Tuesday, April 19, 2005

TV update

24 (Fox, Mondays, 9 p.m.)
Desperate Housewives (ABC, Sundays, 9 p.m.)
The O.C. (Fox, Thursdays, 8 p.m.)
I think it's time for a purge, and these are probably going to be the shows to go. 24 is just spinning its wheels, doing the same things over and over again, and I've gotten tired of the shoddy continuity and poor planning by the writers. It's so obvious that the season-long arcs are made up as they go along, and this show's format really needs tight continuity more than others. I could forgive that sort of thing early on in the show, when just the concept was enough, but since they clearly haven't come up with any new ideas since season one, I'm done. As for Desperate Housewives and The O.C., which just a couple of months ago I claimed were still entertaining enough to keep me watching, the entertainment value has seriously diminished. DH has slipped quickly, with the writers clearly unable to keep up the sharp tone and the intriguing mysteries. The characters aren't likeable, the dialogue is rarely funny anymore, and the plotting is sloppier than 24. I'm not attached enough to the show to stick around to see if it gets better. I'm more attached to The O.C., which was often brilliant in its first season, but after giving them nearly this entire season to find their footing, I give up. Again, the dialogue is rarely funny, the characters are often unlikeable, and the plots go nowhere. I could use more time to watch shows I actually enjoy or check out new stuff that I've been meaning to watch. I'll finish this season on these, but I probably won't be back in the fall.

Survivor (CBS, Thursdays, 8 p.m.)
This has turned out to be quite a good season, much better than the snooze-fest that was the Vanuatu season. Although it's seemed almost cruel to allow one tribe to dwindle away to nothing, the truth is it's one of the smartest things Mark Burnett's ever done: No twists, no meddling with the game, just letting things play out even if they produce lopsided results. Of course the whole thing is manipulated by producers, but within that framework what's happened this season feels real, and creates a real sense of excitement for seeing what happens next in the game. It also helps that there are a lot of genuinely likeable players and not too many complete assholes, and I'd actually be happy to see a number of them win. I often think this show has run out of steam and done everything it can with its premise, but then something like this comes along and I'm as interested as ever.

Eyes (ABC, Wednesdays, 10 p.m.)
Okay, everyone needs to start watching this show right now. This should be the new drama sensation on ABC, not the lame, predictable, sappy Grey's Anatomy. It's slick, stylish, funny, smart, sexy - all those hip adjectives that critics love. It's got a great cast - who knew Tim Daly was so clever and charming? Who knew that Rayanne from My So-Called Life could be a buttoned-down vixen-in-waiting? And thank goodness more Melrose Place alums are getting work - Laura Leighton is still damn hot. The private-eye plots here are light and intriguing, the characters are layered and compelling, and the ongoing story is more than enough to keep me coming back each week. It's like creator John McNamara's last show, Fastlane, except with better and more intricate writing, less emphasis on skin and, sadly, probably lower ratings. Start watching now.

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