Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Teevee Jeebies

Monday nights my wife goes to a cooking class so I get a chance to lump out in front of the tube.

Early in the season I decided to take a chance on Fox Network's Prison Break because a local TV reviewer I think a lot of said he thought it was pretty good. I was interested, to a point, but after its hiatus (due to the new season of 24), I lost interest. It ran out of gas for me. There are too many illogical plot developments, the staff at the prison are dolts, including the warden, who wouldn't last two minutes in the real prison system, and the corrupt guard, whose actions would cause him to be fired in no time flat, not to mention prosecuted.

I also notice that the main characters usually never change expression. Wentworth Miller, the lead actor, never changes his expression at all. He must've had a Botox treatment over his entire face to freeze it into place like that. You can tell how much I think of the series by not being able to remember the names of any of the characters as I write this.

I had never watched 24, but decided to try it and see if I liked it. I like it, but not because of the way it's supposed to be liked by fans. I like it because it is so dopey it has a charm all its own. The characters are supposed to be going through a 24-hour day, told in "real time" (ha-ha, more like "real TV time"). The gimmick wears thin real fast. The main character, Jack Bauer, even pumped on adrenaline, couldn't do so much and still have any energy left to take care of bad guys. How many times can he run, how many times can he pull his gun, get involved in a gun fight, threaten or torture someone, yell "Dammit!" in one 24-hour period anyway? Why, at least once an hour, and sometimes more, at least.

I notice the other characters, like Chloe, who sits in front of a computer screen during the whole show, never has any kind of fatigue, much less what she would really have, eye fatigue. I watched her last night; it's between 2:00-3:00 a.m. "real time" (ha-ha) and no red-eye for her. I'd be pumping a couple of gallons of Visine into my eyes if I had to sit in front of a monitor all the time.

I admit I quickly stopped paying attention to the plot and started noticing things the writers don't want me to really think about, like how cellphones are used in every scene. They always are in range, they always make their connections. The characters don't use any kinds of code while on the phone. Early in the season I noticed the terrorists and their White House connection constantly talking on the cell, saying things like, "Do you have the NERVE GAS?" "Where are the NERVE GAS bombs right now?" Jeez, folks...give me some credit for brains. Cellphone calls can be picked up and listened to by third parties real easy, especially anything coming from the White House.

A plot device is that the President of the U.S. is actually the head of the conspiracy! Oboy, a paranoid's dream! He makes all of the same dumb moves, talking on his cell, looking and acting conspiratorial. No fear, Jack is on to him and I'm sure when 24 winds up this season he'll be more than taken care of, and most likely by Jack himself.

C,mon, Jack! Say "Dammit!" for us!
I noticed early on that the actor portraying "President Charles Logan" is a Nixon lookalike. That can't be a coincidence. The name "Logan" is five letters, like Nixon. There are no coincidences like this when casting.

So far my two favorite shows of the season have been Big Love and a surprise to me, Thief, with Andre Braugher. Big Love I've talked of before, although I like it better each week. Thief I took a chance on, since I also like FX Network's The Shield. The season finale is tonight, which caught me by surprise, since the story arc has only taken six weeks, but this might be a test to see if the show has legs, or could develop an audience.

I think Andre Braugher is a terrific actor, like DeNiro or Brando. The fact he's African-American might be why he's making a late night TV series on a cable network rather than big budget movies, or is that just more paranoia? Considering how good he is I expect to see more of him, and I'd definitely like to see another season of Thief.

Ciao for now, El Postino

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