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Thursday, September 09, 2004
TV Round-Up
The Drew Carey Show
Cleveland rocks one last time for Drew Carey. This is the season ABC didn't want but was contractually obligated to pay for. So, instead of just fading away, Carey and company made the entire season, not knowing if anyone would see it or when. I think it kind of helped a bit, since the show actually got pretty funny towards the end instead of the pale imitation of its former self it was at times in the last couple of seasons. The final two episodes find Drew coming to a crossroads. He finally has the job of his dreams only to have it snatched away (in typical Drew Carey fashion) and then he and Kellie have their baby and get married. It was nice to see Drew get a little bit of a happy ending. His search for love has been an ardous one over the years and hopefully Drew, Kellie and Drew, Jr. will enjoy many happy times together. Yes, this show didn't get the big send-off that other shows did, but it still managed to give fans a satisfying end to the show. The final shot of Drew outside shooting pool in the rain, harkening back to the first episode was a nice touch. Thanks for the fun, Drew and company. Now, if you could just get Whose Line Is It Anyway back in production, I'd be very, very happy.

Mystery: The Inspector Lynley Mysteries--Playing for the Ashes
I love Elizabeth George's novels. Along with anything new by Stephen King or a New Frontier novel by Peter David, her novels are some of my favorite reads and ones that are never quite long enough. And, so far, the BBC adaptations of her popular novels have yet to really live up to how great the books are. Yes, they get the central mystery right, for the most part, but they just get a lot of the little things wrong. I won't go into how the actors cast in all the roles do not look a bit like how George describes them in her novels (biggest error: Lynley is blonde!). No, what the TV series loses is a couple of things. One is the pyschological depth that George gives most of her characters in the stories. This is a mystery series that constantly keeps me guessing as to who the culprit is and usually gives you five or six really good culprits per story. What I loved about Playing for the Ashes when I read it was that George kept pulling red herring after red herring in the story in a believable, convincing way. All of the people here were dysfunctional in some way and every one of them had a darn good reason for killing Kenneth Wareing. It was just figuring out who really did it and why that made it so page-turning. Also, we had a lot of chapters narrated from Olivia's point of view, who turns out to be crucial to solving the crime. It's pivotal in the book but the connection is a bit more tenous here. Had I not read the book, I'd've misssed a lot of it here. The second is the series is kind of like a soap opera. Yes, there's a darn good mystery in there, but half the fun is checking in on the latest developments with Lynley, Havers, Helen, Simon and Deborah. The series tries to capture parts of it but they are a bit behind in the whole Lynley/Helen relationship that it's a bit jarring. Also, they're trying to combine part of Helen and Deborah's roles in the stories, which is a glaring error in my book. I may be a bit protective here because Playing for the Ashes was my first novel by George and it set me on the road to obsession with all of her other work. But I think another part of it is that an hour and a half just may not be enough to really tell the stories as well as they're told in print. A Great Deliverance, easily the least complex of her mysteries, got three-hours. Yes, it was the first story and we had to meet everyone, but I still think these stories deserve enough time to be told and told well. That said, I guess the best thing that can happen from these stories is that it will encourage others to read the book. Trust me--they're all worth it. (Well, maybe the last one A Place of Hiding was a bit weak, but that's the exception rather than the rule).


posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/09/2004 07:50:00 AM | |
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