Even the death rattle has a boppy J.J. Abrams score

A week or so ago in Salon Heather Havrilesky ripped TV a new one:

The golden age of television may be over just a few short years after it began. 2008 not only marked one of the worst years of TV in the last decade, but all of the momentum and promise of the past few years seemed to vanish in a haze of crappy, unoriginal new programming, lackluster sophomore shows, flaccid sitcoms and pointless cable comedies.

Deservedly so, too. Just months and years removed from the likes of The Wire, Six Feet Under and The Shield, we’re now faced with this harbinger of doom:

And has there ever been a more depressing sign of TV’s demise than the move by NBC to give Jay Leno, the epitome of a guy who’s flatly bad at his job but continues to be promoted for reasons utterly mysterious to mortal man, a whopping five hours of prime-time real estate, thereby saving themselves from the unpleasant work of finding worthwhile programming to fill their nightly 10 p.m. slot?

The Star also weighed in with a recap (less with the doomsday, more with the funny) of the past year’s horror show:

Herbie Hancock wins Album of the Year at the “Granny” Awards as music pundits slap their foreheads and check their calendars. Nope, it’s not 1983. Ratings plummet.

Cloris Leachman dresses like a rapper and asks, “What’s up, homeys?” in an old school hip-hop number on Dancing With the Stars. Viewers, horrified at the spectre of the 82-year-old Emmy winner in short shorts and rapper’s cap, vote her off the following week.

The concept of TV as art seems to be just about dead. Apart from the seven shows I actually care about — 30 Rock, Battlestar Galactica, The Daily Show, Friday Night Lights, Life, The Office and The Unit — I’m increasingly seeing the TV as nothing more than a sports & movie delivery device.

Just declare the 4 big American networks 24-hour reality TV channels and be done with it. HBO can buy Netflix and we’ll all be happy.

"Is Spongebob Squarepants supposed to be terrifying?"

While the rest of the world was watching the US election Tuesday night, Nellie and I couldn’t stop ourselves from watching The Shield. As great as the show has been, the recent winner of Salon’s “Buffy” award has stepped up its game again in recent episodes. Now in the final season, the show is well into endgame mode, and I can barely stand waiting for each new episode. Best drama on TV right now.

I only qualify that, of course, because 30 Rock is the best comedy on TV right now. Last week’s episode was funny; this week’s was funnier. Kenneth alone made me laugh out loud half a dozen times tonight.

Still with TV, True Blood has gotten better, or maybe I’ve just gotten used to it. The first couple of episodes I was only mildly interested, but I’m enjoying it now. Wish they’d let Rene talk more though.

Would that I could still eat smoked meat

It’s a very Montreal day: St. Urbain bagels for breakfast, the Canadiens game on TV tonight. Of course, that could be any Saturday, but it’s even better during the playoffs.


While I sit here and catch up on news and such from the past two days, I’ve been poking through my music inbox and seeing what’s what. I’m a little disappointed in the newest Black Keys disc Attack and Release. Part of what I loved about their previous albums was the lo-fi fuzzy blues; the new one is more advanced musically, but less interesting to me.The new R.E.M. isn’t great, but at least it has some crunch. I don’t mind it so far. (metacritic: black keys | r.e.m.)

Recently it’s stopped making sense to me that the album format even really exists anymore. Albums were really only a convenient format under which to release music; they were just groupings of singles before becoming ends unto themselves. Now that the album is no longer necessary, it’s only a matter of time before the increasing popularity of iTunes, etc. makes the album format irrelevant and we just consume individual songs, like we did 60 years ago.


We watched the season premiere of 30 Rock. Very funny. My love for Tina Fey (Girlfriend du jour!) is really getting quite alarming. It’s distressing, to be honest with you.

[tags]st-urbain bagels, montreal canadiens, black keys, r.e.m., itunes, 30 rock, tina fey[/tags]