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November 13, 2006 |

By Seth Freilich | TV | November 13, 2006 |

OK, if you’re following along, I’m using this week to provide a breakdown of all the regular shows I’ve been watching this season. Yesterday, I covered all the daily, Sunday and Monday shows. And since today’s Tuesday, well, let’s see what I’ll be watching tonight.

“Standoff” (FOX, 8 p.m.). This is one of two places this week where I’m cheating just a little bit, because I actually pulled “Standoff” out of rotation about a week or two ago. But I had been watching it long enough that it seemed only fair to include it anyway. I originally stuck with the show because there appeared to be some underlying potential. But I eventually had to accept that it just wasn’t living up to that potential as I realized that I just didn’t care about the characters or the forced hostage situations. In fact, most of the time I think I was really just waiting for Ron Livingston to say something snarky. And a flat/boring show with an occasional one-liner does not a Season Pass make, so I finally killed it.

“Friday Night Lights” (NBC, 8 p.m.). Best new show of the season.


I don’t care if you couldn’t care less about football and despise all sports in general. Yes this show is about a high-school football team. But it’s not really about a high-school football team. At its core, it’s about how small-town folks get by and about how high-school teens deal with all the drama that comes with being a high-school teen. Sure, it all happens to be wrapped in the context of football. But to say this is just a jocky football show is like saying that “Deadwood” is just a stupid Western or that “Battlestar Galactica” is just about rocket ships and robots.

I don’t ask much of you, my fellow TV Whores. But in this instance, I’m imploring you to give this show a chance (although you may have to look around for it — NBC’s supposedly got a big schedule shuffle coming out this week, and “FNL” and “Studio 60” are two of the most likely movers). It’s well written, well directed and incredibly well cinematographed (if that ain’t a word, it should be). And it’s probably not going to be around much longer anyway. Although at least it got a full-season order, meaning the DVD set I eventually purchase will be that much richer.

“The Unit” (CBS, 9 p.m.). I just went back and re-read my original review of this show, written after last season’s premiere. At the time, I thought the show had lots of potential and hoped it would live up to that potential. And I said it would probably do that if it kept the storylines/missions diverse, and if it used the wives as more than mere keepers of their husbands’ secrets. Well, a year later, it’s largely succeeded on both these points, and I’m still enjoying “The Unit” immensely. With regard to the wives’ tales, they’re almost always secondary to the mission or whatever else is going on with the Unit, but they’re also, generally, interesting (particularly the current storyline about Commander Palmer’s wife working as a recruiter for a private contractor). And the actresses are also giving good performances, particularly Audrey Marie Anderson, who’s knocking it out of the park as Kim Brown (the wife of Scott Foley’s character) — she’s managed to give her character this great, subtle, Southern strength underneath what was at first just a flat, doe-eyed innocence.

But of course, this show is really about machismo more than anything else, so these wives’ tales necessarily take a firm backseat to the action of the Unit. And those “A-stories” have also lived up to my hopes. Unlike “Standoff,” where every situation just feels sorta rote and rehashed, “The Unit” manages to keep things fairly diverse and always interesting. The characters aren’t just bad-ass as all can-do, they’re generally well-rounded (although some of the secondary members could use a little more development and screen time). The dialogue is decent and the actors are great (I’m even enjoying Scott Foley much more than I thought I would and almost buy him as a hard military bad-ass). There’s a reason this show is still doing well for CBS and if you’re not watching it, you might want to give it a look see. …

“Veronica Mars” (CW, 9 p.m.). … but not if that means you’re going to be doing so at the expense of my girlfriend Veronica. I’ve professed my love for all things V. Mars many times over, so I’ll spare you this time. Suffice it to say that, while this season hasn’t been pitch-perfect, it’s still been quite strong, and Veronica’s still got her hooks in me. Here’s hoping the CW comes to its senses and gives the show the full-season order it deserves.

“Nip/Tuck” (FX, 10 p.m.). No doubt about it — last season sucked. The Carver was a bust, through and through. This season has been a marked improvement in every way but one — it’s still kinda boring. There’s no single element I can point to, like there was last season. The plot lines aren’t too ridiculous or over the top. The focus has successfully returned to Christian, Sean, and their extended family. The surgeries are still relatively interesting. And Larry Hagman is the man (“my balls are no longer proportionate to my wang” may be my single favorite quote of the season so far). But there’s just something missing, holding it back from the level it reached in its first two seasons. But the improvement from last season is still enough to hold me for now. It may not be for you — and I wouldn’t blame anyone who has or is going to give up on this show — but for some reason, I’m just a little more forgiving with “Nip/Tuck.” Although it used up several freebies by making me endure Rosie O’Donnell’s ass.

“Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” (NBC, 10 p.m.). This is the only member of the “Law and Order” franchise that I’ve watched in years (excluding the occasional TNT rerun of the original). And while it’s partially because of the storylines, which are vastly more interesting than the “ripped from the headlines” stories of the mothership, it’s mostly because Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay simply rock my world. Their performances have simply been getting better and better. While they may have actually peaked in some fantastic episodes last season, this season has still been quite solid (and Connie Nielsen even subbed in well for the maternity-leaved Hargitay). Surely some of you watch this, right? ‘Cause that’s actually the weirdest thing about this show to me — I don’t know a single person other than myself who actually watches it, yet it consistently does quite well in the ratings. So someone out there is appreciating the same things as me. Just not anybody I know. Which is weird, ‘cause my peeps usually have good taste.

Anyway, thems are Tuesday nights. Don’t forget to check back all week as I add new installments to this wonderful little Fall Sweepstacular (I’ll throw down some links right here, too, as new pieces get published):

What I’m watching on Sundays and Mondays.
What I’m watching on Wednesdays.
What I’m watching on Thursdays.
What I’m watching on Fridays and Saturdays.


Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television columnist. He vehemently denies that an additional reason he loves “Friday Night Lights” is because he sometimes wishes he’d played high school football instead of being a band geek and theater fag.

What I'm Watching on Tuesdays

Fall Sweepstacular / The TV Whore
November 14, 2006

TV | November 13, 2006 |

Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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