Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Reader mail: 'Lie to Me' & Fox mid-season, 'Curb'/'Seinfeld,' and more

As sometimes happens when I'm writing for both a print newspaper (with rigid space and deadline issues) and an online blog (where I can write as much as I want, whenever I want), there's sometimes duplication between the two. So a good chunk of this week's reader mailbag is me rehashing the news about Fox's mid-season schedule, while reassuring a "Lie to Me" fan that the show isn't over yet. Plus there's more talk about why "Seinfeld" fans shouldn't get their hopes up about seeing more of the fab four post-"Curb," and a brief thought on unsold pilots.

As I'm going to be having a busy day, feel free to discuss last night's Vegas/poker "Lie to Me" episode (featuring a couple of familiar faces from Shawn Ryan's "Unit" days) here.

17 comments:

shara says said...

Thanks for the Lie to Me update :) I hope it comes back sooner rather than later, long hiatus-es (hiati? hiatum?) drive me nuts.

Speaking of Lie to Me, I wasn't crazy about last night's episode. It was aiight, but the last 5 or 6 had been off the charts good (for a procedural, anyway), with character development that felt organic and interesting guest bits. I was kinda bored last night, and felt that a lot of folks were acting out of character. The guests weren't that interesting or compelling, the plot was kinda convoluted (maybe I was just really tired, but I had a lot of trouble following what was going on with the main plot), and it just didn't sit well with me all around. There were definitely parts I liked, and my enjoyment was probably hampered by my sheer exhaustion and the very high bar set by previous episodes. Just not a great night, plus no new Castle...

amysa said...

I wasn't crazy about last night's either. It was boring and pretty weak compared to some really great recent eps. It was originally scheduled weeks ago and pulled at the last minute. Wonder if the network thought it was weak, too, and didn't want to lose momentum? For that matter, I wonder where the "fall finale" falls in the original sequence since it seems odd that they'd kill their Thanksgiving and Christmas eps back to back, way too early.

That said, I'm still enjoying this show, even when it has a crap outing like last night.

Craig Ranapia said...

Thanks for the question re: Another season of Seinfeld

You're quite right to say, "Larry and Jerry have no interest in doing it, and are so unbelievably rich from the original run of the show that no amount of money could change their minds." But Jason Alexander is down here in New Zealand, and he was asked the same question. He said that he wouldn't be interested in coming back either because, as an actor, after 180 episodes he'd take a lot of convincing that there's anything new or interesting to do with George, as opposed to the "meta" version of himself he played on Curb.

Alexander made the damn good point that nobody cancelled Seinfeld; everyone made the decision that it was the best course to leave the stage while people would still be sad to see you go. Looking at a lot of other shows, it's hard to disagree with him.

Alan Sepinwall said...

At the time, Craig, I got the sense that the three supporting actors - who didn't make nearly as much money off the series as co-creators Larry and Jerry - would have been happy to have the show continue for another few years to cement their retirement plans. (As I recall, the last season was viewed as something of a favor Jerry was doing for his co-stars, who had just gotten big per-episode raises.)

It makes sense that a decade later, the money wouldn't be worth it to them, either (especially Julia, who's already into the fifth season of "Old Christine"), but back then, I suspect all three would have been perfectly happy to keep going had Jerry wanted to.

Craig Ranapia said...

At the time, Craig, I got the sense that the three supporting actors - who didn't make nearly as much money off the series as co-creators Larry and Jerry - would have been happy to have the show continue for another few years to cement their retirement plans.

Fair enough too, it would take a much better man than me to walk away from a monster like Seinfeld if I didn't have to. :) But with the benefit of hindsight, I don't know if Dreyfus and Alexander's careers (as opposed to their 401Ks) would have been well-served by a couple more seasons where the writing and ratings were in decline. I'm not the biggest fan of Seinfeld out there, but still have to grant that the crap-to-quality ratio was unusually low.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

The Seinfeld "reunion" on Curb made me really wish the economics of American TV would support something like Jerry and friends making four or five episodes or so anytime they felt like it. Sort of like Vicar of Dibley did in Britain for years.

Berko said...

Lie to me is really shaping up to be a great show. I rarely watch procedurals but somehow this one's got me hooked. This episode wasn't their best but the scenes where Reynolds repeatedly didn't bet on double zeros at the roulette table were pretty funny. I loved the ending when Cal put the Million there on his own. He's the epitome of cool and i can't wait to learn more about his past. Hope it comes back soon.

Anonymous said...

I'm really unhappy about the Loker/Torres pairing. It seems out-of-character for Torres to suddenly become shy and jealous around Loker when she's been dismissive of him for very good reasons.
I did like the Lightman-Foster dynamic - they see through each other so well. And Reynolds always adds to the fun. His flirting with Foster I had no problem with, most likely because I don't think it would go anywhere.

amanda said...

I have to second disappointment on the Loker/Torres moment. It isn't in keeping with Torres' arc, if the show/Cal is still grooming her to be second-in-command as it were -- and where did her government boyfriend go?

Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me what the song was that played at the beginning and end of the Lie to Me episode was? Something like "Watch out for the Hustler".

Anonymous said...

To Amanda: This is the same writer as before. I've also been wondering where on Earth Dupree disappeared to. He was comatose at the end of season 1, but I didn't get the impression that he had died, and no one has mentioned him yet this season. Humph.

Yemaya said...

I thought this was the best ep in ages. I'm not a fan of the big action Cal-goes-to-the middle-east ones. They're cliched and tiresome. It's much more enjoyable when he gets to show his humour - I think that's been missing recently. It's Cal's quirky character (and Roth in it), as well as the science, that sets this show apart from others, and I haven't had enough of either lately. I just think everyone does big drama storylines. I liked Lie to Me because it was different. I'll probably stick with it, cause of Roth, but I've been pretty disappointed lately.

Ariadne said...

My guess is that what happened with Dupree in Lie To Me is a new show-runner who is hot and heavy on the Lightman/Foster ship. This appears to require taking the Torres/Lightman hints of last year out of the equation as completely as possible. Dupree was off screen and not final enough therefore they had to hook Torres up with someone regularly on the show and the candidate was Loker. This pairing makes as little sense and have as little chemistry as ER when they hooked up Mark and Elizabeth because Anthony Edwards wanted his character married and she was the only one free.

I appreciate that Shawn Ryan is trying to make LTM more popular but the blatant push for Lightman/Foster is making me reluctant to watch the show these days. It's as subtle as a child hiding beneath a blanket and thinking no one can see him when he does.

I think iconoclastic male characters, like House, Lightman and Gibbs on NCIS, should remain single. Hooking them up with someone takes too much of the attention on to the wrong thing. Nothing against relationships on TV (can't wait to see what happens on Castle) but some men shouldn't be in an on-screen relationship. Even the FBI guy's marital scenes on White Collar leaving me wondering why the show is wasting time on this.

LA said...

I agree 100 percent with Yemaya.

Anonymous said...

I'm not liking this new, 'improved' Lightman with his dark and mysterious past full of 'bad' things and 'shady' dealings. I liked him and the show a lot better in the first season when he seemed more of an academic. It may be about time to delete the season pass from my TiVo.

Anonymous said...

The song you're looking for is "Heart of the Hustler" by Thunderball from the album Scorpio Rising ...

Rob said...

Horrible. Easily the worst episode of the season so far. Hoping it's just an outlier.

So let's see, you have a great set-up for dramatic scenes with Lightman in a poker game, like the prior ep, but instead of go that route, you ignore the poker completely and focus on the 'russian playboy'

let's just ignore the fact that lightman hits a 1-36 chance twice in a row like it's run lola run. How about how dumb blond chick decides to tell murderer guy that she's gonna call the cops? Great plan. Even better was the 30 seconds it took Lightman to realize "hey, she might be in trouble now"

And Loker and Torres...ugh... nauseating. Ant farm? WTF?

Sorry, I like this show a lot, but this was a real stinker.