on Television
Random thoughts on tv.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2001
The new television season is upon us, and I'll be getting reviews of the best and worst of the new season up here shortly, along with the promised Rules of Television. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 29, 2001
Okay. I admit it. I'm scary. Last week, USA Today published a grid showing the networks' schedules for next season. And I'm already trying to figure out what to tape and what to watch. It's my gift. It's my curse. It's my life.

Which doesn't make it any less scary.

And again, I have to talk about a season finale of what I consider one of the best-written shows on television: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Oh, I see you out there rolling your eyes. Its main cast are teenagers (actually, they're twenty-somethings, and as next year starts, they will be in their second or third year of college), it's based on a terrible movie (I'll disagree with you there, but not too strongly), and it's on the WB! (Actually, UPN come the fall.) What could possibly recommend it?

Good writing, for one, which is a big thing with me. Change, for another. In sitcoms, things can stay relatively the same for a number of years, and the shows can stay good. Look at Frasier, for instance; with the exception of the Niles/Daphne relationship, which took forever to develop, the show is basically the same as it was when it debuted. We know the characters a bit better, they're better developed, but the situations are essentially the same.

On a drama, however, change is absolutely necessary, unless the show is composed of basically standalone episodes (such as Law and Order). And on Buffy, change is good, whether it be moving from a dark and brooding boyfriend to a big boy scout to no boyfriend at all, or making two former villains members of the supporting cast on the side of good, this show keeps moving forward.

And I mean, come on. How many shows kill their main character as a season-ending cliffhanger not once but twice? In a magnificently written WB closer, we see the culmination of two storylines that have been running for more than half a season: the sudden appearance of Buffy's "sister" Dawn, and her battle with the goddess Glory. While most viewers figured that someone would be shuffling off the mortal coil in the episode, few guessed that it would be the title character herself, sacrificing herself so that the sister she's only known for a matter of months could live. It's been done before, and we already know (based on interviews and common sense) that Buffy will be back. Of course, this time we've actually seen the gravestone, so it may not be at the beginning of the UPN opener, but Sarah Michelle Gellar is reportedly signed for two more years, so look for the Slayer to return quickly.

Please, please, please. If you like good writing, tongue-in-cheek humor, and a little bit of action, try to catch Buffy in reruns. It'll slay you. (sorry. couldn't resist.)

Friday, May 18, 2001
After watching the season finale of The West Wing on tape (do you see a pattern of viewing developing here?), I have to repeat all the nice things I said about the writing and characters on Gilmore Girls, but then some. And in this case, it's no secret; whereas Gilmore Girls is struggling to find an audience, The West Wing is consistently among the top-rated shows on any given week. And deservedly so.

Yes, the show slants liberal. No, I don't really think that the business of governing the country takes place in precisely this manner. But the characters are well-drawn, the storylines interesting, and the writing first rate. The surprise death of Mrs. Landingham last week allowed for some touching and humorous flashbacks this week, to how she first met the President, and how they became close.

And if anyone thinks that the President is not going to run for re-election, then you're not familiar with The Unblinking Eye's Television Rules.

What's that? You've never seen The Unblinking Eye's Television Rules?

Well, I'll just have to do something about that, won't I? Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 17, 2001
Having just watched the end of the first season of Gilmore Girls, I am firmly convinced that TV GUIDE was wrong in naming Once and Again as its best show that no one's watching; this show fully deserves that honor. From its marvelously eccentric cast to dialogue that sparkles so much that there evidently an online rumor that the writer was actually The West Wing's Aaron Sorkin using a pseudonym (she's not), there is just so much to recommend this show.

I would have been put off by the fact that this is the first show to be produced under the aegis of a conservative group dedicated to funding family-oriented programming had I not so thoroughly fallen in love with the show first. And, truth to tell, while the show is indeed suitable for the whole family to watch, it never descends into the cuteness or moralizing that shows like Seventh Heaven or Touched by an Angel do.

Do yourselves a favor: Watch this show. It's moving to Tuesdays at 7:00 in the fall, which moves it from one taping conflict (against Friends and Survivor this season) to another (against Buffy on UPN), but it's guaranteed to be taped and watched regularly in the Pavlack household.

Note: This entry was going to include a plug for Mike Mu's VHSLinks web site, which provided me with the tape of this episode when my vcr screwed it up. Unfortunately, Mike's site is currently down. As soon as I find out if and where he'll be back up, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, May 16, 2001
I want to use this page for my thoughts on TV....everything from what I'm watching to observations about specific shows or trends.
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