I'm a sucker for TV, I admit it. But it doesn't hurt that there are some very fine shows on the old boob tube. Six Feet Under, for example, is perhaps the finest drama out there, period. And The West Wing, while preachy, is also consistently engaging, fun, and interesting.
The first few seasons of The Sopranos were also some high quality drama. The third season (and the first episode of the fourth season) felt less compelling, although I was hard pressed to articulate why. After all, the acting, the directing, and the writing are all still up to the high standards that they were before. Having just watched the fourth season premiere, however (and having just watched over a season of Six Feet Under), I think I now do know why. I think what I found compelling in the first few seasons was the relationship between Tony and his mother -- two very human monsters. And I think now I'm getting tired of watching the bleakly dark side of humanity that the show portrays. Six Feet Under is a show that is just as well produced, but is altogether more accessible.
I will also take this opportunity to cheer for the promising series opener of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which may well be getting back in touch with what made the first three seasons so incredible. We recently finished watching the first four seasons over again (a combination of DVDs and the daily rebroadcasts on FX -- thank Murphy for Tivo), and I was struck again by how witty, fast, and fun this show is -- and how much I'd missed that recently. Which is not to say that Season Six was a complete loss; it did, after all, house the musical episode, and it had a hell of a finish. But it didn't have a lot of forward motion otherwise.
Finally, I'm enjoying what I've seen so far of Whedon's new TV venture, Firefly. The cast hasn't completely won my heart over yet, but I feel confident that they will, given time. The show seems smartly written, and enjoyable for reasons that are additional to it being a science fiction (cough western cough) show, not simply because of it. And I've been looking forward to something like that for a long time.
(And hopefully we'll watch the Angel season premiere tonight; loved last season's cliffhanger, can't wait to see where it's going now.) 10:37:11 PM ()