Pithy TV Recommendations

Odd shows I've been enjoying lately:

Top Design, Top Chef, and I just started watching Workout. Bravo does a great job of making entertaining shows that are intentionally gay-friendly and, in some sense, propagandizingly so. Now that they have shows about cooking, interior decorating, personal training, hair styling, and runway modeling, are there any gay career clichés left unconvered?

X-Play on G4 rivals John Henson era Talk Soup and consistently has better political and social satire than the Daily show. For a taste of their style, check out their trailer for Passion of the Christ 2: Judgement Day:

Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel is really interesting too, combining exotic locations, food criticism, and well, bizarre foods.

This season's American Idol is disappointing compared to last, but I'm really looking forward to the offseason (the end of this month) for So You Think You Can Dance, which is in many ways a much more entertaining show than Idol.

BSG, Veronica Mars, and the Office remain as excellent as ever, as does Reno 911. Lost and 24 are definitely losing steam, if they haven't jumped the shark already.

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Another show which seriously

Another show which seriously jumped the shark this season was Law & Order: Criminal Intent since René Balcer stepped down. There was one fantastic ep - Maltese Cross - which unfortunately turned out to be a false dawn. I'm a bit worried by BSG. I haven't yet seen the final three episodes but I thought the Labor Union-themed "Dirty Hands" was pretty poor.

I'm a huge original series

I'm a huge original series Law & Order fan, but I couldn't stomach Criminal Intent past the first few episodes. I just can't stand Vincent Donofrio in that role, though I did like him in the movie Cell.

Fair enough: If you don't

Fair enough: If you don't like D'Onofrio you won't like CI. But for those of us who do and who enjoyed Balcer's stories, the new series is a huge disappointment

BSG seriously lost its way

BSG seriously lost its way in season 3. Still worth watching but its damaged goods now. I only care about Baltar, really, which shows how much the writers don't understand their own show. Though I disagree about Dirty Hands; it was actually pretty good UNTIL they had the Star Trek ending. That stuff should have gone on (a) at least another episode and (b) should be in the background of other episodes.

I suppose thats the biggest problem- not enough petty continuity and running storylines. Also the frakking tendency to put cut scenes in "previouslies", which is pretty Orwellian.

What irked me about "Dirty

What irked me about "Dirty Hands" were

a) Pandering to the Labor movement's flattering self-image and unthinking acceptance of standard-issue Marxist class analysis.

b) The notion of Baltar becoming some sort of Tom Zarek type figurehead in imprisonment when a) He was widely (if perhaps unfairly) loathed hitherto and b) The very reason he was widely loathed is that he was part of the elite he now denounces - the Vichy ruler of New Caprica. Plus that came-out-of-nowhere humble background complete with rural Yorkshire accent

Baltar's Aerelon origin was known prior

Actually, the fact that Baltar was from a farm on Aerelon was in the miniseries bible, and thus already known in fan circles, so I got a little 'squee!' out of that. Its just that it'd never been mentioned prior on-screen.

Of course the odd thing is that he mentioned way back in S1 that he caught a whiff of an Aerelon accent from Boomer, who of course has a pretty standard whitebread American accent. But I've long since given up on the writers respecting their own established body of work so eh.

Yeah, it did, but you know sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes union mythology holds, like say in the coal mining towns in Appalachia back in the 20s, 30s & 40s. If I were stuck in a company town in the mountains doing horrible work for negative pay, I'd be union, too. Given what the show told us of the circumstances, *and* what has been established in the series re: people just mindlessly doing what they were doing prior to the holocaust regardless of economic rationale (re: the gardener on Cloud 9 in S1) and people pretty much stuck on whatever ship they happened to be on prior to the holocaust, then yeah, you've got *just one* crew doing the refining and no meta incentive to try and spread those skills and knowledge out to the rest of the fleet.

So I bought it, but I didn't buy the neat bow-tied resolution, esp after Adama was going to go all Caine on the Chief's arse and start killing Helots workers until morale improved.

Command economy

I interpreted Dirty Hands as portraying a command economy. Maybe it portrays capitalism the way Marxists see it, but it seemed like a command economy. After all, the standoff is with the commander of the armed forces and the final negotiation is with the President. And a whole lot of other reasons, such as the utter physical immobility of labor, reminiscent of the darkest days of the Soviet Union, and the mid-show half solution by governmental edict (shifting the workers around). The permanent emergency situation (Cylons right behind them) seemed to be a pretty unexceptional basis for what looked in this episode like a war economy (command economy).

I thought the Tyrol as brave

I thought the Tyrol as brave Union leader on New caprica felt really grafted on - in this episode it felt even worse as there hadn't been any hint up until then that there was some sort of class divide.

BSG is also one of those series where I'm prepared to grant a good bit of leeway on suspension of disbelief. For example: it's utterly ridiculous that a community of 50,000 or so could support a whole USA proportioned White house press-room of journalists, what would be much more realistic would be some sort of "town hall" type meeting with ordinary schmoes present, but I guess they wanted to have something which felt a bit more presidential. Also, the internal Galactica economy doesn't really seem fleshed out at all - what currency do they use or is there barter, is comparative advantage working its magic? where does all the booze come from?I don't mind these suspensions-of-disbelief and unresolved questions up to a point, it just bothers me when something improbable moves from becoming a mere bit of background scenery, to a core plot point and I think you'd want something a lot more internally consistent and believable on the fleet's economy if you're going to rely on it to drive an episode's plot

"So I bought it, but I

"So I bought it, but I didn't buy the neat bow-tied resolution, esp after Adama was going to go all Caine on the Chief's arse and start killing Helots workers until morale improved."

Yeah because we all know nothing improves morale like a series of shootings!

The neat resolution was especially annoying in that you found the President, after all the hassle of the strike, encouraging Tyrol, Germany-style, to maintain the Union as if it were a natural part of a functioning society