog of a real-life anonymous call girl who masquerades with a "regular" life during her days. The real-life lady (of the evening) consulted with producers and Piper in secret to tell her story.

With Showtime giving us sex and drugs, the only thing they are missing on Mondays is Rock n' Roll. Maybe next year.

FRIDAY RECAP: No one does an ending like "Battlestar Galactica." Though they may not be the finales that the fans want to see necessarily, there's no denying that all four finales now have provided stunning twists, no more so than Friday's.




I was a little surprised at first as they seemed to bring the fleet to Earth so quickly after the long journey to find its location. And of course, seeing the moments of pure joy and relief of the last survivors of humanity as they took the final leg of their journey was great, but knowing the BSG producers, you knew it wouldn't last long.

The payoff of seeing both the humans and Cylons stunned by the destroyed and desolate Earth was fantastic, ensuring that the next seven months (at least) waiting for the resolution will be pretty interminable (in a good way).

Also great: Lee's game of chicken with D'Anna over ejecting people out of airlocks, and Adama's reaction to learning Tigh's true Cylon identity. (Also great: the way Tigh told him).

Of course, all the ending does is raise a ton of questions, such as: Who wiped out humanity? Ourselves, or another group of Cylons? Who fixed Starbuck's ship when she went to Earth the last time? What's next for the fleet and their tenuous relationship with the Cylons? What about the other group of Cylons, who are still hunting the humans?

Almost as irksome as the weight for the final half of the season (the good news, reportedly, is that we get 11 episodes when it returns instead of the planned 10) is that BSG will likely go unrecognized by the Emmy voters yet again, because Emmy voters royally suck.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: Speaking of royally sucking, though I'm enjoying "The Mole" (ABC, 10 p.m.), boy, is this the lamest group of contestants ever assembled on a reality show. As one of them pointed out last week, they may owe ABC money by the end of it. It's preceded by two episodes of "The Bachelorette."

The new kids adventure series "Middleman" (ABC Family, 8 p.m.) debuts tonight, and looks as if it pays an homage to shows like "The Tick" and "The Avengers," not bad company.

Finally, Georgia, coming off its remarkable comeback victory over Miami in the opener of the College World Series, faces Stanford tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.


zodin2008 said...

Phillip, I am disappointed you did a TV column this morning and neglected to mention the most enormous news happening Friday, the shocking and sudden death of NBC's top newsman & "Meet the Press" host of the last 17 years, Tim Russert.

It's not just that Russert's indominable style turned the once half hour ratings dud into a major windfall for NBC, dominating the Sunday news talk show circuit (the one area where NBC does still dominate, on Sunday mornings at least), not to mention that he was 58, top of his game, and in the midst of one of the most talked about presidential election cycles in history.

I can't say I was always a big Russert fan. I think sometimes he went too far, and he went too hard after people I liked at times. But he seemed even handed in his approach - unlike his NBC political counterparts, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews who are extreme partisan hacks, and unwatchable for those of us who don't completely agree with everything they say.

NBC did a magnificent job this past Sunday having the legendary Tom Brokaw host a Russert retrospective with frequent guest and Russert friends like James Carville, Mary Matalin, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Gwen Ifill. It was a fitting tribute. But the larger question going forward is how to fill the chair. Among the rumored replacements are rising news star, David Gregory, longtime NBC Political reporter and close Russert friend, Andrea Mitchell, and Russert's groomed long term replacement, Chuck Todd.

Gregory is the one who probably should get the spot because he fits Russert's style the closest, though, again, not necessarily a big fan of the "gotha!" questions that Russert or Gregory would go for.

Battlestar: excellent but depressing "mid season" finale. I can't believe I have to wait 7 months. I can't even get mad about them being snubbed by the Emmys. These are the same folks who snub things like "Lost", "The Wire", "Buffy" and "Friday Night Lights", so why should they start getting it right now and they should stick with nominating ridiculous garbage like "Boston Legal". (rolling my eyes...)

Finally, GO DAWGS. Great win Saturday night and although I have never really gotte into college baseball,. I got hooked watching that game and the late comeback and upset of Miami was beautiful.

Phillip Ramati said...

Mea Culpa on Tim Russert, it's been three days between columns from when he died.

Over the past decade, it's hard to think of a more influential TV journalist. I would have enjoyed watching him as the Presidential race heated up.