tv, movies, etc

Mar 08


Well, that’s it for The Wire — best show on television. Last night’s finale was great, I thought — gave a bunch of closure, a bunch of provocative ideas, and, more than anything else, a sense that it’s a new day, but the same old stuff is going to happen.  It’s been hard to watch the series without despairing about the prevalence of corruption — so many of our institutions are so broken. This last season was probably the weakest of the 5 seasons — but I’ll take bad episodes of The Wire over just about anything else on TV. So many memorable characters, so much wonderful dialog, and so many clear and compelling messages.

I’m impatient to see what David Simon and Ed Burns come with next, not to mention actor/director Clark Johnson, who always seems to be involved with my favorite shows — especially his direction, and the unbelievable cast of other writers who include Dennis Lehand and George Pelecanos. But I’m not optimistic that they’ll be able to do something like this again — not in a Sorkin/Studio 60 sorta way — but in the sense that The Wire seems to be a singular achievement. No doubt.

Nov 07


looks like the writers’ guild strike is happening. i think my most basic emotion is that i’m strangely sort of happy about it — not about the economic impact on the writers, which is not good at all, but i’m happy that i don’t *have* to watch colbert & daily show 4 times a week. isn’t that strange? i could always have decided not to watch it, but this seems somehow easier. takes the bat out of my hands, so to speak.

anyway, i don’t find the prospect of less television very disturbing (especially since season 5 of The Wire is already in the can and awaiting us in January).

i *do* think, though, that this strike — and people expect it to be a long one — will have a highly damaging effect on the quality of television shows. the last really major writers strike in 1988 left us with shows like America’s Most Wanted and Cops, both of which heralded in a really crappy (and giant) genre of television. what will we get now?

but it’s one of those things, i think. for the studios, this feels, to me, like their waterloo, their napster. we’re in a period of incredible creativity in the world, incredible connectedness. putting down the hammer on the creatives — in other words, not letting them share fairly in the proceeds from the distribution of their work — isn’t likely to help the television and motion picture industry, in my own, admittedly uninformed opinion.

but we’ll see. maybe folks will pick up books. i do know that i’m going to cut any television shows that i’m watching that are marginal (i’m looking at you, Pushing Daisies and Weeds, and maybe you, too, DirtySexyMoney), and endeavor not to add any reality junk that shows up when scripted shows run out in january.

Sep 07


it’s going to be hot again this week, back up into the 80s, but this weekend was a little chilly, drizzly, and basically felt like fall. wore sweater for the first time in a while; sam & i took an umbrella for our walk to starbucks. driving to work this morning, i found myself in more of a fall mindset, i think — a little more centered, thinking about longer term things (6 to 18 months), less frantic like the summertime mindset.

on the other hand, the new fall television season starts tonight, so who knows…

(and, btw, season 5 of The Wire starts in January. fantastic. you should all buy seasons 1-4 on DVD straightaway. best friggin’ show in television)

Jun 07

Boom King

Our favorite new show is Flight of the Conchords, on HBO, about a struggling New Zealand band (well, duo) who’s moved to Manhattan to make it big. Fantastic show — it’s so quick and sharp it almost takes away some of the drab grey drabness of a world without Arrested Development. Love the inferiority complex NZ has about Australia, and all the Lord of the Rings references. But the music is the star of the show — here’s a song from last night’s episode that is just tremendous (even legally linked from the HBO site — way to go HBO!):

Jan 07


Kathy & I were sorta thinking of not watching 24 this year, after the horrendous season last year, but I’m glad we stuck with it, because this season is great. It’s not the same as it used to be — it’s now basically Melrose Place, with nuclear weapons — but nonetheless, great television. Apparently, last year it was still in a state of transition. Anyhoo, now it’s great, and has led me to the new theory that all shows on Fox eventually become versions of Melrose Place. This could be an important & revolutionary new theory of television, so I’ll be working on it some this weekend.