Thursday, September 01, 2005


OK – if there is anything that can get me blogging again, it’s a new TV season. I’ve been doing major catch-up work with reading comics recently, I read the new Harry Potter, I’m almost finished the Dark Tower books, and there is more TV on the horizon than I can watch. So much to talk about.

So, PRISON BREAK then. I saw the first hour of the show a few months back and really liked it. When I watched the two hour premiere Monday, the bloom was a little off the rose, but I still felt it was solid entertainment. What changed? Most likely, when I first watched, I was propelled through the show (due in no small part to the big revelation before every commercial break structure) and didn’t really stop to smell the roses of implausibility. The second time through, I knew what was going to happen, and had more attention to spare in order to look around. This is not really a criticism of the show… it was propulsive enough to carry a Jaded viewer like me the first time through, and if it doesn’t hold up as well on repeated viewing – so what. I liked the second episode better in the 2 hour premiere (the part of the show critics have been hardest on – uniformly everyone says the 3rd episode, which I haven’t seen yet, is better), which bodes well for the show. I like the cast, the show moves fast, and I remain quite entertained. Bottom line is, this probably won’t turn out to be the next Great (note the capital G) show, but will be solidly fun.

I’ve also seen the pilots for Invasion and Night Stalker. INVASION seems quite good, but I faded out near the end of the hour. The show starts very strong and has some nice cast elements, but the last third of the episode starts working a little too hard for its exposition. One has to wonder if, due to its subject matter (hurricane aftermath), the show may be pushed back, even to spring, but there are some interesting elements, and I liked the prior Shaun Cassidy produced shows, so I have a good feeling about it.

NIGHT STALKER performs the opposite trick. When the show starts, everything feels very flat. Stuart Townsend looks positively comatose, and his “partner” (who I have only seen previously as the head cheerleader of the urban-school-where-the-white-girl-cheers-were-stolen-from in Bring It On) doesn’t work in the role at all. But a few things happen along the way. First, the actual horror scenes are pretty good (the werewolf at the end is a bit cheesy, but when the show is being subtle with the horror, it works). Second, Townsend begins to wake up a bit. It seems it must have taken a few days of filming to get comfortable with the part, but he actually begins to bring something to it by the end. Third, the what-happened-in-Vegas reveal really pumps up the “over arc” of the show – I didn’t think they would come clean with this stuff until later in the season. So, the pilot got better as I watched it. The show bears watching.

I just finished reading KRAMER’S ERGOT 5 and, much as in my review of DRAWN AND QUARTERLY 5 (wait, that might not be up on this site... I’ll have to think about reposting it), I was not that impressed. Many have gushed about this anthology, but besides the Kevin Huizenga (which was kinda neat), and “My sexual History” (which was fascinating, until the comprehensiveness made it boring) I really wasn’t into much of it. Some of the other material was nice to glance at, but was not readable in any clear sense. This is likely just me placing demands on the art that the art was not created to fulfill, but pthuut... I seek narrative when I read comics, and precious little narrative was present. If I could crack the reason why this stuff was lost on me, I also could also figure out why most minicomics leave me cold. P.S. another thing that bothered me was the excellent high grade color reproductions of a lot of unfinished black (often pencil) and white art… I just seemed like a seventy-five dollar frame holding a seventy-five cent poster you got at a garage sale.


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