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Supergirl to the Rescue February 10, 2016

Posted by Ted in : CBS, Inspirational, Midseason, Saturday Night Live, Stephen Colbert, Supergirl, superheros, Tonight Show , add a comment

Hello out there and a big thank you to anybody who is still reading this blog. As usual, it has been a really long time since my last post, and I would apologize for that but, really, who cares at this point? You could say I’ve been recovering from a year-long case of the blahs, brought on by a combination of television apathy and writer’s block. Of course, I realize that I disclosed way too much about my personal life in the last post, which probably played a role in my ex-sometimes-girlfriend Sierra’s decision to relegate me to the romantic clearance bin. That’s right, we’re pretty much history now. After I tracked her down at a ritzy party last year, she made it clear that I was one step away from a restraining order. She loves me but she’s not “in love” with me. It’s not me, it’s her. You know the routine. She needs space, so I’m going to give her several galaxies of it. I never could figure out what she was up to and why she was so secretive all the time, and I don’t really care anymore whether she’s a CIA agent or just a crazy woman with honesty issues. I still love her but it’s probably best for my own sanity that we’re not together. C’est la vie.

The upside to all of that drama is that I once again have unlimited me-time when I’m not working at the convenience store or doing chores for Mom around the house. In the last year I’ve been watching a lot of old shows on DVD (mostly Ghost Hunters and The Mentalist) and reading a few books, but I haven’t felt like blogging again until recently, not just because of Sierra, but also due to the fact that there hasn’t been much new to watch that’s worth a damn, as far as broadcast TV goes. In my opinion, we’ve been in sort of a TV nether-zone for a while now, consisting mostly of crime dramas, superhero shows, and a few stubborn old reality TV shows that will probably be around forever like the cockroaches. Oh yes, and we mustn’t forget those charming flesh-eating zombie shows and the zombies that watch them (apparently half of the US population).

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Get Supergirl season 1 on Amazon

I was finally rescued from my state of TV apathy by a caped red and blue female known as Supergirl, who flew into my basement dwelling in the fall of last year and lifted my spirits with a light-hearted superhero drama that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Lead actress Melissa Benoist is super-adorable as Kara Zor-El (aka Kara Danvers), cousin of Superman, who battles an assortment of cheesy super-villains and mean aliens, and still finds time to fetch coffee and bagels for her bitchy boss Cat Grant (played with impressive cold-heartedness by Calista Flockhart of Ally McBeal fame). Rounding out the cast is Winslow “Winn” Schott, her nerdy co-worker seeking an upgrade from friend status (Why does that seem familiar?), a tall, dark version of Jimmy Olsen, a secret agent sister, and Hank, the shape-shifting Martian. It all adds up to moderate levels of viewing enjoyment. Of course, superhero reboots have been the big trend in television and movies for the last several years, maybe the only trend. Why? Who Knows. People in general, I suppose, are feeling helpless with all the talk about terror and climate concerns and mystery diseases and a jittery economy, and would love to have some super-powered people in tights around who can make everything right. I’m no exception to this sentiment and so I don’t mind being rescued by Supergirl every week. Maybe not the greatest show of all time, but an improvement over most of the other superhero dramas that have infested TV screens in recent years. Score one more for CBS. They are slow, but they do occasionally get it right.

Another recent win for CBS was their choice of Stephen Colbert to take over The Late Show after the departure of iconic funnyman David Letterman. When I was promoted to assistant manager at Majik Market a couple of years ago I started working regular day shifts instead of the overnight shift, and as a result I am now able to watch shows at night like a normal person instead of trying to remember to tape them on my VCR and watching them in the afternoon. I was a fan of Jay Leno, but rarely got to watch The Tonight Show on NBC before Leno was unceremoniously booted in favor of Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy is a talented enough guy, and I respect the fact that he has achieved so much in his career since leaving Saturday Night Live all those years ago, but his version of The Tonight Show just doesn’t do much for me. Stephen Colbert’s edgy, politically tinged humor on The Late Show is like a breath of fresh air, and a bold move for an old broadcast network like CBS. As with other late shows, I usually just watch the funny stuff in the first half and skip the celebrity interviews. To Colbert’s credit, his guests seem to include more people who aren’t movie stars  — politicians, writers, musicians, and so forth. The show has been doing OK in the ratings, hovering around second place behind Fallon. I’m sincerely hoping the network keeps Colbert around for a while. As far as I can remember, the last late night talk show with this much brainpower was The Dennis Miller Show back in the early 90s, which lasted all of seven months.

Learning to Coexist with CBS October 22, 2011

Posted by Ted in : Amazing Race, Big Bang Theory, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, CBS, Crime Dramas, How I Met Your Mother, Lost, News Programs, Person of Interest, Reviews, The Mentalist, Two and a Half Men , 3comments

CBS has recently billed itself as “America’s Most Watched Network.” Really? The thought that this could be possible is slightly mind-boggling. Am I that out of touch with my native country?

For the past decade or so, I have tended to lump all of CBS’ programming into a category I call “Loads of Pointless Crap.” The chief component of this catagory is that ever-existing, never-changing staple of network television, the crime drama. CBS never met a crime drama it didn’t like. The network currently has eleven of them in their prime-time lineup. This includes three different versions of CSI and two of NCIS. For the sake of fairness, I decided to check out a couple of the network’s currently airing crime dramas.

Person of Interest

This is a new show, and based on early reviews, I anticipated that this J. J. Abrams twist on the crime genre might be worth watching. It has a semi-interesting sci-fi twist, and features both Michael Emerson of Lost fame and Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus a few years back. The show follows the adventures of former CIA agent John Reese, who gets information about bad guys from his billionaire boss who has a crime predicting supercomputer. He also gets into a lot of gunfights and car crashes and that kind of thing. Caviezel has the Clint-Eastwood-whispering-badass persona down to a T, if you’re into that vigilante-type thing. Reese’s boss, Mr. Finch, lacks the flair and depth of Benjamin Linus, Emerson’s character on his previous show, Lost. This is not a terrible show, but not one I feel bad about missing. Maybe I’ll watch it a couple more times, but life is short. I’ve got places to see and people to be.

The Mentalist

After my unremarkable viewing of the Person of Interest premiere, I found myself watching The Mentalist for the first time. This is a very laid-back, less predictable take on the detective genre. The lead character is tea-sipping Patrick Jane, a former psychic entertainer, who now uses his mental trickery to solve crimes. He’s also trying to track down a guy named Red John who killed his wife and daughter. This show is so well-written it makes me forget I’m watching a crime drama. Score one point for the network.

CBS is also the home of various popular sitcoms, which I try to avoid watching at all costs. Here are my thoughts on a few of them:

Big Bang Theory

This seems like a show I should be able to relate to, with its underlying nerd theme. But let’s face it, no self-respecting nerd wants to see himself portrayed as a social reject who can’t get laid, no matter how true that may be. Nerds prefer to think of themselves as suave, mysterious James-Bond types that nobody can figure out. This is one of the things that made Benjamin Linus from Lost a nerd hero of the ages. He may have been a flop with the ladies, but he was the one running the whole show. Not only could he play Rachmaninoff on the piano, he could also kick butt when necessary. Big Bang Theory, by comparison, only rubs salt into the wounds and reinforces negative stereotypes. Of course, that observation is only based on the ten minutes I’ve spent watching the show, so correct me if I’m wrong.

How I Met Your Mother

Here’s my problem with How I Met Your Mother: Alyson Hannigan will always be Willow to me, and Neil Patrick Harris will always be Doogie Howser. I really don’t want to see them as crusty, jaded adults. I also don’t get the premise of the show. The title sounds like a nostalgic story of how a couple fell in love and got married. I have no idea which character is supposed to be the mother, or who is meeting her, and I don’t even care enough to look it up on Wikipedia.

 

Neil and Alyson of yesteryear

Two and a Half Men

This is the sitcom equivalent of Darth Vader, with syndicated episodes popping up on every channel at all times of the day, grabbing you by the throat and beating you into unconsciousness with a barrage of manly-man humor. I could never quite figure out which character was the half man — the drunk womanizer, the groveling loser brother, or the kid. Sadly, the show had to part ways with wonderful Charlie Sheen, so it looks like I’ll be watching it even less than I did before, now that the equally wonderful Ashton Kutcher has replaced him (hope you caught my sarcasm there). This begs the question, is it possible to watch a show a negative number of times? Looks like my hatred for this program may have warped the laws of physics.

I guess at this point I should try to find a couple of good things to say about CBS. I’ll definitely be watching The Mentalist some more. The Amazing Race was always pretty good — I’ll probably watch that some more too. And let’s not forget about all those great CBS shows of the past like Jericho and…The Dukes of Hazzard and…Touched by an Angel?

CBS Evening News

Back in the 90s I was a fan of Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, who started in 1981 as the successor of the famous anchorman Walter Cronkite. Dan had a deadpan delivery and dry wit, and gave the impression of having something approximating journalistic integrity. He was forced out in 2005 after being accused of reporting a false story about George W. Bush’s military service record. Rather was replaced by Katie Couric, who wasn’t bad, but seemed out of place behind the anchor desk. She looked a lot happier covering parades on the Today show.

Katie stepped down in May of this year, and was replaced by Scott Pelley, who worked for CBS News for several years before landing the anchor chair. Now, I’m not saying that Pelley lacks integrity, but I’m guessing that his typical workday as anchorman consists of the following routine: He calls up one of the conservative think tanks and asks them what information he should be reporting that night. They fax the script over to him, then, he spends several hours calling all of CBS’ sponsors to make sure none of the news stories are offensive to them. This usually results in most of the day’s news being deleted and replaced with various types of filler about dogs and people-making-a-difference segments. Keep up the good work, Scott. I’ll be watching Brian Williams on NBC, who probably isn’t much better, but at least seems sincere.

"Won't you tell me where my country lies?" said the unifaun to his true love's eyes...