In an article of the same title, the USA Today has a list of the TV shows that (now that the writers' strike appears to be near its end) are expected to return with new episodes this spring, which are expected to return but not until later, which are in doubt, and which ain't coming back. I was glad to see that several new shows that we've been watching will survive: Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, Chuck, and Life. It was also nice to see that a couple of the shows that are dead were ones that I sampled but wasn't hooked by: Bionic Woman and Journeyman. I was disappointed to see Reaper on the questionable list, and I wonder about Aliens in America (I guess I'm not too optimistic). There is one dead show that I had been watching and thought was OK despite it being panned by most: Cavemen.
A couple of the TV picks from The Week magazine for next week:
Hard as Nails
Justin Fatica, an unordained Catholic preacher in upstate New York, has drawn attention and aroused controversy with his Hard as Nails youth ministry. This lively profile captures the 28-year-old firebrand as he employs his attention-grabbing techniques, which include haranguing troubled teenagers and having them haul wooden crosses. Monday, Dec. 17, at 8 p.m., HBO
In God’s Name
French filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet survived the collapse of the World Trade Center, an experience they chronicled in the Emmy- and Peabody-winning film 9/11. Since then, the two brothers have traveled the world seeking perspective from spiritual leaders on such issues as intolerance, terrorism, and war. This documentary features interviews with an array of religious leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI, the Dalai Lama, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as their counterparts among Jews, Hindus, Muslims both Shiite and Sunni, Sikhs, Shintoists, Lutherans, Baptists, and Russian Orthodox—faiths whose combined followers number more than 4 billion. The film presents a unique opportunity to meet 12 people of extraordinary influence and hear their insights into the very meaning of life. Sunday, Dec. 23, at 9 p.m., CBS
Here is a list of what I've been watching. Obviously, I'll have to drop a bunch of these...some sooner rather than later (Torchwood, for example). My favorites of the new-ish batch so far are Damages, Aliens in America, The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman, and Five Days.
- Aliens in America
- Pushing Daisies
- Real Time with Bill Maher
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
- 30 Rock
- King of the Hill
- The Office
- My Name is Earl
- The Daily Show
- The Colbert Report
- The Simpsons
- Bionic Woman
- Five Days
- Wired Science
- Inside the NFL
- The Sarah Silverman Program
- Mad Men
- Sin City Law
- The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman
- Dirty Sexy Money
I've been watching the series Flight of the Conchords on HBO. It's a wacky comedy coupled with a variety of context appropriate novelty songs. And it's really funny. The best thing on TV right now, in my opinion (admittedly, not much new is on in the summer...but FotC would hold up to the best of competition). 'A great combo of comedy and music. Check it out if you get the chance.
Tonight I watched the last episode of the "City of Men" series that has been airing over the last few years on the Sundance Channel. From Wikipedia:
City of Men...was a Brazilian television programme from KÃ¡tia Lund and Fernando Meirelles, the directors of the film City of God....It is often cited as a 'spin-off' of the film; in fact, Douglas Silva who plays Acerola in City of Men also plays Lil' Dice (as a boy) in City of God. City of Men is less violent and more light-hearted affair. However, the two do share some common aspects: the directors, some of the actors, and the setting of the Brazilian favela (slum) with its background of gangsters and poverty. The programme tells the stories of Luis ClaudÃo and Wallace, better known by their nicknames Acerola (Douglas Silva) and Laranjinha (Darlan Cunha), respectively, who are two best friends who live in a notorious Rio slum, in a community of drug-dealers, hustlers, and teenagers struggling to fulfill their dreams.
It's an interesting peak into life in Rio's slums and the tensions between rich and poor, black and white, honesty and crime. Though I thought it kinda jumped the shark in the series' last two episodes, it was certainly an enjoyable 4 seasons that I'd recommend folks check out. I was also pleased to see that there is a feature-length film in the works for this year.
Some recommendations from The Week:
- Jesse Stone: Sea Change, Tue 9 PM, CBS. This is the 4th TV movie on CBS featuring Tom Selleck as sheriff Jesse Stone. The previous 3 were good.
- Knocking, Tue 10 PM, PBS: insider's perspective of Jehovah's Witnesses
- Wide Awake, Wed 8 PM, HBO: portrait of an artist as insomniac
- Married in America 2, Wed 9 PM, Hallmark Channel: candid look at couples and relationships
- John Safran vs. God, Thu 9 PM, Sundance Channel: a series in which a satirical documentarian encounters various religions
- Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Sun 9 PM, HBO: see Fred Thompson as Ulysses S. Grant
Next Thursday the season finale of October Road airs. It was a short 6-episode first season. Let's hope there's a second. I've really enjoyed it as it has steadily gained momentum.
October Road is a drama series that debuted on ABC on March 15, 2007 immediately following the popular Grey's Anatomy. The series is being produced by ABC Television Studio. It follows the return of Nicholas (Nick) Garrett to his hometown of Knights Ridge, Massachusetts after leaving 10 years previously.
You can catch up by watching a few episodes on abc.com.
It's been nice to be able to catch up on Jericho by watching the episodes online. I missed the first episode and thought the second one was dull when I watched it...and so canceled the season pass. I kept hearing that other folks really liked it, so I gave it another try. I still thought the first few episodes were boring but the latter ones have been much stronger.
Tonight I watched the first episode of Acceptable TV on VH1. From the Wikipedia entry:
Acceptable.TV is a television program from the makers of Channel 101, which first aired on VH1 on March 23rd, 2007. Each 30-minute episode consists of five 2.5 minute mini-shows created by the Acceptable.TV team, and one submitted by a viewer. After each episode, viewers can go online and vote for their two favorites. The two that receive the most votes will be continued in the following episode, and the remaining three will be canceled and replaced by new mini-shows.
Only one of the skits was acceptable to me, the obviously high-brow "Who Farted."