What We’re Watching: Mondays & Tuesdays

It’s been a crazy-long time since I’ve talked about TV here on UM, but that doesn’t mean we’re not watching. It’s an interesting season because there are a good deal of shows I’m really into, but also a lot of slots in the schedule that are left open. For what it’s worth, we’re still in the dark ages when it comes to cable and don’t have DVR, so all of our viewings are done the old fashion way, “live.”  Continue reading What We’re Watching: Mondays & Tuesdays

Last Night’s Shows, Today: How I Met Your Mother Season Finale, Off Limits Premiere & Castle Season Finale

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER “Challenge Accepted” (8:00PM, CBS)How I Met Your Mother‘s sixth season finale snuck up on me this year. Part of the reason for that is because my lovely daughter was born on a Monday, we missed the previous week’s episode and our TV watching schedule has been interrupted by busts of crying every now and then. Anyway, this season has been an interesting one as it focused mainly on the non-Ted characters. Sure Ted was around with his doomed-from-the-start relationship with Zoey and the will-he-or-won’t-he plot regarding the GNB building project, but this season belonged to Marshall and Lilly dealing with Marshall’s dad’s death and Barney finding a girl who he might be able to settle down with. A lot’s been going on to widen this group’s horizons with the season premiere’s tease of a wedding in the somewhat near future. It seemed pretty clear from the beginning that it would be Barney’s wedding, but the real question was, “To who?”

This episode itself was a little disappointing, but not completely so. As always, the plot was well put together and the episode amazingly acted, but the blunder, as far as I was concerned, was the Lilly/Marshall sickness plot. The second Lilly got sick the missus and I were like “She’s totally pregnant.” The writers did an okay job masking the obviousness of this with all the grossout humor as far as Lilly’s sickness, but it feels ridiculous that no one in the episode thought “Hey, she might be pregnant.” The smokescreen didn’t work for a second on us and even though all of Marshall’s preparation for his interview was funny, it was ultimately pointless because we knew how this gag would ultimately end. It was a rare misstep as far as I’m concerned and they did an okay job of covering their tracks, but it just seemed so obvious.

Like this season as a whole, Ted took a back seat in the episode. While Lilly and Marshall dealt with their sickness, Barney and Robin were trying to stop Ted from getting back together with Zoey. It was some great stuff and those two characters and actors just murder everything when they’re together. Then, we almost end with Barney seeing that girl he had a thing for and after that the obvious reveal we’ve been waiting for: that it’s his wedding we’ve been seeing this year. I think this new girl is just a trick and that he’ll end up with Robin. Oh, also, I totally bought into the “And that was your mother” gag. All in all, it was a great season, with some Ted stuff that seemed like filler, but enough fantastic work by everyone else to really solidify this as a great season of television. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

OFF LIMITS “Las Angeles” (9:00PM, Travel Channel)I fully intended to tune into Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations last night, but Travel Channel had other plans for me. Instead, their new show Off Limits was on which was an okay replacement, but not really what I wanted to watch. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve really grown to like No Reservations and was excited about the new season, but after a few new episodes they went right back into reruns. Now they’re messing with me again by changing the time. Not cool Travel Channel, not cool. To make matters worse, my cable guide is all weird and doesn’t have information for the Travel Channel even though we definitely it, so I can’t tell ahead of time when things are on (without looking it up online, but that’s just SO much work). Anyway, this new show Off Limits follows host Don Wildman as he basically goes places that normal people can’t go. The premiere episode focused on Las Angeles and wound up being pretty interesting. He went into the hundred year old aqueducts that no cameras have ever been inside and also included tools that were just left there when the job was done as well as a tour through a Nazi compound in the Hills. While all that stuff was cool, the most interesting bit of info I learned from the series is that LA is on top of one of the biggest oil fields around which has resulted in oil rigs all over the place, many of which are hidden, especially in the fancier parts of town. Shows like these are fun to watch on a weekend when nothing else is on, but are not the kind of thing I will make a point to watch on a weekly basis, unless nothing else is on.

CASTLE “Knockout” (10:00PM, ABC)I was pretty disappointed with Castle‘s season finale last night. I had my problems with the show in the early parts of this season with it’s over-use of gimmicky plots, but I found tonight’s season finale far more insulting on a creative level. The season had gotten better as far as I was concerned and I was looking forward to this episode because it looked like we’d get a few more pieces to the puzzle of what happened to Beckett’s mom. Those episodes tend to be pretty epic with a fast pace and lots of action, but instead “Knockout” seemed to meander. Worse than that they threw in some hackneyed plot stuff that gets my goat. First off, SPOILER out of nowhere it was revealed that their boss Captain Montgomery was involved with the guys that were connected with Beckett’s mom’s death (the plot has gotten so complicated that I had to have the missus explain it all to me during a commercial break). I tend not to like these twists, not because I feel betrayed, but because they seem to come out of nowhere. I’d have to go back and watch previous episodes to see if there were any hints, but I didn’t catch any. Did Montgomery get shifty when the case came up? Or possibly sweaty? It wouldn’t have to be obviously telegraphed, but something should have been there. I felt very similarly when SPOILER Zach turned out to be a bad guy on Bones. It just felt tacked on and out-of-nowhere. Once they find out that Montgomery was somehow involved with the bad guys, Ryan and Esposito have a by-the-numbers fight where one believes it’s true and the other believes it but JUST CAN’T ADMIT IT TO HIMSELF. Blech.

Even worse was the near-the-end scene between Beckett and Montgomery where he explains what he did and what he’s going to do. Of COURSE he plans on taking on the bad guys solo and of COURSE he’s got Castle there to take Beckett away from the danger, which Castle does literally picking her up and dragging her away. Now, aside from not buying the very basis of this premise and not appreciating the melodramatic nature of the performances, I don’t buy for a damn second that bad ass cop Kate Beckett couldn’t free herself from a bear hug by an out of shape mystery writer. After that, he holds her against a car while she cries and Montgomery shoots the entire group of bad guys EXCEPT the main bad guy who somehow teleports behind him. Ugh. Thinking about it this morning just makes me more upset, because the show is absolutely better than this kind of writing. By the time we got to the final scene where SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER Beckett gets shot by a sniper while speaking at Montgomery’s funeral (he died of course). They make it look like she died, but I don’t really care much anymore. They’re either faking her death to draw this assassin guy out, which might get rid of some of the hokey gimmicks they relied on earlier this season for the upcoming one, or she’s just going to be fine. Her death wouldn’t just kill the romantic chemistry between the two leads (Castle told the “dying” Beckett he loved her, so we’ll see how this works out next season, I’m guessing she won’t remember and he won’t say anything about it) but also make the proceedings just too sad to stick around for. Castle relies on Nathan Fillion’s charm and him mourning for episodes on end would destroy that charm. Boring. Yawn. When does the summer season start?

What We’re Watching: Monday & Tuesday

I find myself with a strange feeling this TV season: a lack of interest. Sure, I’ve got favorite shows I like tuning in to, but it feels like I’ve got a lot less of them to look forward to, possibly because Lost is gone. There wasn’t another show in the history of my television watching career that engrossed me as much as that one and got me so excited about an hour of TV. Maybe it’s because most of the new shows aren’t so good. Here’s the break down for the first section of the week as far as regular viewings go.

For all the years I’ve been in New York, I’ve been looking around for a good syndicated block of reruns between 6 and 8 that would stay consistent and, for the most part, I’ve been unsuccessful. That is until recently. VH1 scored Saturday Night Live reruns from the 90s which have been a lot of fun to watch, even when I’m reminded that that was an era when skits tended to run WAY too long. It’s still fun to see a lot of today’s big stars and musical acts on the show both in the cast and as hosts. It’s even more fun to see long forgotten folks like Finese Mitchel and Sysqo perform. That takes care of the 6 to 7 block and then we bounce over to a local station called My9 which runs How I Met Your Mother. The only problem I foresee is that, with only a few season under its belt, I’ll be rewatching these episodes over and over again.

MONDAY

8:00pm – HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS)
I’ve already gone on record with the potential problems I see with HIMYM, but I still enjoy this show better than most of the others I watch on a weekly basis. I’ve grown to really enjoy these characters, but I still think there needs to start being some resolution to the overhanging “mysteries” or else this one could start feeling a little tedious. Like I said though, great cast and still one of my favorite, most looked-forward-to shows.

8:30pm – RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (CBS)
Rules of Engagement is a show we only started watching because it was on right after HIMYM and nothing else was on, but I’ve actually come to enjoy it. Sure, it’s a jokier type of sitcom with lots of jokes being tossed around that aren’t hilarious, but funny enough to get a laugh. I like seeing Patrick Warburton and David Spade doing their things, plus I find the dumb neighbor/friend guy oddly charming. I’m in it with this series, though if something more interesting came on I think we’d jump ship in favor of that. 

9:00pm – THE EVENT (NBC)
AS regular readers might remember, I wasn’t really all that into The Event when it premiered. I’m even less so now and barely still pay attention while the missus watches. I think she’s getting pretty sick of it too. I spent way too many episodes wanting to slap Jason Ritter for saying “My girlfriend!” so much that I don’t think we can ever be okay again (at least not on this show). I appreciate that they’re trying to move things along at a faster clip, but I just do not care about any of these people or what’s going on. I have the vaguest interest in what’s happening with these supposed aliens (though my money’s on dimensional or time travelers), but I could really just look it up in Wiki at some future date and feel satisfied. Probably moreso because I wouldn’t be wasting my time watching a lackluster Lost wannabe. 

10:00pm – CASTLE (ABC)
I almost feel bad for not liking Castle more. I really like the cast and the dynamics of the characters, but it just feels so hacky lately. From the wacky set-ups for crimes this season (steampunk AND time travel in one episode?!) to the increasingly formulaic plot, I’m getting worn down. How many times can they run across a suspect who lies so well that they completely buy his story and move on only to come back to him or her later in the episode to realize he or she is really the killer? It’s boring and, personally, I expect more from a show with Nathan Fillion on it. Hopefully this one will pick up because the missus still LOVES it, while I just keep thinking about how much better Bones is and wishing Netflix would send the first disc of last season already so we can start the long road to catching up.

TUESDAY

8:00pm – GLEE (Fox)
This one’s completely because the missus likes the show. She’s a big fan of musicals and show tunes and whatnot, so this is right up her alley, which is unfortunate, because I find it to be one of the most wildly inconsistent, sloppy and increasingly gross shows around. Anyone else see the Rocky Horror episode tonight where the teacher actually considered and planned on dressing up in gold shorts and performing a sexually charged number with one of his students? Sure he practiced with the hot red head teacher, but he was actually planning on jumping in and doing that. He’s just one of the many headache-inducing characters on a show filled with them. I’ve heard the argument made that you’re not supposed to expect anything from Glee but high school drama and musical numbers, but I call bullshit on that. The very basis of ongoing fiction of any kind is based in consistent characterization and this show lacks it for the most part. However, I do love Brittany’s throwaway lines. Those are just solid and sound like they’re being written by someone from 30 Rock.

9:00pm – RAISING HOPE (Fox)
I can’t remember the last time I watched this much Fox programming on a single night, but I find myself really liking Raising Hope. It’s clear the show was created by the brains behind My Name Is Earl as both showcase small town folks without much money doing what they can to get by. Hope revolves around a guy discovering his one night stand turned out to not only be a serial killer on death row, but also pregnant with his child. Now he’s raising the kid with his parents who had him at a really young age (his dad looks about the same age as him at times) and his mom’s grandma played by Cloris Leachman. Hope can be a little too weird and a little too jokey at times, but I think it’s starting to hit its stride. Plus, the Halloween episode featured homemade Batman and Robin costumes, so bonus points for that.

9:3opm – RUNNING WILDE (Fox)
Running Wilde, on the other hand, is not a show I’m enjoying much and I’m starting to get the feeling I’m not the only one as Fox decided to run two episodes of Raising Hope tonight instead of one of each, like usual. I am a huge Arrested Development fan, so I should like this show with its use of Will Arnett, David Cross and that fact that it was co-created by Mitchell Hurwitz, but Wilde suffers from two afflictions. First off, it’s not very easy to jump into. We missed the first episode and had trouble figuring out what the relationship between Arnett and the still-hot Keri Russell was. That’s not a good thing for a new show and something that AD suffered from (I still have trouble describing it to friends who missed out the first time around). The other problem is that it just feels like a rehash of old material. Arnett’s playing GOB from AD, Russell feels like Felicity though I never watched that show, plus the premise is a more exaggerated version of Dharma & Greg without the love. I’ll be curious to see what Fox replaces this show with if it does get the axe.

10:00pm – PARENTHOOD (NBC)
Parenthood continues to be one of the best written, most solid shows on television. I’d honestly put it up there with Mad Men. There’s a lot more in Mad Men considering it’s a period piece, but like that show, the Parenthood creators do an amazing job of juggling a small army of fast talking characters, giving each their moments to shine and great lines. Great writing mixed with a great cast makes for great TV, but for some reason I don’t find myself looking forward to this show on a regular basis. I’m happy when it’s on, but never excited for it. I wonder if that’s because it’s a drama and not an action show. I’ll have to think about that. I’ll be back on Thursday with more shows I’m watching. What are you viewing on Monday and Tuesday?

A Crummy TV Week

Blarg. After not having new episodes of How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory on Monday, I was pretty bummed to find out that Lost was a rerun tonight. What’s the deal? Then the missus watched tonight’s Glee which I kind of sort of hated. It seems like the writers haven’t gotten over their flare for ridiculous storylines. I can’t be the only one who got completely freaked out by Kurt’s attempt to put his dad and Finn’s mom together on the off chance that they move in together which would put him in the same house and potentially room as Finn? I’m sure some folks will tell me that I’m reading into the show too much, which may be, but I like my fiction to make logical sense. Go figure.

It was a big night tonight for Mike O’Malley who appeared on Glee as Kurt’s dad and Parenthood. I haven’t talked much about Parenthood, but I’ve been really digging that show, even though it wasn’t nearly as much of a comedy as I figured it would be considering it was by the guys who put one of my all time favorite shows together Arrested Development. Tonight’s episode was another good one that once again gave me the willies when it comes to my potential future as a parent.

Anyway, I’m watching the 9 by Design episode that first ran at 10:00 tonight. I’ve been digging that show a lot so far. Plus, Fresh Meat II and the Thursday comedies look to be new this week, so that will help, but I’m still bummed out by the lack of new Big Bang Theory episodes over the past month. We’ve had, what, one maybe two new episodes on all of April? Unacceptable!

TV Time 4/20-4/26

You guys know I love TV, so I figured I’d write about it in one big post (unless something really knocks my socks off). So here’s a quick rundown of what I watched this week on the idiot box.

MONDAY
8:00-9:00PM
Unfortunately both Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother were re-runs last week. Still had fun watching these episodes again, though.

10:00PM
Castle is really growing on me. It’s the one procedural in our weekly line-up, but damnitall of Nathan Fillion isn’t super-charming. His partner is even growing on me (she kind of scared me the first few episodes). What started out as a show we’d watch because nothing else is on has turned into a new weekly favorite.

TUESDAY
9:00PM
I’m really glad Fringe is back. I actually missed it while it was on hiatus, plus, it’s really the only thing we watch on Tuesdays. This episode was interesting enough on its own, but also offered a deeper level of mystery and connection that will hopefully explode with craziness as the first season wraps.

10:00-10:20PM
I caught about 20 minutes of The Unusuals. I really liked what I saw, but wanted to watch Josie and the Pussycats without falling asleep, so it lost out. I’m still rooting for the show’s success.

WEDNESDAY
9:00PM-10:00PM
As all the Losties know, there wasn’t a new episode last week, but a clip show. This one looked at the Oceanic 6 and showed all the flashforwards and flashbacks in chronological order. It wasn’t necessary to watch, but it reminded me of a few things I had forgotten. I’m still not clear on the time frame of Locke visiting Jack, Locke getting killed, Jack flying around with a scruffy beard and Jack running into Ben at Locke’s showing. It seems like there’s too much time there for all these events to happen in a realistic fashion. I’m not saying they don’t have everything figured out, it’s just nagging at me a bit. I’m sure there’s an explanation.

10:00PM-11:00PM
The Duel 2 continues to offer up a level of conspiracy that is always hilarious. I’d really love someone who has studied game theory to either analyze the show or, better yet, make it onto the show. I myself did not take the game theory class my college offered (too much math and science for this English major), but it sounded fascinating when friends would talk about it. Without getting into spoilers, the guy duel was pretty intense. Unfortunately, the guy we were rooting for didn’t win, and thus the status quo continues.

THURSDAY
8:00-8:30PM
I don’t talk about My Name Is Earl a lot, but it’s a consistently good show that I enjoy every week. I’m impressed that they’ve been able to keep such a solid show going with what seemed like an easily exhausted premise, but I’m always happy to see Jason Lee, Ethan Suplee, Jaime Pressly (anyone else remember Poison Ivy 3?), Nadine Velazquez (Catalina) and Eddie Steeples (Crabman)every week.

8:30-9:00PM
Last week’s Parks and Recreation was the best episode yet. But that’s not really saying much. To be completely honest, we’re only still watching this show because it’s between two other shows we like and I’m pretty sure nothing else is on. I wish they would keep the cast, scrap this concept and just start over because watching Poehler act like a Michael Scott clone for 22 minutes is just painful.

9:00-9:30PM
We finally get a resolution to the doomed-from-the-start Michael Scott Paper Company and it was a lot more fist pumping than I thought it would be. That being said, I was totally worried that Michael would screw things up in the meeting.

9:30-10:00PM
30 Rock is awesome. As much as I love the plots and larger jokes, it’s really the smaller jokes that get me. Like when Kenneth is passing out and says something like “My name is Dick Whitman.” Awesome. Or a few weeks back after seeing the world through Kenneth’s eyes and then seeing the real Liz walk-running like a Muppet. I am a bit worried that Tracey and Jenna are turning into cartoon characters instead of actual real characters. Oh, I’m also sad to see Salma Hayek leaving the show, both because she was really funny and hot.

10:00-11:00PM
I totally meant to watch all of Harper’s Island last week. After all, it’s essentially a show about a slasher killing wedding guests off one by one on an island. I was all into last week’s episode (the second of the season I believe), but I fell asleep in the last 10 minutes and completely missed the ending. Luckily, this week, I didn’t fall asleep. I’m not sure yet how I feel about Harper’s Island. I’ve given up watching my favorite Girl Next Door Bridget on her new bikini-filled show Bridget’s Sexiest Beaches to check it out. I did have a hard time keeping track of the characters (lots have the same hair color and look too similar). But I think I’ll stick with it for now.

FRIDAY
8:00-10:30PM
After sloshing through the first 20 minutes of The Spirit (more on that later), we gave up and watched some Cartoon Network. Saw a Batman: Brave and the Bold episode that focused on the Blue Beetle legacy (even showing Dan Garret, the Golden Age BB!). As always, it was a rad episode. Then I checked out an episode of the Clone Wars CGI show that was kinda cool and made me want to check the show out on DVD. After that The Soup was awesome.

Later that Night…
We watched the end of the Red Sox/Yankees game. Being from New England, Em is, of course, a Red Sox fan and hates the Yankees. Being something of a Tiger’s fan and initially not being all that happy about moving to New York, I hated most NY sports teams (and still do, really). So, even though I don’t particularly like the Sox, I like watching the Yankees lose. And lose they did. In overtime. This reminded me of college when Em would come over and we’d watch from inning 8 or 9 on of the Sox World Series. Now, that’s baseball.

SATURDAY
While hanging out in Nyack we kept an eye on the game. Didn’t see the end, but the Sox took it.

SUNDAY
8:00-9:00PM
Em and I have become pretty big fans of the Amazing Race. We stumbled upon it when The Simpsons was in reruns last season, but this is the first season we’ve watching, mostly, from beginning to the soon-to-be end. Better than every reality show game except Real World/Road Rules.

More Baseball
Em fell asleep watching the game, but I was in it till the end. A dude freaking stole home! I’ve never seen that before. It was awesome. See for yourself:


The Yankees play the Tigers next, so hopefully I can see them get beat up on Detroit style (but without guns and knives).

My Top 5 TV Shows Right Now

2009-03-13
8:35:13 pm

When the new season began I said a few words about the shows I’d been watching. Well, now the season’s been on it’s merry way for a while now and I figured I’d lay out my top five shows right now. They’re in no particular order except #1, but they’re rocking my world right now.

5. How I Met Your Mother

4. Big Bang Theory

3. 30 Rock

2. Real World

1. LOST

Unfortunately, HIMYM and BBT weren’t new for a while, which has been a huge bummer as we don’t really watch anything else on Mondays. I still really enjoy both shows and can’t wait to see where the further new episodes take me. After watching the first season of 30 Rock all the way through I gained an all new appreciation for 30 Rock and they haven’t been disappointing this year (though it is interesting to see how the dynamics have shifted by now). I don’t think I laugh harder at anything more than 30 Rock. The Real World: Brooklyn has been surprising this year. I think the producers thought that, by combining a transgender woman, a gay guy, a Mormon, a girl who used to date girls but now dates guys, an Iraq War veteran, a girl who’s kinda engaged, a body builder and a hip hop dancer they’d have LOADS of conflict. Instead, we’re treated to the most thought provoking, yet still fun season since Las Vegas (SO MANY pranks!). And finally, Lost. I freaking love this show. I’ve actually found that Lost gives me something to really look forward to (my new catchphrase of late has been “Life is better with Lost”). I was close to devastated when I walked into work Wednesday morning and Justin told me it wasn’t new this week. If you’re not watching you should be and if you don’t like it, you’re crazy.