After several weeks of nothing
to watch on TV other than sports, the networks are about to jump feet
first back into the swing of things. While technically, the “good”
shows started back up on Tuesday with the resumption of “House”,
things really start cooking this Sunday. And what a great day
of television it will be! Seahawks vs Bears start it off (OK…maybe
that one won’t be that great, other than seeing if Rex Grossman pulls
another meltdown…in which case it will be the NFL equivalent of watching
a train wreck. Sickening, but you can’t keep your eyes off from
it), then things REALLY start getting good. Patriots vs Chargers,
and then over to Fox for two hours of JACK as “24” kicks off its
new season, followed at 10 PM on HBO by the return of the splendid historical
soap opera/gore fest “Rome”.
So where did we leave off,
and were are we (maybe) going in regards to what I think are the best
seven series on television (sorry to all you “Grey’s Anatomy”
fans…it’s an alright series, but it’s just never been anything
close to “Must Tivo TV”)
24 (Fox, 8 PM Sunday
night 2 hour premier, followed by another 2 hour show on Monday).
This has been one of the best
and most innovated shows since its inception, and it keeps getting better
each year. What’s also been great is that its popularity has
grown as well, and it is now at near cult status.
No problem. I’ve been
there from Day One, and there is plenty of room on the bandwagon.
And Jack Bauer can pull it no matter how many millions are on it.
When we left off…Day
Five ended with Jack once again saving the country from terrorists and
President Weasel. And since no good deed goes unpunished, he ended
up in a slow boat to China as his reward, captured due to his involvement
in the shoot-em-up at the Chinese Embassy on Day Four.
Where we are going…Lot’s
of speculation on Day Six, but I’ll stick mostly to what I know.
Jack’s been tortured in China for some time, but new president Wayne
Palmer (David’s brother) makes a trade for him so that Jack can sacrifice
himself. Rumors are that the plotline will take up AFTER there
have been numerous terrorist attacks on US soil, and Jack is, of course,
the only man that can stop it.
New additions to the cast will
be Peter MacNicol as the obligatory sleezy advisor to the president,
who will surely die a nasty, deserved death at some point, Alexander
Siddig (Dr. Bashir in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”), James Cromwell
as Jack’s estranged father, Chad Lowe as a White House political operative,
Powers Boothe as the Vice President, and Rick Schroder as a CTU operative
(who I get the feeling will have a life expectancy something near that
of a red-shirted security guy beamed down with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy).
At some point, appearances will be made by former regulars Roger Cross
as Curtis, Paul McCrane as Graham, Gregory Itzin and Jean Smart as the
Logans, Kim Raver as Audrey Rains, and William Devane as James Heller.
Still dead is half the cast
from last year.
Each week I’ll be doing a
column about the latest show, much in the same style of my columns last
year for “The Sopranos”. Look for recaps of the last hour
(or two, in the case of Sunday and Monday), “expert” analysis, wild
assed guesses (to be ridiculed at length when I’m proven to be wrong),
a life expectancy list of major and minor characters, and a Jack Bauer
Body Count Tally.
Heroes (NBC, Monday
When we left off…They
saved the Cheerleader! And then Peter fell into a coma, after
a dream in which HE was the one that blew up the world. Isaac
met up with Hiro, Jessica put a bullet in D.L.’s shoulder, Mr. Bennett
admitted the truth to Claire, but didn’t realize that the Haitian
has plans of his own (and can speak!), and doesn’t wipe out Claire’s
memories. And Eden ends up with her brains splattered all over
the wall when she confronts Sylar.
Where we are going…the
new catch phrase is “are you on the list?”, and it’s obviously
Mohinder’s list of mutants. We still know that in one alternate
future, a nuke goes off in New York. My early guess was that it
was Ted, the radiation guy, but I’m now thinking, based on the dream,
that it’s Peter that duplicates Ted’s power and can’t seem to
control it. Or else Sylar kills Ted and take his powers, and that
only Claire can stop him as her regenerative powers will allow her to
get near Sylar (or Peter, if that’s the case) and live to tell about
There have been so many twists
to this show that I have no idea what to really expect. That’s
been the joy of this series…the unexpected twists while still advancing
the plot each week and letting you feel you’re a little closer to
the answers after every show (take a hint, “Lost” producers).
I’m still unsure regarding who the “bad guys” really are.
Jessica and Nathan come to mind in that regard, as their motives are
still quite unclear. In any case, it should be a great second
half of the season as the Heroes get together, and learn how to control
their powers even more.
Jericho (CBS, Wednesday
When we left off…Gray
was voted out as mayor of Jericho, mostly based upon his handling of
the situation with Jonah after the murder of Gracie. Jake, Eric,
Hawkins, and the rest of the boys ward off an attack from mercenaries.
The mystery of Hawkins grows deeper with cryptic messages from the home
base, and just when Jake and Emily are about to do a big ol’ lip lock,
numerous refugees show up in Jericho, including Emily’s fiancé.
Where we are going…Another
show where I don’t have a clue what’s about to happen. The
biggest plot device is, of course, Robert Hawkins. Is he a good
spy, or a bad spy? It would appear right now that he’s supposed
to be a bad spy, but he doesn’t want to be, based upon him trying
to duck out of his responsibilities…something he was unable to do
as the guys behind the computer terminal chillingly sent him a satellite
image of himself and his son in their yard. Like “Heroes”,
and “Lost”, I expect we’ll slowly get more answers as to the origins
of the nuclear attacks and more word from the outside world. That
news will probably be supplied later by Jonah, who is in exile, but
will probably make a re-appearance “just in time” to save them all
Now if they can avoid the soap
operas, it would be better. The “Heather-Jake-Emily” and “Mary-Eric-April”
triangles are really pretty boring.
House (Fox, Tuesday
When we left off…House
was still the biggest pain in the ass on the planet, and the most interesting
lead character in television history…and my personal hero. He’s
also near a breaking point, and was going to take the deal asshole extraordinaire
Detective Tritter was going to give him to check into rehab and retain
his medical license with no jail time. Oops, too late…and it’s
off to trial for House.
Where we are going…The
episode this week shows why this is such a great series. The writers
simply refuse to allow House to change (every now and then we get a
small peek into his pain and his humanity…just enough to keep us rooting
for him). Just when you think he’s finally been beaten; House
checking himself into rehab and basically begging Tritter to drop the
charges, we find out at the end that House has simply been manipulating
everyone once again. And it worked, as Cuddy falsified records
and committed perjury to say that she had switched drugs, and House
had actually just stolen placebos from a dead man…when he hadn’t.
Plus he had someone smuggling him Vicodin while he was “rehabbing”.
I don’t expect Tritter to
go completely away…but for now it’s back to normal with the strange
medical mysteries encountered each week just filling in the blanks of
an excellent character study of curmudgeon.
Lost (ABC, Wednesday
When we left off…we
were still totally confused about this show. Jack was being forced
to operate on Ben’s cancerous back, but then uses the opportunity
to cut his kidney and force the Others to let Kate and Sawyer go in
exchange for him not letting Ben die. Meanwhile, back at the ranch,
Ecko has been killed by the smoke monster, telling Locke that “you’re
Where we are going?
Insane trying to figure this crap out. Never has a show been so
intriguing and so aggravating at the same time. From the previews,
Kate and Sawyer get a boat to try to go back to “their” island,
but it’s not certain if they make it. My guess is that they
do, and the rest of this year is spent trying to get Jack back out.
We’ve learned a bit more about the Dharma Project over the first part
of the season, but it’s still completely muddy as to how they got
there, and what they are doing. And we still haven’t seen anything
remotely resembling a follow-up regarding Desmond’s ex-fiancé and
her contact with the people at the Antarctic (?) base following the
detection of the station blowing up at the end of the second season.
I’m not holding my breath
in anticipation of it all being clear at the end of this year.
Studio 60 on the Sunset
Strip (NBC, Monday Nights)
When we left off…Most
of you don’t care, as you’re probably not watching this. For
the few that are, it would take too long to recap all the recent soap
operas. The quick and dirty version is that Danny has professed
his affection towards the pregnant Jordan and Matt and Harriet are closer
to getting back together
Where we are going…This
show continues to infuriate me, but I can’t give up on it yet.
Aaron Sorkin is still the best writer in television, and when he is
on, the series is fantastic. Case in point; the two part episode
with John Goodman as a local judge in some podunkville in Nevada dealing
with Tom’s arrest. Where it fails is that Sorkin can’t write
comedy to save his life, and the sketches they show from the Saturday
Night Live-esque show are about as lame as…the current Saturday Night
(HBO, Sunday Nights)
When we left off…On
the historical aspect of it, Caesar has been assassinated, Octavian
is in hiding, Mark Antony is pissed, and Brutus is having second thoughts
about his part in it all (a little too late). On the fictional
side, Pullo is still reveling in his newfound celebrity after the nastiest
gladiator scene ever filmed and his new life as a husband, while Vorenus
just learned the truth about the child he thought was his grandson;
it was really the child of his wife Niobe, bore while she thought Vorenus
to be dead. He wasn’t, but she is now as she threw herself out
the window when she knew that Vorenus had discovered the truth.
Where we are going…I’m
really glad to have this show back for a final season, although like
it’s sister-piece “Deadwood”, that will be tempered with the depressing
thought that it will also be its last season. Like “Deadwood”,
this is a series for those with long attention spans, good memories,
and a lot of patience, as it takes it’s time to tell complicated stories
with interweaving plot lines. And it doesn’t shy away from the
violence and depravity that existed at the fall of the Roman Empire.
For this second and last season,
look for it to view the events of the period once again through the
eyes of the Common Man, personified by Vorenus and Pullo. Although
this time their roles are reversed. The stoic Vorenus’ world
has been shattered by the suicide of his wife, and it falls upon the
now domesticated Pullo (who marries the slave girl he rescued) to help
him. The true events depicted will probably be the destruction
of Brutus and the conspirators from Octavian and Mark Antony, followed
by Antony’s involvement with Cleopatra, and his losing fight with
Octavian (soon to be Augustus) for control of Rome.
And of course, we’ll have
the return of “The Sopranos” in April, for what now appears to be
nine “final” episodes…the quotes are due to the potential of a
movie later on. A new season of “Rescue Me” will also start
up in the upcoming months, as will a new series on Showtime called “The
Tudors”, focusing on the young (and not fat) Henry VIII and the palace
intrigue of the Anne Boleyn time frame. If it’s half as good
as the last new Showtime series, “Dexter”, it will be well worth
Oh, and we also have reality
shows picking back up. American Idol, The Apprentice, Armed &
Famous, and Survivor Fiji. I’d try to tell you something about
them, but you already know as much as you need to, and I am about completely
over reality shows, and want them all to just go away.
But series television?
It’s in the best shape its ever been. Get the Tivo warmed up.
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