Tuesday, October 09, 2007

View from the couch

There’s been a bit of a lack of substance here lately.

I haven’t felt inspired to blog about the books I’ve been reading (working my way through the Cormac McCarthy library. Up next: No Country for Old Men before the movie is released in November).

Politics lately is so much as usual that there’s really nothing new to say about it (is there ever?). And even my Larry Moore hate has subsided slightly since I haven’t watched the KMBC so-called news cast recently.

Luckily, there’s always pop culture to fall back on, and the new TV lineups provide a great opportunity to see what’s new and original on the small screen. With work letting up a little bit, I’ve had a chance to clear the DVR decks and collect some thoughts on some new fall shows:
  • The Bionic Woman: Talk about original! Who would ever have thought to do a remake of a show from the ‘70s that was itself a spinoff of a show from the ‘70s? Brilliant!

    The series writers cleverly avoid overestimating the intellectual prowess of the viewing public by steering clear of serious subtext that could be raised with this show: What does it mean to be human in an age of technology. What are the moral limits of performance enhancement. How many times should Sci-Fi show actors be recycled?

    Instead, the writing team deftly opts to focus on what viewers really want, sexy cyborgs waging epic pseudo-lesbian wire-fighting battles. Sweeeet.

  • JourneyMan: Another stroke of genius and originality. The premise is that a man suddenly begins to leap back and forth in time within his lifetime, assigned by some unknown force to solve problems for people from the past.

    I don’t know where these people come up with such original ideas!

    Anyway, I was bitterly disappointed when I watched the first episode and realized that this show has nothing at all to do with Steve Perry or a string of chart-topping power ballads from the late-70s to early 80s. But I’m still willing to give it a chance since it stars Kevin McKidd, my favorite Centurion.

  • Chuck: A pocket-protected member of the nerd herd inexplicably gets the top secrets of the CIA and NSA stuck in his noggin. So it’s either be killed by your government or be forced to work as a spy for your government.

    The theme of this show seems to be "We have met the enemy, and he is us." Aside from a quick mention of the North Koreans, the bad guys in this show seem to be American secret agents. Have the PC police really become so bad that we can no longer bash on the Soviets, North Koreans, Chinese, Iraqis or even the Canadians (damn dirty Canadians!).

    The comedy seems to be based on the awkwardness of Chuck, played by Zachary Levi who is a genetic splice of Zack Braff and Jimmy Fallon. There’s that Hollywood originality again. Anyway, for lame premise and lackluster comedy, I predict this show will be cancelled within a few more weeks.

  • Big Shots: In the same way that Maxim is Cosmo for men, Big Shots is Desperate Housewives for men. Or rather, its Desperate Housewives about men, but still for women. Instead of smokin’ hot ladies, you get smokin’ hot pretty boys, but all the character types are the same: the goofy one, the sexy one, the smart one and the organized one.

    Still, you gotta give credit to a show that kicks off its season featuring a truck stop encounter with a transvestite male prostitute. Another thing I like is that the writers blatantly name the country club (the place where much of the intra-gender dialog takes place) Firmwood, which in terms of not-so-subtle double entendre one-ups the great Bushwood of Caddyshack fame.
So that’s a quick roundup. There are more shows out there, but to be honest you really only need to know about The Office and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Of course as I’ve stated on other blogs, taking advice on pop culture from me is like taking table manner lessons from Andrew “Dice” Clay, so there’s that.

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  1. you have kids? don't read McCarthy's The Road.

  2. shico,

    I read The Road a few months ago (before oprah put it on her list). Bleak fuckin' novel, but I loved it. I think it's probably the best book I've read in the last few years.

  3. agreed - some of his best writing since "All The Pretty Horses" {may a mythological being roast Matt Damon's soul for robbing that role of the tough innocence it needed }: my oldest is just 4 and 1/2 and my imagination is too vivid by half...

  4. I just wrapped up the Border Trilogy (All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing and Cities of the Plain). Haven't seen the movie version of ATPH, but I don't feel and urgent need to, especially after your glowing review.

    I will say that the trailer for No Country for Old Men looks kickass.

  5. I actually like Bionic Woman. Best new show on TV though (at least for nerds like me) is The Big Bang Theory.

    Big Shots bores me. Chuck likely will get cancelled, but it could be good.

  6. yeah, hard to go wrong casting Tommy Lee Jones as a grizzled old fart - ; ' )

    plus he's got the chops for that role down to a T...hopefully not too much.

    and, anything the cohen brothers do is usually fine by me...

    go ahead and rent "Horses" - the whole movie is great; it's just for me Damon stuck out like a sore thumb - your milage may vary.

  7. 3 A.M. reeks of substance, like the Modern Library editions of Greek plays smelly old James Lipton stacks next to his toilet.

    My favorite new show was John From Cincinnati, but they canceled it. Really crazy and brave and deeply flawed. Like a train-wreck with amazing stylized dialogue -- and what the holy hell was going on in that motel, anyway? Weird!

    In conclusion: I have never finished a Cormac McCarthy novel. This is not Cormac McCarthy's fault.

  8. I don't know Butchie instead.

  9. I love JourneyMan. Great tv show. It reminds me of Quantum Leap


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