Thursday, June 22, 2006

What's Alan watching? 'Nobody's Watching'

The nice folks at HBO sent out the first six episodes of "The Wire" season four (back in September!), so I spent most of last night watching the first two. I won't say much yet, save that fans are going to be very pleased, especially at the way that Simon has managed to keep around characters you would think the show would be long done with. (Prez is a major player this year, for Pete's sake.)

As a palate-cleanser, I watched a little of "The Gong Show: 2000," aka "America's Got Talent." Almost exactly what you'd expect, save that the judges are actually even less useful here than they are on "Idol," since the contestants aren't all doing the same thing that Hasselhoff, Brandy and Simon Lite can use to provide the occasionally helpful comment. Ratings were good, so I may need to check back in a few weeks professionally, but otherwise I doubt I'd care.

Since I can't discuss "The Wire" in too much detail, today's recommendation is for something anyone can see over on YouTube: "Nobody's Watching." It's a pilot the WB rejected last year, created by Bill Lawrence, Neil Goldman and Garret Donovan, about two best friends and lifelong sitcom junkies (think J.D. times two) who get hired by the WB to develop a sitcom while at the same time living and working on a sitcom set (with a live studio audience) and starring in a reality show about their experiences. It's very meta, funnier than pretty much any actual sitcom the WB has ever aired (with the possible exception of "Grosse Pointe"), and yet I can see why it got rejected, as I'm not sure there's an entire series there. Still, worth a look, if for no other reason than to see Billy from "Battlestar Galactica" be funny.

And if that's not enough YouTube time-wasting for one day, there's always Yacht Rock.

12 comments:

jim treacher said...

Yacht Rock is good, but my favorite Channel 101 show is House of Cosbys.

Anonymous said...

Aw... are you sure you can't say anything more about The Wire?

I saw the preview for the new season this week, and thought Prez looked so grown-up!

--L

Louis said...

Good news on The Wire's imminent return. I guess I'll be hanging onto HBO for a while.

I missed season 3 when it first aired, and I'm catching up now via re-runs. So far, so good. If The Wire isn't my all-time favorite cop show, then it's close second to its ancestor, Homicide.

Mike said...

I watched the Nobody's Watching pilot and thought it was TERRIBLE. Remember how you said you couldn't figure out if Lucky Louie was trying to be a traditional sitcom or if it was spoofing them? This show had the exact same problem. And with the lame jokes, annoying laughter from the "audience," and all the mugging for the camera, the bottom line was that it wasn't funny or clever statement in any way. In fact, if it was trying to make a statement about today's sitcoms sucking then it succeeded in conveying the message a little TOO well.

Mike said...

I watched the Nobody's Watching pilot and thought it was TERRIBLE. Remember how you said you couldn't figure out if Lucky Louie was trying to be a traditional sitcom or if it was spoofing them? This show had the exact same problem. And with the lame jokes, annoying laughter from the "audience," and all the mugging for the camera, the bottom line was that it wasn't funny or clever statement in any way. In fact, if it was trying to make a statement about today's sitcoms sucking then it succeeded in conveying the message a little TOO well.

Alan Sepinwall said...

The Wire is so good it almost makes me embarrassed to have loved any other cop show, except maybe seasons 1-3 of Homicide and NYPD Blue.

What little I can say: Again, everybody is back. Omar? Back. Bubbs? Back. Bunny Colvin? Back, baby! Not to mention close to a dozen significant new characters, most of them kids. This also means that there are a lot of storylines to cover, including the mayoral election, McNulty's new life as a beat cop, Marlo's ongoing attempt to take over all the drug corners in Bawlmer, Cutty's boxing gym, the latest case (more of an old one, really) for Lester and the remaining members of the Major Crimes Unit, the start of a new school year and the pull between school and the corners for the kids, etc., etc., etc. And, two and a half episodes in, they're managing to make it all work.

Anon said...

Sure, Jim, you're all about the comedy, but if you want disturbing (yet compelling) dramas or disturbing (yet compelling) documentaries, Channel 102 is where its at.

Anon

Dark Tyler said...

The Wire is so good it almost makes me embarrassed to have loved any other cop show, except maybe seasons 1-3 of Homicide and NYPD Blue.
Alan, I was wondering where would you rate The Shield on that list. I only discovered your blog when searching the net for articles on that finale. While The Wire is definitely on my Top 5 shows when it's actually on air (no matter what else is on), I consider The Shield the best thing on TV since, I dunno, since Angel stopped breathing (pun intended... I think). Anyway, just wondering.

Anonymous said...

After hearing that Dominic West was reluctant about coming back and would have a diminished role this season, how much of McNulty have we seen in Season 4 so far.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Anonymous, McNulty is in at least two of the first four episodes, if not more (they all blend together for me), but he's definitely not the main character anymore. Most of his scenes are about his new happy life as a beat cop and Beadie Russell's boyfriend.

Dark Tyler, I'd probably go The Wire, then a tie between the first three seasons of NYPD Blue and Homicide, and then The Shield. Shield gets points for staying good longer, but Blue and H:LOTS at their peak were better.

Dark Tyler said...

Well then, I better get around to watching those NYPD Blue DVDs I have sitting on my desk since forever.

Anyway, can't wait for The Wire's return. Between that, The Shield's 6th season and The Sopranos' finale, next season in already looking too good.

dez said...

Why was Dominic West reluctant to come back?

Omar, Bubbs, and Bunny are back? Plus Prez and Lester? YEAH, BABY!! Can't hardly wait!