Friday, September 26, 2008

Sepinwall on TV: Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

With so many shows debuting on Sunday -- including the entire Sunday lineups of ABC, CBS, Fox and Showtime, plus a couple of new HBO comedies -- I took the grab-bag approach to today's column, with quick-hit reviews of "Dexter," "The Simpsons," "Little Britain," "The Life and Times of Tim," "Californication," "The Unit" and "The Amazing Race."

As this is an absurdly busy time for me, the only one of those I'm going to do a separate post on for Sunday night is "Dexter." Feel free to use this post to comment on any or all of the other Sunday product (plus other shows I didn't write up, if you want).

10 comments:

Matthew L said...

Interesting column - thanks for that.

Just one note - under the sectgion on "The Unit", you refer to "The Shield" reinventing itself. I assume this was a mistake?

I was pretty sick of Little Britain pretty early in its UK run - pretty much every character on the show had the one joke, and pretty much every sketch for those characters ended with the same punchline, but repeated in minorly different settings. (That was the good thing about Lou and Andy - they at least had two jokes, the one where Andy isn't disabled, and the one where he changes his mind. This meant that there was at least some suspense at the start of a sketch which joke would be in this one.)

The thing that kept me watching was the overly-optimistic hope that Walliams and Lucas (who I do think are talented) would pull out something different this time. That, and the fact that most episodes would feature some one-off characters that wouldn't overuse the same jokes, and could therefore actually be funny.

Looking at the HBO website, it looks like the new show is mostly new characters with a few old characters making appearances. So I'll give it a watch, if only for the new characters - at least until I get sick of the new jokes.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Nice catch on the Shield/Unit mistake, Matthew. Thanks. Fixed.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, the new characters seem to be about as one-joke as the originals.

m said...

...or Dexter [...] realizing he's never had anyone to talk to before.

You mean realizing he has not had anyone to talk to for however much time has passed since season two, when he found Lila and realized he had never had anyone to talk to before?

Repetitive? I would say.

How many of the new episodes have you seen? I thought season two went seriously off the rails mid-point, when they abandoned the edgier content -- Dexter running the risk of killing innocent people, be it by mistake or to cover his tracks; Dexter trying to build himself an apprentice -- in favour of Psycho Lila solving all the ethical quandaries for him.

Some spoilers I read had lead me to hope season three would revisit those topics, with Jimmy Smit's district attorney taking the role of early Lila. But your write-up makes it sound as if the show is stuck in safe-mode. So, does it get better, or should I strike "Dexter" from my viewing schedule?

GMNJ said...

It's funny...I thought Dexter's 2nd season was like a series finale because of the way so much of Dexter's story arc was resolved -- the Dexter/Doakes showdown, Dexter's new interpretation of Harry's code, Dexter's fear of being discovered, and Dexter and Rita's relationship being pushed to the edge. As the show goes on, how much more is left for Dexter to resolve? I say this as someone who loved all of season 2 for the way in which supporting characters seemed to have more to do. But I wonder how much more really needs to be told after last season, so please keep us posted if this season is worthwhile.

cgeye said...

So The Unit finally dropped the other shoe about the weasely colonel's wife who proclaimed 'five or six families run the US'?

And, instead of those rich families co-opting the POTUS with either campaign contributions, planted advisers, or blackmail, they go for a mere killing, which, when considering the permanence of the permanent government and the intractability of the bought-and-paid-for legislative and judicial branches, seems like overreach and overkill?

Then the po' Unit families, with their insipid, evil wives have to go on the run? FEH.

Sounds like Mamet's reaching to make his usual fascist-approving show tabloid-relevant, and Ryan's coasting along on the ride until his shows in development are greenlit...

Alan Sepinwall said...

cgeye, near as I can tell, the story being set up in the season premiere has nothing to do with the Rebecca Pidgeon stuff.

Allison said...

My husband and I both said that "The Life and Times of Tim" would fit in perfectly on that Sunday night lineup of stoner cartoons on Cartoon Network, but feels really out of place on HBO.

Tracey said...

Regarding the Simpsons being set on St. Patrick's Day: Could this have been an episode that was held back because of the writers' strike, and originally intended to air on St. Patrick's Day?

It was an OK episode, but not as big a deal as you usually expect from a season opener, not something that would build up much anticipation.

Anonymous said...

OK I can see Parkour, but I think it was more appropo of the Simpsons Video game, including jumping from planet to planet in the science museum (straight out of the game)...

Puff