I think my schedule's going to be wonky for a while. I'm still re-adjusting to the time zone, and I have about a million DVDs and things on the TiVo to catch up on. I went into the office yesterday and spent more than an hour just opening all the mail that accumulated while I was gone, and just as I was walking out, feeling like I had accomplished something, the receptionist said, "Oh, Alan, that big pile over there is yours, too. Your desk was becoming a fire hazard."
First up, after my childhood-justifying meeting with Stan Lee and my hand-injuring encounter with Ty'Veculus, there was no way I wasn't going to watch "Who Wants to Be a Superhero?" Extremely cheesey but fun, especially if you're a raging geek like me. Stan the Man is, if anything, even stiffer than Donald Trump -- the bit where he threw a temper tantrum over the contestants' blatantly staged "party" was painful -- but the contestant mix is pretty good, even if the only two genuine comic book nuts went home in episode one. On the plus side, Cell Phone Girl is the only one who seems like a blatant famewhore, and Major Victory is so damn nuts that I think he's posessed by the undead ghost of Adam West. (And what a shock: the one contestant picked by the fanboys is a hottie in a low-cut gold lame bodysuit.) Not a bad little time-waster, though I hope future tasks will be less repetitively-edited (that, or they get a kid whose fake crying is more believable).
On the recommendation of some people on the "Life on Mars" thread, I checked out a little of "Garth Marenghi's Darkplace," which is a spoof of late '70s/early '80s cheese, a sort of "Galaxy Quest"-esque fake show written by and starring a hack British horror writer. (I'm explaining this badly; forgive me, but I'm jet-lagged.) What I've seen so far is funny (especially the "performance" by Marenghi's publisher), but it doesn't feel like it has a lot of legs. After all, only three out of the six "Police Squad" episodes are any good, and those three all felt more layered than this. But I'll finish this one up and give next week's a shot.
Got through the last two "lost" episodes of "Chappelle's Show," and now I understand why Comedy Central only wanted to send the first one out. Pretty much anything that was good at all was used in that first one, though I will never complain about watching Dave's Lil John impression ("WHAT?"). And I can see how the racial fairies sketch would have made Dave uncomfortable, if not "give up $50 million and flee to Africa" uncomfortable.
The two most recent "Entourage" episodes were two of this uneven season's strongest, mainly because the writers played to the show's biggest strength: letting Jeremy Piven go absolutely berserk at all the things in the world he can't control. Ari being unable to reach Vince unless he got Drama a job was brilliant -- as was Lloyd swooping in to save the day. The threesome story was also a rare interesting focus on Eric (though, typically, most of the entertaining scenes about it featured Eric talking about it with the other guys). Definitely one of those "be careful what you wish for" scenarios.
I watched both the post-fight "Deadwood" episodes while I was out in LA, both times right before drifting off to sleep after a long day at tour, which I realize is not the ideal condition to be watching this show. What to me felt like two fairly uneventful hours were interpreted by Matt to be much deeper than that. I don't know whether he's right or wrong in his analysis, but in my fatigue mostly what I noticed was how pointless all the scenes with the theater company seem. I will never complain about an appearance by Brian Cox, and Langriche makes a good foil for Al, but when it's just Jack and his actors, I'm both bored and frustrated by the feeling I get that Milch planned to resolve most of their story in the now-nonexistent fourth season.
I didn't have a chance to comment on either "Contender" episode after the fact. I was amused that the premiere played out almost exactly like the season one opener, with the least-heralded fighter knocking off the alpha dog (even Alfonso commented on it in show two). And, of course, the winning streak continued in episode two, though the fight wasn't as competitive. Jeff Fraza has to be feeling like a jinx at this point; whether he's on the blue team or the gold, the same bad luck keeps happening. Will he get the mumps before he gets to fight? I know some people have complained that the lower budget is too noticeable, but I don't miss Sly or the challenges or even the celebs in the audience, and I felt both fights were shot and edited at least as well as the early season one bouts.
Some people commented on "Life on Mars" in that post, but has anybody given "Eureka" a shot?
Still have to watch the most recent "Rock Star" performances and some other stuff, but this blog has been dark for too many days in a row. Time to hit the "publish post" button. Hopefully back with real-time "Deadwood" and "Entourage" reviews on Monday.