Wednesday, September 28, 2005

TV: Potpourri

Let's take a break from reviewing new TV pilots to talk about... other TV stuff! I've got a one-track mind. (And I'm going off the rails.)

Why I No Longer Watch "Next On" Promos, Part 1

I hope you people have been watching this second season of Battlestar Galactica, which just ended last Friday with an amazing finale. (Third season's coming in January!) I wondered how they would match last season's powerful ending, which left Commander Adama critically wounded after being shot by Boomer. Well, match it they did, with the discovery of a second surviving Battlestar, the Pegasus, commanded by the coldly dangerous Admiral Cain (Cain... is that foreshadowing of a mutiny?), played by Michelle Forbes.

I loved how Adama at first obediently, even willingly, cedes command of the fleet to her, due to his strict adherence to military chain of command. I loved that when Cain reams Adama out over the flaws and failures of his crew, you want to hate her, but she's dead right on every single count. I loved that they didn't flinch away from the brutalities the crew of the Pegasus has inflicted on their Cylon captive (an almost unrecognizable copy of Number Six), or is willing to inflict on Boomer. And I loved seeing the steel in Adama's countenance as he finally stands up to Cain, sending an attack squadron to rescue the members of his crew that she is about to execute. It was a tremendous episode.

And the thrills were completely unspoiled for me because I've stopped watching the coming attractions promos at the end of each episode. The promos have been giving away far too much, to the point of being true spoilers. In an early episode this season, Col. Tigh decides in the very last minute of the show to declare martial law over the entire fleet. Which would've been a shocker, if they hadn't revealed he was going to do that in the previews from the previous week's show. So, I stopped watching the promos, which meant the appearance of another Battlestar was a complete and wonderful surprise to me. I don't think the moment would have had half as much power if I had known it was coming.

What the hell happened with this week's Arrested Development? They skipped an episode, didn't they? I'm almost positive they skipped an episode. Heck, Roger Green thinks they skipped an episode, too, and this week's was only the second episode he's ever watched. (And by the way, Roger -- I still say Desperate Housewives is not a comedy! Suicide, stalkers, child stealing, statutory rape, murder, dismemberment... just because Teri Hatcher falls down every once in a while doesn't put it in the same genre as Malcolm in the Middle. ABC just thought they'd have a better chance getting Emmys if they nominated it in that category -- because it worked so well for Ally McBeal -- and of course they were right.)

The show started with a "Previously On..." recap, which they've never done before. And then it showed footage that didn't actually happen in last week's show. It was all new, and it skimmed right through a pretty major development, George Bluth's surrender to the law, and subsequent confinement to house arrest in Lucille's apartment, rather than actual prison time. I don't think they even mentioned what happened to poor Oscar. And they skipped the traditional fake "Next Time" previews at the end of the show.

I suspect the woeful ratings of the season debut led the Fox execs to demand, "Skip ahead to Charlize Theron." The lovely Ms. Theron is appearing in six episodes this season, starting with Monday's show. I don't know if she's enough to raise the ratings -- in fact, I'm sure she isn't, since previous guest spots by Heather Graham, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ben Stiller and Martin Short didn't exactly rocket the show up the Nielsens. But I'm glad they're at least trying, even if they had to skip an episode to do it. (Which I don't know for sure if they did or not. But I think they did.)

It still wound up being a pretty hilarious episode. "Wee Britain" had me in stitches. Watch this show before it's too late!

Why I No Longer Watch "Next On" Promos, Part 2

I watched my TiVoed recording of this week's Prison Break before I watched Kitchen Confidential (which actually airs just ahead of Prison Break). It was another goofy joyride on Prison Break, with a full-scale riot breaking out. The episode ends with the lovely Dr. Sara in mortal danger in the hospital ward, with good guy prisoner Michael racing through his escape route to rescue her.

Then I watched Kitchen Confidential, and at the end of the show there was a promo for the Prison Break I had just watched. And it not only spoiled all the action in this week's show -- it spoiled next week's show as well. As I said, the episode actually ends with Dr. Sara in danger and Michael on his way. But the preview shows Michael popping out of the ceiling in the hospital ward and lifting Dr. Sara to safety.

What the FUCK! It's not enough to ruin one episode at a time -- now you're going for a double shot at once?? Geez, why don't you just tell us what happens in the finale and save us all the trouble of watching the whole season?

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