Tuesday, January 13, 2009

TV: Fall 2008 ... The Fallen

With last Friday's broadcast, Stargate: Atantis is gone. Sort of. There is at least one movie in the planning and the success of life-extending movies for the original Stargate series, SG1, suggests that we will be seeing the cast and characters of the city by the bay (spoiler more or less intended) for a while to come. But I will miss the 20 episodes-a-year series for sure.

I thought the series finale was a really good hour (or 42 minutes, but you get the drift). It followed up on the CSI: Vegas send-up from the week before and contained enough twists and cameos to please this old coot. And I'm part of the minority who actually are happy Dr. Rodney McKay, the annoying Canuck genius, is growing up a little and getting into a cute relationship with Dr. Keller. David Hewlett and Jewel Staite have done a good job with something that was apparently thrown at them in the last year or so. All in all, Atlantis leaves us in a good place, looking forward to the movie (series?) and to the next Stargate series, Universe, debuting in July.

The rest of the fallen from Fall 2008 is a motley lot that doesn't include much to regret, save for Boston Legal, which tumbled to an end that included just about every rip a writer could get out about network TV executives and their complete and utter cluelessness about a TV audience which doesn't include 17-34 year old dunces. I'll eventually find a replacement for the tomfoolery that was the legal team at the heart of Boston Legal. And it'll probably be David E. Kelley's next show, whenever it comes out. So colour me a neutral sort of shade of sad.

I have no regrets over the passing of The Shield. The story had been writ large and was finished. Michael Chiklis' Vic Mackey was an iconic character that could not come to any other kind of ending. And it was a satisfying ending, compared to the fadeout that finished The S0pranos. Loud and profane, but ultimately human, The Shield made an art out of the flaw. Flawlessly.

Much has been made over the demise of Lipstick Jungle. Not being the target audience, I won't miss it. I only watched the show for Lindsay Price, who I find astonishly cute and who possesses the best eye-crinkling grin amongst all current actresses. I don't feel the same way about Brooke Shields and Kim Raver, so I used the remote, a lot, when watching the show. As usual, I did find Andrew McCarthy and Paul Blackthorne fun to watch act. But ending the show seems a mercy to me.

And what can you say about Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money? I 'enjoyed' the first season of the sugary, overly artsy Pushing Daisies. But when the day I spent watching the season on DVD was done, I didn't feel the slightest urge to see season two. Loved Anna Friel, and Chi McBride is never less than great. But I OD'd on bright colours and sentimentalism. I DID stick with Dirty Sexy Money to the end, but my enjoyment was fading as they turned Zoe McLellan, my original reason for watching the show, into somebody I didn't enjoy watching. Peter Krause and Donald Sutherland did their jobs, the rest and the writers didn't do enough compelling work in theirs.

The CW came up with a couple of shows that verged on watchability, then sank when the rented-out Sunday line-up for the micro-network went belly up. I'm a sucker for love shows and Valentine had some good elements. Amongst youngish actresses, Autumn Reeser and Christine Lakin, have been found appealing. But whoever did Jaime Murray's look in the show should be shot. She looked emaciated AND harsh, all at the same time. Was actually tough to look at. And Easy Money had very little in the way of support for Jay Ferguson's lead, other than Marsha Thomason. The rest of the clan at the loan company were simply unpleasant or bumpkins. Although it was a look at a rarely-seen segment of society, there's a reason we rarely see it. Sort of feels like the slime you occasionally have to scrub off the sides of your toilet, if you know what I mean.

Ahhh, what else was there? The first casualty of the season was the Jerry O'Connell-starring Do Not Disturb. It was a loud and leering. O'Connell works best when he's endearing and this makes two comedic failures in a row. He's a new papa and should take some time off, and then find a dramedy or even outright drama to play in, harkening back to the days of Crossing Jordan, and before that Sliders. Of course, I remember him as a kid playing in My Secret Identity. I am that old. The other quick hit last fall was putting The Ex-List out of viewers' misery. As uncharitable as it may seem, Elizabeth Reaser just wasn't good looking enough. I'm sure she's a knockout personality in person, but the show had to have a knockout looker too. And she wasn't it. If they'd only switched with Alexandra Breckenridge, the sexy, tattooed teacher best friend, the show might have had legs.

I have every episode of Eli Stone and My Own Worst Enemy ever broadcast. I might even watch them one of these years. Christian Slater is almost always entertaining. Hard to believe Enemy wasn't watchable. I will probably watch it and Eli Stone and end up decrying their early deaths. But I doubt it.

Well, that's it for the belated reviews of shows you'll never be able to watch ... unless they come out on DVDs. Enj0y them if you can!

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