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Thursday, May 05, 2005

TV I Watch -- I don't watch much TV, because, frankly, a lot of it sucks. Like, I grew up loving Star Trek in the 1970s and was devoted to The Next Generation throughout all the ups and downs of its run. Somewhere after Star Trek: First Contact I started to actively hate the people in charge of "the franchise," though, and I remember Insurrection, Nemesis, the series finale of Deep Space 9, most of Voyager and all of Enterprise with varying degrees of loathing. For all the hammy acting and overwriting, Babylon 5 probably remains my favourite science fiction TV series, although J. Michael Straczynski is probably one more bad comic book away from beginning to chip away at the goodwill I retain for that series.

The Prisoner, Fawlty Towers, Twin Peaks and the British version of The Office are all all-time favourites that I would bring to that mythical desert island with me; it's no coincidence that I have them all on DVD, despite the outrageous price of the full-season Prisoner set and the sadly as-yet unreleased status of Twin Peaks Season Two. I've never even been able to successfully download those, although apparently it is possible if the stars are aligned the right way, or so I hear.

Here's a look, then, at what I currently am watching on my teevee.

The Shield -- Despite occasional doubts about certain plot elements and how they relate to the fact that the show is a Fox production (see next entry, as well), this is cutting-edge storytelling with a flawless performance from star Michael Chiklis and all-around excellent work from all the other actors, too. Glenn Close has settled in nicely, and the Acaveda character has succeeded in becoming even more loathsome than Vic Mackey in his darkest moment (which was, you'll note, at the end of the very first episode).

24 -- Anyone beside me notice that Jack Bauer says "nukuler?" Yes, this is a Fox production, and in addition to the Arab-bashing this season, Our Hero must apparently emulate the Resident-in-Chief's verbal uneloquenceness. Despite all that, this season has been the most riveting yet, with only the badly-paced episode featuring the shooting down of Air Force One standing out in my mind as a mis-step. Having no inside knowledge of the series at all, I fully expect that Jack won't make it out of this season alive. Of course, I also thought he'd shoot Paul on the operating table to relieve the doctor of his ethical dilemma, and I was wrong about that, so...anyway, yeah, 24 is probably the series I most look forward to every week.

The Daily Show -- The one I most look forward to every day, though, is Jon Stewart's amazing faux news show. Ironically you'll find more real news on any given episode than in any 24 hours of any "real" cable news network. Just the best televised journalism around, and increasingly, the only choice for people interested in actual news.

The Sopranos -- Man, it's been a long time since this has been on. But when it is in session, it's one of the best series in the history of television. I'd love to own the way over-priced DVD sets, but, did I mention how overpriced they are?

Justice League Unlimited -- The only corner of the DC Universe that I have any remaining interest in at all. Just a wonderful series, as all the various Batman and Superman and such series leading up to it were. And one of the few series that every single member of my family seems to enjoy equally.

Lost -- I'm not entirely convinced this one is gonna hold up when all is finally revealed, but so far it's been one hell of a ride.

Boston Legal -- I could watch Spader and Shatner chew the scenery all day long. I just wish creator David Kelley had a better grasp of what does and doesn't work in his writing.

Doctor Who -- Oh, here's another one that my kids and I enjoy together. Sure, the "Dalek" episode had a goofy ending, but observing my 9 and 11 year olds watching it, it worked for the target audience. So far, this revival has been good to very good overall, and I really like Bille Piper's Rose Tyler, even if it seems everyone on the V hates her.

The Simpsons -- Don't always remember to tape this, but when we watch it, it's still good, subversive fun.

Arrested Development -- Ditto.

ER -- The longest-running series my wife and I have watched since Day One. Sometimes it seems a little long in the tooth, but many of the recent characters seem worthy of the series, and Donnie Darko convinced me that Noah Wyle is just one hell of an actor. I'm gonna miss him once he's down to a few episodes a year beginning next season.

The Office -- Yeah, the US version. Cancelled after six episodes, and you know, shit! I was really enjoying it on its own merits. I was even rooting for Jim and Pam, without reflecting on Tim and Dawn in any noticable way. It's a shame this one didn't get more of a chance. For the record, other than the pilot and the basketball episode, most every episode was worth watching.

NYPD Blue -- That pull-back from the boss's office with Andy sitting in the big chair was just goddamned moving television. The series got wonky somewhere in the middle, but the last few episodes really captured what was good about Blue, and I don't think there'll ever be a time I don't miss having this show be a part of my week.

So, my fellow bloggers: What are you watching?


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