Lou Pickney's Online Commentary
October 14, 2004
"I like songs about drifters, books about the same
They both seem to make me feel a little less insane"
-Modest Mouse "The World At Large"
Finally, finally, there's a drama on ABC that I really like that is also doing very well in the ratings. Lost, the expensive-to-produce but incredibly strong show, has finished #1 every week so far, even finishing in the overall Top 10 last week. For ABC, Lost and Desperate Housewives have been saviors after years of sinking ratings. The irony is that both shows were developed by the previous regime which was fired for, guess what, ratings reasons. But believe me when I tell you that Lost is a tremendous show. The character development on there is just fantastic, with bits and pieces revealed about characters and their pasts which helps to advance and explain storylines and actions.
Meanwhile, thanks to the miracle of my DVR, I've been able to watch the first two episodes of Life As We Know It. It runs head-to-head with The Apprentice and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which is a tough combo to face, but it's a very good show in my estimation. And I went in not wanting to like it for three reasons. First, I hate getting attached to shows on ABC, which invariably will kill them off before giving them a chance to grow and reach their full potential. Second, Kelly Osbourne is on the show, and I normally would pull for any project of hers to fail. And third, the title seems to be taken from the absolute classic My So-Called Life, which was also an ABC drama about high school life (though it was great in a much, much different way). And, of course, it was cancelled after one season. Goddamn ABC.
But what do you know, Life As We Know It is actually a really enjoyable show to watch. It has the depth that shows of a similar ilk that you'd find on the WB or UPN typically lack. It definitely skews toward the male perspective, but in a way it seems to capture the high school male psyche in a way that I don't think any other show has managed to do. And the music used is fantastic. The song by Modest Mouse quoted at the top was used at the end of this week's episode. They can't afford to buy the rights to the top hit songs, but in a way that makes it better, since the challenge becomes finding the right songs to fit the situation (which thus far have been spot-on fits).
Now with all that said, the Boston Globe says that the show is "doomed" due to its timeslot. It drew a 1.8/4 in its debut, which to you means 4.3 million viewers. That might sound good... until you consider that CSI scored 28.4 million viewers and The Apprentice brought in 16.2 million. Ouch.
One TV development that I'm not happy with is how ABC pre-empted The Benefactor last week for a 20/20 special on the death of Christopher Reeve, and this upcoming week it will be pre-empted locally in Tampa for pre-game coverage of the Bucs game on Monday night football. Lovely. That's how you kill a show's ratings cold.
I finally got around to watching Jackass: The Movie (which I DVRed off of Cinemax this past weekend). I found it amusing, with a few disgusting parts, but overall it was worth seeing. I couldn't fathom why anyone would buy it on DVD. "I just have to see Johnny Knoxville shoot bottle rockets out of his ass for the 15th time!" The air horn at the golf course may have been my favorite... what a great rib.
The Cardinals beat the Astros tonight to take a 2-0 lead in the NLCS. I'd like to see a Cards/Yankees World Series. I like both teams, and while obviously I want the Yankees to win, if they had to lose I wouldn't mind it being to the Cardinals (who haven't won it all since 1982). St. Louis is a great baseball city. Of course it would make me mad in a way, since I picked the Yankees over the Cardinals in my work baseball pick-em pool, but since I missed on the Boston and Houston series picks I've already been eliminated from the competition. So it goes...