Friday, February 10, 2006

Catching up

Forgot to do the column link yesterday, so a two-fer: today, I write about the "Arrested Development" two-hour finale (I've seen the first 90 minutes, and the first episode is by far the best), and yesterday I did a mailbag dealing with the done-in-one fate of "Emily's Reasons Why Not," a twin theory for "How I Met Your Mother," and some other errata.

Before I get to the quick reviews, a brief rant: A few nights ago, my TiVo stopped recording "The Shield" with a few minutes to go. Fortunately, it only clipped the preview and closing credits, so I didn't pay it much mind. Then last night, it clipped "The Office" with 8 minutes to go, completely deleting the third act. Now, this was the episode they were filming when I did the set visit for my story on the supporting characters, so I knew what was going to happen, but I'm still massively pissed off. And I'm apparently not the only person this keeps happening to. I usually don't bother with the celebrity interviews on "The Daily Show," but Harrison Ford said something very on point the other night: they told us that all this new technology was going to make our lives easier, but all it's done is give us more shit that people need to come to our houses to fix. Now excuse me while I hitch up my pants to my chest and get in line for the early-bird special.

So, TV... I'll start with the oldest and work my way forward this time:

"The Shield" was the first new one I'd seen in a while, since I got the first four a couple of months ago, and boy howdy was it worth the wait. Though it's predictable that Vic will always find a way out of these jams, I still loved watching Forest Whitaker flip out when he realized how badly he'd been played. I don't think Vic has any idea how difficult Kavanagh is going to make his life now. Before, it was just a case to him; now it's vendetta.

Speaking of con jobs, I should have seen Sawyer's stunt with the guns on "Lost" coming before it happened, especially after the scene where he explains the long con to Kim Dickens. (And nice to see her getting some non-"Deadwood" work.) But I was blindsided by it. This was one of the few useful flashbacks we've gotten this season; we didn't learn anything new about Sawyer, but it did at least parallel the island plot better than most have. Meanwhile, the writers seem to have recognized how much everybody hates Charlie and have turned him into a full-blown heel. (I think somebody on TWoP dubbed him "Darth Hoodie.") And we saw practically the entire cast for once, with the exception (I think) of Michael and Libby. Do you think that as Cynthia Watros was going through her whole drunk-driving public humiliation she was asking herself why they even bothered to bring her out to Hawaii in the first place?

I got to see "Veronica Mars" last week as preparation for my Diane Ruggiero profile, but it played just as well the second time, if not better. (The first time around, I didn't totally understand why Weevil was out to frame Thumper.) I like the high school-level mysteries, especially when they get to tie into the ongoing mysteries. Operation: Make Jackie Sympathetic is working like gangbusters, and Wallace's stunt with the baseballs was one of the kindest acts I've seen on TV in a long time. I didn't understand the amount of time being spent showing Logan scamming on some random uninteresting sophomore, but the reveal with her dad was perfect. Enrico Colantoni continues to be amazing; the look on Keith's face when he learned about the fixed game was heartbreaking. And Beaver pulling one over on Dick was sweet as well. Best exchange: "What's your posion?" "Emotionally unavailable women."

"Survivor: Janu Island" continues to be off to a much stronger start than Guatemala. And speaking of which, remember when I suggested that, in the show's history of batshit contestants, Bobby Jon might be the batshittiest? Not anymore; Shane has clearly sewn that title up for many seasons to come. What a drama queen baby. Wow. I'm going to love watching his inevitable demise (I hope). Current favorite players: Bruce (because martial artists are kewl, especially if they're named Bruce), Terry (because he reminds me of Tom from Palau in his superhuman challenge strength), Dan (because astronauts are kewl) and Misty (because missile engineers are kewl, and because she's the only woman contestant who hasn't done anything to annoy me yet). I'm disappointed they merged the four tribes so quickly; I would've loved watching the older women suffer and suffer for their decision to get rid of Tina.

"My Name Is Earl" was one of the better ones, particularly Earl and Randy struggling to understand the laptop ("Hey, it's another porn machine!"), Randy refusing to be paddled and, of course, the bee sting makeup. I'm just annoyed that they didn't let Earl get some. You know, he could've fixed the bus stop and then gone back to the college. There's a line between trying to make a sleazebag likable and just making him a pushover, and I think this show errs too far on the side of making Earl nice and safe.

"Office" I can't comment on until I've seen the final third (thank God for iTunes), and I still need to watch "Everybody Hates Chris" and, much as I don't want to, "The O.C." But this post is long enough already. Later.


Alan Sepinwall said...

It's a TiVo problem, not an NBC problem. It also happened to me on Friday with Battlestar Galactica. TiVo Community has a whole thread about it. You may want to try unplugging your TiVo, waiting about a minute and plugging it back in to do a hard reboot. I've tried that and in the day and a half since, everything's recorded fine.

As for The Office, I just went to iTunes and spent the two bucks to download it. If you want, I can tell you what happened, though I know that's not as good as seeing it.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you an give MythTV a try - a free DVR software package that runs on a spare PC [running Linux]. It's good stuff, and there's no fee to run it. You need to have a TV card on the PC though, which range in price from cheap to moderately priced. Check it out at