Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Misc. Re: TV

There's other stuff out there. I can only speak for what I've been watching but I think it's worth noting even if it doesn't fit exactly in this grid.

1. We are in the midst of the final season of Monk. A consistently smarter and more committed actor one could not hope to meet than Tony Shaloub and he has brought all of his best assets to bear on this show. I think we'll enjoy him in syndication for many years to come.

2. Psych has been paired with Monk for the past couple of seasons. It's high camp rather than high art but elevated by a superb cast headed by James Roday and Dule Hill.

3. I've taken some shit for championing Saving Grace and I will happily continue to defend it. It is not, to be sure, a tightly written or envisioned show but it is unflinching in its exploration of spiritual questions in an unspiritual age. Holly Hunter is a gift every time she walks on screen and she is supported by a group you'd never expect to see in the same room who work like a well oiled machine.

4. Paired with Saving Grace on TNT is The Closer. Both shows honor TNT's commitment to quality starring roles for A list actresses over the age of 40. The Closer is more run of the mill in form than SG but the cast is of similarly high quality and the writing is, perhaps, a bit better crafted. These shows just completed short summer seasons and will be back for a few episodes around Christmas. Catch them in reruns, on DVD or the internet.

5. Speaking of strong roles for older actresses you might think about catching up with Glenn Close in Damages. The second season last year was as little disappointing. It had, I think, the same problem that Veronica Mars encountered. The first season was so intricately designed with a long run up since it was the first season. With less time to prepare a second season it was easy to become muddled. Hopefully Damages will have learned from their wobbling and come back strong.

6. On the same network, FX, Nip/Tuck is almost upon us. It's gross, it's soapy, it's crass and it relies heavily on shock value. It's fucking riveting in a terrible way. If you've seen the episode with the weight challenged actress and the hot tub you may never hot tub with acquaintences again.

7. USA has a penchant for wham bang adventure shows. Somehow they've infused Burn Notice with enough brains to make it gripping in the long term. I loved this summer season of spy school and can't wait for it to come back.

8. In Plain Sight, another USA offering, isn't as smart as Burn Notice but does capitalize on the big brass balls of star, Mary McCormack. She's a fine character to keep your eye on.

9. In the less adventury but no less whammy and bangy category is Royal Pains, which had its inaugural season this summer. It's a hospital show with no hospital! It's rich and poor living together. There's a shark! But mostly the brothers around which the show revolves, played by Mark Feuerstein and Paulo Costanzo, draw you in like a fish on a terribly tangled line.

10. Coming in October on USA Matthew Bromer of Chuck, Tru Calling and Guiding Light fame, is fronting a show called White Collar. He seems to be playing a super hot white collar criminal who is released from prison on condition of helping a government agency catch bad guys (and gals, I'm sure). It looks fun, I'm going to try and catch it. USA makes that relatively easy with plenty of repeats.

11. Rescue Me gave us a 22 episode season this year that wrapped up last Tuesday. The shows creators do not plan out a season fully in advance which leads to a certain inconsistency that became perhaps a little too apparent when all 22 episodes were strung together in an unbroken line. Despite that when this group is on they light me up like a fucking Light Brite. This is, I believe, the only piece of 9/11 fiction that I can tolerate. To my mind it honors the event and the people affected by it without pandering or lying. The whole series is worth your attention.

12. While I'm at this I could not possibly fail to plug The Wire. The series wrapped over a year ago, I know, but no matter. It is undoubtedly the best thing television has ever seen. I've said before that The Wire is unmatched from the widest of its arcs to the pickiest details of its dialogue. I know that both the visuals and the emotions are raw and painful. That, too, is no matter. I won't go so far as to say it's unpatriotic at this point in history not to watch this show but I'll say whatever comes right before that. Just tell me what that is and I'll say it.

Wow, this was way more information than I thought I'd have to give. And I thought I had plenty to give. Woof. Hope it's what you were looking for Chili, dear. Now go program that TiVO!


P.S. That means I'm done now. Sorry if I was overwhelming. I love TV, though. You knew that already. Once I got started I could not stop until I was completely purged of information. At least I hope it's completely or I'm going to be waking up at night to kick myself.


  1. i'm so pissed about LIFE that I could just spit.
    i could spit nails.
    i feel like if a show with that kind of arc story gets the ax, they should at least post somewhere the end of it and how it all tied together.


  2. This is excellent.

    I'm going to ask for the Rescue Me season for Christmas; I missed the whole fucking thing.

    I'm trying to catch up with the reruns of Sons ahead of tonight's premier. I'm heading into the last three episodes which, if memory serves, were particularly wrenching. I love it.

  3. Zelda, we need to provide some sort of bloggy anonymous outlet for writers who have been put out of work because of stupid cancellations. They need a place where they can come tell us how it would all have turned out.

    I just caught up in Sons last night and it's an intense little piece of business, that's for damn sure.

  4. Would wikileaks.org work as the anonymous outlet?

  5. I'm very fond of most of those that you've mentioned; ROYAL PAINS kinda grew on me as it progressed, as did IN PLAIN SIGHT. I'm going to be sorry to see MONK go, but there are fine replacements in line. These days, my favorite program is PHINEAS AND FERB. You should try it.

  6. Alex and I apparently only watch shows drenched in testosterone. Rescue Me, Entourage, and Hung are the three shows we follow. We rarely miss Craig Ferguson. I know, I know, we would love Mad Men. We'll get to it eventually!

  7. I love so many of these shows, but perhaps Saving Grace especially. I can't recall another character like Grace. She fascinates me.

  8. In a lot of ways I kind of wish I could be Grace. She's dangerous but she's all-giving, too.