Wednesday, June 15, 2005

SUMMER TV

I haven’t written in a while, and I desperately felt the need to get started again. Part of this stems from my wish to get dialogue going again with the other comic book lovin’ folk so that I could attempt to set up some kind of get together with any of the bloggers that are going to San Diego this year – and time is growing short. Part is the fact that I’ve never seen so crowded a summer TV season and I felt the need to comment. Luckily, my ability to ping the comic weblog updates sites is back, so maybe someone will see me as I get started this time.

The 4400 has resumed – this show is one of those that followers of this blog (if there were any) would recognize as a “Brandi show” – i.e. a show I watch because my wife does. It’s not bad by any means, but I think it suffered a bit in it’s first run from not knowing whether it was an ongoing show or a mini-series, leading to confusion as to where the viewer investment was supposed to go. I’ve seen three hours of this season, in which it is obvious that the focus has shifted to a core cast of about 9 (10 counting the baby) characters indulging in both serial narrative and plot of the week stories. The X-Files like structure has stabilized the show, but I confess that I don’t know how interested I am in some of the plotlines, like the fugitive storyline of the guy, the girl, and the baby (which seems to be treading water already, with only one real purpose – to keep the baby away from Billy Campbell’s cult leader guy so that the baby’s powers/intentions can manifest). Of the “big mystery” shows out right now, which are by and large pretty good, the only one in which I have less faith (i.e. faith in the show actually delivering something meaningful when all is said and done) is Desperate Housewives.

The Insider has started, and I have seen the first hour (I think the second ep is tonight). The show, which has pretty damn good geek pedigree, being run by Tim Minear (generally considered the finest of the Joss Whedon writing staff), and having some of the better writers in recent genre TV, is certainly promising. The show has a lead (Rachael Nichols) who is OK as a Clarice Starling-lite FBI agent (Rebecca Locke) with “Profiler” like insight and a damaged past that could send her off the rails if she doesn’t keep it together (this is explicitly established - the agent she is replacing died doing to herself what the killer she was trailing did to his victems, showing us one of the Rebecca's possible outcomes - freak out suicide). Peter Coyote (a 4400 alumni) is the real standout as the “bad cop” head of the task force Virgil (love that name) Webster who wants to push her hard, regardless of the consequences to her personally, in an attempt to mold her into the perfect killer hunter (like himself?). At war for her soul is the (as stated in the script) conscience of the team Paul, an agent who will no doubt need to step in regularly to pull her back from the edge. Adam Baldwin is fun as the gum popping expensive suit wearing sardonic agent, and the cast seems to gel fine. The only problem I foresee is finding new places to go with the dark parts of the show, as the aforementioned Profiler was on the air for a number of years, and the similar in tone Millennium struggled for its entire run to find something new to say. Good start, though.

Prison Break won’t start till august, but I can’t wait. I saw the pilot, and (like the pilot I saw early last year – “Lost”) it knocked my socks off. No sane human being could help but wonder, howevere, how they can make this an ongoing TV show (a guy gets himself sent to prison to break out his brother who will wrongly be executed otherwise – they either have to put off the Prison Break for a loooong time, or rename the show), but I’m game to see what they do. The greatest thing about the pilot is the way they manage to drop a REAL bombshell before each commercial break, so you always felt pulled back in. Another big mystery show that looks like it knows where its going.

With Big Brother, Monk, Dead Zone, and Battlestar Galactica starting, good shows I haven’t tried yet (“The Closer”), catch up TV, and a few minor shows dropped in (including the “I can’t believe I’m watching this” Hit Me Baby One More Time), this is the busiest TV summer I can remember.

Incidently, for you lost fans (I’m sure everyone knows about this, but I’ll say it anyway), this web site is of interest. Look deeper.

4 Comments:

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Rick Jones, really said...

I read a recent interview with the folks behind Prison Break and they said something to the effect that if the show gets picked up for a second season it would have to be something like the Fugitive. Maybe something like Prison Break: On the Run?

 
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