Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fox Still Messing with Dollhouse

And some people say Twitter is worthless: Felicia Day tweeted that her episode of Dollhouse will not air on Fox. Entertainment Weekly has the scoop, which again puts the network in a bad light:

It's true. Fox bought and paid for 13 hours of Dollhouse (from sister company 20th Century Fox), one of which turned out to be the scrapped pilot that Whedon wound up reshooting. Which means Day's episode, "Epitaph One," isthe 14th -- which the network didn't buy. And isn't going to buy.
Way to be lame.

I'm still figuring out the show. I'm a Whedon newbie, but it's clear to me that Fox messing with the show from the very beginning only harmed the series, and that many people are sticking with it out of a sense of loyalty to Whedon in the hope that it will be successful. It's only now that Dollhouse is beginning to go somewhere, but it's probably too little too late for a lot of people.

Seems to me that Whedon loves to pull in people with the sexualized content: Every episode showcases Eliza Dushku's feline body bound in some ridiculous bondage or sex kitten wear, and then she runs around and kicks some ass it in, somewhere between the :45 and :50 mark. While it works within the show, sometimes the series just feels like an excuse for having Dushku dressed so laughably, and it always elicits chuckles and raised eyebrows.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

SNL Wins a Peabody

For their political coverage, most notably Tina Fey's blockbuster turn as Sarah Palin.

Other wins went to "Lost", "Entourage", "Breaking Bad", "John Adams", The Onion News Network, and a bunch of PBS documentaries from "Frontline" and "Independent Lens".

In other SNL news, tonight's episode features a French band no one's ever heard of, Seth Rogen has lost a lot of weight and looks great, I laugh at really dumb skits (the funky voices one), Cathy is trotted out in a creative piece on comic strips, the digital short is absurd and funny, and the show has gotten really, really gay.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Goodbye, ER

I would be remiss if I did not mention ER's passing into the ether of TV history tonight. A Thursday staple, it lambasted the competition for years, despite going through multiple cast changes and enough plotlines to make a TV addict cry.

Far from being the only medical show on television, it ushered in a new way of looking at hospital shows--as an exciting, fast-paced whirl of activity--instead of the folksy, laid-back look of earlier eras. Michael Crichton labored for years on a pilot that confounded executives with its medicalese and rotating storylines, but its hyper-realism not only connected with viewers--ER, always at Thursdays at 10, is the longest-running drama to ever air in the same timeslot--but ushered in a whole new type of programming. Dramas today are gritty and hard-hitting, and even when lighthearted deal less with overall soapy elements than they did in the past.

ER was the first show to bring actual medical students and doctors on as writers and consultants, something that is de riguer now from House to SVU. Michael Crichton himself was a doctor before creating the show, and even his choice of camera styles was revolutionary. The steady cam caught all of the action, from the nursing assistants to the spouses, a technique that was later identified with the walks-and-talks of The West Wing.

For those of us who didn't watch ER, the show was also known by its incredible promos--turning plot twist into an art form, with helicopters, death, near-death, car accidents, and all manner of spoilerific fun.

ER started in 1994, the same year as Friends. It is one of the last, if not the last, true dramatic blockblusters on television, and one without a spinoff or attached steries. That alone makes it unique.

Television is not dying, but the conception of big hits is. ER was big and bombastic, and it will go out with a well-deserved bang.