Tuesday, September 07, 2004

TiVo Season Passes, Part 5

11) The O.C.
Half-trainwreck, half-comedy, The O.C. has nobly filled the void left by 90210. It's got a couple of very funny characters ably handled by talented performers (Adam Brody and Peter Gallagher). It's got the breakout hot chick who was supposed to be the friend of the hot chick (Rachel Bilson). It has a smattering of other quality folks.

And interspersed are a bunch of just atrocious, unbelievably bad, "Scott who shoots himself on 90210" level bad. Mischa Barton is plain awful, and really not all that attractive. The main guy is Steve Sanders-esque in his ability to be in his late 20s and act like a high schooler.


Yet it works. It works because the writers know who's got talent and who doesn't, and they use that to poke fun at themselves. The characters are moderately self-aware, leading to fun meta-jokes and pop culture references.

It's also been on opposite any number of better shows - Angel, The West Wing, Friends, and possibly Joey this year. If Joey sucks, I'll get to see a lot more of Orange County this year, since I refuse to watch the loathesome Will and Grace. But that's for another time.

10) The Shield
Who would have thought that TV's Commish and Daddio could make such a compelling bad guy? I have to admit that I didn't watch the show initially because of the positively annoying ads that FX would run over reruns of Buffy. But, thanks to Netflix and TiVo, I was able to catch up on the entire show.

It's flat out phenomenal. Yes, it does occasionally go a little overboard, but so has every great drama (Buffy, Homicide, etc.). Fundamentally, The Shield is just a tremendously well-written show. Each character has had a chance to develop into a full, lifelike character, to the point where you can absolutely understand each reaction.

And each season, the writers have ended the season on a truly stunning note, leaving you begging for the next season to arrive. Then they go off and spend 9 months plotting it. Assholes.


9) Las Vegas
It's really not a good show. Las Vegas just happens to be on at a time nothing else is really on (Monday Night Football being the exception during a portion of the year) and has tons of attractive women. And it is in hi-def.

8) Law and Orders: Special Victims Unit
The only Dick Wolf show on my list. The other L&O shows are still good but SVU seems to be the only one that doesn't always follow the pattern of "establish obvious criminal, introduce shocking twist, catch bad guy." Plus, SVU has Ice-T and Richard Belzer as partners.

7) Saturday Night Live
SNL is still often funny, but is in need of a shakeup. There seems to be a shelf-life of about 3 or 4 seasons for head writers before they become stagnant. I think Tina Fey (whom I adore) probably needs to give the reigns to someone else for a bit.

Still, with Darrell Hammond, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers, and Rachel Dratch, the cast is talented enough to get by. I'd argue there's still at least 1 really funny sketch per show, which is enough for me to still pay attention.


6) Arrested Development
Anything with David Cross is worth watching. This show has been getting hyped all summer long. If you haven't watched it by now, I'm not going to convince you. Just watch it.

Next time, into the top 5. Two of the top 5 shows are amongst the best new shows of the past 5 years. One of the shows looked to be dead a couple of seasons back before making a huge comeback. The other two were shells of their former selves last year, but still have the pedigree for me to watch every week.

God, I'm a dork.

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