Archive for the ‘House’ Category

TOP TV SHOWS OF 2009

December 25, 2009

While I see a lot of movies thanks to my job covering movie junkets for the Interview Factory, the truth is I enjoy the TV shows I watch more than all but just  two or three of the movie I see each year. Here’s what I loved in 2009 (and you’ll notice I loved so many shows, I made the list a Top Twelve):

12. “PSYCH” – I just started watching this show in the last year. It has a lot of things going for it, with the fast talking chemistry between stars James Roday and Dule Hill first and foremost. I first got hooked thanks to a terrific tribute to slasher movies, and have since been impressed by some of the mystery plots, which are actually a challenge to solve.

11.  “CRIMINAL MINDS” – I stopped watching this show early on during the first season and only recently tried it again… if by try, you mean watching it non-stop thanks to the omnipresent re-runs on Ion and A&E. The show is the television equivalent of the thriller books I read, and does a good job of coming up with varied plots week after week. This is the kind of show where the actors could easily get bored and you have to admire the way they bring their A game every epiosde. And one more thing: producer Edward Allen Bernero is the Joss Whedon of serial killer thrillers. Whenever he writes and directs an episode, the show is at it’s best.

10.  “AMERICAN DAD” – As much as I love “Family Guy,” “American Dad” pays more attention to each week’s plots, making the show more reliably funny. The fact that I can actually remember the plots (including a hilarious satire of “Apocalypse Now” set at a golf course recreation of Vietnam) proves it.

9.  “FRINGE” – Here’s a show that’s really improved in it’s second season, thanks to making Joshua Jackson’s Peter a full partner to Anna Torv’s Olivia. With John Noble’s Walter Bishop the most enjoyable to watch eccentric genius on TV and a new focus on the show’s mythology driving the action, “Fringe” should keep rising up this list in the years to come.

8.  “HOUSE” – While some critics and viewers haven’t enjoyed the revolving door changes of House’s staff, I haven’t minded it, as it gives House a different cast each week to bounce ideas off of and bother. Add in more time for fave characters Wilson and Cuddy and the continued great writing of House’s quips and you’ve got a show that continues to be a lot of fun every week.

7.  “MONK” – In recent seasons, the mysteries may have gotten easier to solve, but the writers continued to find interesting situations that forced Monk to battle his phobias. But this is on the list for the perfect way “Monk” ended, giving closure to one of the most likable casts on TV. Seeing Adrian wear something different  in the final scene warmed my heart.

6.  “CSI” – Thursday night at 9 is TV’s biggest battleground. I watch three shows at that time, so I’m glad that “CSI” is on Hulu. Yes, I miss Gil Grissom as much as the next fan, but every week the show serves up an intriguing mystery with great production values.

5.  “AMERICAN IDOL” – This year’s exciting duel between Kris Allen and Adam Lambert made “Idol” more exciting than ever, but the real surprise was Paula Abdul’s final year as a judge had her making the most sense on the panel.

4.  “24” – “24” tried a new format this year. Rather than trying to string a threat along through too many episodes, the show became almost a series of mini-movies (my favorite: “Die Hard” in the White House). “24” also seemed to have fewer stupid plot points with even the White House intrigue and the coming of Kim Bauer adding to the fun.

3.  “BURN NOTICE” – While this is one of USA’s top rated show, I often run into people that have never heard of it, and that’s a shame. “Burn Notice” has a retro feel in that it mixes the plotting of “Mission Impossible” with the likable cast and tropical feel of “Magnum P.I.” Just pure fun…

2.  “SUPERNATURAL” – Here’s my nominee for most improved show. While it’s always mixed exciting horror movie type plots with outstanding comedic episodes, the past two seasons have seen the show raising it’s game with the rising of Lucifer and subsequent battle against the devil. And in the midst of all the end of the world seriousness, they haven’t stinted on the comedy with recent episodes showing the Winchester brothers visiting a “Supernatural” fan convention and surviving being trapped inside various hellish TV shows.

1.  “LOST” – Not just my favorite show of the year, but perhaps my favorite show of all time (oh “X-Files,” what could have been!). I probably spend more time reading about “Lost” on the internet than I spend watching other shows! Let’s just see if they can stick the landing this coming year.

I’ll admit the fifth season brought us some illogical plot turns like why Juliet, Sawyer and Kate got off the sub or the method the 815’ers used to get back to the island, but it also brought us the usual great acting from Terry O’Quinn, Michael Emerson and company, interesting time travel conundrums and yes, answers! But while I think I finally have a handle on what’s been going on these past five seasons, I don’t think the surprises are over yet. Bring it on, Darlton!

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WHEN IS A HOUSE A HOLMES?

September 30, 2008

I was there when the Fonz first put on a leather jacket, when Scully met Mulder and when Oceanic Flight 815 crashed. But I wasn’t there when Dr. House first wrote a list of symptoms on a blackboard…

You see, medical shows have never been a favorite of mine. I never watched “St. Elsewhere,” “ER” or “Grey’s Anatomy.” Who wants to watch the sad struggles of sick people? In fact, the only medical show I was ever a fan of was “Chicago Hope,” thanks to the bravura acting of Mandy Patinkin, plus the fact they often spent more time in a courtroom than in the hospital, as befits a David E. Kelley produced show.

But I have a friend that works as a script coordinator on television shows here in L.A. His name is Dustin Paddock and he used to work on another of my longtime favorite shows, “Monk,” before landing a job on the pilot of “House, M.D.” I missed a good part of the first season due to my predjudice against hospital shows, but Dustin kept pushing me to give it a chance, saying it was more like a detective show than your typical medical drama and that Dr. House solved mysteries a la Sherlock Holmes. So I took Dusty’s advice, watched an episode and loved it! I enjoyed the cantankerous title character (whose dialogue has only become funnier every season) and the constant reversals the team faced on the way to solving each week’s medical mystery.

In fact, my only problem with the show was that unlike a murder mystery where you can play along and try to guess the identity of the killer, only real medical professionals could hope to keep up with Dr. House’s diagnoses… although after watching a season or two,  I realized the medical terminology was sinking in and I could guess sarcoidosis or lupus as easily as Cameron, Foreman or Chase!

Dustin still works on “House,” and if you watch the show tonight, you’ll notice he’s gotten a one week only promotion. Not only will you see his name in the end credits as script coordinator, you’ll also see it in the opening credits because he co-wrote the episode!

I’ve read a few things Dustin wrote over the years while trying to get noticed as a writer. I remember early on, he wrote a movie spec script featuring a very dislikeable protagonist. I cautioned him that no one would ever buy a script featuring a hero like that, and no one ever did. I would have never guessed that Dustin’s big break as a writer would come writing about, yes, a dislikeable hero…

The episode is titled “Adverse Events,” and for Dustin Paddock, it’s anything but. Check it out tonight on Fox!