Saturday, March 05, 2005

Another Friday night and I was too goddamned tired to watch TV. Thank goodness for the DVR (assuming it's working).

What I did watch this morning, having recorded it last night, was the second episode of Law & Order: Trial By Jury, the twenty-seventh consecutive L&O spin-off series. (Seriously, it's only the third, making a total of four prime-time hours a week NBC devotes to Law & Order, not counting the nights they rerun it, plus the reruns of all the shows on various cable networks...)

Yes, you heard right: I watched two whole episodes of a Law & Order spin-off. How did NBC force me to do that which I hate? They cast Bebe Neuwirth in it. That's right; Fraser Crane's ex-wife, Lilith, is now a NYC prosecutor. And she's such a fantastic actress--like so many of the L&O cast members--that she manages to rise above the incredibly wooden lines flying around her. And, of course, like any L&O show, the dialogue continues to be crap. It's the same stilted, trying-too-hard dialogue that continues to drive me away from the CSI family, the school of writing that insists that if someone is killed by decaptitation, someone has to say something like, "He'll never get ahead in life." It's the kind of stuff that you expect to hear with an Austrian accent in an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, but not coming from folks we're expected to believe are real people.

Still, it's got Bebe Neuwirth as Robotrix Prosecutor, and that's just fine. (And Amy Carlson, who starred on Third Watch and the underrated series Peacemakers (or CSI: Deadwood), rerunning on CMT, of all places.) And it featured Jerry Orbach's last performance--making lame cracks about his ex-wife, still; who'da figured?--so it's kind of bittersweet.

Anyway, not recommending it, but I'll probably stick with it as long as it's replacing Medical Investigation, and not adding something to my schedule.

And I got the new Doctor Who Magazine yesterday, the first with tons of new photos and previews of the new TV series. March 26, it's supposed to premiere in the UK. And they're saying the DVDs may come out as soon as October. (Hopefully, I'll be able to catch it online before that, otherwise I won't be able to read my magazines...) I'm all giddy with excitement.
Not to harp on Green Lantern: Rebirth again, but here's another "critic's" non-critical view:

NEWSARAMA - JOURNEY INTO COMICS: GREEN LANTERN'S RETURN AND SHORT TAKES: "DC relented and with Green Lantern: Rebirth (DC, $2.95) Jordan is coming back as Green Lantern in a six-issue series followed by a regular monthly title.

Writer Geoff Johns and artist Ethan Van Sciver came up with a perfect vehicle to explain away Jordan’s insanity, sacrifice, death and resurrection. The series, now up to issue 4, is a thing of beauty."

Perfect vehicle? Thing of beauty? Again, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the story that takes away a human emotional response and replaces it with the yellow fear alien.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Lest it appear that I don't do anything besides watch TV, I just finished a book the other day: The Nimble Man by Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski, both authors whose work I've enjoyed in the past. This is the first in a new "dark fantasy" series, featuring Arthur Conan Doyle as the immortal magician leading a team of ghosts, vampires, and other mystical beings in a bid to defend the Earth against... well, other mystical, creepy stuff. All very Buffy, really, which makes sense, because Golden is perhaps best known as the author of about a million Buffy novels. (He also cowrote the Ghosts of Albion webcast series with Buffy actress Amber Benson, also soon to be a series of novels.)

Anyway, as I said, this first novel featured a story that felt straight out of Buffy or Angel, with some big, horrible Power From Beyond Time menacing the planet. And the novel fell a bit flat for me, partly because the plot did feel so familiar, and partly because this is the first time we've seen these characters, and they're up against what is reportedly such a huge threat. Time and time again, Doyle tells his people (and the readers) that this problem is far greater than anything they've ever faced before. Trouble is, we haven't seen how they've handled anything else before, and when (surprise) they win here, it doesn't seem all that hard, either. Very much ado about nothing, really. (And then, the book sets up future stories when we're told that there's something even worse coming down the pike, but again, if the fairly generic Ultimate Evil Monster they face in this book was supposed to be such a challenge, then how bad are we supposed to believe the next one to be?)

The next book comes out sometime this spring, I think, but it's not a high priority. (A higher priority is the first full Ghosts of Albion novel in the fall, because the web series has been a lot more fun.)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

So last night was, of course, the series finale of NYPD Blue. I think it may take some time for that to sink in. I mean, the show ran for twelve years, and I watched it all the way through, from the first episode to the last. Okay, I may have missed the occasional episode here and there, but that's different from, say, drifting away completely, as I did with Law & Order, or joining partway through, like Stargate SG-1, or even leaving and coming back, like ER and Judging Amy. In fact, I think the only show I watched so faithfully for so long has been Doctor Who. Funny how one leaves the air mere weeks before the other comes back...

Anyway, it was the perfect conclusion to the series. Andy Sipowicz--the only character to stick around through the whole series--has entered a new phase of his life and career, so there was a sense of completion and closure. But there's also the sense that life, and the world, goes on. For the most part, the story was just another episode, with very little to distinguish it from the rest, and that's the way it ought to be. Only at the end, when all the characters, one by one, stopped by Andy's new office to say goodnight, did it feel like something was coming to an end.

And the whole thing was preceded by a retrospective hosted by former cast member Jimmy Smits (who almost makes me want to watch The West Wing this year, but not quite). It reminded me of how much I had consistently enjoyed the show for the past 12 years, and how much I'll miss it. The first two seasons have been released on DVD, and, of course, I own them. (I own freaking One Tree Hill, Wonder Woman and The Greatest American Hero on DVD; you think I'm not going to buy my favorite show?) And when I watch those early episodes, I am reminded of how groundbreaking and different the show was when it premiered and, although quite honestly, as time passed, it did grow to look more like the rest of what was on TV, it remained very good right up until the end. I hope, hope, hope, the remaining ten seasons get released on DVD, because it's a series I don't want to let go of.

Of course, last night also saw the premiere of The Amazing Race 7. It appears to be off to a great start, although I already hate Survivor vets Rob & Amber. They're just so freaking smug, and they really don't need to be on another show like this. (And they're using their fame to get the advantage, which just sucks.) I was sorry to see that the first team to be eliminated was the redneck friends, because I would have liked to have seen if they were more than the stereotype. Teams I already don't like: the really annoying gay couple, and the on-again, off-again couple. I do like the mother-son team (although she's already showing some irritating traits), and I like the war "hero"/beauty queen couple. In a lot of ways, they remind me of the previous race's Jon & Kris, who almost won by remaining calm and competent throughout, and only lost through sheer dumb luck. This couple seems similarly nice, only they're not as bright, and they're letting other teams walk all over them. I'd really like to see them grow a spine and start taking charge.

Oh, and my stupid DVR, which has been giving me my share of problems lately (the other week, it deleted a bunch of WB shows for no apparent reason) failed to record the first two episodes of the new Gordon Ramsey series, [B]Boiling Point[/b], and I didn't realize it until it was too late.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

So it hasn't been officially announced by the producers yet, but apparently, Lexa Doig has joined the cast of Stargate SG-1 as the new medical officer (and possibly the daughter of Beau Bridges' new character). Now, I'm a huge Lexa Doig fan--she was the only reason I was watching Andromeda, until even that wasn't a good enough reason--so that's good news, as far as I'm concerned.

(Beau Bridges? Doesn't he have an Oscar, too? Or is it just the other new recurring cast member, Lou Gossett, Jr?)

Sunday, February 27, 2005

So, despite my earlier comments, I find myself watching the Oscars after all. (Which is odd, since I haven't seen any movies this year, really.) And they just had the tribute to people who passed away over the past year, and I felt a lump in my throat when they showed Christopher Reeve.
Okay, so the Oscars are on tonight, and before anyone asks, I only care to the extent that there's no new episode of Desperate Housewives.