Wednesday, October 04, 2006

what could make the needle jump the groove

Okay, time to talk about the really serious matters. Television. Fine, so I am in a little bit of a silly mood this morning.

But, as Stephen Colbert would say, J.J. Abrams, you're on notice. It is true that I have been traveling a lot, and there are other scheduling commitments I have had that have forced me out of any kind of regular viewing of television shows. But it must also be said that I have been rather unenthused by the offerings. Entourage seemed to end before it even began, so fleeting was its season this summer. Project Runway's third season has been, as Michael Kors himself might say, underwhelming. There have been such a deluge of new shows this fall that I cannot even pick them apart. Are The Nine and Six Degrees the same show, or are they companion shows? Oh wait, that's right, I don't care.

And J.J, it must be said that, after last season, I am begrudgingly dragging myself to watch the third season of Lost. That is, if I can remember to tape it every week, because I actually cannot watch the show in real time due to my schedule. I am watching it because:

  • You have added Rodrigo Santoro to the cast. And Rodrigo Santoro is a worthy runner-up in the Gael Garcia Bernal Championship Cup of Eye Candy.
  • Even though he's nowhere in the previews, there is still the promise that you may allow Naveen Andrews to act the pants off of everyone else on set. And even if he needs to wash his hair, he is a good actor.
  • That St. Valentine's Day massacre episode last season gave me hope that something interesting may continue to happen on this show. Plus, that means there is the possibility that you may kill off the Hobbit at some point.

Still, you are on notice, and here is why. Last night, after getting barraged by advertisements about the show all of last week, and reading two unusually gushing reviews from normally ruthless critics, I watched Friday Night Lights. There are so many reasons I should not like this show:

  • Thanks to the NBC executive monkeys and all the critics, this show was so overhyped that it should not have been able to meet expectations.
  • It is a retread of a movie, that was adapted from a book.
  • It is a show with the word Friday in the title that is shown on a Tuesday.
  • I never had the slightest inclination to watch the movie.
  • There are lots and lots of teenagers on the show. And not the angsty My So-Called Life variety of teenagers. Popular teenagers- cheerleaders and football players. I did not grow up in a football town, and the football players at my high school were just plain annoying.
  • After the first fifteen minutes of the show, you know exactly how the pilot episode is going to unfold.
  • There is a whole lot of praying, which I usually avoid on television.

But I mean to tell you, I absolutely, unabashedly adore this show. And that's why you are on notice, J.J- if more shows like this start cropping up, you with your incoherent plot twists and character assassinations are in big, big trouble. Here are the reasons I fell for Friday Night Lights:

  • This should be more of a disclaimer, but it is true that I will watch most anything with Kyle Chandler in it. I used to watch that ridiculous show where he got the news a day early and had to spend all of his time rescuing kitties out of burning buildings or whatever. I even watched Grey's Anatomy just to see him explode. And yes, I confess that I watched 20 minutes of Kong because I spotted him in it for a moment. But even setting all of that aside, he is a great, unusual choice for playing a head coach.
  • It's shot beautifully. Peter Berg, who used to make my eyes roll every time he appeared on a television screen, really knows how to shoot scenes. Even if this show had a crappy premise, plot, and dialogue, it would still manage to hold your attention because of the way it's filmed.
  • Even though there are a lot of teenagers, there is no hint of that WB soap opera tone.
  • Even though you can guess exactly what is going to happen in the pilot episode, when it happens, it still makes you inhale sharply. There is such great build up and tension that you can't help getting invested. Every scene, every conversation adds another heap of pressure on the coach and the team so effectively that you can really empathize when the inevitable occurs.
  • They even managed to get to me with their praying.

Of course, with my luck, the show will probably get cancelled. I really wonder if I should be celebrating so openly about this show- there is nothing about it that I should like. It's not usually the sort of show I sit down to watch. It's even, dare I say it, wholesome entertainment. Maybe this is just a sign that I am getting old.

Or maybe I just haven't seen Sawyer with his shirt off for a while.

Anyway- you should clearly take all of this with a grain of salt, because no one should trust a person who is gleeful at being characterized as follows:

I mean, it's true, though: I do love the smell of napalm in the morning.

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