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Wednesday, February 25, 2009
TV Round-Up: Short Thoughts
I'm a bit behind on the TV Round-Ups, so I thought I'd do some short, sweet and to the point posts about some of the shows I usually comment on and some that I don't.

Not a show I usually comment on simply because it's pretty much the same formula every week. Patient comes in with some strange illness, House and company try to figure it out and usually come upon some miracle diagnosis in the last five minutes. Throw in a subplot about how House is a jerk or some team member has a connection to the patient of the week and you've pretty much got most episodes of this show. So why do I watch? you ask. Simply put, Hugh Laurie as the title character.

And yet, in recent weeks I've found myself growing less and less fond of the show. It kind of reached a culmination with this week's episode that felt like a greatest hits. So, House has pain in his leg and finds that by moving from vicadin to methadone, the pain goes away. It also makes him a nicer person instead of the gruff, grumpy guy he usually is--to the point that he makes the patient of the week worse. In the end, House decides to call off his meth treatment and live with the pain because he's a better doctor only on vicadin and pain. Which it's an interesting plotline and would be some nice character development if it weren't for the fact that this show has burned us so many times in the past by having potential growing moments for House and the rest of the cast only to toss them aside once the currently storyline has run its course. For example, Tritter. Or Amber from last year. So, while I am glad House didn't string out the plot longer, I'm still left feeling like we've learned nothing really new about the character. Don't get me wrong--Hugh Laurie is still a great actor and would make a superlative Doctor (as in "Doctor Who.") But I'm finding the series less and less enjoyable these days. Maybe it's worn out the welcome or maybe it needs to play with the formula.

Day seven got off to a slow start, but somewhere in the last few weeks it's really picked up steam. I've not seen Monday's new episode yet (it's on the DVR) but the last two hours have felt like vintage "24." Now that we've got rid of the First Gentleman in peril plot (the Kim Bauer vs a cougar of this year, by far), suddenly the show has found its legs and is really clicking on all cylinders. I wouldn't go as far as Robert Bianco did and delcare it one of the two best shows on TV right now (sorry, but "Battlestar Galactica" is up there in the top spot right now), but it's still entertaining and fun. And it's actually asking some really good questions about the toll this is taking on Jack and how he's perceived by others. It's interesting to watch Jack make choices that completely make sense in the plot but when viewed outside of the moment seem completely insane. Jack's attitude of the ends justify the means goes right in the face of every policy most other characters have on this show, but it's interesting to see how a lot of them are grateful to have Jack around to do these things. The biggest example is the new president, who is willing to look past Jack's sins and being up before Congress to answer for his alleged abuses of power and authority when her husband is being held prisoner. She turns him loose...possibly because she can wash her hands of him if whatever he's doing blows up in his face.

If she'd sent the FBI or Secret Service, it could look bad. Send Jack Bauer and she can say she asked him to help but never intended it to go as far as it did.

Meanwhile, we've got Jack paired with Agent Walker, who is one of the better partners we've had for Jack in recent memory. She only knows Jack by reputation and we can see her hero worship of him early on. I am enjoying watching how easily she will allow herself to embrace Jack's tactics only to horrified at how easy it is to do the things Jack does and how far she's willing to go. Or maybe it's more about what she thinks is over the line--torturing a guy with a gunshot wound is no big deal, but threatening a man's wife and child to get him to give up info really shocks her. And yet, she keeps following Jack and keeps slipping farther into the Jack pattern of behavoir. I wonder if she realizes yet that she could easily be the Jack Bauer of the FBI and what that could mean to her career and her ability to sleep at night...

So, they're back on the island. I loved last Wednesday's episode where we got a whole lot of answers and about fifteen thousand more questions. Having an end-line for the series has helped his show a lot and I feel sorry for those who tuned out early. You're missing some damn good storytelling.

So many questions that I can only assume we'll have answered in the weeks to come including how did Hurley get out of jail, where is Aaron, why is Ben beaten up (I have a bad feeling it will be due to killing Penny), who is the woman with Sayid, and is there some significance to how landed where on the island? Also, what time period are our heroes in now? Are they in the past, present or future?

I did like Locke's final note to Jack, though part of me wondered if we'd see it in the episode. It seemed like one of those things that you could make a long-term mystery. But then again, it wouldn't be all that satisfying to wait six weeks to find out that Locke wished Jack had more faith. If it'd been "neener, neener I told you so," that might have been worth it.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/25/2009 01:48:00 PM | |
Interesting. I never considered Hugh Laurie as someone for the role of The Doctor. Hmm....
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