Friday, November 07, 2008

TV Quarterly - Obie-Wan, Obie-Won and Lost Meets Kojak

I just realized... no more elections.... no more baseball... now what do I do??

The election season that is now finally over was unlike any other we had ever seen... which is what we seem to say every 4 years. In '04 I was on a cruise ship with Trophy Wife watching CNN International with Wolf Blitzer and it took great restraint not to jump overboard as the concept of Bush II became a reality. Luckily we stayed afloat and didn't sink unlike the economy during Bush II.

The big change this time around was not only that blogs have become more popular - NWOW celebrates its 3rd bloggiversary next week - appears to be the instant messaging capabilities on Facebook. The time leading to election day was a bit annoying with people constantly repeating their political views and then right before Tuesday "donating their status" to their candidate! I donated mine to the local sandwich franchisee who let me cut in front of him in the voting line in exchange for this announcement - all subs are now 5 bucks!

Now I am seeing all the commentary about the decision to add Rahm Emanuel. Personally, I think Obama deserves a little vaca time after that endless campaign and you know the next 4 yrs are gonna be tough... Did you ever see the before and after pics of Presidents from Election Day to 4 years later? I'm curious how much he is going to age in that time - he might look like Redd Foxx in 2012!

Emanuel is an interesting choice for the post and that will put an end to any speculation that the Obama White House will be an Open House for Louis Farakhan. Emanuel reportedly has a short fuse and doesn't take crap from anybody. In addition, his talent agent brother Ari Emanuel is the inspiration for the Ari Gold character on "Entourage"! Apparently, Rahm has a similar Ari Goldesque temperament... I can just see him bringing Congressman Barney Frank to the White House to be his "Lloyd". All of a sudden this Obama administration looks like it could be entertaining!

Today we present our TV Quarterly Report. We will start with the Election Coverage and then go to the Fall Season which for me begins after the World Series. WE will talk about the fact that there are only 2 good nights of TV with one very notable exception. By the way, last week we moved one of the tvs into the bedroom which had been tv less since we moved into our house last year. I rarely watch TV in our bedroom, but Trophy Wife and I decided to move one there. As a child, my parents had a tv in their bedroom and here is a pic of a very young Nate the TV critic watching - probably a game show!


I mostly watched CNN even though I was kind of baffled by the glowing Will.I.Am hologram interview. Pretty cool idea - maybe that might be how news will be presented. Back in the old days, people were just as stunned that Huntley and Brinkley were anchoring the news from 2 different studios.. maybe Star Wars stuff is the wave of the future. But it still strikes me as being odd beaming somebody in like the Princess Leia scene in Star Wars - "Hey Obie Wan - Obie Won!" My friend Jake has an autographed pic of Adrienne Barbeau on his Facebook but I will now use my holographic powers to beam that pic right here.... Adrienne... welcome to NWOW

As things started to look good for Obama on Tuesday, I decided to tune over to Fox News to see how they were handling it. It was rather amusing to watch their long faces as 8 years of a Republican White House had come to an end. (Nauseatingly enough the GOP has been in the White House for 20 of the last 28 years - blech!) Watching the Fox News Channel the night Obama won the election was like watching the losing locker room interviews after the Super Bowl.

CNN didnt use as much as John King's magic map as I had anticipated... or maybe I just was not watching too closely. As part of the new generation of media coverage I found myself watching News Radio 88's camera coverage of its radio broadcasts that they were showing on their website. It was quite fascinating to see 2 anchormen sitting there playing commercials, going live to Tony Guida and basically holding down the fort with a lot of down time. One of the anchors seemed to spend a lot of time on his black berry while the other guy just kind of sat there looking at an unseen monitor. They rarely spoke to each other off air although one guy did get a drink for the other guy. On the radio it sounded smooth, but watching them made their job seem a tad dull.

I also found myself tuning it to ABC late at night.. .this was the first Presidential Election in the post Peter Jennings era... and I was mesmerized by how remarkably good Diane Sawyer was looking even though she must have been putting in a 20 hour day. I presume she was able to make it back the next morning for Good Morning America? I didn't bother getting up early to watch to see if she was back on.


Sunday has become one of the 2 best days on TV - after all the Sunday football I am ready for some yuks which is why Seth MacFarlane continues to be the King of Sunday Night cartoons! He rules the roost with the classic Family Guy and the extremely amusing American Dad. The episode with Roger the alien having a split personality and having one persona steal the id from the other one in order to get a credit card was quite hysterical. Now Family Guy is spinning off Cleveland into his own show as he bluntly pointed out to Quagmire while they were being held against their will in the Griffin's basement in the "Home Alone" episode. How often does a guy being held prisoner turn to his fellow captive and say - "Hey Im getting a spinoff!".

I have also noticed there is a bit of a Simpsons vs. Family Guy competition because McFarlane has been pointing out Family Guys pulling in a larger audience than The Simpsons in the weekly TV ratings. McFarlane is finally getting some long deserved credit but even though I think The Family Guy is funnier, I don't think it will last anywhere near as long as The Simpsons will. I used to watch Desperate Housewives, but now i have been watching it on later in the week. However, ABC did something with their video player and the audio and video never seems to be in synch, which makes it a bit difficult to watch. It could be an issue with my computer.

After The Fox cartoons its off to HBO to watch Entourage. The 4 guys and Ari Gold provide for a very amusing and entertaining show. Jeremy Piven is absolutely brilliant as Ari and the 4 boys interact with each other quite well. Even Turtle's character who is somewhat irrelevant has some big moments - his little handy run in on the plane with the girl from The Sopranos made him the butt of jokes from Drama - but when his bragging about his studliness came back to bite him and he got dumped, Drama was the first person to immediately step forward to defend his pal who he had been endlessly picking on for the last several episodes. Nice to see somebody has a heart. Its like a buddy movie with a nutty power hungry agent and a gay assistant (Lloyd) who seems to be the target of every gay joke that has ever been written.

After Entourage I tend to flip to the NFL game or Fox 5 Sports Extra. For those of you not in our tv market - sports caster Andy Adler is a woman and homina homina homina! You oughta see the outfits she wears. After that its over to Channel 4 for the night to see the late news... now anchored by Darlene Rodriguez although last Sunday Sue Simmons co anchored with Chuck Scarborough and Sue had the craziest looking perm I had ever seen! Her hair was back to its normal self Monday night. Maybe she was sending a message to management that she doesn't like working weekends??

After getting my sports wrapup with Mike'd Up with Mike Francesa - I just discovered that early seasons of Monk are being rerun on Channel 4. I had never seen the earlier seasons and everyone raves about his original assistant, so now I will get to see what I was missing.


Nothing is better on back to work Monday than coming home to get some yuks. CBS has the hysterical Big Bang Theory at 8 and then How I Met Your Mother at 8:30. Heroes follows at 9 - and even though there has been a lot of controversy swirling around the show this season - 2 producers were fired this week - I think the show is quite entertaining.

What will it take to fix Heroes? Well let's keep one concept intact - Heroes has a very good way of creating good guys and bad guys and then painting them with a shade of gray to make the bad guys look good and vice versa. This vagueness with who do you root for makes for some excellent storytelling you don't see too often on TV. The problem is what are these guys up to? Parkman meets Heroes version of Pumpstradamus and knows he will hook up with Daphne, while at the same time she has to abduct him for her bosses. At the moment they meet for the first time... they already know each other yet they have never met or spoken. But what is the end game to all this?? Well maybe the Heroes should be crime fighting superheroes - kind of like the Fantastic 4. Unfortunately the writers have created so many freaking characters with so many different tangents and time traveling time lines that its getting harder to get the plots under control. While I like the idea of not so bad bad guys and not so good good guys... it would be nice if they team up to fight a villain. The episode with Claire and her 2 moms teaming up to defeat the puppeteer was not only quite suspenseful but also set a good example of the kind of super hero team work that could make the show work even better.

The night wraps up at 10 with the silliness of CSI Miami..(what are they doing to Emily Procter? Did she get some collageon or something? She doesnt look right) and at the same time ABC is airing Boston Legal pitting David Caruso against William Shatner in the battle of the worst actors. Shatner has either gotten to be a better actor or a caricature of himself since we have gotten so used to his poor acting skills, that he seems to be just imitating himself.


I usually dont get too involved with the new fall shows because half the time they get canceled anyway. Last year's time traveling Journeyman was a typical example,. That is why when I heard another show involving a time traveling element would premiere this fall, I got a little nervous that I would get hooked. Well I got hooked on Life on Mars which is by far the best new TV show of the season.

Over the summer I started watching Swingtown on CBS - a show that took place in the 70s involving 3 couples... one swinging couple,... one square couple,.... and one couple sort of in the middle. While the "swingers in prime time" aspect got all the attention - in reality the show had a lot of heart warming moments and it turns out that as the season ended, the swinging couple emerged as having the strongest marriage.

Once the show wrapped up (and sadly probably for good) in September I had this nostalgia for the 70s that only seemed to be fulfilled by watching old game shows on GSN. Along came Life on Mars with this crazy concept about a cop who gets smacked in the head.. and wakes up living in the 1970s where he is working as.... a 1970's cop. And if you watched the crime shows in the 70s and the crime shows of today, you know that cops were different back then - at least on TV. Nobody really knows how he ended up back in the 70s.. much like the mystery surrounding the time traveling abilities of the main character on Journeyman.... so the premise of a 2008 cop on a 70s cop show with a bizarrely mysterious back story - is kind of like a cross between Lost and Kojak.

If you watch the old '70s cop show reruns, you kind of get a little nostalgic because the current era shows are basically out of the Law and Order and CSI format. And the occasional cop show involving a cop with an offbeat personality don't seem to do well. One case was Boomtown on NBC a few years back - the lead character in that show is the same actor who plays mysterious Dave Williams on Desperate Housewives.

The 70s cops on that show are well played by Havey Keitel and Michael Imperioli from The Sopranos. Imperioli's character has a pretty accurate 70s sideburns and mustache look while both cops are incredibly Archie Bunker-esque in their political incorrectness. The fact that they nicknamed a female cop No Nuts pretty much explains how these guys operate.

The other mystery is how did this guy bang his head and wake up 35 years ago? This show ran in England and already explained it... but nobody knows if the American version will follow the same path although I hear the first few episodes were strikingly similar. I don't know anything about the British Life on Mars so I will have to stay in suspense to see how all this falls into place. Nonetheless, the mystery combined with the old 70s cop show characters makes Life on Mars by far the best new show of the season!


Other than Life on Mars the non Sunday - Monday shows are pretty lame. I do catch a couple of other shows on Fox - Kitchen Nightmares is entertaining but it's the same thing every week. A restaurant is poorly run... Gordon comes for a visit, hates the food, curses a few times, fixes the place up, reopens it, watches them struggle with the crowds for the reopening, and then everybody is happy and sings cumbaya at the end.

Friday also has a couple of goodies - Don't Forget the Lyrics could bring in a lot of money if I can ever convince Trophy Wife to go on the show. Wayne Brady is the perfect host for this karaoke game show. And Bill Maher's show on HBO has been terrific when he gets a good panel - although I think the show's quality might drop a bit now that the elections are over.

One last show I have really started to enjoy - oddly enough I work from my home office in the mornings and Friday afternoons so I catch The People's Court. I think this is the best of all the court shows because Judge Milian is not only easy on the eyes but also seems to have a lot of common sense and doesn't yell at everybody like the more popular Judge Judy. I am also trying to figure out the logistics of how Harvey Levin balances his New York People's Court tapings with his LA TMZ daily show. And I recently found out on Wikipedia that Levin is openly gay. I never knew that - not that there is anything wrong with it of course. Unless you want to get married in California - but that my friends is a topic for another day!

PUMPSTRADAMUS NFL PICK OF THE WEEK - For the 6th time in 7 weeks, Pumpy was right again last week to improve to 7-2. This week we go to Chicago, home of President Elect Obama. The Bears are 3 point home dogs against Tennessee - Sayeth the Pump - "To paraphrase Oprah, I couldn't bare to watch the results if McCain would have won - take the Bears!"

UNBIASED GIANTS FAN PICKS OF THE WEEK - We went 2-1 last week - we are actually 15-3 over the last 6 wks - the season record is now 18-9.

Giants 3 point doggies over PHILLY - A 3 point home favorite essentially means the oddsmakers feel the teams are very equal. I politely disagree with that.

RAIDERS 9 doggies over Carolina - The Giants and Carolina are battling for home field in the playoffs. Pumpy had his gutsy Raiders pick against the Jets a few weeks ago, and he won. They should at least cover.

Saints 1 doggie over ATLANTA - Each Philly and Atlanta loss gets the Giants closer to a playoff berth. GO Saints!

No comments: