Saturday, October 9, 2010

What I'm Watching

People are always asking me what I'm watching on TV.   I guess that's because they know I used to write for TV and they think I possess some special insight into which shows are good and which shows aren't.  I don't.  I simply know a bit more than the average viewer does about how incredibly hard it is to put a show together.  I also happen to be a really cranky viewer.  If I don't get pulled in within the first five minutes I'm gone.

I don't think there's anything transcendently great on the air right now.  Nothing as intelligent and riveting as The West Wing.  Nothing as riotously hilarious as Reno 911.  And please don't talk to me about Mad Men.  I think it's empty, pretentious and appallingly badly acted.  I hate it.

My favorite program on television is  The Rachel Maddow Show.  I absolutely adore Rachel and if she ever decides to form a third party and run for president I promise I will work for her campaign.  I mean that.

It will not surprise fans of my Berger-Mitry mysteries to learn that Turner Classic Movies is my day in, day out go-to channel.  I watch old movies more than I do anything else -- with the possible exception of sports.  I watch a truly sick amount of baseball and football.  Although for some reason I am not enjoying Monday Night Football as much this season.  Actually, I know what the reason is. I can't stand the announcers.  Mike Tirico is clueless.  Ron Jaworski shouts too much.  And I'm really tired of Jon Gruden's act.  Or maybe it isn't an act.  Maybe he really as big an asshole as he seems.

Because I got bored by Monday Night Football this season I started surfing around and, as luck would have it, I became one of the only three people in America who actually saw Lone Star before Fox cancelled it after only two episodes.  Lone Star is this fall's most spectacular flop.  It didn't deserve to be.  I thought it was fresh, interesting and very promising.  I was looking forward to next week's episode.  Never happened.  Its ratings were abysmal.  Fox could have moved it to a different time slot.  Instead, they killed it.

Fox is famous for eating its young.  They famously destroyed Joss Whedon's brilliant, beautiful Firefly a few seasons back.  And they're currently hosing two other perfectly fine shows.  I'm talking mindless entertainment here, which is usually all I'm in the mood for after wrestling with words all day long on my computer screen.  One is Human Target,  a fun, entertaining action drama that stars Mark Valley, Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley -- if you can find it.  It's never on two weeks in a row, and seldom on the same night.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with the show.  It's fine.  And they're killing it.  The other is The Good Guys, which is a silly but very enjoyable cop show from Matt Nix with Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks.  Fox has banished it to prime time Siberia -- Friday nights, where it is guaranteed to get low ratings and, therefore, die.

Matt Nix is the genius who has given us Burn Notice, which I watch religiously.  It's off the air right now but is supposed to come back in November.  I never miss it.  It's THE coolest show on TV.  And I'm madly in love with Fiona.

I checked out the new Hawaii Five-O.  It's okay.  But it's not Hawaii Five-O, know what I mean? And it's blasphemous to be calling it that.  Hawaii Five-O was Jack Lord in a shiny suit, shades and pompadour never cracking a smile.  It was a camp classic, like Dragnet.  This is a whole other deal.  There's skin.  People even smile.

I'm still watching NCIS.  I think the plots are well-crafted and the actors are really funny together.  But it does seem to be getting just a tiny bit tired this season. Plus I miss the scenes in Jethro's basement.  And I really miss McGee's chin.  It's gone.  I know he's lost some weight but he actually looks like a different person.  Did he have cosmetic surgery? Lipo? I don't want to know.  I don't watch the NCIS Los Angeles spin-off that follows it on Tuesday nights.  I think it's a complete bore.  Although not as boring as The Good Wife, which has to be the dullest show on prime time television.  And the hugest waste of fine acting talent.

I miss Warehouse 13.  I became strangely addicted it to these past two summers even though I know, deep down inside, that it's not very good.  But I'm looking forward to its return.

And I'm becoming strangely addicted to Nikita.  It has a brooding, noirish, low-budget charm to it.  And Maggie Q is off-the-charts hot.  Actually, I'm enjoying Nikita more than I did the much more highly touted hot spy summer series Covert Affairs, which had a great two-hour pilot and then really fizzled. Mostly because Piper Perabo just plain isn't a star.  She doesn't have It.  Believe me, Maggie Q has It.

I'm not watching a single sitcom that's currently on the air.  And you can't  make me.

Don't even try.  


  1. Boy, were you angry when you wrote this? LOL. forget Monday Night Football...Join me in watching Dancing with the Stars.

  2. i haven't been hooked on a tv show since buffy -- which i guess is just as well. not that i have much of a social life, but it did sound a little strange to say i can't have dinner out tonight because... anyway, it's good to know i'm not missing much. will check out nikita, though. and what's with the remakes, anyway? hawaii five-o? why not just call it something else?