Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Appointment Television

I taped Journeyman and Heroes on NBC last night, but haven't had the opportunity to watch either program yet. I'm looking forward to both. (And yes, I'm even trying my darndest to stay objective about the new Bionic Woman...)

This Sunday, September 30th, brings the return of two of two additional dramas - and two of the best series on television - both airing on Showtime. I'm talking about Dexter, the compelling story of a serial killer with a "code" of conduct, and Brotherhood, a tale of siblings in Rhode Island, one a crook, one a politician.

On Dexter, (which I reviewed here on the blog), I wrote: "Fascinating and boasting a distinct point of view, Dexter is already appointment television. It's an inventive series, splendidly acted and written, but what I like about it most so far is the high quotient of black humor." After watching the first season again (available on DVD), I stand by those words but will go further: Dexter is the best series on television. The performances are superb and multi-faceted, the stories are involving and ingenious, and the series takes the moribund police procedural format in a welcome and new direction. It's a mystery to me why this effort didn't get nominated for more Emmy Awards. There's a groundswell, though: virtually everyone I know I has this series in their Netflix queue. If you haven't checked it out (especially if you're a genre fan), then this is a good time to catch up. You won't be disappointed.

On Brotherhood, I said the following in TV Year: "Sexy, gritty and never less-than-compelling, Brotherhood thrives as a terrific summer series, one that clearly understands the basic conceits behind politics and crime. Both "professions" are all about making compromises and being compromised." This show has been M.I.A. for far too long (it aired back in the Summer of '06) and the first season is also available on DVD. I hope the long hiatus hasn't hurt Brotherhood's chances of catching on, because I found it to be of a stature equal to HBO's The Sopranos.

Now, if Showtime would just do one more thing for me this season: buy the rights to make Veronica Mars' fourth season. One can dream, right? Anyway, even without VM in the mix, September 30th promises to be a very good night for TV.


  1. Anonymous3:25 PM

    I have never seen Dexter but I will tell you what I think is the best show on TV. No show on TV even comes close to touching The Shield. It is, without question, the best acted, best directed, best written show currently in production. If you ever get around to watching it, bear in mind the first season has a lot of stand alone episodes. But, once season two hits and the show gets rolling, it will grab you by the balls and not let go. There are many moments in that show where I was left with my jaw on the floor. It is simply amazing.

    Chris Johnson

  2. Chris:

    I love The Shield. Awesome show. It gives me an ulcer every week. And I'm not joking...:)

  3. Anonymous9:59 AM

    You just went up several notches in my book John! How did you react when Shane killed Lem? I don't think I have ever really "felt" soemthing like that from watching a TV show before. Holy crap! Even though he is a total POS, Shane is my favorite character on the show. I recently re-watched the entire show start to finish. Lem's death colors how you see everything that happens before it now. I also find myself sympathizing with Acaveda more and more. Dude, we should talk some Shield next time you come to town.

    Chris Johnson

  4. I've watched the last three seasons of The Shield and I love it. I had to cover it for my TV Year book, and that's how I found it. I truly think The Shield has been the model for a lot of TV recently (particularly Damages on FX). It is absolutely hard-core, cutthroat (and compelling) stuff that could not have been done on TV even five years ago. The Shield is evidence to me (like Dexter, Brotherhood, The Tudors, Damages, Mad Men, etc.) that cable television is not just the place to be on TV; but often better than a night out at the movies.