Monday (or Some TV thoughts)

This feels like such a dead end week, or maybe that’s just me, what with the holiday coming and all that dread (of excessive eating; of needing more exercise; etc.)

The latest “Entertainment Weekly” had good reads – particularly the section where the critics evaluated the tv shows of this fall. I pretty much agreed with the assessment of WB’s “Jack and Bobby” – the show where you watch the future U.S. president and his older brother when they’re teens and how those developments influenced him (the pres) during his administration – basically, as much as actress Christine Lahti is strong as the teens’ single mom, she’s kind of irritating with her sanctimonious liberal stuff (I mean, I may very well agree with her politically, but she’s grating on the nerves – the excess strength and dominance of her or the characters she play have been what turned me off to her work on “Chicago Hope” on CBS a few years ago (well, that show went kaput for me for a load of other reasons, but that’s something else)). On the other hand – my assessment here, not EW’s – I liked Lahti’s character of Grace the last two episodes and in instances where her vulnerability is real and raw – she finally admits that her marijuana habit (yep, a single mom Ph.d with a nasty habit there) is a problem (particularly when it means that she won’t be there for her sons and when it means breaking her promises to Jack so many times) and in the episode where she had to console Jack when his gay friend committed suicide (Grace finally acting like a concerned mother for Jack, who’s taken on the role of adult in this family for too long, especially when Jack is so obviously an annoying teenage boy with the raging hormones (i.e., not ready to be the adult)). Not to say that Grace can’t be strong; I just think she should be an adult, instead of being so domineering and unforgiving.

Plus, the recent episode where Bobby plays chess with Mr. Benedict, the president of Grace’s university, was a nice touch – I get the feeling that Jack and Bobby ought to have a dad figure (not to say that their mom is lousy; they just give the viewer the feeling that they need a counter-balance, and they probably know it).

EW has the take that this season’s “Joan of Arcadia” is really dark stuff. And, I won’t disagree – but it’s sort of an inspiring dark stuff (this is the one series where the death of a character was simultaneously sad and empowering, since it taught the teen characters that they just can’t let their lives waste away). I thought that Joan’s relationship with the kid Adam would have been hard to work (romantic couples in tv shows are never given a happily ever after spin; it’s like no one will let them get away with it and besides, happy couples bore us), but the whole idea of growing pains for kids in love has been nicely depicted. Joan’s mom, Helen, has been in her own spiritual path, to get back on track as a lapsed Catholic – that’s been interesting stuff. The ex-nun helping Helen is a curious character. Wonder whether the writers will continue to reveal more about her (the ex-nun character I mean).

Not noted by EW, but I’ll note anyway:

“Enterprise” – crazy stuff. I think it’s improving, but I still worry if they’ll do something stupid or the like. This latest spin on what is Captain Archer’s role in changing Vulcan is… odd. Must an Enterprise captain always be the guiding force of the development of history? Oh well.

I watched the premiere of “House, M.D.” on FOX last week – British actor Hugh Laurie as the irascible American Dr. House, who’s a real annoying bastard, who figures out mysterious diseases/treatments. Anyway, this series appears to have a better grip on character and plot than “Medical Investigation” on NBC (which I find to be a show that just seems lacking – I’d watch actor Neal McDonough and still feel bad that “Boomtown” didn’t work out for him because that was such a great vehicle for him). Anyway, back on “House, M.D.” – still weird to hear Laurie in an American accent. Robert Sean Leonard, always a strong actor, plays the oncologist/House’s only friend; Omar Epps is the resident neurologist on House’s team (cool to see him; he played the medical student who killed himself in “ER” – so weird that in this show, he’s OK with the medical career and can accept that his boss is such an anti-social prick); Lisa Edelstein as House’s boss/head doctor (the usual “I’m not happy that you don’t do work/But you’re a brilliant dr, so I won’t fire you – yet”) – she does pretty decent work, but they need to give her better lines than the snappy comebacks she and House trade each other. But, after all the CSI’s and Crossing Jordans and ER’s, do I really want to watch a medical show with the usual disgusting special effects? Umm… I don’t know yet.

Turkey day coming…

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