Saturday, May 23, 2009


Wow, am I glad that the teevee season is over. The only thing we have left to watch, here at Casa Jaquandor, is the finale to Grey's Anatomy, so don't be spoiling it in comments, people! Some thoughts on various shows:

:: Yeah, we're still not done with Grey's, but I found this season very strong, overall -- there were a lot of good storylines, and the show chemistry was considerably aided by the addition of Drs. Hunt and Robbins. Hunt is the Army vet who has taken over trauma at Seattle Grace; he's the new love interest for Christina Yang and his emotional problem (everybody's got one, after all) is that he suffers from a small bit of PTSD. Just a bit. Like when he woke up in Christina's bed, looked up at the rotating ceiling fan blades, flashed back to chopped blades, and started strangling Christina. Oops. (She got better, but it was still a bit of a speed-bump for their relationship.)

Robbins is a pediatric surgeon who is also the love interest for Callie Torres, who over the last year has realized that she is a lesbian. Torres came out to her controlling family at the end of the season, with disastrous results.

The season featured the ongoing and occasionally tempestuous relationship between Meredith Grey and Derek Shepard ("McDreamy"). They finally agreed to marry, after Shepard suffered a massive loss of confidence and spent some time moping in the woods. The most notable plotline was that of Dr. Izzie Stevens, who spent a big part of the season hallucinating her dead fiance, to the point of actually "making love" with him (not sure what the mechanics there involved, but we'll leave that alone). Denny's reappearance was eventually explained, not mystically, but medically: Izzie's got a brain tumor! Yay! Well, OK, not really. What was impressive about all this is that the Grey's writers managed to get me to feel sympathy for Izzie, which is odd because until this year, I've generically hated Izzie. Wow!

:: Hell's Kitchen was its usual basket of fun, mostly a blend of Gordon Ramsay screaming at people and laughing at the travails of some incredibly irritating contestants. Lacey may have been the most annoying person to ever appear on HK, which is no mean feat. I liked that Danny ended up winning. Not much to say, really, about HK other than that.

:: The Amazing Race had a pretty strong season, in my opinion. A lot of people I've seen commenting on it online seemed disappointed in it, but I thought it was terrific. It featured some surprises (one team thinking it had won a leg, only to have Phil say, "The Race is still going. Here's your next clue."), some interesting obstacles that I hadn't seen before (one team incurred a four hour penalty for breaking a couple of rules on the same leg, another ended up getting eliminated because one of the racers had to pee before checking in), and some unusually gonzo detours and roadblocks (rolling giant cheeses downhill, jogging a few miles in a Siberian city in their underwear, and my favorite, pie-throwing in Austria). I didn't hate any of the three teams in the finale, although the team I liked the least ended up winning (Tammy and Victor), while the team I liked the most (Margie and Luke) came in third because Luke got too frustrated at the final roadblock. I do wish that the TAR people would change things up a bit on the finales; it seems like whoever comes out of the final roadblock first pretty much wins the race by default. That kind of saps the energy from the last fifteen or twenty minutes of each finale.

:: The Office was kind-of hit-and-miss all year, although they pulled it out at the end of the year, I think, with Michael's resignation, creation of his own company, and then his leveraging of that company into getting his old job back. The finale's final moments, with Jim and Pam learning that she's pregnant (no words spoken, but that's about the only possible interpretation, right?), were wonderful, and as a Buffalonian, I was amused that the Buffalo branch of Dunder-Mifflin is getting the axe. (Why does Utica get to keep its branch? Screw Utica!)

:: I had to let my Watching 24 series of posts fall by the wayside because our camera died and we took about two months to get around to replacing it. That's what happened there, if anyone was wondering. 24 had about three-quarters of a good season this year, but then it sagged at the end, which was disappointing. Usually, 24's seasons tend to sag a bit in intensity for a few episodes in the middle -- say, between Hours Twelve and Fifteen -- before the writers start getting things ramped up again for the finale. This year was different: they actually managed to keep things intense through three-quarters of the season, all the way up to Hour Eighteen or thereabouts, and then things got dull quickly. What happened? Well, there were just too many villains in the season, and it got to be too much. It started out with Tony Almeida being the bad guy; then it turns out he's working for Colonel Dubaku. We're thinking that Dubaku's the main baddie -- but he's just working for General Juma! So it's Juma, right? Not so fast: Juma turns out to be working for Jonas Hodges, who was a wonderful villain, played by Jon Voigt in some seriously fun scenery-chewing. But Hodges was disposed of too, with a new reveal of yet another shadowy villain, played by Will Patton. (I don't even remember this guy's name.) Oh, and Tony Almeida, who had originally been a bad guy who was revealed to be a good guy, turned out to actually be a bad guy after all, albeit one working on his own agenda and not for any of the season's major villains, not really. Oh, and Kim Bauer turned back up at the end of the season, right in time to get herself in danger again (although not from feral mountain lions).

I read that the 24 writers actually took advantage of the time given them by the decision after the writers' strike a year ago to simply postpone the series a year in order to rewrite the season's last six episodes. Turns out that maybe they should have stuck with their original scripts. Oh well. It was still a fun season with some great moments (the deaths of Bill Buchanan and Larry Moss), one great new character (FBI Agent Renee Walker, played by the beautiful and talented Annie Wersching, and officially dubbed on AICN as -- I swear I am not making this up -- "Rack Bauer"), and some terrific action sequences. It also featured a fictional President so inept at picking people to work the high levels of her administration that if he watched the show this year, Jimmy Carter was probably screaming, "Oh come on!"

:: I still like My Name is Earl, although apparently most people don't. Oh well. I thought it was still funny, but now it's off NBC and out there hoping to be picked up by another network. We'll see.

:: I also love 30Rock more and more. It's just terribly clever and funny, full of teevee injokes that only a tiny portion of the audience probably ever get, and I'm more and more in awe of Tina Fey each week. She's just an amazing, amazing talent, and she's willing to do just about anything for the laugh. I love that.

:: I didn't pay much attention to CSI: Miami this year. Nor did I pay much attention to CSI: NY, and I haven't watched any of the original CSI in two or three years now. I guess my interest in those has petered out.

:: What else? American Idol was more fun this year than last, I think, and the final came down to two guys I liked just a shade out of equally -- I liked Adam Lambert a bit more, but not enough to be annoyed that he lost. Kris Allen did very well too, and I was happy that for just the third time since I've watched the show (and the first since Season Four) the finale didn't come down to someone I liked versus someone I disliked.

:: I watched the last couple of episodes of House. Still a good show, but I have to note that House's drug problem is becoming less and less interesting, even if he is now officially crazy. I hope the show milks his stay in the mental hospital next year a bit.

:: I haven't watched Dollhouse since the finale, but I do have the episodes downloaded, so I'll catch up on that during the summer. I also want to start watching Battlestar Galactica, now that it's done. (I've only seen the pilot teevee-movie.)

:: And finally, apparently Scrubs has been picked up for another year, which will take place without John Dorian working at Sacred Heart, since Zach Braff decided to leave the show. I'm torn here -- I'd rather my favorite show go out while it was still on top, rather than keep limping on without its heart and soul, but who's to say it can't keep going on with the cast it's assembled, plus some new people? They introduced some interns this year who are actually fun characters, my favorite being the jaded and cynical Dr. Mahoney, dubbed "Jo" by JD owing to his seeing her as being similar to Jo from The Facts of Life. Can the show survive, thus reworked? I'd be skeptical, if Season Eight hadn't been so consistently brilliant. Seriously, Scrubs had as good a year as I've ever seen a sitcom have.

And that's the state of my teevee viewing.


coffee fan said...

I suspect that the final "100 million" vote count represents the Adam Lambert fans versus everybody else; people out there must have auto-dial machines

Lynn said...

I got tired of CSI (original) two or three years ago and for a while I hardly ever watched it. I thought that Grissom's departure from the show would be the final nail but Laurence Fishburne joined the cast and I watched just to see what he would be like on it. I'm still not thrilled with it but I've been watching it, partly because there's not much else on Thursday nights even on cable, and it's okay.

I loved the finale of Battlestar Galactica. Very interesting what they did with it. By the last few shows I did sort of see it coming (some of it at least) but it was still good.

Thee Earl of Obvious said...

The Scrubs formula:

Silly silly REAL SERIOUS silly silly sappy. Intertwine with commentary from a perpetual underdog ala catcher in the rye and you have a, gag, masterpiece.

30 Rock. THe cool lunchroom table gets their own T.V. show. Yay!! Lots of inside jokes passed off as high brow humor. More awards thrown at it than any other in history. But then again is it a real surprise that the cool table got their own elected to student body president?

Roger Owen Green said...

Oh, dear - haven't gotten to that last Office. Brain: forget what you read.
Grey's Anatomy: DID watch 2-hour pc this weekend. Didn't expect that.
Scrubs: I'm surprised, but I liked this season more than any since fairly early on. It MIGHT be OK next year.
My Name Is Earl: much better since the idiot prison sequence, esp. w Darnell's background. Canceled on a cliffhanger? Nuts. I'm not holding out hope for a reprieve.
Still to watch: about a half dozen 30 Rock eps w my wife, ER finale.
AI: didn't watch. Meridith Viera called it the week before the final, said Kris had momentum. Adam could win a plurality vote but not a majority vote 1 on 1.