» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

January 7, 2005
TIM SMITH // Mid-Season Television Report or My First Year without Whedon.

January. For most people the first month of the new year, but not for T.V. No, T.V. does it from June to May. Which almost puts January in the middle. That's why they call this time of year the mid-season, you see. It's that special point in a T.V. season's life when some of them get cancelled and replaced with 'Mid-season' replacement shows. You get it? Well, I don't know any other way to explain it really, and I'm not going to waste any more time trying to think of one... Starting now.

Moving on, like some kind of forward-moving object, except I've found a way to defy physics thus eliminating that pesky friction. I'm kind of like space, except I'm totally grounded, baby. At least grounded enough to write more than seven short reviews (Alphabetized, like the library!) of current 'television programs', as the gravity-obeying old-folks would say. Enough rambling: On with the reviews! In just another second, first of all however, I would like to turn your attention to... never mind, it can probably wait. Or can it?? Yes, it can.


Arrested Development
FOX- Sunday 8:30
The critically acclaimed and Emmy award winning, but ratings challenged, series' 2nd season is every bit as uproarious as it's first after a quick recovery from a slow start. Everything seems to be working for it, from Tobias (David Cross) as a stand in for the Blue Man Group to oblivious magician, and new Bluth company President, Gob's (Will Arnet) "Final Countdown" ring tone. It even manages to get laughs using their non-annoying child actors. As it stands, this is the best show on television.
Rating: 9.5

Desperate Housewives
ABC- Sunday 9:00 P.M.
Ah, so the 'family network' has finally resorted to airing soft-core porn to help reclaim its place as America's second-most-watched network. But I kid, wait, no I don't. In any case the show is mildly addictive and insanely popular and features a 'sexy', and occasionally half-naked, cast. Although the suicide mystery is strangely reminiscent of another popular, all be it superior, show called Twin Peaks. And we all know how that ends.
Rating: 7.0

Drawn Together
Comedy Central- Wednesday 10:30
This show just might be the single worst thing to ever grace the small screen. What is supposedly a parody of MTV's The Real World essentially boils down to reimbursed stereotypes that are probably more offensive than comical. Of course the creators would say that they are meant to be commentary on the aforementioned state of reality television. In any case, this is the lowest form of lowbrow entertainment, while watching it I could feel my IQ and memory fading swiftly, I even forgot who Nikola Tesla was. And I love that guy (much more significant than overrated Thomas Edison). This show sullies the good name of the number 0.
Rating: 0.0

Gilmore Girls
The WB- Tuesdays 8:00
I don't care what my friends think, I like Gilmore Girls. And It's not just because one of them implicated that second tier animated program Family Guy was overall a better series than The Simpsons. No, I like Gilmore Girls because it has an eclectic mix of quirky, likeable characters such as night-terror plagued Kirk (Sean Gunn) and the refreshing mother-daughter relationship between Lorelei (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel). Not to mention the clever writing and the occasional appearance of a Pulitzer Prize winning author.
Rating: 7.5

NBC- Thursday 8:00
The highly suspect spin-off Joey started surprisingly potent, providing moments of stronger comedy than the last few seasons Friends. Now however, it seems to have burnt itself out as it continually spirals downward into the firm grasp of mediocrity. It also failed to be the mega-hit that NBC had hoped for, though it still manages to deliver solid ratings, and overall, Joey is still better than what I expected.
Rating: 6.5

ABC- Wednesday 8:00
From the mind of Alias creator J.J. Abrams comes Lost, a new series centering around survivors of a plane crash as they try to make sense of the mysterious island they're trapped on. Superb writing and a great ensemble cast help to make Lost the best Drama on network T.V. Although I can't see myself sticking around for another season...
Rating: 8.5

The O.C.
FOX- Thursdays 8:00
Damn, Thursdays are bloated! So their must be some casualties with all of the ratings heavyweights dueling for viewership, and for me that casualty is The O.C. It has its strong points- I love Sandy (Peter Gallagher) and Seth Cohen (Adam Brody)- but their inherent charms are horribly offset by the utter lack of talent that Mischa Barton carries with her in every scene she's in. Why not kill her off in a surfing accident? Suicide would be equally intriguing and joyous.
Rating: 6.0

Peep Show
BBC America- Thursday 9:30
A fantastic British Sitcom about two roommates living the life in London. The series has a dry wit with a heart as black as coal, and if you don't laugh at Jeremy's techno song, there is something seriously wrong with you. Watch it now before the mean people at FOX butcher it with a U.S. adaptation.
Rating: 8.0

NBC- Tuesdays 9:00 P.M.
For a long time, Scrubs had the unique distinction of being the finest live action American sitcom on T.V., what with Friends and Frasier in a steady decline and dear departed Futurama being a cartoon. Then Arrested Development came along. Now it's merely the second-best American sitcom. But with such superb guest stars (Matthew Perry and real life, and show, father John Bennet: Awesome), sharp writing and a cast that never misses a beat, second place doesn't seem so bad.
Rating: 8.5

The Simpsons
FOX- Sunday 8:00 P.M.
The venerable series continues with its 16th season which, so far, is traveling more smoothly than it's 15th. Of course it could be said that show's creative sun is setting, which is probably true, but after 16 mostly brilliant years on the air a slight slippage in quality is expected. Overall though it's still, and this is the important part, funny.
Rating: 7.5

South Park
Comedy Central- Wednesday 10:00 P.M.
Am I the only person on the planet who thinks Trey Parker and Matt Stone should have stopped the show after the last uneven season? Aside from the Christmas episode ("Blood Orgy!") South Park has yet to make me laugh, at all. Not even smirk. Mostly I just scoff, clap my hands ironically, and roll my eyes in disgust. But that's seemingly the reaction they were expecting. I'm hoping that this was all some sort of cruel joke, but I'm known to be optimistic when it comes to things I once liked. In other words, beating your self in the head with a baseball is almost as entertaining.
Rating: 2.5

That 70's Show
FOX- Wednesday 8:00 P.M.
Speaking of shows past their prime, cast your attention to the 7th season of That 70's Show. Formerly an enjoyable nostalgia type show (of course never having lived in the 70's I have nothing to be nostalgic for), it is now merely a humorless mess. Though to it's credit, I don't feel the warm hand of shame while watching it meaning that it isn't truly bad, yet. Of course it airs against Lost, and that's not a good thing. Without Topher Grace, this show would be utterly abysmal.
Rating: 5.0

Veronica Mars
UPN- Tuesdays 9:00 P.M.
Veronica Mars has well-written dialogue, a likeable cast and an overall feeling of freshness. But while watching this show about a teenage sleuth, I constantly have the urge to shout "Kill a freakin' vampire already!" Could be because of all of the favorable comparisons the show has garnered to my all-time favorite drama Buffy the Vampire Slayer or maybe because most of the cases Veronica (the admittedly delightful Kristen Bell) solves are pretty lame. It does have redeeming qualities however, but sending it up against Scrubs is pure evil. And the main plot of Veronica finding her best friends murderer, a mystery said to be resolved at seasons end, once again (what is it with death mystery this year?), has Twin Peaks syndrome written all over it.
Rating: 7.0


So that's modern television, all conveniently laid out for you. Now, go my children and watch. And if you would like more information on defying physics... Actually I've been sworn to secrecy. Damn Society of Anti-Physics Free Masons. I've said too much.

Now time to get serious, seriously: I would like to pay my respects to the great Jerry Orbach whose role as Lennie Briscoe on the acclaimed Law & Order has left an unmistakable mark on television. He will be missed.

SEE ALSO: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Orbach

Tim Smith
LAS' resident television expert.

See other articles by Tim Smith.



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