Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Today's TV Update

Last night was a good TV night. I already told you how much I enjoyed Aliens in America. I also liked How I Met Your Mother, which was perhaps not one of the show's strongest episodes, but had a lot of nice scenes with Cobie Smulders' Robin, as well as what I think has been our first glimpse at the characters in the future, outside of future Ted's narration to his children. The Big Bang Theory followed up last week's good, but uneven, debut, with what I thought was a terrifically strong outing. It was full of really funny scenes, from the argument over Superman's powers, to the moving of the heavy box upstairs, to the rearranging of Penny's apartment while she slept -- I laughed an awful lot. The show still relies on "nerd" sight gags a bit much, as with the lightsaber, but it's mainly solid, character-based comedy. And even Two and a Half Men was a good one; I tuned in to see Janeane Garofalo's guest appearance, and I'm glad I did. It's never going to be a Hall of Fame sitcom, but it almost always generates enough laughs to overcome the shame of having to admit you're watching Two and a Half Men.

Journeyman's second episode was as good as the first, which is a relief. Maybe they can sustain this premise. I look forward to next week's episode, which centers on the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake (some of you may remember it as the quake which interrupted the Bay Bridge World Series). I was in that earthquake. I don't know if I've told this story here before, but here it is: I was in the 6th floor of my dorm building at UC Berkeley when it hit. The whole building was rocking back and forth so hard it felt like it would snap in half at the middle. And what was my first instinct? Did I duck under a desk? Did I shelter myself in a doorway? No, I leaped to my feet, and I grabbed my stereo. I've got my priorities straight!

Heroes has been a little disappointing so far. Feels like a lot of wheel-spinning. I don't care about the Latin American refugee storyline, and Hiro's ancient Japan story is so damn predictable (Hiro will become Takezo Kensei and perform all his great feats) that I can't wait for it to be over (even if the writers manage to make it less predictable than it seems). It was cool to see Claire discover a new facet of her power (even if I can't stand West, the flying emo stalker), and I was happy to see the Haitian return. But things need to kick in gear sometime soon.

I also watched Everybody Hates Chris for the first time in a long while, and I have to say, I was disappointed. The kid who plays Chris, Tyler James Williams, is turning out to be not a very good actor the more he grows up. I've always found Chris Rock to be a terrible actor (a great comedian, but a terrible actor), and though he had some good lines, his uninspired performance in last night's cameo as Chris' guidance counselor did nothing to change that perception. And above that, the counselor character just seemed pointlessly cruel and stupid. I really didn't like any of the characters. Chris' mom seems more unreasonably shrill and shrewish than she did in the episodes I caught from the first season, and Chris' friend Greg was just repellent. I still think the dad, played by Terry Crews, is the heart of the show, but I kind of felt sorry for him last night, having to put up with abuse from his awful wife. Maybe it was just one bad episode, but I don't think I'll be tuning in again, even if it does lead in to Aliens in America.

Tonight brings two new debuts: the sitcoms Cavemen and Carpoolers. I'm not optimistic. There should be no conflicts, since Boston Legal is back to its normal 60 minute length, after last week's 90 minute episode. Tape Bones while I watch the two new sitcoms; tape House while I watch Reaper. I won't be tuning in to a second episode of Cane, and while John Larroquette's presence drew me back to Boston Legal last week, his role was totally uninteresting; tonight is the show's last chance to keep me as a viewer.

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