More Boomtown

Multiple readers pointed out to me that in addition to three Boomtown episodes tonight, there will be one last Boomtown episode on Sunday. This contained two surprises:

  1. There was one more episode in the can than I’d thought there was; and
  2. This blog has multiple readers.

Sorry to take so long to post this info. I have been away, sans blog access.

Published in: on December 27, 2003 at 4:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Boomtown blowout!

The schedule says that NBC is running the final three episodes of the late, great Boomtown this Saturday night.

Sad to see it go, but at least we got these last few!

Published in: on December 22, 2003 at 7:09 am  Comments Off on Boomtown blowout!  

'tis the season for reruns

The last couple weeks before Christmas are rife with reruns. Part of that is due to coming right after November, a "sweeps" month when ratings are carefully tracked and excessively valued for obsolete reasons, making it vital that shows have the most possible audience attraction — no reruns, and tons of stunts. And there is also the thought that people are paying less attention to the TV, what with holiday shopping to do and holiday trips to take.

Seems to me, however, that a great opportunity is being overlooked. Yes, fewer people are watching shows, but the value of those viewers to advertisers must be particularly high. After all, it is the purchasing season.

Things to catch: the second season of the British version of Faking It is running on BBC America, and it continues to be a fine show. Odd thing is that as the series continues, it seems to be less and less about being fake, and more and more about being the real thing to a limited extent. The punk rocker who “faked” being a conductor really was conducting, although he could only conduct the one piece. The emergency phone operator who became a TV director really did become a TV director — she may have faked having the background, but in the four weeks she spent, she became a genuine director, if not a vastly accomplished one. This show is astounding and I consider it quite up-lifting. Our pal Krystal stopped by and watched one the other day, and one of her first questions was "what do they win if they succeed?" The answer, to the best of my knowledge, is nothing, which is really what makes it different from the so-called reality shows on the networks. This isn’t about being deceptive for a prize, this is about accomplishing something, and its clear that the fakers truly vest themselves in it.

Published in: on December 20, 2003 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Line of Fire

At one point, I realized that if I ever wanted to become a great actor, I should do whatever it is that David Paymer has done. This is a guy who inhabits his characters, brings pathos or genteel humor as needed, never looks like he isn’t in the scene, just does great little perfomances. And yes, they often are little performances, because he tends to play the nebbish rather than the leading hunk, and yet as a nebbish he can own the screen in a scene not because he’s stealing it, but because he’s earned it. (If you want to see a movie with reasonable amounts of Paymer at his best, trying Mr. Saturday Night.)

So when ABC trotted out a new mob-oriented show (the latest example of the networks’ Sopranos lust, albeit not as blatant as Kingpin) and announced Paymer as the mob boss, I had to take off my hat to that. It’s not that the role is Paymer’s usual type, but he brings the gravitas and coldness that the part needs. He makes it work even when the writing is letting him down, making him more hands-on than the local boss would seem likely to be.

But the mob, while a vital part of the show, is secondary to the FBI. One FBI guy dies at the top of the show, during the sort of opening scene where you know one FBI guy will die in order to get the show rolling. (Two FBIs chasing a bad guy. One FBI stumbles, doesn’t keep up with his partner. Seperate partners that early in a first episode, you don’t have partners much longer.) We get some existing FBI folks established, but more of the focus is on a couple of rookies. The rookie has well-intended motivated rookieitis, turned up to 11 alas. They oversell her character, costing the show believability.

There’s some good acting here, some good texture. The writing ain’t quite there –it’s well-intentioned but avoids subtlety a bit too strenuously — but I think this show could settle into being quite good, perhaps great.

Published in: on December 3, 2003 at 9:43 am  Leave a Comment  

The Tracy Morgan Show

Generic Home Sitcom #27. Goofy dad, played by Tracy Morgan, whose long Saturday Night Live tenure left me believing that he could be quite funny within a very limited range, a range that this part doesn’t quite settle into. Thin but busty, kind, loving, caring, long-suffering, genteel mom, played by, well, it doesn’t really matter, as she’s nothing but a platform for Tracy to bounce off of. Goofy gang at work, including the black guy who is always trying to work an angle or scam. Work is spent talking about being black people in funny ways. Two kids with silly things to say. The standout of the show is actually the younger boy, a seven year old fireplug with good delivery of the audacious… but all in all, you’ve seen this before, you’ve seen it done better than this and still didn’t watch.

No goofy neighbors yet, but just you wait!

Published in: on December 3, 2003 at 9:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Oh, TV is TV…

…and it just keeps on coming. Las Vegas keeps showing that it’s not just a fictional show, it’s set in a fictional version of Vegas, on a fictional version of Earth. And yet, I’ll keep watching this slick trash. Besides, other things are in reruns.

So I thought I’d use this space to follow up a note ni Neil Gaiman’s blog regarding to listening to music while writing. In it, Neil addresses someone’s teacher’s claim that one cannot listen to music while writing. Neil correctly points out that it ain’t true for everyone. I listen to music while I’m writing. When I’m writing my computer books, I can have almost anything on. When writing fiction, I need to have music that isn’t going to distract or surprise me, so it has to be familiar stuff. This is the time to put on Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours or Buffy: The Musical. It’s no time for new music.

And sometimes, when I want to get into a groove, to get a lot of writing done and keep a certain mood, I’ll put one track on repeat. I remember a short story I wrote for the TSR comic book R.I.P.; through the complete writing of it I left Elvis Costello’s “Beyond Belief” on repeat. I later calculated it had played over 300 times during the writing of that piece.

Sometimes, I’m glad I’m me and not my next door neighbor.

Published in: on December 1, 2003 at 11:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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