Thursday, September 14, 2006

Corner boys, UFO Boy, fly boys, Emo Boy and Anne Heche

The start of the TV season is a double-edged sword for this blog: I'll have much more to write about and much less time to do it in. Already I feel like I'm running behind, thanks to all the pilot and season premiere screeners coming in. Since this blog wasn't around for premiere week last year (it debuted in early October '05), I'm still feeling my way on how to handle the overload of stuff to see and write about. So apologies in advance if some of the commentary is a day or so late. If I know I'm clearly not going to get to something the day after it airs, I'll try to start a comments thread for it, then bump it back up top when I have time to write the review.

But I'm already running behind, so quick hits this morning:

  • That was one of the creepiest, most effective "House" teasers of all time, and a pretty good episode over all. My big problem lies with Cuddy and Wilson's attempt to House-break the good doctor. After two years of seeing him successfully use his patients as guinea pigs for wild, unsubstantiated theories, now they've decided he needs to stop relying on hunches?
  • Slightly improved episode of "Standoff," in that there was more relationship material, Gina Torres got more to do and the hostage crisis was more dramatic. On the other hand, my willing suspension of disbelief meter had to go off the charts to accept the fact that, 15 years after "Die Hard 2: Die Harder" -- not to mention five years after 9/11 -- there wouldn't be a plan in place to warn and divert all planes in the event of a takeover of air traffic control. Thanks to the dual tuner DVR, the show gets at least one more week, but once I'm in the thick of the new season, I'm going to have a hard time wanting to stick with it.
  • And so, on "Rock Star," Tommy Lee's man-love won out over the question of who could best sing his soon-to-be renamed band (the other Supernova won their court case yesterday, though Adam at ALOTTFMA can explain the legal ramifications much better than I can), and Lukas gets the gig in a very anti-climactic finale. I'm not saying that I wanted Toby to win, or that I even care who gets the privilege of fronting this lame-o band. But by having the final two be Lukas and Dilana, who everybody and their mother could have predicted as the final two from the very first episode -- even though Toby had so clearly passed Dilana both in performance quality and roit-ness for the band over the last month -- made the whole season feel like a pointless exercise, where the band came up with the boot order on the first night, then tried to concoct excuses to follow it, whether the person deserved to go or not. ("Magni, even though we don't want our lead singer to overshadow us, we feel like you fit in too well with a band, so...") In a way, it felt like that first season of "The Apprentice," where if you just studied everyone's resume, you could have picked Bill and Kwame as the final two. On the plus side, I would much rather spend three months listening to kick-ass rock music that has no competitive point than watch people sell art or drive pedi-cabs. All I know is that if I snag tickets to the show at Radio City, I'm going to be very psyched to see The House Band play with Magni, Toby, Dilana, Storm and whoever comes along, will hopefully enjoy Panic Channel, and then will beat a hasty retreat when Your Band Name Here comes on stage.
  • Though I reported on the news about "The Wire" a couple of nights ago, I strongly recommend reading today's column about it, if for no other reason than that the last four paragraphs were written by David Simon. And no matter how good I may feel about myself and my talents, I ain't in that guy's league. And if you go to the second page, you can read me pointing out the under-reported controversy about "Survivor: Cook Islands": the fact that there are, like, a dozen contestants with stronger than usual showbiz ties.
  • Forgot to ask: did anybody watch the "Men in Trees" premiere on Tuesday, and, if so, what'd you think? If someone other than Anne Heche were playing the lead, I might find it more tolerable. (On the other hand, wouldn't it have been awesome stunt-casting if the "House" people had her play UFO Boy's mom? Or even UFO Boy himself?)

Off to wrestle with my "Studio 60" review...


K J Gillenwater said...

I watched "Men in Trees." You are right, Anne Heche comes across a little cold. I also have trouble with pilots that toss everything against the wall, hoping that something sticks. By that, I mean, they have to set up every single thing that will eventually transpire over the season in that pilot episode.

Why in heck did that weird fan lady fly all the way to Alaska? That made no sense to me. Why is she there? What compelled her to follow Marin to a po-dunk town in the middle of nowhere?

Why would her editor do the same thing? Why couldn't she just call Marin and tell her she had to get her butt to Chicago? Instead, she flies thousands of miles? It didn't make sense.

Finally, the obvious main love interest for Marin. Why did they have to have a stupid semi-naked encounter after her fall in the ice? Have these writers read nothing about building sexual tension? They just dumped it on us, and made the attraction seem fakey and a little bit creepy. I don't care how cute some guy is, I would NOT strip naked with him under a blanket in the middle of nowhere. Let us get to know these characters a little more before you do stuff like that, writers!

I will give it one more go to see if the 2nd episode improves, but I'm not holding out any hopes.

Oh, and I think it is trying a bit too hard to be the female version of "Northern Exposure." I mean, did they have to have a quirky guy who runs a radio station? Did they have to have the obligatory bar where everyone hangs out all the time? Another fish out of water in Alaska story...but it's's a chick this time! (that is what I imagine the writers pitching in Hollywood)

It feels like it's been done before.

Anonymous said...

"Though I reported on the news about 'The Wire' a couple of nights ago, I strongly recommend reading today's column about it, if for no other reason than that the last four paragraphs were written by David Simon."

Humble cuss, ain't he?

Alan Sepinwall said...

It's not cockiness if you can back it up, IMO.

Laura Ingalls Wilder said...

For some reason I found Men in Trees totally endearing. I realize I might be the only one. I agree with Kristin that there plenty of silly plot lines, but it was totally watcheable and enjoyable in some i-can't-believe-i-like-this-crap kind of way.

Vance said...

I've actually been a fan of Anne Heche's, even during her demented days, but I was still surprised by how much I liked Men In Trees. While not exactly the most original series, it has a nice cast that made me laugh and a warm fuzzy endearing quality. It's no Gilmore Girls but it's definitely not as bad as everyone was writing about it. Right now, since it's on Friday, I'll keep watching since it's still at least less predictable then what Prison Break has become.