November 15, 2006 | Comments ()

By Seth Freilich | TV | November 15, 2006 |


Welcome to day three of this here TV Whore Falls Sweepstacular. As you surely know, today is Wednesday, my friends — hump day! By the time you get home from work or school or whatever it is you do, you’ll be past the half-way point of yet another miserable week, and the warm glow of your television will be there to welcome you with open arms. Here’s how my TV welcomes me on Wednesday nights:

“Jericho” (CBS, 8 p.m.). I’ve learned several things from this show that will be very useful when I’m finally in charge of a TV network some day (it’ll happen — believe it!). Lesson one: don’t hire Skeet Ulrich. He looks like Johnny Depp with AIDS and can’t act his way out of a fallout shelter. Lesson two: if I’m handed a show with a fantastic premise, I will create characters that live up to that premise, not characters that pointlessly float through it. Lesson three: if I’m lucky enough get someone with the kind of acting chops that Gerald McRaney showed on “Deadwood,” I sure as hell won’t waste him by incapacitating his character for no good reason (sure, “Deadwood” did the same thing with Swearengen, but that actually served the show’s story). And finally, lesson four: seriously dude, don’t hire Skeet Skeet Skeet.

OK, so all that being said, why am I still watching? After all, I don’t care one iota about any of the characters — the displaced tax assessor, the spoiled rich daughter who’s embarrassed to like the freaky poor kid, the insanely unbelievable storeowner hoarding the town’s antiques like a dragon, the husband-stealing bartender who apparently never watches that TV in her bar or she’d know they never leave their wives when they say they’re going to leave … seriously, I don’t care about any of them. But, the underlying premise of this show was fantastic, and I’m still curious to see where the overarching story is going. Who blowed cities up? Why for? How do the survivors collectively reestablish a national community? For now, I’m interested enough in these questions to keep watching. But only with one eye.

“Criminal Minds” (CBS, 9 p.m.). “Criminal Minds,” meanwhile, gets the full pair of my peepers. I’m not a huge procedural fan — I don’t watch any of the “CSI”s, only one of the “L&O”s, etc. — but this one gets me. I think it’s because it’s psychological rather than forensical (I’m gonna make up a new word in every damn one of these columns, I tell you what). And two years into the swing of things, the show just seems to be getting stronger. The characters have been fairly well developed and individualized, and the writers are doing a pretty solid job at keeping the stories and twists fresh — fresh compared to prior episodes and, more importantly, fresh compared to the other shows out there.

And of course, it doesn’t hurt that Mandy Patinkin is the man. Not as great as he was on “Dead Like Me” or “Chicago Hope,” but that’s mainly because of his character being significantly more internal and toned down than his prior roles. But he’s still a joy to watch. As is most of the rest of the cast. Hell, Thomas Gibson has even managed to wash the “Dharma & Greg” stench off of himself, something I didn’t think he’d ever be able to do.

“The Nine” (ABC, 10 p.m.). This sucker was one of my favorite pilots over the summer. I thought it was gripping and rife with potential. But then it all went downhill. Fast. Like “Standoff,” this show has been removed from the regular rotation. But since I had been with it up till about a week or two ago, I thought it fair to include the show anyways.

As for why, specifically, I’m not watching anymore?

One-word answer. Two syllables. Rhymes with whoring.

“Inside the NFL” (HBO, 10 p.m.). I’m pretty sure this is the last time there will be any football references this week, and for all you sports haters out there, I’ll try to keep it brief. This show’s been on the air for a long time, and it’s mainly for one reason. NFL Films produces the highlights packages and, as any football fan knows, NFL Films has an uncanny ability to make even the most boring game look like an intense blitzkrieg (thanks in no small part to my Philly man, Hall of Fame announcer Harry Kalas, who’s provided excellent voice work since the passing of John “the Voice of God” Facenda). And overall, I enjoy the show’s analysis and discussion too. Costas is always entertaining. Marino can do no wrong in my book, even if he is kind of an idiot. Say what you will about Chris Collinsworth, but he generally knows his shit. And Peter King is a welcome component as well (although I kinda miss fat Peter King).

In fact, I only have two real complaints. One — Chris Carter. Yes, he was briefly on my beloved Eagles. But I don’t care. He’s a mush mouth and just doesn’t add anything to the show. Two — I hate hate hate that they don’t show highlights from every game anymore. They decided to cut back, so they could do more in-depth “focus” pieces. Well, fuck that. HBO already has “Real Sports” (great show!) and Costas’ off-season show (its name seems to change every year, so I dunno what the hell it’s called now), which both do plenty of these focus pieces. So lose the crap and gimme back my highlight packages, eh?

“Daybreak” (ABC, 9 p.m.). Well, sure, I haven’t actually watched “Daybreak” yet, since it doesn’t premiere until tonight, but I will be watching it, so I thought I should mention that. My expectations for this show are capital-L Low, but I enjoy me some Taye Diggs so I’ll give it a shot.

And that’s it for Wednesday nights.

Nothing else to see here folks; move along.

…sigh.

Yeah, OK, I guess I do need to talk about the big one. Hell, I even parodied its logo for this column’s picture and all that.

“Lost” (ABC, 9 p.m.). Well you see, here’s the thing … it’s just that … well, you know.

Fuck you, “Lost!”

Seriously, man, fuck you long, fuck you hard, fuck you seven ways to Sunday.

Two-and-a-half motherfucking years and we’ve gotten almost nowhere. Hell, they even managed to basically make all of the second season, which was already unfulfilling, relatively pointless. The Tailies? Obviously not that important, ‘cause they all dead now. The Hatch? Fucking blowed up (which means that, instead of pushing buttons for years and years, why not just let it blow originally, push the damn emergency button, and let that be that, since things seem just fine now?). Michael and Walt? Gone.

Two-and-a-half motherfucking years and we’ve gotten almost nowhere. Old questions remain unanswered, and yet they just keep dumping more and more crap onto our plates. For example, here’s one for you, if you can even remember this. Way back when our Losties first found that cave some of them were living in for a while, there were some skeletons in there. And a bag with some black and white rocks. It was played up as kinda a big deal at the time, yet not a mention of it since. Not one sniff. Hell, they haven’t even told us how Locke ended up in his wheelchair — they just keep stretching out even the most basic shit.

Two-and-a-half motherfucking years and we’ve gotten almost nowhere. Have we learned anything that actually matters in any character flashback this season? The “themes” of every damn flashback just reinforce shit we already know about these characters from prior flashbacks. Take last week’s “season finale” … please! (Bah-dump-bum.) We learned that Kate was married and in love but had to run off because it wouldn’t stick, since she’s on the lam and all that. Which we already got before, when that old man love of hers got killed. Nothing … fucking … new.

You know, some folks have been making a big deal about the fact that “Criminal Minds” has been giving “Lost” a run for its money, ratings-wise, in this time slot. Well I’m not even remotely surprised. That show wraps up all its shit in a nice, simple hour. If “Lost” wrapped up any of its fucking loose ends over the course of a bloody season, that’d be a start and a marked improvement.

But yet … I still fucking watch. Like “Jericho,” I’m intrigued by the bigger story (even though you’ll never convince me that they have this shit all mapped out — they lost my faith on that issue about halfway through season two). And worse yet, I’m invested. I should just take my loss and sell, but I keep hoping against hope that the market will pick back up. Deep down I know it won’t, but I just can’t help myself.

Besides, sometimes it’s nice to have something to bitch about.

… and with all that off my chest, Wednesday is now officially closed. Now if you’re real smart and think things through, you can probably guess what I’m writing about tomorrow. In the meantime, if you ain’t read them yet, you can check out my earlier columns down below. Or skip ‘em and go get some grub or a beer. That works, too.

Update: Wow, I don’t know how this happened, but a comment made me realize that “South Park” totally snuck by somehow. I’ve been a huge fan since downloading their original Christmas clip from the early 90’s version of peer-to-peer (yes Marge, I’m a geek!), and it’s amazing how solid this show has remained over the years. Great stuff.

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

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Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television columnist. After letting off a little steam, he’s feeling much better.

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What I'm Watching on Wednesdays

Fall Sweepstacular / The TV Whore
November 15, 2006

TV | November 15, 2006 | Comments ()



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