Saturday, September 26, 2009

3-Sentence Reviews: TV Premieres, Part 2

Continuing from last week's installment...

Curb Your Enthusiasm: At the start of a TV season that seems determined to wreak as many changes in characters as the stretching bounds of realism will accept, Curb hit its stride by not changing a thing. Larry is still as cantankerous as ever, and the show's formula of "three or four plot elements converge to screw over Larry" hasn't gone anywhere at all. But that's what made the show funny for six seasons, and that's what should keep it funny for a seventh.

House: This was undoubtedly the weirdest episode of House ever, including the ones that were hallucinations or entirely in House's head. It definitely had its ups and downs, and I'm hesitant to pronounce it "good" or "bad" before I see it in context in the rest of the season. If it means the end of Dead Amber, though, there's at least one definite plus.

The Big Bang Theory: Very weak episode, because it strayed too much from what we've come to expect from these characters--sitcoms aren't supposed to be too much about character development. Sheldon needs to be laughably socially inept, not making statements about religion; Raj and Howard need to making wisecracks about Sheldon, not bringing out actual feelings in him; Leonard and Penny certainly do not need to be in bed together. And I really, really hate Kripke--slapping a speech impediment on a character does not make him funny.

Criminal Minds and CSI: New York: Basically the same episode in both shows, and both were reliably solid. Actually, these are pretty much the same show, with a different flavor of forensics in each. And as long as they stay reliably procedural-y, I'll keep watching both.

The Mentalist: I hope the decision to have Jane and Co. move away from all this Red John business is an admission from the producers that serialized plots don't really fit into a show as light-hearted as this one, instead of the shift to just another serialized element that Agent Bosco could easily become. All the drama about Jane leaving the team in the first half of the episode was completely unnecessary, but the second half picked up nicely with the stakeout scene. Also, is it just me, or is Amanda Righetti ridiculously pretty?

Special note to CBS regarding the above shows: get into the modern era and start putting full episodes online. All your competition does it, and even you do it with a handful of shows. The more reluctant you are to let me watch your programming for free, the more encouraged I am to download some dude's bootleg of it. Controlled distribution on the internet, or a free-for-all in Torrent-land. Your pick.

Currently listening: "My Mirror Speaks", Death Cab for Cutie

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