Friday, September 22, 2006

TV: A breather

No reviews of any new shows today. (Probably. I might get inspired later this evening, you never know.) But that doesn't mean I don't still want to talk about TV!

I was out of the house Wednesday night, and forgot to set the TiVo for the premieres of two new shows, Kidnapped and Jericho. Oh no! Fortunately, both shows are being repeated by their respective networks tomorrow night. It's been this way for quite a while (forever?), but every once in a while something like this will remind me: boy, the networks have just completely given up doing anything interesting with Saturday night, haven't they? I guess Fox still does Cops and America's Most Wanted, plus there are newsmagazine shows, but that's it for original programming. This is why I'm looking forward to seeing if ABC's new Saturday Night College Football will work or not. Will people tune in on Saturday night, even for sports? Will it lead to other networks wanting to experiment on the night?

I've recently caught up on most of the end of last season's Gilmore Girls. You may recall when I talked about it last May (although, if you're like most of the male populace, any words pertaining to such a "chick" show may have been invisible to you), and said that I had given up recording the show. I wasn't sure, I said, if I'd even try to catch up on the show again via reruns. Well, apparently I have.

I only caught three of the final four episodes of the year (I missed the episode before the season finale), but it got me back into the show -- in a small way, but I'm back. I'm not tremendously enthusiastic about it; the flaws that made me give up on the show in the first place were still apparent at times. But its merits were more apparent, possibly because these were the final episodes of the year, and everything that had been established early in the season was building to a juicy climax. (That sounded dirty.)

I was very happy to see, at long, long last, the meeting between Lorelai and Luke's daughter, April, at her 13th birthday party. Luke finally seemed to have gotten over his fear of the two meeting, and April and Lorelai of course got on wonderfully. But then April's mother, played by the always-lovely Sherilyn Fenn, has to come along and ruin everything by forbidding April to see Lorelai again. That seemed way too obnoxious and wrong-headedly overprotective to me, even for a stubborn single mother, especially when you consider that her child is actually a teenager now, and that she's not freshly divorced and jealous or wary of Luke's new girlfriends, but is in fact a dozen years down the line from her relationship with Luke, and was never even married to him in the first place. However, it was nice for Luke to now have a reason to keep Lorelai and April apart, other than sheer idiocy; if he let April near Lorelai, he was in danger of never getting to see his daughter again.

And I loved the season finale episode. I loved the bookends to the show with Lorelai staring forlornly toward the camera in the foreground while background action takes place. Loved Lorelai finally busting Luke on all the stupid crap he'd put her through. Loved seeing The Office's Melora Hardin as Christopher's blind date/Lorelai's impromptu therapist. Loved Logan's father putting Rory in her place over the meddling in her relationship she imagined he'd been committing ("Get over yourself," he basically tells her, "there's a lot more going on than your tiny little world." The guy's a jerk, but he was right on in this scene). Loved seeing Logan leave for London. Don't come back! (Still hate that guy.) Loved the Mary Lynn Rajskub cameo (although any scene involving town troubadours is inherently grating, much like any scene involving Lorelai's dog). And I loved the messy, self-destructive ending, in which Lorelai, having delivered a wedding ultimatum to Luke, who rejected it, as is his nature, finds comfort in the bed of Christopher.

So I guess I'm back on board with Gilmore Girls, just in time for its upcoming season debut, back-to-back with Veronica Mars, on the CW. Hooray!

I've recently gotten hooked on Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is just incredibly fun. War consumes a world of nations divided by the elements Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. The Fire Nation, led by its fire magic-wielding warriors (or Firebenders), is on the verge of world domination. Only one man can stand in their way: the Avatar, the only person in the world who can wield magic derived from all four elements. But the latest incarnation of the Avatar, Aang, has been frozen in an iceberg for the past 100 years; when he is unfrozen, he is still only a 12-year-old boy, lacking mastery over any of the elements but Air.

Avatar exhibits much of the style and sensibilities of anime, but is firmly American in origin. Meaning it features a continuing storyline populated with complex and evolving characters and a deep world history, without quite so many mind-boggling leaps of illogic and bizarre, ultra-violent/sexual "What the hell??" moments (like, say, robot tentacle penises). That works just fine for me. Some of you may think I'm ignorant and close-minded, and you may go enjoy all the robot tentacle penises you want on Adult Swim. I'll stick with Avatar.

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