June 22, 2004

TV News & Notes
Not really news so much as a reaction to a few things I have read recently, which aren't even that new but still felt the need to comment on.

First up is a bit on NBC's Scrubs. I new it was coming back next season, but today I learned that it has been picked up for two seasons, for me this is great news. Scrubs is easily one of the best, if not the best sitcoms on television today, but for some reason it doesn't get near the amount of respect that it deserves. Now with Friends and Frasier out of the way maybe we will finally see its star rise. Emmy voters, take notice, if this show is snubbed once again....

I have also seen a snippet on the renewal notice of UPN's Enterprise. I like the show, I don't love it, but it is decent science fiction television that has gotten better over the past two seasons. Despite getting better, the ratings have steadily dropped each successive year. Also despite this drop, it has miraculously been saved from the network axe. Apparently a big part of its saving was a drop in the per episode price. For the first two seasons Paramount was charging $1.7 million per, that price has been slashed nearly in half to $800,000 per. This is bound to have a drastic effect on the look of the show. I can only hope that the creative team is clever enough to make that seem like a lot more. I do hope that this show can continue to get better and even continue on to a fifth season.

Everyone remember Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Good. Well it may be returning as an animated series with a few of the principals lending their voices. Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendon, and Anthony Head will be reprising their roles as Willow, Xander, and Giles, respectively. Sarah Michelle Gellar was original slated to return to her most famous role as Buffy, but has backed out and been replaced by Giselle Loren, who voiced Buffy in the video games. Funny how Gellar seems to be distancing herself from the role which made her famous. I know it would be a good thing to take a variety of roles to avoid being typecast, but the only thing of note she has done is the Scooby Doo movies. It will be interesting to see how she fares in the Juon: The Grudge remake, this may determine if she will go back to Buffy for the exposure. She's a good actress and I wish her the best, but you don't want to alienate your fans.

Lastly, I saw a recap of the top rated shows for the 2003-2004 season, and I found them rather disturbing. Here are the top 10 according to the list published in the TV Guide:
1. American Idol (Tuesday edition)
2. CSI
3. American Idol (Wednesday edition)
4. Survivor: All-Stars
5. Friends
6. Survivor: Pearl Islands
7. The Apprentice
8. ER
9. CSI: Miami
10. Everybody Loves Raymond
Now, I know my tastes may be a little more eccentric than most, but seeing all of that so-called "reality" television in the top 10 is a real letdown. Reality television isn't challenging television, it's not well thought out, it doesn't feature great acting performances. It is candy TV watered down to satisfy the simplest of audiences. I do not intend that to be an insult, and I can see how it is easy to just turn something like that on and just sit back. I too enjoy some of the lest stimulating programs, but I still prefer my shows to have real actors and creative staff and scripts. The real television shows up there are good, although I think Friends had a disappointing final season filled with too many reruns, CSI: Miami a little dull compared to the original, and Everybody Loves Raymond is funny, but hardly must see. I would like to see shows like Alias, 24, Scrubs, Arrested Development, and Smallville rank up there with the big guns. Again, I am biased towards my favorite shows, my biggest problem is all the reality, I'll take a lame ripoff sitcom over that junk anyday.

There were a few other lists in there as well. The biggest rising shows were American Idol and CSI: Miami, and other notables were Crossing Jordan and Without a Trace. To be honest, only one show listed surprised me, Crossing Jordan. I enjoy this show a lot, which is generally a good sign it won't rank well, but it is a well written and acted show. It's kind of like CSI-lite. It has the dead bodies and investigations, but injects a lot of humor and has a colorful supporting cast which often steals the show. They also had the biggest drop offs. The notables were Joe Millionaire (yeah!), Yes, Dear, George Lopez, and Smallville. It's nice to see at least one reality show dropping in the polls. Yes, Dear and George Lopez are decent enough shows, but they really lack any edge or real cleverness, I can take them or leave them. Smallville is a surprise, this is a really good show, perfect casting, and for the most part good writing in this creation of Superman's early years. Hopefully this will pick up next season.

That about wraps up this edition of news and notes. Stay Tuned.


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