end of this year's TV season had its moments. And it gives pause to reflect.)
year was over the top. ER (NBC), NYPD Blue (ABC), and Law and
Order (NBC) continue to provide the most compelling television, and each
will be back in the fall.
do not watch Chicago Hope (CBS), other CBS shows, or Providence
does not interest me. I watched it all the time as a kid, however. What
Life on the Street, (NBC) with its perpetually roving and oft nauseating
camerawork will not return. It has run its course, despite attempts to hunk it
up, and cross breed it with L&O. It just never spoke to me, with its
off-beam attempts to inculcate interest in the private lives of its people.
winners, above, keep the personal stuff always secondary to what the show is
about. Remember LA Law? (NBC) Once a courtroom-centered monster of the
airwaves, it lost its way in excessive interest in the adoption problems of a
lawyer couple, and drove a stake through its own heart when the same lawyer
(Stuart?) lost his mind as a result of the LA Riots hitting him on the head and
he emulated the retardedness of Larry Drake.
At the office.
tried to make the lawyers nice.
was unbelievable, unwatchable. And the political bent went into such a preachy
know-it-all mode as to render those with differing opinions stupefied. Just an
observation on why hit series lose it.
Hercules the Legendary Journeys, loses it star, Kevin Sorbo, and will not
compensation, the production group will replace it with two shows, and Sorbo
will return in something. Hercules was shot in New Zealand or somewhere on that
side of the worlds-away-from-LA. Unfortunately for the Herc people, there is
much more opportunity in LA, and star-centered vehicles as successful as HTLJ
will continually face this problem if they opt for outland location. Their own
success did them in. But they all win. And it is certainly a problem I will be
glad to have.
HTLJ was in trouble, anyway, falling to self predation and mockery of its own
attitudes, it was beginning to lose its way. Still touching at times, they
mostly reversed the damage done by the death of Iaolus, but the campy stuff
they often ventured into probably did not appeal to enough of its core
viewership to keep it on top.
Add to that Sorbo's hurt shoulder, and you see where it was going.
Good show, liked the premises, enjoyed the puns on names and all the action.
Good luck to them all, and show us more, newer, even better stuff.
DS9 (Syndicated) DS9 - the
initials of a show which if you do not know what they mean will not matter to
you in the least it is so weak, trundles off in to its messy after-death. It
died ages ago, and only the strength of Star Trek-The Franchise kept it on life
support. More like stasis.
the perpetually regenerating world of Star Trek, nothing ever changes, nothing
ever grows (except Jake Sisco grew up, and a few actors left the series before
they actually died) and nothing important happens.
is a lot of pontificating. And regurgitating old Star Trek premises, like the
"genocide" question. Now instead of Picard ungenociding the Borg, it
is the clandestine Section 31 actually using bio-agents against the
Changelings, and the Feds refusing to stop it in the interests of winning the
war against the Dominion.
the moral crisis on DS9 is, do we allow this now curable disease to advance and
wipe out the Dominion, and stop their totalitarian warlike aggression, thereby
saving multimillions of lives, as it possibly forces the Dominion to surrender
to receive the cure? Or do we stop the immoral genocide?
Wait, maybe we should fight a FAIR war! With FAIR
weapons! So we are more equal in combat!
there is no will to be free, then the Federation employees (citizen is such an
unwieldy word when dealing with these indecisives) do not deserve to be
In fact, in the face of the obviously superior power of the Dominion, the
Federation should just give up. After all, if they did not resist, then there
would be no need for the loss of millions of lives, no? It is the Federation's
fault the Dominion attacked, anyway. They should not have looked so prosperous
as to invite an attack.
are you? That is precisely the type of argument used by Helen Caldicott before
university audiences in 1985 to rationalize surrender to the Soviet Union!
Better red than dead, she said. Better we give up all our freedoms and our way
of life than risk nuclear war. The communists are not so bad. And she said it
all in the name of saving the children. Saving them for communism, Soviet
style. Better a millstone
am glad to see these moral waffles go. And the Bad news? Reports indicate the
writing staff could move over to Voyager. If they were such great writers,
would not DS9 still be going? Urgh.
Dharma and Gregg(ABC) Watched it
once. I never felt like the characters were not winking at me, sort of
saying, "oh, aren't we goofy? Don't you love us?". It had no cohesion
but for the laugh track, but some people like it a lot.
year end promos told me to expect a happy/sad serious season finale. Oh My!
Will they Break Up? Will They Stay Together? Another big who cares.
for the show, to see such format tampering. ABC has been so derivative anyway
(check out their Seinfeld in LA riff "It's Like, You Know" or
whatever it is called) and from the promo it felt like D&G was being
re-engineered to look more like Will and Grace, which believe it or not is a
funny serio/comedy show about four unlikable New Yorkers - sliding into the
Are they trying to emulate W&G's success by copying its sometimes serious
side?? It already had a Friends-like extraction (Phoebe-goofiness without the
requisite foundation for it).
ABC has a history of tampering shows to death.
They tanked the monster hit Mork and Mindy by upscaling and edgifying it
with "sassy" new characters. Oops. We really did like the old lady
and Mindy's dad
Stargate SG1 (Syndicated) Getting
better all the time, even though I am seeing it a year late in syndication.
Really want a new feature film
Outer Limits (Syndicated) Strange
fusion of retreads and second chances on scripts - picking up some stories
where they left off in a sort of annual revisitation. Interesting, but some of
the stories were not that good in the first place. Again, getting it in
syndication. Always shows promise, so I have not given up on it. Fast forward
through a lot of the preachy and romantic stuff that is so tangential to
Honey I Shrunk the Kids.
(Syndicated) A super family show with lots of good versus evil. Great fun for
little kids. Funny enough self references for grown-ups to watch, too. Disney
getting it mostly right.
Mad TV. (FOX). By far the
funniest, most consistent sketch comedy show in decades. They let it roll.
Fresh ideas, stunningly out-there characters. (Stuart, UBS Guy, Ms. Swan, The
Garage Sale Lady, Rusty, Java Man, Andrea, Vancome Lady, and Will Sasso's
jillion characters, movie parodies.
actually writing on this show.
it does not have is misplaced interchangeable super-egos courtesy of a NY
comedy-semi-star-making-machine and the Ambiguously Gay Duo. And that is all
Saturday Night Live has going for it.
La Femme Nikita. (USA) Brutal.
Interesting. Hard-boiled. I watch every episode.
Futurama. (FOX) Best new animated
series. Good gags.
King of the Hill. (FOX) Good. This
guy (Mike Judge) will have a lot to offer over the years.
The P.J.'s. (FOX) I just don't
find projects type humor all that funny, but it is getting better. Will check
in from time to time. I do like Eddy Murphy in lots of roles. (Nutty Professor,
e.g.) Go-cart ride sequence was very funny. Well done. Last half/ending sucked,
Simpsons. (FOX). Showing its age,
but still good. Has not suffered greatly on the surface from the loss of Phil
Hartman, but we will never know what gems he would have given us. I used to
never miss it, but now I can.
That 70's Show. (FOX). Pretty
funny, semi-accurate look at the who-cares generation. Well-developed in its
perceptions of the way we perceived things. And it can be funny even if you
were not aware or alive during that era.
X-Files. (FOX). This show has
suffered a great deal, and save for the discovery of the space ship at the end
of the season's cliffhanger, should be put to pasture.
problem is that there is little or no cooperation between Mulder and Scully,
and the boring old conflict is always the same. She should have grown by now,
considering all that has happened. There can always be new conflict in a
progressing situation. Try giving both Mulder and Scully paranormal
explanations that are at odds with each other, for example.
And I wish they would experiment with making them all a little more
intelligent. And cut the comedy crap, or do it better, ok? The switched bodies
2-parter, for instance was just not believable (for what it was) or that
And could someone make the nerd assistants a little more effective? They would
be a lot more interesting as helpers in-the-know, not hapless goofs.) (Or does
it threaten the creator's/writer's sense of a threatening government to have
someone get one over on it?)
Dilbert. (UPN). Second best
animated series on TV. Outrageous, full tilt cause and effect storylines show
unlimited Avarice of Dogbert, Pure Evil of Catbert, Stupidity of Ratbert, and
helpless involvement of Dilbert. Funnier to ex-state, ex-corporate employees, I
Just Shoot Me. (NBC). Hilarious.
Terrific consequences played out to unforeseen conclusions. bravo.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer. (WB).
Funny comedy mix with monsters and ghouls as Buffy tries to sort out being a
teenager while being the first line of defense against HellMouth, which poor
Sunnydale CA just happens to sit upon. It is all over the map, and often funny
as the hell it seeks to stop.
did not cause Columbine.
Felicity. (WB). This is a
self-absorbed show about rich kids and their inability to have perfect little
lives that match their expectations.
Felicity often looks like she smells dog poo on her shoe, but isn't sure, and
the guys are all dolts. It is shot in a nauseatingly warm glow that permeates
every frame of every scene (like the smell of dog poo). (Last year a huge
number of cinema one-sheets featured this warm color. I think it is a
focus-group result that showed patrons reacted favorably to it.) Whatever
happened to the simple rose-coloration we had when we were kids?
an hour of TV time deciding whether to accompany a gambling loser back to CA on
a doomed road trip (had to be doomed, this guy is an unredeemable, selfish,
self-absorbed loser) or go to freakin' Europe with a guy that has a job and
was not sure at the end which she chose, if I was supposed to be able to tell.
I time-compressed the show into about 10 minutes courtesy of fast
forwarding, but I did watch the end twice to figure out what she'd decided.
I think she went to Europe. But if they didn't care enough about me to tell me
conclusively, or at least tell me I would have to wait till the fall to find
out, I don't care.
hope she went with the loser. She needs that kind of heartbreaking
We were this insufferable as college kids? No, it takes a special selfishness
to behave this way, and only a generation spawned by our selfishness could
Third Rock From the Sun. (NBC)
Grew on me. Took 3 episodes. It can be breathtaking in its inanity. And that is
both good and bad.
this year showcases William Shatner as "Big Giant Head" in uproarious
scenarios. Best line, Shatner complaining about his plane trip to Lithgow,
something about some thing on the wing
Lithgow said "Same thing
happened to me!" (Both were in the Terror at 30,000 feet Twilight Zone
a natural.) As bad as Dick (John Lithgow) is, BGH is truly alien
to our ways
Shatner even does horrible karaoke!
BGH and Vicki's baby look like? Tune in September.
Drew Carey. (ABC) Really funny at
times, just feels too ABC-ish for me to make a habit of it.
Frasier. (NBC) Why does this win
Emmy after Emmy? Tune in and see. It is adroitly written, with the best
miscommunication comedy since Green Acres and early Beverly Hillbillies.
Sophisticated and respectful of its audience and its intelligence.
If he doesn't know it, Kelsey
Grammar is heir apparent to Jack Benny's legacy. The next 30 years will
Friends.(NBC) Spotty, but
generally on target. Joey's stupidity is not always funny, but he is sweet most
of the time.
Ross and Rachel deserve each other, and their joint attitudes are now one.
Hehehehehehe. Great twist on events.
Chandler is the best of the bunch this year.
Phoebe is too goofily controlling, and I don't really like her
but she is part of what is going on. I get embarrassed for her.
Monica is solid.
I'd like to see more interaction with outsiders, in general.
Veronica's Closet. (NBC) Started
funny. Lost its way with Ron Silver and the whole romance thing.
Give the pretty boy Dan Cortese something more to do, please. He can stop the
show, and they should let him without the passing feint that shows
capitulation. Bring back the Dan that makes up words that take over the media.
Conquest through inadvertion!
Josh, the gay guy that is in denial, is a funny take on the lifestyle, but the
girlfriend is taking him, and the show, nowhere.
do a focus group on this show??? It feels like suit-tampering has taken place.
I think it has a real future, if they get back to basics.
some devious interests, she can handle it.
Will and Grace. (NBC). Funniest ensemble on TV, with four misfits vying
for each other's attention.
the best secretary since Mrs. Whiggins, and Jack is, well, "Just
Jack!" And they are not afraid to let the chips fall.
on TV all spring? Karen answering a phone call from Will while admonishing
"Honey, the reason you are not in a relationship
brutal as La Femme Nikita, only funny
South Park.(Comedy Central). Ha.
Jesse. (NBC) Unusual. Don't know
where it is going. It doesn't either.
fall will see a better direction for the humor. It does mix seriousness and
comedy in an appealing way - only All In The Family ever had the capacity to
take us from hilarity to tears in a split second
if they are trying for
that, they need to examine their heart and true values. We can only care about
someone deeply if we think they believe in what they are saying and doing, like
Archie and Edith. If there is trust in us for those characters, we can be
with character are needed if trust is to be engendered.
Voyager. (UPN) Almost finding its
way. Pretty lost at times. We will see how years six and seven go. At least it
Also, the doctor should move around the sick bay by rematerialization. Easy
effects, and it would add to the sense that he is struggling with his
otherness. And why does he not materialize a helper when he needs someone to
hold a scalpel? Please. If the computer can generate him it can do two at once,
one subservient to the other. It is an easy fix, find an off-line subroutine
and implement it. It will also advance the Doctor's humanness through contrast.
And he can still use human helpers
7 Days. (UPN) See my review of it
on this site. Last week Parker beat an evil alien to death with a wrench. It
was called for, believe me. Thanks guys, let us hope this sounds a little of
the needed death knell for quislings DS9 style.
Pretender. (NBC) Hot and cold.
Usually pretty good, Quantum Leap style. I am not a faithful fan, but I like it
a lot mainly because I like Jarod.
Millennium.(FOX) Weird show. Not
because of the premise, but because of the way it is being handled. Great
promise bogged down in misty threat and vague bad guys.
Best when it deals directly with concludable evils and steers clear of family
stuff, which it does not handle well. Problem with the relationship between
Frank and Mrs. Black, was that Mrs. Black was on the way out due to Frank's
psychosis from the beginning. There was never a sense of two people working
together to build. just a separateness and a sadness. Not too unimaginable,
considering that Millennium arose form the creator of X-Files, which has the
same conflict between man and woman at its core.
like Lance Henriksen a lot, ever since Aliens, and Pumpkinhead. But it remains
to be seen whether Millennium can get on with the business of good versus evil
and eliminate this gray confusing muddly stuff that turns off viewers. The
social ends can still be reached, thank you, just keep it interesting on the
the way, I like this sort of show, and want it to succeed very much. I have
seen almost every episode.
And that is what I watch every week.