Sunday, January 03, 2010

TV: The Sunday Review of Fall 2009

See the Saturday Review for all the preamble. No sense re-typing it.

Sunday is 60 Minutes. Even when football runs long on CBS, SunTV is showing it at 7pm in its entirety, which is a boon for those of us who record the show. Don Hewitt's legacy wasn't always a Sunday staple. Back in the last century when I was still a teenager, 60 Minutes cropped up during the week! Don't know if they were repeats or whether the show actually shifted mid-week (I think Tuesday's but I could be wrong), but this was the flagship show, not the late, unlamented 60 Minutes II. (Well except for introducing me to Charley Rose). I distinctly remember the segment that made me a 60 Minutes fan for life. It was on William Stephenson and the cracking of the Enigma Machine. I haven't stopped watching the show since. Although, to be honest, I'm usually watching the end of the football game, while the recorder does its duty.

The two new shows that joined 60 Minutes on the disks were Three Rivers, also from CBS and The Battle of the Blades from our own CBC. Three Rivers was a goner before it ever aired. In fact, I'm shocked I managed to get through even one episode about the Pittsburgh-based organ transplant team. But I did and it grew on me. Figures. A medical show I like and the rest of you hate it. I would have preferred somebody keep Alex O'Loughlin on the air with his vamp show, Moonlight, a one-and-done 2008 gem that people also didn't care for. Idiots. But he'll eventually find a vehicle you and I will agree should stay on the air.

The Battle of the Blades was one show I only watched on Sundays, the day of the actual competition. I skipped all the Monday shows AND forgot to record the finale, having to watch it over the net at the CBC site. I enjoyed watching some of the hockey B-listers make the switchover (eventually) to figure skates. But like all reality shows, the public voting was nonsensical. Thus Craig Simpson and Jamie Sale were rewarded for a season's worth of excellence rather than their performance in the denouement, where they were obviously third-best behind Claude Lemieux/Shae-Lynn Bourne and Stephane Richer/Marie-France Dubreil. Simpson, a CBC celebrity and non-francophone and reigning Olympic gold pairs medalist Sale were good, just not good enough. But it, like American Idol and others of the ilk, was a popularity contest. Ahhh well.

The recording centre is also busy Sundays recording CTV's seminal high school drama, Degrassi: The Next Generation (Two back-to-back episodes each week) as well as the early-morning sports reporter gab-fest The Reporters on TSN. I've had my personal differences with Dave Hodge over the years, but he runs a usually entertaining half-hour with regulars Damien Cox and Steve Simmons.

Which brings me to the Sunday-night cable hits. Dexter, Californication, Bored to Death and the end of the summer season of Drop Dead Diva. All are finished now, so nothing I'm going to say is going to affect your decisions to have watched them, or to go out and get the DVD set. You either like the killer in Dexter or not, the sex-addict in Californication or not or the obsessive dreamer in Bored to Death or not. I like all three. But I really loved all of Drop Dead Diva, surely one of my top 25 shows when my birthday rolls around in July. Brooke Elliott is a star. A plus-sized star for sure. But a star nonetheless. This is one DVD set worth getting. And the second season makes this summer something to look forward to.

Tomorrow (maybe), the problem (even with three recorders) that is making decisions on Monday night TV.

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