Friday, February 9, 2007

The boob tube

Watched some TV last night, both stuff that I had recorded, and stuff that aired yesterday (well, I also watched yesterday's stuff off a recording, but I did see it on the day that it aired). So here's some quick thoughts:

Rome, episode 2.4:

  • When asked why she's torturing the kid who tried to kill her, Atia replies, "The confession's not legal unless there's torture!"
  • Mark Antony vowing to destroy his enemies, especially Octavian, when we know that's not going to happen.
  • Seeing Servilia tortured. I don't especially like her, and I think her rivalry with Atia has dragged out for too long.
  • Cicero's speech to Agrippa. Nicely acted by David Bamber; he's been a standout this season.
  • Switching actors for Octavian. I kind of understand why they did it: they want to show him as older, and the previous actor (Max Perkis) still looked young; the previous actor might also have been unconvincing as a military leader. Still, it's always offputting when a different-looking guy is playing the character, and other characters (who still look the same, of course) recognize him.
  • Servilia escaping. I wish they would just kill her and end the rivalry plot. Or they could kill Atia, I suppose, which would be risky since she's a very enjoyable character, but it would mean some forward motion.
  • My confusion over when Mark Antony went from beloved leader to traitor. Was it when he beat up the guy in the Senate?
It's still a good show, and I especially enjoy all the little details (which I hope are researched and not just made up). If I remember right, the first season got a bit slow in the middle episodes, so hopefully this season will pick up.

Battlestar Galactica, episode 3.whatever (the most recent episode):

  • Baltar's interrogation, for the most part. It was interesting to see them struggle to get information out of him.
  • The opening bit where the creators basically said, "See, Baltar's a Cylon after all...Psyche!".
  • The godawful love parallelogram, or whatever you want to call it. They've dragged it out for so long, and just when you think they're going to split up the two marriages and end all the pining, they decide to stay together so they can drag it out longer. Oy.
  • The continuing nonsense about the "final five". This reeks of Lost- (which I don't actually watch) or X-Files-style writing where the writers string the viewers along with the promises of revealed secrets, which always makes me suspect they're pulling stuff out of their asses.
  • Why did they spend all their time interrogating only Baltar? Don't they have a captive Number Six? Being an actual Cylon, you'd think she would be able to provide them some real information. Maybe they want to see if Baltar leaked any information. Or maybe they think she's too manipulative to trust anything she says. It would have been nice to at least mention her existence though.
Well, it wasn't an especially good episode, but hopefully they'll get back on track. With Baltar back with the humans (and Lucy Lawless dead), their should be less focus on the inner workings of Cylon society or whatever, and the Cylons can stay more like faceless pursuers. We need more space battles, and less Cylon intrigue.

My Name Is Earl, 2/8 episode:

  • Joy's black half-sister being married to a white equivalent of Darnell.
  • "My daddy was Ray, I'm Ray Ray, I gotta have me a Ray Ray Ray!"
  • DJ Qualls' skinny arm when he was trying to arm wrestle against his character's buff wife.
  • Darnell giving Listerine to Mr. Turtle.
  • Just plain good character-based comedy all around.
No lowlights! My wife and I were discussing why this show is so funny, and I put forward the theory that the characters are defined well enough (and their dialogue is also written very well) that when they say something silly, it's recognizable as part of their personality, and they don't have to stoop to using catch phrases to be funny. Good episode.

The Office, 2/8 episode:

  • Michael dragging the wheelchair down the aisle. In fact, most all of his disgruntled behavior after being upstaged at the wedding was cringe-inducingly hilarious. I particularly liked his toast, which he started by saying, "For the next 40 minutes, you will see why this couple is so perfect for each other...", or something like that. And then, in a "confessional" scene, he says, "The most important part of a good speech is the opening line. If I have enough time, I like to use three or four of them."
  • Michael's conversation with Uncle Al. "That guy is weird!"
  • Scrantonicity!
  • Dwight and Angela dancing outside. I really like their relationship, especially in the way it's made Angela a more well-rounded character and more than just the hateful bitch of the office.
No lowlights on this one either! Another good episode. Only the pre-credits scene took place in the titular office though. I don't think that's happened before.

30 Rock, 2/8 episode:

  • Isabella Rossellini saying "Oh Johnny, you know I love my Big Beef and Cheddar!" That's funny regardless of context.
  • Alec Baldwin's drunken monologue celebrating/lamenting his divorce. He is incredibly funny on this show.
  • Tina Fey arguing on the phone with the flower people. "Oh, I just found the card. The flowers are from your mom. Your gay mom sent me flowers!"
  • Kenneth saying "I got her underwear!", while holding up a pair of what are obviously men's briefs. In fact, now that I think about it, those were probably his own briefs, which makes it even funnier.
No lowlights on this show either! You're 3 for 3, NBC! (I didn't watch Scrubs). For my money, 30 Rock is the funniest show on TV right now. At least once an episode, there's a scene where either my wife or I laugh so hard we have to hit pause (then we usually rewind and watch it another 2 or 3 times). Last week, it was the scene where Isabella Rossellini was beating the shit out of Tina Fey. A previous one was the goofy dance Tracy Morgan did when he was a guest on Conan O'Brien's show. My wife was literally gasping for breath because she was laughing so hard at those scenes. This week, it was the aforementioned underwear scene that got me laughing. It's just such a hilariously-written show. I can't recommend it enough.

So that's everything I watched yesterday. Stay tuned tonight; hopefully, I'll have some reviews of new comics!