Sunday, February 8, 2009

It's not lupus (and other musings)

Okay, if it's not lupus, then what is ailing House? TWOP has a handy top 10 list, which you can view here. I still tune in every week, but I'm just not enjoying it as much as I have in the past. Is it show fatigue? Personally, I don't think so. I watch a lot of procedurals, and I don't really mind the "case of the week," patient of the week," "crook of the week" or "monster of the week" format. With a show like House, you tune in because you know what you're going to get: a couple of bad diagnoses, patient almost dying, House insulting everyone, exasperated Cuddy, snappy dialogue, some Wilson humanity, everybody lies, patient cured. Rinse, repeat. I do admire the chances the show has taken in the past to try to shake things up, but the results have been a mixed bag. I liked Stacy. Hated Vogler. Hated Tritter. Liked Lucas the PI. Loved the "Survivor" competition. Loved Cutthroat Bitch, and thought the show ended beautifully last season. But this season has been kind of "blah."

TWOP's list hits on many of my frustrations. Adding a baby is never, ever a good idea. I don't care. I've never liked Foreman, and get bored every time he's on the screen. Olivia Wilde is a good actress, dead sexy and I'm glad that she's going to be in the Tron 2.0 movie. But I don't give a damn about Thirteen. So what could make that worse? Pair up Foreman and Thirteen! And have them suck the oxygen out of half the show each week! Yeesh. I still watch, but each week it's more out of a hope of a return to form, than a real anticipation. C+

Quickies on a few other shows:

Nip/Tuck. The show has always run on an undercurrent of inspired camp lunacy, but good lord what's happened to lately? Christian and Liz? Really? And the less said about Eden and Colleen the better. Possibly worth watching: guest turns coming up for Katee Sackhoff and Rose McGowan (and a check of IMDB shows that they'll be playing the same character. Huh?) D+

Heroes. Okay, we all know we've been on a slippery slope since the craptacular S1 finale. Can anyone keep track of how many times Sylar or Nathan have changed sides and motivations? And is there a worse actor on TV than Milo Ventimiglia? The most recent "volume" started last week, but I think the show may have already done too much damage, with ridiculous plot holes, inconsistent application of powers, cardboard performances and flat writing rolling downhill and building up steam. Bryan Fuller, late of a far, far better show, Pushing Daisies, has returned to the writing/producing team on Heroes, but his effect won't be felt until later this year. Will it be too late? Personally, I think they should junk all the bad characters and bad actors, and just keep Nathan, Sylar and HRG and start over. (And if you want to see Adrian Pasdar on something good, watch Profit. It's on TV occasionally, and on DVD. A great show, killed before it's time). C-

Big Love has come back strong this year, with intriguing storylines all about. I'm usually not a fan of shows that heavily features kids and families, but there's just something about the quality of this one that sucks me in. The performances from the three primary "sister wives" are all extraordinary, and I'm intrigued by the possible addition of a fourth wife to the mix. A

Bones. Something has just been "off" this season. The whole ridiculousness with Zack last year didn't do the show any favors, but that's not it, as I've actually liked the rotating cast of whack jobs they've had replacing him (English trivia guy is my favorite). Maybe it's just that the fine line between "realistic" crime solving and character based shenanigans has expanded too far to tonally accept. The chemistry between Booth and Bones is there as always, of course, but last week's ep with return of the Gravedigger was a blown opportunity. A ghost? You're kidding, right?! Didn't they just have a hallucinated character a few episodes ago, and then they do that again? Or was this supposed to be a "real" ghost? I mean, the ghost did "hand" Booth things in the ship, and then there was that WTF ending where Bones actually interacted with the "ghost." What the hell was that? And the less said about the circus episode the better (though Emily Deschanel in the knife throwing assistant getup is always welcome on my screen). C

Burn Notice. Just keeps doing what it does. Fun, frothy tales of espionage in Miami, with healthy helpings of spycraft how to and Bruce Campbell. A

Life on Mars. They made a HUGE mistake with their return from hiatus episode. When we last saw the show, it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, with Sam receiving a strange call imploring him to go into the basement. When we come back, we get an out of sequence ep that didn't even address that plot development (though seeing Johnny Sack play another cop was fun, and I like the twist about Sam sleeping with the lovely Maggie Siff -- Rachel from Mad Men -- who turns out to be Hunt's daughter). Then, the next week, we do pick up the plot with the basement, adding some intrigue. The ratings are cratering, though, and the show is surprisingly not holding on to much of Lost's lead-in. I like the show, but I don't think it's long for this world, sadly. B

Supernatural. The season started off brilliantly, with Dean returning from Hell and the addition of badass "angels" to the mix and mytharc. Then, we had a few standalone MOTW episodes, including one that seemed like an equally disturbing homage to the X-Files classic "Home" and another entitled "Criss Angel is a Douche Bag." How can you not love that? Thursday's eppy, "Sex and Violence," was dark, twisted, funny and surprising. A great, underrated show. A

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