Sunday, June 18, 2006

A little drug of the nation never hurt anyone

The season opener of HBO's "Deadwood" kicked ass! More Albert Swearengen makes everything groovy. Also, it's always nice to see Bullock unleash the hurricane of rage that always lies straining just beneath his gritted teeth and bulging eyes and beat the crap out of some louse. And the language is just as rich, colorful, shocking and complex as ever. Best show on TV, easily.

Speaking of beatings on HBO, tonight my father and I watched a repeat of last week's pay-per-view destruction of Antonio Tarver by the aged veteran Bernard Hopkins. (Well, aged for boxing --- he's 41.) Hopkins, who has only ever been down one time, and never knocked out, in his entire career of 50-plus fights, made Tarver look slow and laborious. After that we watched the middleweight fight between Jermain Taylor and Winky Wright. Both fighters looked great in the ring, and both are extremely tough. It went the distance and was a split draw, which pissed Wright off, but I thought it was a fair decision.

Speaking of my father and I watching stuff on teevee, we've now seen two full seasons of HBO's cops and career criminals saga "The Wire," and I'm jonesing for the third season (which, thankfully, comes out on DVD in August). "The Wire," with its gritty realism, its complex, interwoven plots and its lack of tiresome exposition, is to me the second-best show on TV. It's been a while since I watched FX's corrupt cop series "The Shield," but I think 'The Wire" beats it in quality and drama.

These days, Netflix is delivering unto me BBC's "MI-5" (which, it turns out, is called "Spooks" in its home country). It's a well-made and not unintelligent spy story, and it's refreshing to enjoy a show that tells a single self-contained story in an episode after the vast, season-long arcs of the above-mentioned shows. I like it, and of course Hugh Laurie is great in his minor role, but it's mildly formulaic and not up to the level of quality as "The Wire" at all.

With "The West Wing" cancelled, I thought I'd give another American network show a chance. So a few weeks back I watched Fox's medical mystery "House," which I'd heard good things about. I saw one episode, and while it's not bad, I doubt I'll see any more. It's more than mildly formulaic, the direction is only adequate --- there's no drama in it --- and the acting (except for Laurie's) in no way impresses. So that's out.

Last month, I watched the first season of Fox's "Arrested Development," which was of course brilliant. I'll get around to re-watching the second season (the episodes that drew me in while it was still on the air) sometime, I guess. I'm not frenziedly mainlining this one, like my father and I did with "The Wire." I can take or leave comedy series; no suspense, so no rush to see what happens next.

So that's all the TV I've been watching the past six months or so, barring the occasional "Jeopardy" at my parents' house.


NYC Educator said...

I'm hooked on House. I can't take my eyes off Hugh Laurie, who convincingly portrays perhaps the grumpiest person on God's green earth.

When I watch him, I'm comforted to see there actually may be people grumpier than I am.

Chance said...

Yeah, Laurie is a genius. His turn on House is a far cry from the saps he played in Jeeves & Wooster and in Blackadder. And he does both extremes so well. He definitely makes the show.