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With all the extra time I have, it should be no surprise that I like to end my day by using the television as a way to try shutting down my brain. It usually works. I can’t really stop analyzing and criticizing though, however, just because I’m exhausted to the point of stupidity. As a result, here’s a short list of my take on each of the new shows I tried out this fall. Some winners, some losers, and some surprises.
“Surface” -- The goal with this one was to create the feeling of a blockbuster movie, in a serial television show. To do that, they brought in Spielberg. Well, it worked. It’s just like a Spielberg movie. It has the cute little baby monster, the accidentally scary big monsters, the sexy leading lady (Laura Daughtery makes Jennifer Garner look like a little girl) and the inept conspiracy. The show is good, if predictable.
“Threshold” – It’s just bad. It started well. The whole fourth dimensional object thing, but it quickly turned into a standard retread of been there, done that. There’s no serious unfolding story at all. The characters are frankly boring, which is a shame because it’s the first shot for Brent Spiner to do something interesting since playing a robot on STTNG. Sadly, he’s still playing a robot. About the only interesting character is Peter Dinklage’s linguist. Kudos should go to CBS for casting him in that role. He’s fantastic actor who also happens to be a dwarf. About the only good thing I can say about the show, is that Dinklage’s size plays no role at all.
“Invasion” – This one started badly but it’s been getting better. The thing I like the most is that there is some real depth to a couple of these characters. What looked like it would be more standard us vs. them garbage is much more interesting when you give “them” some real depth. William Fichtner plays the head cop, who’s also (apparently) the first of the pod people, having been converted (or copied, or whatever) years earlier. He plays this role amazingly well. Instead of just a mindless, ruthless alien bent on killing the humans; he’s a human coping with something that changed him and desperately trying to hold a community together as its citizen’s change. The way he plays the part, you can’t really tell if he’s a Machiavellian planner or if he really believes the changes he’s seen can be a good thing if he can just keep things stable long enough to let them play out.
“Rome” – HBO blows me away every time. They’re so good at creating a world you know nothing about and making it a rich and full place you get lost in. Its not Carnival or The Wire, and its not the Sopranos, but it sure fills in nicely where Six Feet Under passed away.
"Numbers" -- What good is a math show if you can't get the math right? Ugh. Not as bad as I thought it would be when I saw the trailers (I thought it was joke commercial, like on Saturday Night Live), but its nothing to write home about.
“Ghost Whisperer” – This blows. So much potential and all they did was remake the tired old Touched by an Angel. Take a close look at the cast and you’ll see the three main roles are a (dead) match for the old show. It’s a sappy chick-flick no matter how cute as a little button Jennifer Love Hewitt may be.
“E-Ring” – I liked this for about two episodes until a couple of things made me realize what a waste this is. First, Dennis Hopper is totally unbelievable in this role. The writing for his lines is terrible and contrived, and he comes off as an inept old father figure. Benjamin Bratt does a better job, but the show itself falls flat. Why? Because it tries to make the office workers in their daily political nightmare of a world the heroes when all they really do is spend their time pulling end-runs around a cynical Washington DC. Folks, the big wins on the show are little office politics. Everyone once in a while they trot Bratt around outside and give him a gun so you can see he’s still manly. Ugh. Oh, it does have good theme music though. I can't knock the theme music. Its still an overly dramatic office show though.
“Gray’s Anatomy” – What do you get when you cross ER with Sex in the City? It’s a chick flick but at least it’s done well.
“CSI” – in all its cities, it’s getting tiresome. Vegas is about the technology, Miami is about the guns, cars, and swimsuits, (if you believed what you saw from THAT show you’d think the city of Miami was a daily war zone), and NY is about….well….New York. Yawn. At least they all have their own flavors.
I don’t watch Lost. Maybe some day I’ll catch up on DVD or iTunes then get into it. I also don’t watch Alias. I think its stupid, except for the parts where Jennifer Garner runs around half naked, but I must be getting old because even that’s not worth watching the show for. Besides, Garner is no Laura Daughtery.
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