Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Come and join our latke clan

It was a medical show double-feature last night, which felt appropriate since Julia's virus seems to be dragging on and on and on and on and on (which, again, accounts for the slowness of late).

Sunday's "Grey's Anatomy" was a lot of fun, a Christmas/Chanukah episode that managed to treat all points of view about the holidays with equal weight without getting treacly or preachy. I was especially psyched to hear a song by The Leevees, since I already owned that album, and my usual pattern is to hit the iTunes store the morning after an episode airs. A bit lame to steal Chrismukkah without acknowleding "The O.C.," but bonus points to make up for it by giving Sandra Oh another chance to do her deadpan bad-acting as one of Alex's fake patients.

"House" continued its recent roll. Bizarre to see House successfully flirting with Cynthia Nixon at the OTB, even more bizarre to see Cameron being sneaky at her usual holier-than-thou approach, and funny as hell to watch House undermine temporary boss Foreman. With the holiday break coming, I fear that the show's going to come back in January with House's demotion already finished. I think that shaking up the status quo, even on paper -- as this episode showed, House is in charge no matter who has official authority -- would do this show some good.

With the TV business pretty much grinding to a halt until the new year, I've been spending a lot of time at work getting prepared for midseason. The other day, I watched the pilot of "The Unit," the new military drama from David Mamet and "Shield" creator Shawn Ryan. At first, it felt pretty generic -- "E-Ring" with CBS production values -- but after 10 minutes or so, I said, "Okay, now I can see that Mamet wrote this." The man's dialogue is unmistakable, and Dennis Haysbert (as a serenely ass-kicking special forces leader) delivers it beautifully.

I've been dipping back into "Country Boys," an amazing PBS documentary miniseries about two troubled teenage boys in Appalachian Kentucky. I saw the first two hours back in July, and even wound up hanging around the hotel pool with one of the two subjects, a Goth Christian rocker whose two big tourist stops in LA were Ozzy Osbourne's house and Venice beach. ("It felt like the family I never had," he said.) I sometimes get irritated when film snobs sniff at the inferiority of reality TV to old-fashioned documentaries, but after watching this, I'm going to have a harder time than ever trying to sit through an episode of "Laguna Beach." 2006 hasn't even started yet, but I already know one show that's going to be on that year's top 10 list.

And speaking of which, today I raced through the next two original episodes of "Battlestar Galactica," which is going to be at or near the top of this year's list. Sometimes, sci-fi shows suffer when you have to watch rough cuts with temporary effects, but not this one. A lot of the spaceship shots weren't much better than I could do with the Windows paint program, but this is a show about people and issues first and gadgetry a distant fifth or sixth. I won't spoil what happens with the whole Adama/Cain feud, but this is a show that is not slowing down in the least.

And because I can't allow myself to waste too much quality in a single day, I followed it with three episodes of "Four Kings," a bad NBC comedy that even Seth Green can't save. Gotta cleanse the palate now and then.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And I, who can't put Battlestar on my list because, sadly, I just haven't kept up, spent last night and part of this morning watching Sci Fi's 22-minute primer about the first two seasons, followed by the first two episodes of next season.

I do get it now. I really do. One of my New Year's resolutions will be to try to keep up with Galactica in 2006, but I can't say how I'll do -- as you may have noticed, I'm still not a Size 6, nor do I speak perfect (or even passable) French...

Ellen