Sunday, September 05, 2004

TiVo Season Passes, Part 4

17) Deadwood
HBO's fact-based western about life in Deadwood before the land became part of the United States was probably one of the 3 best shows on TV last season. The second best show on television, Angel, doesn't show up in my season passes since it's been cancelled by the reprehensible WB network. The best show on TV is next on my list.

Deadwood, quite simply, was a phenomenal story told with great actors and great writing. It's a testament to how amazing the medium of television can be when intelligent people are given resources and let loose by a network willing to support them. Deadwood contained numerous arcs, each character, however minor, growing and changing over the course of the season. Just one example: the man who starts out the season as "the bad guy" -- Al Swearengen -- ends up showing more compassion than nearly all of the heroes, without changing his language or his behavior. The subtle transformation of the character (all through body language and tone) was stunning. The fact that Ian McShane was not nominated for a Best Actor Emmy is an absolute travesty.

And that was just one of the great things about the show.

A bunch of people had a problem with the language in the show, with its gratuitous use of "cocksucker" and other colorful, often era-based language. Those people are dumb. The language in the show was far more innocuous than you'd see in the criminally overrated Sopranos, but people can't be troubled to actually, you know, pay attention.

16) The Wire
The Wire. Wow. What can I say? Without a doubt, the first two seasons of the show made it the best show on TV two years running. While often slowly paced, each episode builds layers upon layers into the story. Each character, regardless of what side of the law they are on, is multi-faceted and allows you the ability to understand why they act as they do and how they end up in the situations they are in.

No other show could make you really feel for a dead drug dealer. Or really enjoy a character like Brother Mouzone, who is a glorified hitman, but you understand him.

No other show would allow two cops to work a crime scene - for nearly four or five minutes of television time, using only variants of the word "fuck." And no other show could make it so utterly compelling.

If you haven't watched The Wire, you need to start from episode 1. Catch it on On Demand. Catch it when HBO replays it. Buy the DVD set when it comes out. You won't regret it. The only reason the show is at #16 on my season passes is that it replays enough that I can catch it in a later timeslot, allowing me to see other shows on Sundays at 9. It's the best show on TV. There's no argument.

15) The Jury
I won't spend much time here. I liked Homicide: Life on the Streets. I liked Oz. This is a show by the folks behind those shows. It was ok, but not great. The dialogue was all incredibly stilted because of its need to be expository. Since the viewer sees the show through the eyes of the jury after they've already heard the case, every relevent detail needs to be spelled out. That just couldn't be done with natual language.

It's already been cancelled. I need to dump it from my list.

14) The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Consistently funny.
Consistently biting.
Consistently better reporting than the actual news reporters out there.

That's a pretty bad indictment of the state of the news media today. But a ringing endorsement of the intelligence Jon Stewart (and Stephen Colbert and the rest of the team) bring to their jobs as the fake news leaders.

For instance, check out:
George W. Bush: Words Speak Louder than Actions
Robert Novak: Douchebag of Liberty
Rep. Henry Bonilla: Watch as Jon Stewart Catches Me Following Talking Points And Lying Through My Teeth In One Of The Funniest Moments Ever Recorded On TV

13) American Dreams
From what I've seen, it's a pretty show. Unfortunately, I only see like 4 or 5 episodes a season since it's on opposite The Simpsons. Then again, I dig period dramas (see Deadwood). Plus, any show that would give a job to an adult Joey .. Joseph Lawrence is cool with me.

12) Tru Calling
I heart Eliza Dushku.

I'll wrap it up there. Next time, we'll dig into the bottom of the top 10 including the new version of 90210, the new version of The Commish, and the only Dick Wolf show in my season passes.


At 11/08/2004 03:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ryan. I have read and re-read this entry like 19 times. So many things have happened since your last post...the premiere of "Joey", a new Real World Road Rules Battle of the Sexes, an election, Billy Joel getting much fodder. Please post a new blog!! Do it for me! Love, Liz


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