Some TV Notes

February 28, 2006

TV may not be so bad for you. The NY Times reports: Study Finds Test Scores Not Lowered by Television: "Does television rot children's brains? A new study by two economists from the University of Chicago taps into a trove of data from the 1960's to argue that when it comes to academic test scores, parents can let children watch TV without fear of future harm."

Arrested Development
The season 3 finale certainly felt like a final series finale. If the show is over, it went out well. The final four episodes were packed full of the running jokes that make the show such a joy to watch (and probably make the show difficult to get in to.)

Slate's Troy Patterson found these same characteristics made the finale less than enjoyable for him: Farewell to the Bluths: "Where the show had a wide dada streak, the last four episodes of its third season bristled with dadaist hostility toward its audience, or perhaps its nonaudience, and toward TV itself, as if to say, "Screw you, too.""

In the NY Times, Alessandra Stanley: A Quick End to the Cult Series That Lived Up to Its Name: "The Bluths are deliciously self-centered and absurd, the dialogue is quick and corrosively funny, and yet "Arrested Development" is not addictive. It is possible to fully enjoy one episode and not feel compelled to see what happens next."

Page Six reports that Showtime has picked up AD for a 26 episode order.

Battlestar Galactica
I haven't watched the latest episode ("Downloaded") yet, but this second half of season 2 has gone by incredibly quickly-- perhaps because the middle few episodes (articularly "Black Market") were weaker than the norm. Fortunaely, there is a lot on the table for these final 3 episodes.

Showrunner Ron Moore's podcasts are worthwhile to listen to, as he discusses the decisions that the writers and producers made for each episode and for his take on what works and what doesn't work.

Lost is starting to lose me. We haven't learned anything new about any of our core characters. Each Jack flashback episode seems to reveal that he is even emptier than he seems. Fortauntely, the last two shows (Sawyer-centric and Sayid-centric) were better than before. The problem with Lost is that the questions are more interesting than the answers, but leaving only questions without answers is going to be very unsatisfying.

One of the Museum of Television and Radio bloggers agrees: Living in the Land of Lost

Of course, Lost is not perfect. There are holes, big holes, and season 2 is paling in comparison to season 1. Some stories are redundant at best (enough about Jack and his troubled soul – conflicted by just about every human relationship he has), while others are totally unbelievable at worst (that the plane full of smuggled heroin – that, ironically enough, Charlie is addicted to - was loaded by Mr. Eko back in Nigeria, and contains the body of his brother too. Phew! Come on already!). And for as many interesting characters that have been developed, there are equally as many unlikable, one-dimensional ones (um…Ana Lucia, please go away. Now, please!).

The Sopranos
The Sopranos are coming back! The Sopranos are coming back! The grandaddy of character and arc heavy serial dramas paved the way for shows like Lost, Galactica and even Arrested Development. But The Sopranos is bigger than any of its followers. And it's set in New Jersey!

The Sopranos Google Map highlights key locations in NY and NJ where last season's key developments occurred.

Posted by Andrew Raff at February 28, 2006 11:14 PM
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