Thursday, October 30, 2003

Here we are, a few weeks into the new fall TV season, and these are the new shows that I'm still watching:

Carnivale on HBO, Sundays at 9. Thanks to there just being too much stuff to watch on Sundays and my working twelve hours on Mondays, I'm a couple of episodes behind on this one, but I love what I've seen so far. What I love best, in addition to it being well written, well acted, and beautifully shot, is that there's nothing else like it on TV. As good as HBO's other shows are, you can look at The Sopranos and see its roots as a soap opera, or The Wire as a cop show. But how many other shows are there about the supernatural battle between good and evil played out against the backdrop of a small-time Depression-era freak show?

Tarzan on WB, Sundays at 9 as well. It's an entertaining show. I like the stories, I like the cast, I like the action and the adventures and all that. But it's not really Tarzan, is it? I mean, the focus of the Tarzan novels wasn't the developing romance between him and Jane, and it wasn't his adventures in New York... Let's face it, this is a pretty radical reimagining. Much more so than Smallville, even. But it's not a bad show to watch, so I don't mind watching it.

Navy NCIS on CBS, Tuesdays at 8 is a show I haven't wholeheartedly embraced. It's a spin-off of JAG, which I'm probably not supposed to admit to watching and liking, but I do. So there. Navy NCIS is very much the JAG version of CSI and CSI: Miami, but set against a military background. Like the CSI shows, the main character, played here by Mark Harmon, is a quirky, grouchy, antisocial, anti-authority maverick. Harmon is a good enough actor to carry it off, but at times it feels like he's being shoehorned into the mold of the sorts of characters played by William Petersen and David Caruso in the CSI shows, and his own natural charm is being stiffled. He's assisted by a couple of younger investigators: an attractive, competent former Secret Service agent played by Sasha Alexander, who makes a decent foil for Harmon, and a young turk played by former Dark Angel leading man Michael Weatherly. Weatherly's character, a cocky former Baltimore homicide detective with a voracious sexual appetite, is played a little too broadly, and could stand to be toned down a little. Also in the regular cast are two oddball forensic specialists: a pathologist played by TV great David McCallum, and a TV-goth chick lab tech played by Pauley Perrette. I like the show, but I want to like it better. The problem so far is that the crimes haven't had the same strong ties to the military that make JAG interesting to me, and the characters haven't been fine-tuned enough yet. On the other hand, it's a strong cast. And these are the folks who produce JAG, a show which went through four leading ladies before settling on the cast and format that won me over. So here's hoping they'll keep working on this one until it's just right.

Karen Sisco on ABC, Wednesdays at 10. Whenever I talk about what I'm watching on TV, I try to make it clear that it's just my opinion. People should watch whatever they want to watch, and I'm okay with that. We don't all have to agree, because it's all good, and it's all crap. However...

If you're not watching Karen Sisco, you're just stupid.

Yeah, I know it's on at the same time as Law & Order. Law & Order is always on. It's on like every other hour on TNT, and you know the formula. So watch Law & Order some other time, and watch Karen Sisco on Wednesdays. Because Karen Sisco is just cool. It's witty, it's sexy, it's hip. It's got warmth and humor and humanity and none of the self-importance or arty pretention of a CSI or Sopranos or Six Feet Under. It's just a cool, great, wonderful show about a tough female US marshall, and I love it.

Joan of Arcadia on CBS, Fridays at 8, is the sort of show that I should probably hate. It's heartwarming, it's about a family, teenage girl talks to God... but like I mentioned a few weeks ago, it manages to not be stupid. It manages to not be completely cloying and heavy-handed and, well, all Touched By an Angel, you know? It's actually pretty clever, and down to earth, and very watchable. And Mary Steenburgen plays the mom, and she's just great. And Amber Tamblyn, who plays Joan, seems like a real teenager. And I don't even mind that Jason Ritter, who plays the oldest son in the family, reminds me way too much of Jim Carrey. Even the God stuff isn't too intrusive, because they manage to keep God from being too religious.

So those are the new shows I'm watching this season. For the record, those go into the mix with these other shows:

The Office
American Dreams

Third Watch

Gilmore Girls
Judging Amy


What I Like About You (Don't judge me)
Without a Trace


eBay item 3146042998 (Ends Sep-22-03 08:37:31 PDT) - Collection of 26 Beanie Babies from Ex-Wife

Not my auction, not even something I was shopping for, but read through all the sellers' comments and pity this man.
Yahoo! News - ABC Picks Up New Comedies, 'Sisco' Fate Unclear: "LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - ABC has ordered full seasons for all its comedies which debuted this fall and two of the new dramas, the network said on Thursday, in an early vote of confidence for its new slate of shows.

The future of revamped police procedural 'LA Dragnet' and critically acclaimed, quirky crime drama 'Karen Sisco' are still up in the air, although the network has ordered four more scripts for 'Sisco,' said Kevin Brockman, spokesman for the network owned by Walt Disney Co ."