I’ve decided to steal a page from Sean’s playbook (Tellyman) and post my weekly observations of the various television shows that have found their way onto my DVR. I have dubbed this weekly feature, Tele Mundo. Both Lost and 24 will continue to receive their own dedicated columns – thus continuing the work I began last year – while everything else will filter through this weekly post.
On a regular basis, I plan to touch on the following programs:
Friday Night Lights
The Nine (*premieres October 4th)
I do watch My Name is Earl but it’s not exactly appointment viewing, thus it’s not appointment reviewing. Also, Kidnapped is officially off my radar screen in the wake of its untimely demise. Good thing too – I couldn’t bare to suffer another Invasion.
Heroes – ‘Don’t Look Back’
After two episodes, I believe NBC has found Lost. Whether Heroes can build and sustain a similarly large and loyal audience depends on how patient viewers are with the writers as they slowly draw their disparate characters together (spread across all time zones (and in some cases, time itself). Sure, Lost juggles a large ensemble with aplomb, but it has the benefit of stranding them all on one central stage. Heroes lives by the jump cut – hurtling across the globe in pursuit of these heroes as they discover and test their new abilities.
Viewers be damned. I’m officially hooked.
This week’s episode built on the central threat established in the closing scenes of the pilot episode, with a Big Apple apocalypse predicted (and depicted) by ‘psychic artist’ Isaac. This week, we get some additional clues dropped on the mysterious Patient Zero – who it appears may be a super-powered Hannibal Lecter (what with the abundance of missing brains and all).
On that note, Heroes has to be one of the most graphic shows on regular television outside the CSI canon. In two episodes I’ve counted two graphic shots of scalped skulls and scooped brains, a guy pinned to a wall with the contents of an entire utensil drawer, two mangled mobsters crammed in the back seat of a car, a protruding rib that is conveniently popped back into place and Claire’s mangled mitts (courtesy of an ill-timed trash compactor dive). – Not that you or your dumb little buddies should try any of this.
On to some random thoughts. I have a sneaking suspicion that some of these supposed heroes may in fact be villains in the making. The discovery of additional bodies hidden at Ali Larter’s favorite desert burial ground paints her doppelganger in grim shades of grey. In addition, the revelation that both brothers – nurse Milo and his pol bro Nathan – can both fly sets up a potential division among equal powered beings. Mom’s admission to Milo that he was always her favorite only underscores my suspicion.
This week, our Tokyo-based clockwatcher, Hiro, displayed a new wrinkle to his power – proving that in addition to teleportation, he can travel through time. With the doomsday that lays in wait, that power should prove to come in handy – provided Suresh locates him in time and Hiro bones up on his English. “Go Yankees” isn’t gonna’ help anyone!
Friday Night Lights – Pilot
I decided to scope Friday Night Lights based on the strength of the reviews – one of which hailed it as the greatest pilot ever shot. I wouldn’t go that far, but I will say that it was pretty damn good and further illustrated just how blurry the line between television and cinema has grown. This is textured, nuanced drama and has quickly shot to must see status on my docket.
The pilot, directed by Peter Berg (who helmed the 2004 film – as well as The Rundown), introduces Kyle Chandler’s transplant high school football coach – the main attraction in Dillon, TX – a faded loop in the Bible Belt where the love of Jesus and the Gridiron Gods hold equal sway over the populace.
The pilot ticks off the days to Friday night’s main event – the moment when the town closes shop and all its citizens head towards the lights. During the week, we bear witness to sharply hewn vignettes that illustrate the big business of midwestern high school football – and the pressures mounting on all sides of the coach and his players – with buxom housewives and sinister boosters proving equally adept at the blitz.
Berg lends an urgency to the filmmaking – a documentary approach that is so crisp and vital – it renders the most hoary of clichés in vivid strokes. Though we’ve seen it a billion times before, that last minute Hail Mary – soaring through the Heavens until it finds salvation in the arms of a waiting wide-out – was genuinely thrilling.
This is one to watch.
The Office – The Convention
While this episode was a bit of a let down compared to the manic highs of the season premiere, Gay Witch Hunt, mediocre Office trumps According to Jim on every plane of existence. It’s tough writing about comedy, so I’m just going to list some highlights. If you watched the show – hopefully you’ll smirk in agreement.
– Michael advising Pam to unbutton her blouse on her blind date. “Let those things breathe.”
– Jim’s discovery of Dwight’s surprise ‘pro’ and his complete inability to tell anyone.
– Creed’s reintroduction to Meredith. When he cautioned her about Angela (who he referred to as “Andrea (?)… the office bitch.” Oh, my kingdom for that sound bite. (Woah… where’d that flower pot come from? Just kidding, honey!)
– And of course, the most vibrant display of the effects of a black light on a hotel room linen (and mirrors and floors and walls and headboards).Two days later, I found myself in an Albany, NY Hampton Inn and my brain flashed backed to what appeared to be a shotgun blast of some alien substance sprayed just above Michael’s head board. (“Please let it be urine.”)