Tuesday, November 23, 2004

MORE TV REPORT CARDS – CBS

CBS is a tough network for me to write about. They definitely have the most shows that I watch, but have no particular passion for. This probably fits in with the “passionless quality” mandate the network has seemed to have since the Eisenhower administration, but in the beginning, I got quite a buzz off of CSI. How are things stacking up:

COLD CASE: Put this on the list of shows that I watch cause’ my wife does. My feelings on this show have basically not changed since the pilot aired – solid worthy production, good but unexciting writing, no outstanding charisma in the otherwise decent cast (the Peter principle is in operation here – I think the lead would make a great 2nd character, the second character would make a great supporting cast member, etc.). The major strike against it is that is about the 100 millionth OK cop drama on the air right now. My thought after the pilot (as now) was “pretty good but superfluous.”

The show has one specific thing to recommend it – its device of using period music to set the tone of the flashbacks. They tend to collect songs not just from the era of the scenes, but which indicate the culture that the story is happening in, and counter pointing the plot/theme. This could get heavy handed quite easily (as the “Who’ll stop the rain” rainy scene did in the pilot), but whoever does the selection, in general, misses seeming on the nose, and has a good ability to choose songs that evoke the memories, without making you queasy.

I’m sounding too harsh, though (I have a tendency to be overcritical – I love Veronica Mars, for instance, but you really wouldn’t know it from my review). This is an enjoyable show that just doesn’t grab you and shout, “watch me!” And in this TV landscape, that would have been enough to make me drop it if my wife didn’t like it so much. Anyway, this show, after improving just a little better during the first third of last season (its first), has had a constant quality level ever since. The further exploration of the main character’s life (a sure danger sign) has peen toyed with, but is still bearably at arms length.

TWO AND A HALF MEN: My wife loves this show, and often watches without me, and I wish she wouldn’t, because I rather like it too. Since Joey fell by the wayside, this is the only comedy I’m watching (which is because it may be the only funny one on). I think this show has improved, and every episode I have seen this season has been excellent.

The CSI’s: When the first CSI aired, I thought, after a respectable period of gelling, that it was the best new show of the year (competition – Ed which was great out of the gate, but had a slow fade/don’t care anymore problem present from the end of the first season). The end of season one and season 2 were fabulous. When CSI Miami started, there was an immediate diluting effect noticeable on the writing pool, such that there seemed to be an allotted number of great eps, whether they had one or two shows. This got better, especially for CSI Miami that may be the best of the bunch right now. The original CSI can still put up great episodes, but everyone seems a little tired (or maybe just distracted). The real casualty, however, is the premature third installment, CSI:NY, which is the first of the shows I have considered dropping. Now, out of faith, I am giving it time to get its act together, but I already have a bad feeling about where they are going with Melina Whatername’s character (did I write about her emotionally forlorn shower? I thought I did but I can’t find it anywhere – must have been on a message board), and Gary Senise seems incapable of either the line delivery or charm-despite-the-personality-disorder of the other two show’s central characters. The real hit, though, is in the secondary characters, where the other two shows wound up really shining. Maybe they will develop with time. So – CSI, treading water, good but tired; CSI: Miami, hitting its stride (although they are really overdoing the water episodes this season – getting the most of the Coast Guard helicopter rental, I guess); and SCI:NY, struggling out of the gate.

DR. VEGAS: Gone, so can’t say much about it except that I’m not surprised. Joey Pants’ character was annoying, unbelievable, and a little ill conceived (what exactly was his job, anyway). The premise was hard to swallow, and the women in the cast seemed like they might have had a spark, but were poorly used. Rob Lowe wasn’t bad, the show could be fun at times, but it was confused as to how it wanted to portray Vegas (and as a fun show, LAS VEGAS has it beat all around). I didn’t hate the show by any means, and I’m a little sad to se it go, but I’m not surprised, and I won’t loose any sleep.
Next up… the OTHER stations.

2 Comments:

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