Sunday Nights: An Embarrassment Of TV Riches

Man, you guys, when did Sundays become such great TV nights? I remember back in the day the dearth of weekend program would result in me watching syndicated shows like Renegade, MANTIS or that futuristic Knight Rider thing. Now it’s one of the nights most packed with shows my wife and I want to watch, especially right now with Discovery coming out hot and heavy with news shows. I’ll put this out there right now: we don’t have DVR because the wiring in our building is too old, so we have to watch what’s on. I started thinking about all this a few weeks back when AMC’s Comic Book Men premiered. I’m a fan of Kevin Smith and his friends featured on the show, plus I covered some of the PR events for CBR. But, something else was on at 10PM, Sunday nights. I can’t remember what it was when the show first premiered, but a couple weeks back it wound up being A&E’s Breakout Kings, which is also on at 10PM. CBM wrapped up last week, so I’m hoping I can catch a marathon at some point, but we do enjoy Breakout Kings quite a bit, especially thanks to the fact that this season has more of an overarching story with the remaining Kings trying to track down the guy that killed SPOILER Charlie. I also like what they’re doing with Erica and the dude who works downstairs. Can we get an updated title sequence, too, by the way? It just looks silly with one character edited out. But, Mad Men‘s back tonight, which really throws a wrench in our schedule, especially because the premiere is two hours long. It’s really no question between whether we watch Mad Men or Breakout Kings, even though we both like the latter, it’s nowhere near as good as the former. Mad Men feels more like an event anyway, one that I like keeping up on. I think I’ll be able to watch BK at 11PM, but my wife goes to bed by then, so she’ll probably miss out. The 10PM slot also now has the brand new Rube Goldberg-inspired show by the Mythbusters called Unchained Reaction. The concept behind the series it that two teams are tasked with making a Chained Reaction machine with a particular theme. As longtime readers will remember, I love me some Goldbergian machines, so this show could not be more interesting to me. I thought this show was premiering tonight, but I am watching the Heavy vs. Light episode as I type, so it either already debuted or this is kind of a sneaky way to show it off early. I’m already digging this show and would love to watch it on a regular basis. Thankfully, Discovery has a good track record of showing reruns, so I’m sure I’ll catch up.

Discovery also has a show in the 9:00PM spot that we love watching, Mythbusters. Again, I know these shows get rerun on a pretty regular basis, but the premiere–which is tonight for sure–features Jamie and Adam stranded on a desert island with nothing but duct tape to survive on. That’s pretty awesome and I’d like to watch, but the extended Mad Men premiere will be keeping us away, but after that, I think we’ll be all set. We’re also a bit conflicted in the 8:00PM slot. Usually we just watch Amazing Race, which can sometimes be pushed back thanks to sports, which is a bit of a bummer. But, right now Discovery also has Frozen Planet on at the same time which looks gorgeous in HD (yes, our HD channels started working again).

So that’s where we’re at. Like I said in the title, it’s an embarrassment of riches. I’d always rather have too many shows I want to watch than not enough. Well, actually, if there were fewer shows on that I wanted to watch, I’d probably get more reading done…

Last Night’s Shows Today: Eureka, The Amazing Race Finale & Breakout Kings

I’m toying around with the idea of “Last Night’s Shows Today” being a recurring theme. Maybe not an every day thing, but I do enjoy writing about TV without going super in-depth. Plus, hopefully we’ll get some conversations going on in the comments. So, it’s Monday, time to talk about Sunday’s shows.

EUREKA (Syfy)Okay, we didn’t technically watch Eureka last night, but we did catch a few of the season four episodes we hadn’t seen Sunday afternoon thanks to a Syfy marathon. We didn’t get too deep, but I am very impressed with the fact that they’re dealing with an alternate reality in more detail than probably any other series I’ve ever watched (mind you, I’m not well versed in the ways of sci-fi tv series, so I’m sure there have been others I don’t know about). If you’re not familiar, basically, five characters–Sheriff Carter, Allison, Jo, Fargo and Henry–got sent to the past and their return to the present, along with a scientist from back then, sent some ripples throughout time that have changed things in the present. Maybe it’s because we watched all three Back To The Future movies this weekend and I’m on a time travel/alternate reality kick, but I really dig how they’ve explored these ideas so far. Again, we only saw the first four, maybe five, episodes from the fourth season but I like what I’ve seen so far. For some reason, they split the season up into halves, so we’re hoping to get caught all the way up by the time the second half kicks off this summer. I’m really curious to see how these new elements roll out.

THE AMAZING RACE (8:00-10:00PM, CBS)A few seasons back, the missus and I stumbled into watching The Amazing Race because, frankly, nothing else was on. Since then, it’s become a show we really enjoy and quite look forward to every week when it’s on. This season of The Amazing Race went with the old reality show staple of bringing back past contestants to compete again. I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff and we seemed to have started watching just in time because we recognized most of the teams that came back if not all of them. What I like about TAR is that, for the most part, everyone on the show seems like a pretty good person just wanting to play the game and also make some money along the way. As such, I wasn’t super excited that SPOILER Kisha and Jen won this season. They were pretty nice and played a good game this season, but in their initial one, there was some static between them and Margie and Luke, a mother and son team that also returned for this season but didn’t last long. Margie and Luke were favorites in our house, so we didn’t like Kisha and Jen starting trouble with them, but you add in that Luke is deaf and it just looked worse. Like I said, they played a good clean game this time and won fair and square. I was hoping for Zev and Justin or Gary and Mallory to take home the win, but what are you gonna do? Check out the full, two hour season finale on CBS’s website if you’re so inclined.

BREAKOUT KINGS “One For The Money” (10:00-11:00PM, A&E)I like Breakout Kings quite a bit, but I’ve got this nagging worry in the back of my head. The show’s basically a procedural with three incarcerated felons getting a month off their sentences for every case they work for some US Marshals. I’m all good with that, especially with what I think is stellar casting on all levels (the show was created by the Prison Break folks who might have shared the same casting agent as whoever did Lost–I could really look that up, but just haven’t yet). Anyway, the problem I’m worried about having is that I’m just not sure if I buy that there are this many prison escapes. With other procedurals you’re dealing with murders, missing people and other things that seem to happen all the time (though hopefully not as much as my television would have be believe), but this one has such a specific premise that I worry that it will thin out over multiple seasons and eventually break. Maybe they could ease my fears (again, they’re just tiny because, as I said, I do really enjoy watching these characters do their thing) by doing a few multi-part episodes here and there or by having a few overarching cases to work on.

Anyway, last night’s episode featured the gang going after an escaped hitman played by Mark Pellegrino who Lost fans will obviously know as Jacob and Prison Break fans will remember as Vikan (another dumb problem I have is them casting actors who had stints on PB as other characters, I know most people won’t catch these things or even remember that Pellegrino was on two measly episodes of the show, but it’s a geeky thing I do, especially because I just finished watching the whole series and need to blog about it). Anyway, while they’re trying to figure that out, Shea starts asking questions about whether Ray is actually a Marshal (technically he isn’t anymore) which casts doubt on whether they’re really going to knock the time off their sentences. In a pretty heated moment, Ray admits to what he did to get kicked out and also blows up the cons’ spots by saying what they got arrested for. Of course, during that speech, our little darling decided to test out her less than a week old lungs so I missed some chunks, but I did catch that Lloyd is in prison for writing a prescription to a girl that died. The key to all procedurals, aside from coming up with weird things for your characters to look into (hence why you see episodes about things seen on Dateline a few weeks/months later) is making sure those characters are strong, dimensional and interesting. I think there’s plenty of that to go around and considering how the Prison Break MO got flipped each season and then a few times in the final one, I’ve got hopes that Breakout Kings will stay solid. Also, next week’s episode makes it look like they’re going up against a slasher, so that’s pretty awesome.

Watch it here if you’re interested.