Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Rest of the Week

I blogged a bit about Monday night TV. What else am I watching?

A lot of reality TV, it seems. Still doing Survivor on Thursdays, of course, mainly just because it's a family thing. I had lost all interest in Survivor at one point, but the last couple of seasons have been really good. Interestingly, because they're in China this season and not on a tropical island overgrown with coconuts, they've regressed a bit and given the contestants a big bag of rice to start out with.

Beauty and the Geek is in its third season, and I'm quite enjoying that. This year they decided to play with the formula, though. They've reversed the sexes on one team, with a male 'Beauty' and a female 'Geek.' When the host introduced them at the end of episode one, the guy, obviously a male model, struts up and casually tosses off a Blue Steel.

I really like the show, because although it starts out reinforcing stereotypes, as the weeks progress you begin to see the humanity behind the poses. It's very hard to both make fun of someone and let you feel empathy for them, but this show manages it.

My favorite new reality show is Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. I wasn't initially interested in this, because I'd never seen Hell's Kitchen, and Gordon Ramsay just seemed to be a dick. But in Kitchen Nightmares, he goes to failing restaurants and tries to help them figure out what they're doing wrong and how to fix it. It's a fascinating show. In fact, I like it so much, I've also started watching the original BBC version on BBC America.

I think I like the British version better. The American version, obviously influenced by shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, has a bigger budget and lets Ramsay come in and give the restaurateurs a bunch of free stuff. Need a new kitchen? Here. Need some remodeling done? Here you go. In the British version, Ramsay has to be more creative in th ways he helps the folks out of their jams, because he can't just buy solutions to their problems.

I also watched the pilots of Reaper and Bionic Woman. Reaper was more entertaining, but seemed like it would have worked better as a movie; I don't see where this show could go to get more interesting. Bionic Woman was not as good as I'd hoped it would be. Obviously, the 70's version wouldn't fly now--in a country where a sizable percentage of the population questions the official version of 9/11, and a smaller but still sizable percentage actually thinks the government was behind it, a show with a character who works for a heroic government agency probably wouldn't fly. So we get Bionic Woman and Chuck, shows where ordinary people are trapped into working for shadowy, perhaps evil, agencies against their will.

I have completely blown off Prison Break, and totally forgot about Smallville, a show I was also getting a little tired of. I'll see if they have the season opener online, though, and give it a shot. It might be worth one more season.

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