must see TV

Feb. 5th, 2009 06:12 pm
sab: (un >> read less: more tv)
[personal profile] sab
Was there a new 30 Rock this week?
Was there a new NCIS this week?
Was there a new The Unit this week?*

*and what happened to The Unit? The CBS website has stopped hosting full episodes and won't tell me anything -- the last ep I saw was the one where Bob and Kim were on surveillance in the hotel and Bob was detoxing and then killed whatshisname. What's happened since? (On the other hand I saw a still adorable and fit Max Martini in a recent episode of Burn Notice; that was unexpected and delightful.)

And then, in news of stuff I have indeed been watching:

I'm behind Jamie all the way, and have been since the days of the dear departed Team Rainbow. Now that Jeff's gone I have so little tolerance for everyone else! Though both Stefan and Fabio can indeed cook, and Carla is on the special sort of insane crack. I haven't seen yesterday's yet so any of these details could be made moot.

Hustle started out disappointingly, I thought -- the first couple cons of the season were pretty lame and I was beginning to regret my overwhelming recommendation for the show over Leverage, especially as Leverage was getting better with each episode.

But the truth is I quite like Emma and her brother and the way they're working with Mickey, and the ep to spring Alby from prison was pretty smart and enthralling (even if the cat hospital thing was highly improbable) and heisty, which is what matters to me.

I've also been liking Leverage, though it's a stretch to call it a con-man show at this point, and I am finding Nate's alcoholism quite tiresome already. Here's what's what: watching Greg House detox in rehab while insisting he wasn't an addict was HEARTBREAKING and AWFUL and required watching between my fingers and haunted me for years. This was because we knew House, and his self-deception and lies, and his demons and what made him love the pills and what he was escaping and what his ego required of his defensiveness, etc etc. We know no such things about Nate; he's basically a flawless hero with a broody alcoholic flaw taped on in service of the show itself.

I like a show that lets me make up my own mind about characters because of little details spooled out over time (like Mickey Bricks! he's got some history, and we never even milked the Stacie romance for any manipulative angst; in six episodes the Nate/Gina Bellman history has already been used and abused -- we START to see Mickey's potential vulnerabilities but when it's time for him to go to work we see exactly why he has to squelch them in the face of being a confident confidence man who has to tell himself he's going to win every time)--more Mickey than Nate; more Greg House.

On the other hand, I really, really love Aldis Hodge. I do, I do, I DO. Theory! The writers named him Hardison after Kadeem Hardison, that original hot black nerd Dwayne Wayne. Who's with me??? I've got a hundred bucks says I'm right. And Beth Riesgraf is a-fucking-dorable. The inclusion of a tiny acrobatic girl-thief-liar (see also: Chiana) is definitely a plus in favor of Leverage. I want to see Emma tumble into a room filled with laser alarms.

Oh MAN am I glad this show's back! And still so, SO GOOD. Ana and Barb! Nikki on the roof! Conflict at the compound! GRACE ZABRISKIE carefully setting up her husband's disposal, god, that was one of the finest sets of scenes I've ever seen on TV. She's amazing. And RHONDA chasing after them in her prom dress! And Sarah and Ben being adorable!

And, let's not forget, CHAKOTAY as Indian Gaming dude. Robert Beltram must be thrilled to BITS going to work every day.

So far this show has no negative aspects and is one of the hours I look most forward to all week.

Dear [ profile] tightropegirl; I had faith in you and you continue to let me down! I'm prepared to extend a wide margin of apology and the benefit of the doubt to this show because the combined talents of the writers and Hugh Laurie have always pulled it together to make sure House does not evolve into a kind and feeling doctor who feels the weight of moral ambiguity. Hugh Laurie himself said that once House changes the show is over; that he wouldn't want to do it anymore.

So this season's hints at moral and emotional growth are pissing me off unless there's going to be a crash and burn at the end (Doris, I still have a shred of hope; don't extinguish it!) or unless it's all been in preparation for some greater manipulation.

House/Cuddy is some great UST. I'll give you that. Also the kiss was frickin' hot. House and Wilson are playing well together at the moment too. Foreman/Thirteen is miserably tiresome but then, Omar Epps deserved (and probably requested and was contractually obligated to receive) a multi-episode plot arc with some emotion (everybody's gotta get a CHANCE to run for an Emmy, right?) but instead it's just this sort of cold and meaningless pantomime. I mean, is anyone really swooning over the love between Eric and Remy? Are we doodling pictures of them in our notebooks? We are not, because we don't really believe it and we don't really care and plus she's way hotter with a girl and Foreman lacks emotional maturity. And then HOUSE is the one showing insight and understanding? If WE don't care (and we are arguably more emotionally open than House), why is HE so strangely F/13 shippery and wise?

Anyway, Doris, let's get past this mess and into whatever it is that House is going to do me over the rest of Feb formerly-known-as-sweeps month, yes?

I liked when he enabled the gun-toting invader, putting life and safety second to knowing the answer, to solving the mystery. That was my boy Greg. Where'd he go?

Psych remains entertaining and adorable and reliably fun from week to week. Quietly I think James Roday is going the way of Zach Braff (thinks he's cuter than he is, giant ego, dating the hot co-star and directing himself in episodes where he gets to look hot and act cool) but he's not bothering me yet, and Dule Hill can do NO WRONG. NO WRONG! The scripts are clever and funny and the cast is end-to-end satisfying.

Monk is also pretty consistently good snackfood. It's the sort of show meant to be enjoyed by the geriatric set, but it's got enough humor and sarcasm to appeal to even the most jaded HBO-series viewer. It's also the first thing in almost 20 years that's allowed me to see Ted Levine as someone other than Buffalo Bill; therefore, Stottlemeyer must be an awesome character. Seriously. Since that fateful role in '91 I've only been able to see him as a vicious and sexually twisted serial killer, even when he's playing benevolent dads and TV heroes. But FINALLY he's a whole new nice guy to me. ETA: Apparently I'm not alone! This, from Ted Levine's imdb: After his terrifying turn as "Buffalo Bill" in The Silence of the Lambs (1991), he's had some trouble getting parts other than sadistic psychopaths. He generally tries to choose parts more along the lines of ordinary family men and unfriendly co-workers to get away from the creepy shadow of "Buffalo Bill".

Burn Notice is the cheapest junk food ever, but it's got Bruce Campbell and that is enough for me. Half the time I don't even know what's going on (it has crime plots like an 80s show, lame chases and bad music) but it doesn't really matter because the voiceovers are educational and incisive, and the characters remain funny and interesting.

HIMYM is the best show on television. That's just how that goes. It succeeds at making me flail and also laugh out loud several times an episode, and it has the best cast ever assembled.

Scrubs is being SLAUGHTERED this season, first by the airing of episodes out of order, second by the burning off two at a time for maximum spotlight on the non-funniness. The show deserved a good burial, but the combination of NBC and ABC and threats and money left poor Bill Lawrence holding the bag, and the show is just a dying, heartbreaking mess. I mean, every ep is out of order! JD has a beard, then the next ep is "what do you think of my new beard?" Kelso's there and then he's not! Courteney Cox is there and then it's like they haven't met her yet! JD and Elliott are allegedly DATING. New interns come and go; first we torture Jo, then later we meet her for the first time, then later still we name her Jo. WHUT WHUT? HAVE MERCY PEOPLE!

The Office roast was brilliant and heartbreaking.

30 Rock remains DELICIOUS and clever and ALEC BALDWIN and the retreat to move forward was twenty four minutes of unstoppable brilliance. MOAR 30 ROCK PLS!

BSG is just fine this season. Adama and Tigh's new friendship makes me happy as a clam. Starbuck is without question the BRAVEST HUMAN BEING TV CHARACTER EVER CREATED. Everything else continues apace. Jury = out.

That's what I'm watching this year. And NCIS and The Unit, but I will cover my vaguely Republican CBS shows at a later date when I've caught up on the potentially missing episodes.

And you?
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