Tuesday, February 28, 2006

TV: Shows To Rock Your Face

Here are a few shows that are currently rocking my face. Hard.

The Shield: I'll probably say this two or three more times as I go down the list, but if you are not watching this show, I don't think we can be friends anymore. One of the best, most gripping dramas on TV, The Shield continues to amaze and surprise, even into this, its fifth season. Forest Whitaker is always great, and if you were to legally challenge me on this point, I would only have to submit: Exhibit A. Case dismissed -- with prejudice! As Kavanaugh, the Internal Affairs officer hounding Vic Mackey and his crew, Whitaker is again mind-blowingly great. There's a certain zen air of inevitability to his towering confidence, which made his recent room-smashing breakdown following Mackey's deception of him all the more powerful and disturbing. And as his determination/obsession to take down Mackey grows, so does his grotesque, irresistible manipulation of anyone in his path. And CCH Pounder continues to give an award-worthy performance as Detective Claudette Wyms, whose struggles with disease this season led to last week's shocking and heartbreaking (and possibly fatal) collapse following her brilliant interrogation of a serial killer. Then there's Walton Goggins as Shane, Jay Karnes as Dutch, Benito Martinez as Aceveda, and of course Michael Chiklis as Mackey -- one of the best casts on television, top to bottom. I look forward to tonight's episode, featuring the return of last season's fantastic guest star, Anthony Anderson as Antwon Mitchell.

Battlestar Galactica: After a slump in the second half of its second season, BSG has come back with a vengeance the last two shows. Two weeks ago, yet another chief officer of the Pegasus gets killed -- and Apollo gets promoted to Commander to take his place. Yikes. And then this last week, we find that not only has the Number Six Cylon who died protecting Baltar from the explosive blast way back in the mini-series been reborn with images of Baltar haunting her, exactly as images of her haunt the real Baltar, but she's also teamed up with the reincarnation of the Sharon Cylon who attempted to assassinate Adama and then was herself assassinated. Teamed up to kick Cylon ass. If this show got any more awesome I would need to be sedated. Only two episodes left to the season finale, which I guarantee will piss me off with its sheer awesomeness -- piss me off because it'll be another four or five months till I get another fix.

24: I haven't always been 100% behind this show, and I'm still not this year. Stupid stretches of logic and plausibility are always plentiful -- Sean Astin leaves CTU in the middle of a terrorist crisis and gets mugged by his junkie sister's boyfriend? But the action is always top-notch, and Kiefer Sutherland's no-holds-barred, bellowing, scenery-chewing performance as Jack Bauer is a blast. And hey, Kim Bauer is coming back this year, so there's always a chance someone will finally put her out of our misery!

How I Met Your Mother: As if you couldn't tell from my tribute to Barney on the sidebar, I love this show, and if you're not watching it too, well, maybe we weren't meant to be friends. It's got all the trappings of a traditional sitcom, but takes enough flights of fancy (flashbacks, split screens, the whole "telling the story from the future" gimmick) that it transcends the traditional. Also, it's really frickin' funny. This week's game of "Marshgammon" seemed like a hell of a good time to me (drink if you just said "What?"). Neil Patrick Harris' Barney is a wickedly funny character, but the rest of the cast also hold their own, especially Freaks and Geeks alum Jason Segel (and I'd like to see even more of his former castmates make guest appearances; so far we've seen Samm Levine, Martin Starr, and exec producer Judd Apatow). Sadly, I think Ashley Williams, in a recurring guest role as Ted's girlfriend, isn't working out very well, but she is easy on the eyes (what up!).

Justice League Unlimited: We're into what is reportedly the last season for this show, and the end of the DC Comics/Bruce Timm/Paul Dini animation dynasty. But we've got the Legion of frickin' Doom to show us to the end, and that's all kinds of all right. I'm a big fan of the Flash on this show, and I was glad one of these last episodes was centered on him, and showed us again why he's more than just comic relief. Deadman's appearance, and the battle in Gorilla City, were also excellent, as was last week's showcase of several of the lower-tier, non-superpowered League members (including the return of Nathan Fillion, channeling Mal Reynolds as the voice of Vigilante). I'll be sorry to see the show go, but I greatly anticipate the epic battle that is sure to wrap things up.

So that's what I'm digging on TV recently. Any objections? OVERRULED!!

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