Some random notes on teevee I've been watching of late:
:: This is surely going to go down as American Idol's worst season. It's been awful. Just awful. We're down to the final 11 now, but even when they were in the final 24, it was clear that there were only two or three strong contestants and a whole bunch of singers ranging from "Meh" to "OMG please put down the microphone before you kill again". And that was before one of the truly unique and impressive singers, Lilly Scott, was eliminated before she even got to the final 12.
If the job of those very highly paid judges is to pick the best singers before it gets to the "America votes" stage, how did they end up with such a bad crop? Were the asleep at the wheel? Is Simon Cowell trying to guarantee that Idol goes under in his last season?
:: Castle is now officially one of my favorite shows. I'm still not caught up on all episodes this season -- I'm six or seven behind, but I'll get there -- but I just love this show. I love its sense of humor, the wonderful chemistry between Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, the supporting players (both Richard Castle's mother and daughter and the other cops at the precinct), the creative murders they solve, and so on. I also love the sly pop cultural references in the show, such as Castle dressing up as a "space cowboy" for Halloween (in the costume Fillion had worn on Firefly), and Castle's comment when someone compares him to a teevee detective: "Well, the ones I've seen tend to be oddly obsessed with their sunglasses."
Oh, and well -- Nathan Fillion. And Stana Katic. Wow.
:: The Office still has lots of gonzo, funny moments, but I think the show's definitely on the wane. It has strained credulity one too many times for me, and the character dynamics have shifted a bit too much for the show to go back to what it once was. The writers are giving it the old college try, however, by abandoning the "Jim and Michael as co-managers" thing and by giving Michael a new set of corporate foils to buck heads against.
I did like the episode in which Pam gave birth; it was a welcome return to Jim being the island of sanity in the midst of sheer craziness, and his exasperation as Pam enmeshed him in her own brand of insanity, when she is usually his sane partner in crime, was priceless. That episode also yielded what I consider to be one of the best lines in the entire run of the series, when, during a discussion of how Pam's labor can be helped along, Kevin offers the sage advice, "Stick spicy food up her butt!"
:: Still liking The Mentalist, although not as much as Castle. I still would love to see Patrick Jane be wrong once or twice. But I could look at Robin Tunney all day!
:: As much as I loved the show in its original setting, I must admit that I have not been watching the "revamped" Scrubs. I caught a few episodes, early on, and...well, I don't know. If they'd kept the show at Sacred Heart and rotated in new cast members every so often, as teaching-hospital shows tend to do, maybe it would have worked, but the episodes I watched struck me as a higher-quality AfterMASH.
:: Grey's Anatomy is still all kinds of terrific. For one thing, the one character I loathed, Izzie Stevens, is gone. (I don't like Kathering Heigl, the actress who played Stevens, either, but that's neither here nor there.) The show's predilection for having each character eventually sleep with each other character gets a bit odd at times, but what I really appreciate about Grey's is the way the ensemble gets shaken up on occasion by the addition of a character here, a character there, kind of the way ER used to do things; but where ER would keep bad characters around for way too long, the Grey's Anatomy producers seem to have a pretty good handle on getting rid of characters who just aren't working as quickly as possible. I appreciate that. Grey's is as strong as ever.
:: I'm almost hooked on The Big Bang Theory. Its timeslot is awful -- it airs while I'm reading to the kid, so I miss a bunch of it. But what I've seen is awfully clever and hilarious.
:: The Amazing Race continues to entertain. The Celebrity Apprentice does too. What I've seen of Survivor does not. Somebody at CBS really wants to give that moron Rob from Boston a million dollars, huh? He's been on The Amazing Race twice and Survivor three times now.
That's about it. I've got some reruns to watch!