Ode to TV week: day two

So, we know that the main reason I have such high hopes for the new 90210 premiering tonight is because of my eagerness to see Jessica Walter and Tristan Wilds back in action again. Though I’ve seen plenty of episodes of the original, I can’t say I was ever a superfan. Too young when it started, too engaged in newer shows once it was in syndication. Maybe the shortened previous season of Grey’s Anatomy has me itching for some soapy goodness (I did recently succumb and add the first season of Gossip Girl to my Netflix queue, after all), but really, without these two actors I can’t guarantee I would be planning on tuning in tonight. The best possible outcome for me and 90210 would be if the characters Tabitha Wilson and Dixon Wilson came even a little bit close to being as entertaining and beloved to me as Lucille Bluth and Michael Lee.

How often, though, does a TV actor that you’re already invested in as one character get to really hit the mark again? Do we still have Mary Tyler Moores, Bob Newharts, Bea Arthurs today, who are capable of being totally identified with one TV character, and then turning around and embodying another one, just as big of a hit and just as completely “them” as what came before? I can only try to make the argument for a few current TV stars off the top of my head, but conveniently for my segue, one of them is on a great show that premieres tomorrow night and that I want to talk about anyway. That’d be David Boreanaz, handsome and delightful as FBI Agent Seeley Booth on Bones. After eight years of appreciating Angel, I now associate Boreanaz with Booth just as closely, and can’t wait to have his stubborn, wise-cracking, cowboy of a character back on my screen tomorrow night.

Though I’m not against watching a little science-y crime solving, the characters make the show when it comes to Bones. The back-and-forth between Booth and forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan hits that great balance of just being funny, developing character, and hiding exposition by letting characters argue about the facts we viewers need to know. The supporting cast also shines, including last season’s new addition, Mr. Sam Weir himself John Francis Daley as Dr. Lance Sweets, a psychiatrist who helps the gang out in various ways.

Of course, as much as I am looking forward to this show’s return, in order to do that I’ve had to put a certain incident out of my mind. I can’t believe I didn’t write a rant about this at the end of last season, but perhaps my Hulk-like rage rendered me incapable. Bones’s last season finale was….how shall I put this….one of the worst choices I have ever witnessed a TV writing staff make, and an unmitigated betrayal to longtime fans. In an improbable at very best reveal, the crime-solving team figures out that one of their own has been helping out a twisted serial killer/cannibal they’d been searching for for months. I cannot stress enough how completely their explanation of how or why this character (a socially awkward but genuinely sweet bona fide genius who thrived on making logical decisions and utter devotion to his job) would do such a thing made no sense whatsoever. And now, not only is one of my favorite characters no longer on the show, but the entire memory of his tenure is tainted both for me and for the other characters. I cross my fingers that the mess is swept away never to be spoken of again, and that whoever takes over Zack’s spot in the lab is as fun to watch as he was.

Thus, I venture forth into the first week of premiere month with excitement and love in my heart, but not without trepidation. Besides 90210 and Bones, I’ll be re-subscribing to HBO in time for Sunday’s premieres of Entourage and True Blood. Stay tuned for reviews, fellow TV fans!


4 Responses to “Ode to TV week: day two”

  1. 1 Becca September 2, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    UGH to the Bones finale! They should have ended the season with the penultimate episode instead…everyone loves a good shooting. They could have even opened this season with the same “Booth-is-really-dead” twist. It was such a ballsy move, it only would have worked if we had been given time to see how the characters adjusted to the loss. Instead, it was smashed into the first quarter of the episode and things just went to crap from there.

    Not to knock the industry I’m hoping to get into…but that was a really Brit way of doing it. I’ve railed to Brandi multiple times about one of the worst episodes of the Doctor Who ever, in which the Doctor’s genes are cloned and his “daughter” is created IN THE TEASER, before the episode even kicks into gear. She dies at the end, but then whoa, she isn’t actually dead and flies off in a spaceship to have adventures among the stars. What?! It is a super-contrived plot (even more so than usual for DW), the characters had ridiculous motivations, and everything seemed rushed and unnatural.

    Good episodes of both Bones and DW are amazing–when the writing and direction plays to the actors’ strengths and our love and sympathy for their characters–but bad ones are just SO BAD. It goes back to what Brandi said in the post before this one: there is so much to love about stories told through the medium of TV; it is just painful when they hit potholes.

  2. 2 Brandi Sperry September 3, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Blah, TVGuide is saying they’re going to go through with their plans to use Zack sporadically in a way too Hannibal Lecter-esque for me “help the team from behind bars” sort of way. I’d rather they just let him go and I can pretend he was killed when his character went to Iraq, back when he still had honor.

  3. 3 Aaron September 3, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Nice, Gossip Girl became my guilty pleasure last year. It seems like most the charachters stories are ripped out of the O.C. and arent harld at all like the books (though for the reader of the series the show packs tons of hidden extras) The post strike episodes were obviously rushed (and the finale was more than an extreme letdown) The series shows promise. All the actors play their parts well, and Leighton Meester is the most fabulous bitch ever!

    Leighton’s performance as blair has been one of the best I’ve seen of a girl her age. She delivers her lines on point but also shows her vulnerability through her mannerisms and facial expressions. Blair is one layer character and she pulls the strong fronted yet scared little girl act off flawlessly.

    I hope that Season 2 returns to the quality of the first 3/4 of Season 1. If it does, it will be the 90210 of this generation, only way better. But things do move faster in New york so thats a given.

  4. 4 Brandi Sperry September 3, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    Awesome, I’m glad Gossip Girl has the Aaron seal of approval. I will report back on how I like it. Most of the 90210 reviews I read today were sort of like “Well, it wasn’t bad, but Gossip Girl does the same thing better.” Now I’m excited to catch up!

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Other projects:

Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

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