The Season So Far: Sunday
Now that November sweeps are over, I thought I'd look back at how the TV season has shaped up. First up: Sunday night.
I'm happy to say that The Amazing Race is back in top form. Most importantly, the casting has improved. I can't say that I love all of the teams, but there are no evil people, attention whores, or totally disfunctional couples, like we've had in recent seasons. But also, the challenges are so much better. Last season, there were so many needle-in-the-haystack challenges, which were so tedious and rewared luck rather than speed or intelligence. And I'm so glad that they changed the consequence for coming in last in a non-elimination leg -- no more begging!
On that note -- spoiler alert -- I was disappointed to see Dustin and Kandice go last night. I was rooting for them. It sucked that after they made up more than an hour on the other teams, there was a blatant equalizer in the middle of the leg. I don't see how anyone could have gotten ahead by half an hour with just one task remaining. Unfortunately, my two favorite remaining players -- James and Lyn -- are on different teams, so I have no clear rooting interest. As for Rob and Kimberly, they seem like they would be nice enough people in ordinary life, but as soon as they face any stress they just lose it. The tomato thing was classic. What exactly did Rob hope to accomplish by throwing tomatoes? And how did he know that the clue wasn't in one of the ones he threw?
I can't say enough good things about Dexter. I haven't seen last night's episode yet, but the last few weeks have been excellent. As you may recall, Dexter is a serial killer, whose foster father taught him to channel his homicidal urges by preying on other killers -- he calls this "the code of Harry." Dexter's nemesis/potential partner-in-crime, the Ice Truck Killer, is trying to free him of this limitation by undermining Dexter's faith in Harry. He started last week by killing Dexter's biological father, who Harry had told Dexter was long-dead, leading Dexter to discover that Harry had lied to him. Also, he's dating Dexter's sister, who brings him along to help Dexter pack up the bio dad's house. The montage of Dexter and the Ice Truck Killer packing with duct tape and rope -- the tools of their serial killer trade -- is a classic.
It was a one-off (well, technically, a two-off), but the finale of Prime Suspect was heartbreaking. Poor Jane Tennison. She has to come to terms with fact that she's an alcoholic, her dad dies, she alienates everyone in her life, she's about to retire and clearly doesn't know what to do without her job, and her colleague is shot and killed coming to her rescue. Talk about hitting rock bottom. Despite all of this, it doesn't feel like the show is punishing her for being successful, as is so often the case with female characters. Particularly poignant is the relationship between Tennison and Penny, the friend and neighbor of the murdered girl, in whom Tennison sees a lot of herself. The last half hour was just gut-wrenching, and it was sad to see Tennison walk out of the station, and out of our lives forever.
Why am I still watching Brothers and Sisters? I really don't know, because it's bad. It's sort of misleadingly bad, because the cast is great, and the acting is good, and the production values are excellent. But it's so preachy, and superficial, while thinking it's deep. I seriously need to stop TiVoing this show.
I have come to the conclusion that, as much as I love The Wire, I can't watch it as a regular TV show. It's just too intense. So I'm waiting for a long weekend, to finish watching season 3 on DVD and to watch season 4 on demand.