Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What's Wrong with Network Television?

'Cause it's apparently tanking. Especially the shows introduced before the strike last year. Was it the strike that did them in or were the shows just bad?

I've seen Pushing Daisies a few times, and at first thought it creative and different, but after last week I decided it was too fey and/or twee for me.

Dirty Sexy Money: how about writing one likable character? And rich is out, right? Watching the hue of Donald Sutherland's tie and shirt change from scene to scene is not enough.

Fringe, a YZ version of X files.

Desperate Housewives:
those forty-something designer faces are beginning to look like grimaces.

Life on Mars show promise but since the first episode was a replica of the BBC show it's hard to tell. Loved the BBC version so maybe this...

The X list. Thirty-somethings in a kid's plastic pool? Will it be a playpen next week? The long-reach of Friends/Seinfeld where growing up is for suckers.

Is there anything you really like on TV? How about in Canada and the UK? For me, it's Dexter, Mad Men, Big Bang Theory, The Office and Thirty Rock. I'd watch Friday Night Lights but it's on Direct TV. Could it be any more frustrating?


Kitty said...

Other than The Office and possibly 30 Rock, we don't watch network tv at all. We loved Sopranos and Carnivale, and my favorite show is The Closer, which is on hiatus until January. I watch Law & Order (original and Criminal Intent) in reruns.


Anonymous said...

I've been reduced to reality TV, the History Channel, Family Guy, and can't wait until Battlestar Galactica comes back to finish up.

Why did HBO have to cancel Deadwood?

Scott D. Parker said...

Really like: CSI: Miami; Boston Legal; CSI; The Office; Eli Stone; 24; Lost

Enjoy while watching: Rules of Engagement; Old Christine

New fav (as of last night): My Own Worst Enemy

Taped but have not watched: Life on Mars

Other than network TV, I enjoy Project Runway (yes, really), Anthony Bourdain, Iron Chef (Japan and America)

So, there is much more stuff I don't watch than I do.

Shauna Roberts said...

I like the new Blood Ties (HBO) and love Dr. Who (SciFi) and Torchwood (BBC America). I used to watch HGTV all the time, but they've changed their type of programming and I haven't watched in perhaps a year. Of network TV, I watch only Ugly Betty and Sarah Connor Chronicles.

The good side of their being so few good shows on TV is that I have some time for reading.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I miss Sopranos and The Wire. And everyone watches those reruns, I bet. A great thing when you're just tuckered out and can't read anymore.
I missed a year of Battlestar and am now hopelessly lost. I like CSI but my husband doesn't so we don't see that too often. I forgot about Eli Stone. Old Christine is getting better. Hubby loves Iron Chef. He's the cook. Yes, what happened to the garden shows on HGTV. It did change. I wish I had HBO right now but I can't give up Dexter.

Randy Johnson said...

Criminal Minds is the best crime show on TV for me.
I like Doctor Who and Torchwood which aren't showing at the moment.

James Reasoner said...

I laugh from beginning to end at THE BIG BANG THEORY every week. But that may be because I know people exactly like that. (As I used to say about WKRP IN CINCINNATI after working in small-market radio: that's not a sitcom, it's a documentary.)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, I should have put that on here. I think that is one of the best written series on today. And there must be a physicist on the writing staff. I'll go add it right now.

Todd Mason said...

Well, PUSHING DAISIES was too twee from the beginning, but I'll still watch it on the rare occasion I'm around a set when it's on.

It mostly wasn't that the shows were bad, so much as most were Involving, which can pay off big when one actually hits with audiences...but which lose audiences fast (in at least two senses) when they don't hit big.

NBC will be running FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS again at midseason, or at least that's the plan.

As I wrote elsewhere, the rock in the tapioca for me in catching the latter half of the LIFE ON MARS pilot (part of that on the radio, since ABC is on Channel 6 in Philadelphia, so the soundtrack is at the bottom of the FM dial for a few more months in the US) wasn't so much that I loved the UK original (I might not've given it enough of a chance, but I Only Liked it), but the little attempts to show off the '70 verisimilitude kutely, much worse in this regard than even the worst of SWINGTOWN, such as the bartender who is gobsmacked when our protagonist asks for a Diet Coke in 1973-- "That Would be Something," the barkeep says in mild confusion which goes on at length, as opposed to immediately asking, "You mean you want a Tab?"

However, its cast helps, not least Gretchen Mol.

Stuff I like on broadcast: OLD CHRISTINE (I've always found it funny), SAMANTHA WHO?, LIFE, NUMB3RS, CHUCK (though I haven't seen it yet this season), THE OFFICE, SCRUBS (even if last season was mostly in a slump), 30 ROCK, ER (as tired as it can be), CSI, the new CW series EASY MONEY (haven't seen VALENTINE yet), DA VINCI'S INQUEST (Canadian import), COLD CASE (as tired as it can be at times), and what little I've seen of BIG BANG THEORY was pleasant enough.

Cable: MAD MEN, BURN NOTICE, DEXTER, ENTOURAGE (another series past its prime, but still), SONS OF ANARCHY, THE SHIELD; WEEDS, PSYCH and FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS up to a point, THE L WORD, SLINGS AND ARROWS (Canadian, imported by Sundance Channel) and a Maria del Mar miniseries likewise (title's slipping my mind), THE DAILY SHOW, THE COLBERT REPORT; CHELSEA LATELY and THE SOUP when I'm ready for a cheap laugh. HEAD CASE and TALK SHOW WITH SPIKE F. likewise.


There's no lack of good material.

Todd Mason said...

Btw, the budget is such that is has to be HBO OR Showtime? Comcast is so overpriced that I might as well take, as I do, a HBO/Showtime/Starz-Encore/IFC/Sundance package.

I should've noted I find PUSHING both twee and clever, and like FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, too, if not quite enough to see every episode. CALIFONICATION seemed fresher in its first season.

Todd Mason said...

FUTURAMA's few new scraps on Comedy Central allow me to class it with the other ongoing series, and the mildly perverse offerings of Adult Swim, particularly THE VENTURE BROS. and HARVEY BIRDMAN, ATTORNEY AT LAW, are worth checking. AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE, not so much. And then there's NOVA, and FRONTLINE, and NOW and the Moyers show and...well, goodness. There's really no shortage of interesting things. If only occasional brilliance. But tv is definitely averaging better than films these days.

Anonymous said...

Dexter is my favorite right now. The Brotherhood will be back on later this fall. Closest thing we have to The Sopranos.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Todd, are we living in the same universe? Where are these shows in your last comment? Are they on ordinary cable TV or are you pulling in other galaxies through your super antennae?
Californication scares me. I will switch back to HBO when Dexter is over because I'm tired of Weeds, The Tudors and The Brotherhood.
Oh, boy, I never got SCRUBS. It seems like the same show every week to me. It is twee and clever but my husband's groaning gets to me. Old Christine gets better all the time. A rare thing.

Todd Mason said...

FUTURAMA, as noted, is running on Comedy Central...the others are on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block and on PBS.

I was trying to think of something good and regular on Ion, but aside from some of their films and some of their repeats, nothing much was coming to mind. And I've yet to see a full episode of RAISING THE BAR on TNT...

pattinase (abbott) said...

Dexter just gets better each year, Steve.
Too long went by in my viewing of The Brotherhood. I lost my sense of the battles being fought. Maybe I need to rent it and watch it more quickly. It's not ON DEMAND now.
How about the Christian Slater show? Wildly diverging opinions.

Todd Mason said...

I saw only the last ten minutes or so last night, but just listened to the entirety on Hulu.com while working...relatively solid, a good fit for Slater. Always very happy to see Maedchen Amick and Alfre Woodard. CSI MIAMI will overpower it in ratings and NBC may or may not kill it way to quick.

Ray said...

UK TV is a little dull at the moment. Best US show here, for me, is Heroes season 3.
Holby City (a hospital series) has run an interesting storyline involving asylum seekers and Siamese twins.

But there is quite a good series on Saturday nights called Merlin - if you like Dr Who and Torchwood you might just like this as well.

Todd Mason said...

The Maria del Mar miniseries I mentioned, btw, is TERMINAL CITY.