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Blog: TV Watchers
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Smart Stuff
Posted by Tom Coombe at 04:48:35 PM on November 29, 2006
Total Comments: 0

I need to be vague here because I don't want to give anything away, but last night's Veronica Mars unmasked the serial rapist at Hearst College. Without mentioning who this person is, let me just say that they turned out to be the scariest villain the show has had so far. It was tres suspenseful, and the new mystery introduced at the end of the episode seems pretty interesting as well.

Also, a poster in an on-line message board pointed out earlier that the Veronica writers gave us a very subtle, but very clever clue to the rapist's identity in the Halloween episode. Again, it would give away too much to mention the clue here, but if you're curious, you can e-mail me at tom.coombe@mcall.com, and I'll let you know.

Tom Coombe

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TV Is Keeping Me Alive
Posted by Tucker Hottes at 09:20:15 AM on November 29, 2006
Total Comments: 0

The last, oh, two months have been insane for me. I won't get into those details, but it's now the time of year when everyone else starts having crazy schedules as well.  In the middle of all the madness, I really enjoy the time I can take a break from it all and watch a show or two on the DVR.

I guess the title of the post should say "My DVR Is Keeping Me Alive," since without it I'd be stuck watching late-night reruns, which wouldn't be pretty.  Needless to say, I'm glad there are some good shows out there to provide the little dose of fresh entertainment to relax and de-stress.

    -Tucker

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Baby, Can You Dig Your Man?
Posted by Tom Coombe at 10:59:58 PM on November 27, 2006
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Lost fans might want to pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly. There's a neat article, Stephen King interviewing Lost's creators. The guys behind the show are huge Stephen King fans, as he is of them. His novel The Stand apparently serves as a huge reference point for them; for example, Charlie is based on Larry Underwood, the book's one-hit-wonder rocker character (the title of this post comes from the name of Underwood's hit single). I've been reading King's Dark Tower books lately, and I can't help but think of Lost as I move through them. It's mostly the flashback elements, and the way characters connect to each other in the past. I wonder how long it'll be until King writes an episode of Lost...

Tom Coombe

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Way Down In the Hole
Posted by Tom Coombe at 04:41:34 PM on November 27, 2006
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There's two episodes left in this season of The Wire, and it's hard to watch the show and not feel a sense of uneasiness over what's going to happen to Michael, Randy, Namond, and Dukie, the four boys who have been this season's central characters. Michael's sold his soul to the local drug kingpin to keep his family safe, Randy's been branded a snitch, and Namond's teetering on the brink of a life of crime. It's the first timein the show's history that I've actually felt dread for what might happen to the characters. Every other character has always seemed like they could take care of themselves. They were veteran players in (to use Wirespeak) "the game," but the four boys are still rookies.

Tom Coombe

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Lazy Scranton
Posted by Tom Coombe at 04:53:30 PM on November 17, 2006
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Ed Helms really walked away with Thursday night's Office. He was amusing in his earlier scenes in Stamford for the first few episodes of the season, but when he arrived in Scranton, it was like his Andy was coming out of some sort of cocoon. The way he carried out his strategy for taking over ("mirroring" other people's personalities) was a joy to behold. And I can't think of his line to the camera ("Dwight may have won this battle, but I will win...the larger battle.") without cracking up.

Aside from that, it was great that they've joined the two casts, even though it's a bit grating the way NBC is marketing The Office like it's a new version of Friends. The Jim-Pam plot line is sweet and all, but still...

Also, I think NBC should release a DVD made up solely of Jason Lee and Ethan Suplee's "bedtime" exchanges that close every episode of My Name Is Earl. Last night's, a debate over who would win in a fight, the Muppets on the Muppet Show or the Sesame Street Muppets, was priceless.

Tom Coombe

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Searching For The "Real Killer"
Posted by Tom Coombe at 11:37:29 AM on November 16, 2006
Total Comments: 0

How many times have you watched this scene on a TV cop show:

The police are investigating a particularly vicious murder, and they bring in a suspect. This guy's either really rich and powerful, or really smart and cultured, or maybe both. And they know he did it. He knows they know he did it. But he knows they can't convict him, either due to lack of evidence, or some kind of legal loophole. So he toys with them ("I'll tell you how I would have done it..."), and proceeds to detail the crime.

Who would have thought that, thanks to O.J. Simpson, we'd actually get a chance to see that play out in real life?

Tom Coombe

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"This is pitiful. A thousand people freezing their butts off waiting to worship a rat."
Posted by Tom Coombe at 10:55:30 AM on November 16, 2006
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The title comes from Groundhog Day, a movie that will pop up in almost anyone's mind if you mention the premise of ABC's Day Break to them. Any time you have a story with a protagonist repeating the same day over and over, your brain immediately flashes to Bill Murray's weatherman. How do you make a TV series out of that premise?

First, you'll need an interesting story beyond the whole stuck in the same day set-up, and Day Break, appears to have that. Aside from the big mystery (why is Detective Hopper repeating the day?), there's another conspiracy at work, and by the end of the first episode, we had a long list of questions: Who are the men at the rock quarry? Who killed the assistant DA? How does this connect with Hopper's federal witness? What's in the package waiting for Hopper, and who sent it?

This type of story would be compelling even without the repeating day scenario. What makes things interesting (and what might also eventually make the show frustrating) is that even if Hopper can convince other people that he's been framed, or that he's been living the same day over and over, he has to start again the "next" day.

It also helps that you limit it to 13 episodes. At least that's what ABC should do. It's tough to imagine sustaining this for a full 24 episodes, let alone more than one season. But Day Break works as an enjoyable way to pass the Lost hiatus.

Tom Coombe

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Hi, I'm Jim, and I'll Be Your Plot Device This Evening...
Posted by Tom Coombe at 11:02:27 AM on November 15, 2006
Total Comments: 0

If someone needs a heart/liver/kidney transplant on TV or in a movie, and no donors are possible, you can usually count on another character, often someone who's part of an unrelated subplot, to die so that the person who needs the organ can live. House pulled that trick in last night's episode, although in a roundabout way that didn't seem too cliched, focusing more on the (eventual) donor than the recipient. Of course, it helped that the donor was played by a well-known character actor (John Larroquette), and that the episode gave us an interesting detail about House's past (the story of the janitor/doctor in Japan). Speaking of cliches, I'm hoping that the storyline involving the detective (David Morse) trying to bust House doesn't resolve itself with the doctor saving the cop's life by figuring out that he has some horrible disease. Is petty vindictiveness a sympton of anything?

***

Nissan really needs to retire those ads with Marc Horowitz, the guy who made a short film about him living seven days in his Sentra. First off, no matter how roomy a car is, no one wants to have to live in it. Essentially, Nissan is marketing a product based on a feature the consumer would hope they never have to use. Wal-Mart might as well have a commercial showing how their stores would be a good place to hide out if zombies attacked (you'd need to block the doors first, of course). Secondly, there are people who actually have to live in their cars. Entire families, sometimes. Maybe Marc Horowitz let one of them stay in his house while he shot his little movie.

Tom Coombe

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The Stamford Lot
Posted by Tom Coombe at 04:24:53 PM on November 10, 2006
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Other than the pilot episode, the American version of The Office has moved away from its British source material, and really become it's own show. I'll go out on a limb (a strong one at this point) and say that the U.S. Office may eventually be the one everyone remembers, and the U.K. version was brilliant. Then again, the British show had only 12 episodes over the course of two seasons. It could afford to revel in a bleakness that NBC's Office wouldn't get away with in a 22 episode season. As depressed as the staff of Dundler Mifflin is (think of how many of them enjoyed the idea of being laid off last night), the show has more warmth than its British cousin.

  So it was surprising (not unpleasantly so) to find them borrowing a plotline from the original version in the most recent episode, with workers from the Stamford branch moving to Scranton. (On the British version, the company was called Wernam-Hogg, and the characters worked in an office in a town called Slough. In Season Two, the Slough branch "absorbed" workers from another office in the town of Swinton, who became known as "the Swinton lot.") It would have been interesting to see Michael compete with Josh, his Stamford counterpart, the way The Office UK's David Brent found himself overshadowed in the second season. At any rate, last night's episode opened a lot of new possibilites in what has become a classic sitcom.

Also, Jim's pranks on Dwight are always genius, but last night's (stealing Dwight's personalized stationary, then sending him faxes from himself, from the future) was the funniest.

Tom Coombe

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"Lost" Gets Lost (possible spoilers)
Posted by Tom Coombe at 02:13:05 PM on November 9, 2006
Total Comments: 1

Holy frak, as they might say on Battlestar Galactica. The "fall finale" of Lost didn't answer any questions or feature any earth-shattering plot twists, but ended with a cliffhanger worthy of 24. And like 24, Lost has been making it more and more clear that no character is safe (Eko being the latest casualty). So in those final few minutes, it seemed perfectly possible that Sawyer's number had come up (and it still might; we'll need to wait until February 7 to find out). Another question they've raised: Who's Jacob? One of the Others referenced him, but he hasn't been introduced yet. Once again, something February might bring us. Until then, I at least have Galactica and the Wire (for a few weeks anyway) to hold me over.

Tom Coombe

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