January 18, 2006

A Television Viewer's Diary: 1/8-1/14: Battlestar Galactica

The second week of the new year brings with it the returns of notable shows like Lost and Smallville and the continuing dominance of Battlestar Galactica. Nothing gets trimmed this week, but don't worry, I will find a way to trim down my viewing slate. Of course, next week brings the dawn of a new 24.

Best show I watched this week: Battlestar Galactica
Worst show I watched this week: The War at Home

Sunday 1/8.

  • The Simpsons (Fox 8pm). Homer finds out that his dad may not really be his dad. His dad may be an animation voiced by Michael York. Like I have said before, this series is on a slide, hopefully its final slide. I am not sure how much more I can take. **
  • The War at Home (Fox 8:30). I was suckered again, it is just so much easier to set the VCR for the 3 hour block. Anyway, this episode had the wife going back to work, this sets the family in an uproar. Plus, the eldest son cheated in class by taking a poem from his not-so-secretly gay friend. This is an awful show. *
  • Family Guy (Fox 9pm). Moderately humorous episode as Brian has a near death experience which encourages his penchant for the sauce, as well as singing and dancing in a nightly show with Frank Sinatra Jr. This eventually includes Stewie. This while Meg finds friendship in a lesbian group. This show had too little Stewie. **.5
  • American Dad (Fox 9:30). Roger and Stan get into a fight and end up switching positions, Stan lounges around drinking, while Roger goes out to earn a paycheck. This leads to the neighbors thinking that Lois is being beaten, while Roger feels the load of pressure build. This was pretty funny. ***
  • Desperate Housewives (ABC 9pm). Just what meaning does a kiss hold? This episode explores the idea of the different meanings based on the giver of said kiss. All is set on its merry way by Gabby planting a big one on Lynette's hubby. Gabriel tells Carlos he should have an affair to get even with her and put the relationship on an even playing field, while fending off Lynette's annoyance over the kiss. Susan tries to get Mike and Zach together by going bowling, this leads to another fight. Then there are the Applewhite's and their locked up family member, who is discovered by an investigator, but then gets accidentally killed. It hasn't been a bad season, but I find my interest waning, which may lead to this show getting lopped off the viewing list. **.5
  • Grey's Anatomy: Straight to the Heart (ABC 10pm). This was a clip show recapping the first 1.5 seasons of the show. The half hour I watched was OK, but why does this show need a clip show? For that matter, why has ABC fallen in love with these shows, having done them for Lost and Desperate Housewives? I have chosen not to rate this show.
  • I had meant to tape Crossing Jordan, but I set up the wrong station and ended up with the above clip show.

Monday 1/9.

  • WWE: Monday Night Raw (USA 9pm). The decent wrestling that took place on the show will forever be overshadowed by what is fast becoming known as Nipplegate II. Hyped through the show was the fact that Edge would be celebrating his championship win by having live, torrid sex in the ring with girlfriend Lita. This segment ended with the brief exposure of Lita's breast from beneath the bed sheets. It was slightly humorous as the announcers attempted to cover. The night also featured the first Royal Rumble qualifying matches which saw Shelton Benjamin and Kane win slots. ***
  • Las Vegas (NBC 9pm). Is the casino haunted? Well, some freaky happenings in Monica's former suite make a lot of people think so. The new owners are trying to extort money from Ed. Meanwhile, Sam meets an old competitor and sets herself up in a competition that could cost her her job. Continuing the fun, glossy entertainment, I keep coming back for more. ***

Tuesday 1/10.

  • Scrubs (NBC 9 & 9:30). This week starts of with JD dreading his impending 30th birthday, so he decides to go back to his "to do by 30" list and enters a triathlon. That, of course, turns out to be a mistake which inadvertently brings him closer to Elliot. Elliot tries to get her boyfriend to come out of his shell, bigger mistake. Lastly, Turk makes the biggest mistake by lying to his wife to impress Kelso. Have I mentioned how happy I am to have Scrubs back? The second episode has JD trying to come up with an introductory speech for Kelso at an awards ceremony, and Elliot is found out working at the free clinic. Each episode is full of the wacky segues, slapstick humor, clever wordplay, and sentimental poignancy that has become the trademark of the show. ****
  • House (Fox 9pm). A man collapses at an office party. Greg battles Cuddy to take the case while House is out of town. Can the kids function as a team when daddy isn't around? Well, yes and no. House is always in touch, despite his attempt at reconnecting with his ex. Interesting case, but more interesting is the continuing development of the characters. Also, congratulations to Hugh Laurie on his Golden Globe win. ***
  • Supernatural (WB 9pm). The demon fighting duo have a bit of a falling out over giving up the search for their Dad. This comes after their Dad calls them and tells them to stop looking. Meanwhile, a killer scarecrow is cutting down visitors to his orchard. Dean figures it out, but cannot finish the deal without Sam returning to reunite the pair on their quest. The show ended with a mysterious woman displaying distinctly supernatural abilities, and she may be hunting the two. I really liked the design and look of the scarecrow creature. ***
  • Law & Order: SVU (NBC 10pm). This was a pretty good episode. A young girl is kidnapped on her way home from school. As the investigation progresses, it is discovered that she has leukemia. Further investigation reveals that the identity of the kidnapper is closer to the family than anyone expected. ***

Wednesday 1/11.

  • Stacked (Fox 8:30). What can I say, guilty pleasure. Gavin, the hypochondriac, actually develops gallstones. This leads to much hospital humor, including a stripper nurse and a revised will. This series is rather shallow, but I can't help but be drawn into it, even if this was a lesser episode of a lesser show. **.5
  • Lost (ABC 9pm). Returns from its holiday hiatus. This week gives a glimpse into Eko's history,involving priests and drugs and guns, and all sorts of unsavories. It also leads to a confrontation between Eko and Charlie over the contents of his prized Mary statue. This in turn leads to a breakdown between Charlie and Claire. ***
  • Invasion (ABC 10pm). Secrets start to come out, just as my interest is waning. I cannot remember any of their names. The revelation of William Fichtner's character's true nature is revealed, much to the disbelief of his wife. The survivor group doesn't take too kindly to an interloper, one of the member's husbands, whom they nearly beat to death. Then there is officer with the regrown and subsequently hacked off arm. I may give it another week or two. ***

Thursday 1/12.

  • That 70's Show (Fox 8pm). The long running show moves to its new night. This week centers in Donna's birthday, and her attraction to the new cast member whose name is escaping me (if you haven't guessed by now, I have trouble with names). This was a weak episode in what has been a surprisingly decent season, surviving the loss of its 2 biggest stars. **
  • Four Kings (NBC 8:30). Still not sure what to think of this, I like Seth Green, but the series lacks any spark, although I am willing to give it a little time. This week has the guys charged with finding one night stands for a newspaper column. Green's character never makes it out as he gets saddled with his ex's kids, this leads to a moment that gave me pause, as he was about to sneak out and leave the kids, he encounters a shady character in the hallway, he returns inside and locks himself in with them. That was a moment that is enough to give the series a free pass, at least for a week. **.5
  • My Name is Earl (NBC 9pm). Earl returns a stolen wallet and a wad of cash, and ends up taking over his job for a week, you can only guess how big a mistake that is. His boss is an insufferable jerk, and the job is less than ideal. Earl makes the best of it, and through a twist of karma, all works out for all involved. ***
  • The Office (NBC 9:30). Michael burns his foot on his Foreman grill, and comes to work with it bubble wrapped and with the help of Dwight, who had a little accident of his own resulting in a concussion. Michael forces all attention on him, then calls in a man in a wheelchair to talk to the office about his injury, this doesn't work out quite like it was planned. Congratulations to Steve Carell on his Golden Globe win. ***.5
  • Smallville (WB 8pm). Clark and crew return. Jonathan is being threatened by Lex's ardent supporters. This all leads to an attempt to force Lois to play sniper. Meanwhile, Clark and Lana's love life hits a snag as Clark is afraid of losing control. Wonder how this series will be affected with the upcoming Superman movie? ***
  • ER (NBC 10pm). With no attendings available surgeon Dubenko hangs around to help out, which is not such a good idea in such a high speed atmosphere. Abby and Kovac decide to do some baby shopping and Neela and Gallant hit a snag in their young marriage. This was good, but I didn't feel as if I was hooked from the start. **.5

Friday 1/13.

  • WWE: Friday Night Smackdown (UPN 8pm). Batista suffered a muscle tear injury, which has forced him to relinquish his title as he will be out for 3 months and miss Wrestlemania. Teddy Long says that the new champ will be determined in a battle royale main event. First, a new US champion is crowned in Booker T who won by screwing Benoit in his match against Booker's fill in, Randy Orton. As the superstars fill the ring for the main event, a surprise entrant is announced, Kurt Angle from Raw. Angle eventually wins, headscissoring Mark Henry over the top. Now, will Kurt return to Raw? ***
  • Stargate: SG-1 (Sci-Fi 8pm). An episode like this is what I have been waiting for, an episode that takes a look into Mitchell. Ben Browder has been sorely underused to this point. This episode exposes some pain from his past and centers on his determined nature. He is accused of murder on a world where they have the ability to alter and implant memories. The reveal is rather clever in a way that I did not feel cheated. ***
  • Stargate: Atlantis (Sci-Fi 9pm). While investigating a planet, Sheppard gets sucked through a portal which has time shifting properties, in that it is moving faster than normal time. Furthermore, there is no way back through it. Sheppard finds these people seeking ascension, while avoiding a cloaked Predator like creature stalking them. McKay is outside trying to figure out what is causing the time distortion. Soon enough, they are all inside and taking down the creature, in turn allowing the entire village to ascend. ***
  • Battlestar Galactica (Sci-Fi 10pm). Kain and Adama set aside their problems to deal with the attack on the Cylon Resurrection ship. The attack goes off as planned, but not without a problem. Apollo and the Blackbird are hit with Apollo ejecting and left floating in space. His suit is ripped, and he may not want to survive, but Kara finds him and brings him in, they look after their own. Back on the Pegasus, Helo and Chief are taunted by the men of the officer they inadvertently killed, leading to an assault on the duo with a towel and a bar of soap. Tension grows when return to the plans of murder for both Kain and Adama, due to the success of the mission. However, more problems are afoot with Gailus and Lisa, as their talks progress in her (its?) cell, she gets out and sets her sights on Kain. This is, by far, one of the best shows on television, and a big part of must see television, if you are not watching, you should be. ****
  • Monk (USA 10pm). Monk becomes involved in a year old murder that is tied to a current murder, with the common link being a fashion photographer played by Malcolm McDowell. He plays a wonderfully despicable character who happens to have a good deal in common with our star. The investigation is slightly hampered by Natalie's daughter getting noticed by our suspected photog. ***

Saturday 1/14.

  • HG Wells' War of the Worlds (Sci-Fi 9pm). This is a low budget, plodding, rendition of the classic tale. If I had not already seen the George Pal classic, and the recent Spielberg version, I may almost like this film. Sadly, the poor acting and lousy effects are too distracting. I do like the focus on our hero and some of the things he goes through are actually moving. **
  • Hustle (AMC 10pm). I was intrigued by the concept, and enjoyed what I say of the two episodes aired,but I must admit that it was in the background and did not have my full attention. This is an import from the BBC about a group of master con artists coming together to pull big jobs. The first episode has them pulling an investment scam, which also serves as a test for the youngest, most inexperienced member of the team. The second episode has them teaching the young guy some tricks, as well as conning a rich man who has an affinity for the movies. This is an intriguing show, I will try to pay more attention next time. ***
  • TNA: Wrestling Impact (Spike 11pm). The last hype show prior to the Final Resolution pay per view. This featured a very good 6 man tag with Team Canada taking on Matt Bentley, Sonjay Dutt, and Chris Sabin. Team Canada won with Petey Williams hitting Sabin with the Canadian Destroyer. The main event had AMW facing Christian and Rhino, this ended in a mêlée that involved those 4, plus Team 3D, Jeff Jarrett, and Monty Brown. It ended with the lights flashing, and the voice of Sting saying the mind games have begun. ***

To be dropped from the "To Watch" list:

Shows on the bubble:

That is all for this week.


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