February 14, 2006

A Television Viewer's Diary and News: 2/5-2-11: Arrested Development

Before jumping into my viewing of last week, thought I may add some television notes for last week.
  • Superbowl XL Tops the Charts. The championship game, in which the Steelers defeated the Seahawks 21-10, topped the Nielsen ratings with a 41.6 rating and an estimated 90.745 million viewers.
  • Al "Grandpa" Lewis Dies. The much loved actor/politician died last week. He will always be remembered for his role on The Munsters. He always seemed like such a nice guy.
  • CBS Cancels Love Monkey. After only 3 episodes, the quirky dramedy starring Tom Cavanagh has been shelved. It doesn't appear to be coming back. Too bad, I was really starting to like it. It had good acting, and was a smartly written show.
  • NBC Announces Las Vegas Move. NBC is moving Las Vegas to Friday nights. This could be a bad sign, as that is usually where shows go to die.
  • Joey Looks to be Dead. It was removed from the schedule a few weeks ago when Scrubs came back. One of the lead actresses has signed on to another sitcom, pretty much confirming that it is not coming back.
  • Fox to Air Final Arrested Development Episodes. Fox will be airing the last 4 new episodes opposite the Olympics opening ceremonies.
  • WB to Move Supernatural. The WB is moving the ghostly series to Thursday nights following the Olympics. Presumably to fill the whole left by Beauty and the Geek 2. Still not a good sign as the night is already crowded.
  • Spike and TNA Wrestling Announce New Deal. The wrestling show will be moving to Thursday's at 9pm. It is good to see them in primetime, but it is another show on a crowded night. Their current Saturday at 11 slot will be a replay night, the current Monday replay will be dropped.

Best show I watched this week: Arrested Development
Worst show I watched this week: Surface

Sunday 2/5.

  • Grey's Anatomy (ABC 10:30). Airing in the prestigious post-Superbowl slot, they decided to amp things up at the hospital. It starts of with George's fantasy of Meredith, Cristina, and Izzie in the shower together, but the scene quickly shifts to the hospital. A man comes in with a gaping hole in his gut and an EMT's hand inside him, not to mention his screaming wife. While working on him, Bailey comes in about to have her baby, which she refuses to have until her husband arrives. Unfortunately, her husband is in another O.R. after having an accident on the way to the hospital. Back to the guy with the hole in his chest, it turns out he was hit with a homemade bazooka shell that may explode. The episode ends with the hospital being evacuated. This was one of the more intense episodes, and goes a long way towards keeping me a fan. ***.5

Monday 2/6.

  • WWE: Monday Night Raw (USA 9pm). The road to Wrestlemania begins with a tournament for the number one contendorship, the survivors include Triple H, Chris Masters, The Big Show, and RVD. Who will make it? My money's on Triple H.
  • Surface (NBC 9pm). Haven't been watching for a few weeks, but I figured I would check in for the season finale. The episode was pretty much all action, sadly I don't remember many of the names. The guy gets locked away in a military facility, the girl flies in to look for him, all while trying to avoid an incoming tsunami. Miles and his family and Caitlin and her family are busy trying to flee the town on a ferry, but Caitlin gets mugged for her scooter and Miles heads off to the rescue. The girl frees the guy from the locked room, ends up with Miles and Caitlyn, and then trying to outrun the water, taking refuge in the spire of a church. We end with a shot of the flooded town. We may not learn anymore as this season ends with 15 episodes and an uncertain future. **.5
  • Las Vegas (NBC 9pm). Guilty pleasure alert. This episode follows the adventures of NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson and Delinda's infatuation with him, Sam and Ed dealing with a whale who suffers from sweaty palms, and Danny tries to find the truth behind a guy who seems to have had his kidney stolen. It's bright, it's flashy, it's slick, and pure brain candy. All glitz with nothing beneath it. We also get an announcement that after the Olympics the show is moving to Friday's. That doesn't bode well, is NBC tiring of the show? ***
  • 24 (Fox 9pm). Jack gets reinstated, at least temporarily until the cannisters are returned. While Jack is chasing down a lead, the terrorists are seeking a way to reprogram the controls in the tanks. Jack finds one of the suspects, who also happens to have a 15 year old Russian slave in his possession, who desperately wants to go home. Lynn gets mugged back at CTU by what seems to be his junkie girlfriend and her pimp. ***.5

Tuesday 2/7.

  • Scrubs (NBC 9pm). Two brand new episodes focus on JD and his new girlfriend, played by real life girlfriend Mandy Moore. She turns out to be a total klutz, leading to some great physical comedy. JD struggles with his relationship issues as he falls for her, hard. Turk joins the Janitor's air band, and inadvertently angers Kelso. Next, Carla struggles with the realization of her age and potential infertility, which the rest of the gang is not terribly good at helping with. Then there is Cox who cannot bring himself to kiss his son. I love this show. ***.5
  • Supernatural (WB 9pm). Sam has a vision of a man dying in his car, so he and Dean rush off to help, only to find an apparent suicide. Of course, the duo don't believe it and don the personas of priests to investigate, soon the dead man's brother dies by decapitation and the killer is revealed to be the first guys son. He is a telekinetic who is getting revenge. But there is a stronger connection, as the kid's mom was killed by the same demon that killed Sam and Dean's mom. This may not be high art, but it is darn entertaining. ***
  • House (Fox 9pm). This week House regains control of his department as Foreman's tenure comes to a close. The patient in question has a variety of weird symptoms, such as altered mental state and a loss of motor control. It turns out that she is going through fertility treatments despite not wanting a child, that is paired with birth control. Besides the patient, House is dealing with his feelings for his ex, Stacy. Can he live with himself if he gets back with her? Turns out the only way it can, he walks away from her. How could he maintain his surly demeanor when with someone he loves? Therefore, to remain the House we all know and love, he must remain single. ***
  • Love Monkey (CBS 10pm). I've only seen two episodes, but this has joined the much watch list. This week Tom tries to put together a video for Wayne, the label's up and coming singer/songwriter. Follow the struggles with the budget, the weaseling of favors from friends, and a wonderful feud with the "artsy" director, played by guest star Nicky Katt. If you want fun and quirky, this is for you. *** (turns out, this is the last episode as the series has been shelved.)

Wednesday 2/8.

  • Bones (Fox 9pm). This week the team investigates the, apparent, suicide of a kid in a superhero outfit. What looks open and shut, ends up a but more complex, involving alternate personas, comic books, spousal abuse and a love triangle. Still, at its core is the character interaction of Bones and just about anybody else. ***
  • Lost (ABC 9pm). Such the aggravating series, some things suck you right in, while simultaneously turning me away. This episode focuses on Sawyer and his past as a con man, and his current con on the island. Sun is attacked but manages to escape, triggering a desire by Jack and crew to grab the guns and start up a posse. Sawyer's con results in the theft of all the weapons, but he wasn't working alone. It seems someone is having an issue with Locke (it's Charlie). ***
  • Invasion (ABC 10pm). Here is a series that has been riding the bubble for a good part of the season. At times it just seems to creep along, with the occasional point of interest. It has gotten better since the reveal of the sheriff's nature. This week has him having some issues with his deputy whose arm he had cut off, while trying to steer his kids clear. Meanwhile, Larkin is seeing things, and is worried about her pregnancy. Russ and crew find one of the body doubles, not fully formed crawling through the house. ***

Thursday 2/9.

  • Smallville (WB 8pm). Chloe has a vision in the bathroom, and is found shortly thereafter by Lois, and she finds an apparent suicide attempt. She is taken to the hospital where Clark finds her about to be transferred to a psych hospital on Lex's orders. Clark doesn't like this one bit, and his work with Chloe uncovers a body inside the bathroom wall, and a ghost that has taken up residence in Chloe to get revenge on her killer. Not bad, but this is a tough followup to the death of Jonathan. **.5
  • CSI (CBS 9pm). A dead woman is found, and her identity is revealed to be the daughter of a prominent dominatrix, Lady Heather, with whom Grissom has worked with in the past. As the circumstances are revealed, Heather has taken the law into her own hands to try and get revenge on the murderer. This was a decent episode. ***
  • Everybody Hates Chris (UPN 8pm). Valentine's Day approaches and Chris doesn't have a special someone, unless you count the hate cards being left for him. Drew is getting too many cards, and Keisha has her first boyfriend to her father's chagrin. Chris ends up breaking up a fight on the bus and finding his Valentine, but she is much more than he had bargained for. ***
  • Four Kings (NBC 8:30). Bobby makes some quick bucks by escorting an elderly woman to some parties, he hooks Barry up with one as well, but it turns out to be a little more costly. Then Bobby's job is forcing him to evict people from a low income housing complex, Ben decides to expose the story, but gets cut off at the pass. Moderately entertaining, but lacks heart. **.5
  • My Name is Earl (NBC 9pm). Earl's list takes him to a nearby college to return a laptop to a professor, who is pretty and smart. Earl starts ignoring karma in order to spend time with his new love. Randy is pledging a fraternity, having fun drinking and riding tricycles. This show is very funny, this episode even includes attack bees! ***
  • The Office (NBC 9:30). The holidays hit the office. Michael heads off to NYC for a meeting with th new CFO, which leads to a revelation between him and Jan. Dwight gets a gift from secret love Angela, who is awaiting reciprocation. Ryan has a new love in the office. Pam waits for something from her fiancĂ©e, only to be disappointed. Not one of the better episodes, but still one of the best sitcoms on TV. ***
  • ER (NBC 10pm). After being absent last week Clemente reappears, first having some illicit fun with his married girlfriend, then having been shot by her husband. She is dying and Clemente is coming down from his coke high, while also being a prime suspect. Abby's pregnancy news spreads through the ER. Neela is trying to succeed at her surgical elective, and a new battle breaks out between ER and surgery. Pratt is up for auction at a charitable ball, and Ray meets a blues man whom his father listened too, who is now homeless. ER will always be enjoyable. ***

Friday 2/10.

  • WWE: Friday Night Smackdown (UPN 8pm). I screwed up and missed a bunch of the show, but the main event was decently dull, pitting The Undertaker against Mark Henry.
  • Arrested Development (Fox 8pm). Fox decided to burn off the final four new Arrested episodes opposite the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. The final four episodes attempt to wrap up the various stories that have been ongoing, while also leaving them open to future episodes should another network pick it up (please!). There is a mock trial where new evidence turns up that could help exonerate the Bluths. Buster fakes a coma to avoid testifying. Gob does a USO tour to avoid the stand, and ends up getting arrested in Iraq, Michael goes over and finds a house of Saddam lookalikes living in a Bluth designed home, which was built to bug homes there by the government. Buster has to deal with a certain seal. Michael finds out he may be Nichael, and may have a sister named Nellie, who is confused with a prostitute. George Michael and Maeby take a step in their relationship that should not be, and Lindsay may not even be a blood Bluth. This was a brilliant series. AD, you will be missed. ****
  • Stargate SG-1 (Sci-Fi 8pm). An addictive new drug is making its way to the planets, and SG-1 is out looking into what Mitchell has dubbed "space corn." When there inquest goes bad, their escape route is cut off as the Stargate disappears. Ba'al is going around stealing them, so the team, and the newly commissioned starship head out to confront the mothership and get the gates back. This was a fun episode that results in the presumed defeat of Ba'al. ***
  • Stargate: Atlantis (Sci-Fi 9pm). While out on a re-con mission, Sheppard and the team find two coffin sized pods in a degrading orbit, and they sense life signs. They bring them back and crack them open in the city. Turns out they contain the the bodies and the consciousness of a couple involved in a long war. They also have the ability to inhabit bodies, in this case, Sheppard and Weir. So, security teams spread out and try to stop them, without killing them. Not much for moving the arc forward, but a decent exercise in tension building and deception. ***
  • Battlestar Galactica (Sci-Fi 10pm). A number of Galactica crew are looking to catch some R and R on Cloud 9, including Lee Adama, Colonel Tigh's wife, and the president's aide, Billy. While they are all at a restaurant they are taken hostage by a group seeking the truth about Cylons in the military, asking for them to turn over Sharon. Starbuck also happens to be there, and she is charged with finding out what is going on. The President and Adama have differing opinions on how to deal with the situation. In the end they turn over Sharon, and save Lee, who has been shot. But the joke is on the terrorists as the Sharon they get is a version that had already died. This is a wonderful series. ****

Saturday 1/21.

  • House of the Dead 2 (Sci Fi 9pm). Is it possible for a direct to TV sequel outdo the original theatrical feature? Ordinarily I would say no, but not when you are talking about House of the Dead. This is not a great movie by any stretch, but it seems to have embraced it's low budget and played to its charms. Military team sent into a college campus where the zombie virus has spread, creating hyper-sapiens. They go in and it is pretty much all action all the time. Plus there is an opening sequence featuring Sid Haig which is pure brilliance. Not good, but a lot of fun. ***
  • TNA: Wrestling Impact (Spike 11pm). This features the finals in the tag tournament, with Chris Sabin/Sonjay Dutt defeating Roderick Strong/Austin Aries. Team 3D was in action, taking on Simon Diamond's Diamonds in the Rough, the match is interrupted by AMW. In story news, Jackie has given Jarrett an ultimatum to meet her demands before spilling the story to management. Those plans could be cut short as Alex Shelley may have some incriminating video footage. Also Abyss and Monty Brown teamed up to take on Rhino and Ron Killings. ***

To be dropped from the "To Watch" list:

  • None.... at the moment.

Shows on the bubble:

  • Four Kings

That is all for this week.


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