Wednesday, October 14, 2009

TV Power Rankings

Monday Oct. 5th - Sun. Oct. 11th

1. Mad Men (Last Week #1) (Betty discovered that her fantasy wasn't what she envisioned, Connie Hilton told us how he could never satisfy himself, then blew up at Don for not giving him the moon, and Sal received the come on he'd been dreaming of from one of the last men in the world he was interested in. Just another typical week from the best show on television.)

2. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (Last Week #2) (Not as good as last week's failed road trip classic, but still top dog in the comedy field nonetheless. Loved 24's Chloe as Gayle the Snail and can't get over Frank's response to the grease fire call: Show up drunk, gun drawn.)

3. Fringe (Last Week #3) (Really creepy stuff with all the cryogenically frozen heads and Olivia's sudden flashback to last season's meeting William Bell was quite unexpected, but enjoyable. Fringe doesn't have the hook of Flash Forward, but at this point it's just a much better written show.)

4. Californication (Last Week #4) (Unlike Don Draper, David Duchovny's "Doctor" Hank Moody is actually likable as a sex starved womanizer. Why? Because Moody actually loves women. The sex comes easy, but as the ending showed us, it's the relationships that are hard.)

5. Parks and Rec (Last Week #6) (Growing on me by leaps and bounds each week. The supporting cast has been given more of a chance to shine and the scripts have stayed more true to the mockumetary style than it's older sibling, The Office.)

6. Flash Forward (Last week #5) (It'd be tough to beat the mystery and well structured plot, but last week's effort left a lot to be desired. I don't mind the dead ends we may discover during the investigation of the mosaic, but I'd appreciate more character development in the mean time. The politics of releasing the Nazi war criminal was clumsily handled and the dialogue along the way just plain poorly written. Still though, I can't wait to see what happens next.)

7. South Park (Last week, not on air) (South Park debuts at #7 with a rather clever episode about dead celebrities. I was surprised to see Michael Jackson return after Matt Stone indicated on the BS Report that the show probably wouldn't be going in that direction. Not the show's best outing, but certainly not it's worst.)

8. Curb Your Enthusiasm (Last Week, #8) (Actually haven't seen this past Sunday's episode yet, but it would have to be pretty bad to knock it down.)

9. Full Color Football: The Story of the AFL (Last Week, #9) (This may be one of the best football documentaries ever made, capturing both the massive changes undergone by professional football in the 60's and the connection between those changes and the turbulent cultural and social changes of the period.)

10. The Office (Last Week #7) (The Office treads a fine line between believable and unbelievable and they thoroughly crossed that line with the wedding ceremony church aisle dancing of every single member of the Office. I said it, my wife said it, and McBlog said it: Why are all the co-workers dancing in aisle? It's weird, inappropriate, and just doesn't make any sense. We can suspend disbelief for the things that happen in the closed off world of our characters, but it becomes a bit more difficult when that unbelievability extends outside our little circle. But here's my biggest complaint about The Office and it has nothing to do with this episode or the wedding. Dwight's character just makes no sense and it's a result of bad writing that's more concerned with quick jokes than characters. We've seen Dwight as, alternatively, a rules-obsessed workaholic and a bomb-making over-the-top prankster and there seems to be no logical consistency in his interest in women or sex. It's odd because the Office isn't nearly as off-the-wall as a classic like Arrested Development, but the Office still lacks the internal consistency of plot and character that kept Arrested so grounded.)

Not On The List:

# Ken Burns's National Parks (I'm still trying to make my way through, but off the air means off the list.)

# House (Has struggled since the very excellent season opener and last night's episode, technically not a party to these rankings, doesn't get much better. The real problem is, not enough House and too much focus on the procedural aspect of the show. After that season opener it's sort of a let down to be back to the patient emergencies, cut to commercial bits.)

# Lie to Me (It's enjoyable, but I'm not sure it's ever going to be much more than second rate House.)

# 30 Rock (Comes back this week, so someone better be prepared to be kicked off.)


Blogger McMc said...

The Office - I just hate when shows force their characters into situations they'd never partake in i.e. dancing down the aisle. A wedding is a family affair and I have a hard enough time believing every single person from the office would attend the wedding (especially Creed, Meredith and Erin, the receptionist who is never seen talking to Jim or Pam). Then out of nowhere, a character like Erin is prancing through the aisle of a wedding she has no real involvement with? No no no.

That wasn't the only problem with the episode either. I'm sick and tired of Michael and his character development has not only halted, it has regressed. I know it's the joke, but I have a hard time believing that he is still so stupid/naive/obnoxious that he'd insist on talking at another co-worker's wedding (he was bounced from Bob and Phyllis' wedding).

And you're right about Dwight and I also think you're a bit wrong. In the past he would do anything for Michael, which included pulling a prank on a different branch. When Michael isn't involved though, he is strict. I could live with that. At the same time, they just never seemed to know where to take him as a character. In fact, you could say that about the entire office. Instead of growing, they've all become one-note characters. That would be fine for people like Kevin (the idiot) or Angela (uptight) or Creed (insane), but for Dwight? For Pam? For Michael? We need more from them. Jim is the only one changing and that's a problem.

3:28 PM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...

Yes, yes, and yes and I would also add Stanley to that list of character you'd expect not to come.

And great point on the character development, which makes me wonder if you have to ask the question, has five years of the Office left us where we were after 10 or so years on the Simpsons, where the characters started to become caricatures?

It's not that a comedy likes the Office needs to have the breadth and depth of characters as a HBO drama, but as a character-based comedy, if it fails to "keep it real" so to speak, than it's failing it's basic mission. And I say character-based comedy because that's precisely what the Office is, in relying on the nuance of it's characters and the show's perceived reality to generate laughs. This, for example, is why the fire alarm scene from last season was funny for the Office, but would not have been as funny if the characters involved were Porky Pig and Yosemite Sam. (Although now that I think about it, a cartoon remake of the Office with those and other classic characters sounds hilarious.)

I suppose we'll see where this season goes though.

4:42 PM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...

And one other thought on Flash Forward: We haven't heard about the people who would be asleep at the time of the flash forward. Did they see a vision of what they'd be dreaming or did they see nothing at all? (My guess would be that no one saw nothing because I'd imagine we'd have a lot more nothing visions that would give Dmitiri some comfort.

But what if some people saw their dreams?

1- This would explain why all the children had visions had 10:00 at night, when they'd ordinarily be sleeping and it would explain why most of the other kids playing the game found these visions to be so much fun and so worth playing a game over. Remember that game was "let's play blackout - I see Disney World" not "lets play blackout - I see myself lying in bed."

2- This might explain the AA sponsor's vision of his dead daughter - maybe it's just a dream.

3- This would explain the vision of Dmitri's fiance - maybe a dream as well?

The thing is, we know some of these visions are real, so the question would be, which visions are real and which aren't?

11:56 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home