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Cable Television Rundown, October: Dramas, Laff Factories, and Baseball

NOTE: Be sure to check out great posts from Saturday and Sunday by Nicole and new blogger writer, OHD!

We're already into October, and my DVR is filling up faster than a Sarah Palin wink! Yes, the Fall season is in full swing, with all of my faves having started. How do I keep up with all that TV watching, you ask? One show at a time. It also helps to block Sunday evenings off for shows. This past September has brought many a new Sunday television show to our viewing box, and also brought us many a other show on other nights, too. It gets exhausting, though, especially when the "real life" activities push the TV / blogging activities to the late hours of the day. So, the easiest way to judge how good a show is for me is how easily I stay awake while watching. Yes. like my scale of judging movies (i.e. how many minutes do I sleep away in the movie theaters? Ex. Flash of Genius which we watched last night was pretty snoozetastic -- I slept through approximately 30 minutes of it. Somehow, though, I really didn't miss anything, but that's for another blog post), I will rate new / returning Cable TV on the basis of sleep.

*Mild spoilers ahead*

Dexter Season Three
The new season premiered the previous Sunday, and last night's episode brought us a little deeper into the new season. While the supposedly shocking episode one twist was a page torn out of a soap opera (Rita's pregnant! With Dexter's baby! Shocker? Um, no.), this is undeniably the most "watchable" show of the Fall season. Adding Jimmy Smits to the cast is a yet-to-be-determined addition, and it will be hard for the new season to top the over-the-top awesomeness of season two, but the entire vibe of the show, from Michael C. Hall's absorbing performance, to the understated, creepy score that rivals Twin Peaks' magnificent music, is more than enough to keep this show in the top of my heart. Sleep rating: No sleeping whatsoever, watch it live (not on DVR), and invite other Dexter-loving people over for theme dinners.

True Blood Season Two
I'm not gonna sugarcoat this -- I feel extremely conflicted about this show. Now five eps deep into the first season, I can't tell if this show is going to get "genuinely" good or if it will stay in this weird watch-this-out-of-obligation limbo. On the plus side, episode four started to give a few answers to what seemed like totally unbelievable questions ("Why is Tara totally in love with Sookie's brother Jason, who's the biggest tool this side of Dane Cook?" "Oh, cuz when she was a kid, he helped her from her drunk mom, okay. Alright. Snooze...") And, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer's Sookie Stackhouse and Vampire Bill Compton are generally interesting characters and good actors (despite Anna Paquin's totally distracting gap tooth! Please fix it, Anna!) But, the tone needs to be more consistent before I start telling everyone I know to start watching this show. Until that happens... Sleep rating: Brigitte and I turn it on at 10:30 as a "I'd rather stay awake longer to put off the inevitable work week and watch this than go to bed right now" type of show, fall asleep within 20 minutes, wake up to see Jason Stackhouse trying to cure his vampire-blood-induced erection, then re-watch it another evening later in the week.

Mad Men Season Two
Crap! What am I gonna do when this season ends near the end of October? After last night's ep, we only have three more before this season tragically ends. The promise that season one built has slowly, gradually grown to something even more tragi-beautiful in season two. Most intriguingly, the sexual office politics (and I'm only partially talking about gettin' laid, early '60s style) has given the ladies of Sterling Cooper even more depth of character. As Brigitte aptly pointed out, the three ladies who are most focused upon embody the three ways a woman could get ahead in society in the '60s (and today? Eh?) -- by being a Peggy -- hard-working and asexual, being a Joan -- sexy and disrespected, or being a Betty -- perfect hostess and emotionally shut down by those around her. And we STILL haven't really gotten too deep into Don Draper. Stephen King, in his Entertainment Weekly column, obviously isn't seeing the same show as I'm seeing. Sleep rating: Super excited to watch it at 9:30 via DVR on Sunday, drift off to sleep a little near the end of the episode because I'm tired, but then have Brigitte fill me in, rewind it, and re-watch those scenes that I slept through.

Laff Factory! It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Life & Times of Tim, Little Britain USA, Californication and The Soup
Throughout the week, many funny shows air, too, which I try to get through as well, with varying levels of success. Sunny is probably the best sitcom of this group, with its inspired wackiness and madcap pace as probably the best sitcom on this side of 30 Rock, like the twisted, bizarro version of Friends. Tim, the new animated HBO awkward-situations comedy, has some laugh-out-loud moments but needs to show some more consistency in the next few weeks before I deem it to be "the best new comedy on HBO other than Flight of the Conchords". Britain is also LOL-funny in spurts, but leaves me feeling about 50 steps dumber than I was before I watched it. Californication just makes me feel a little dirty but it is eminently more tolerable than the new season of Entourage which is, despite some funny performances, flat-out unwatchable for more than five minutes at a time. Thank goodness, then, for Fridays, when Joel McHale and The Soup help us restore some of the sanity we all lost by watching crap all week. Sleep rating: Watch these in bed on weekends while barely awake on Sunday mornings, then get up and make some breakfast burritos and hot chocolate. Yummy!

October Baseball on TBS
Somehow, having all the first-round playoff games on one channel is comforting, similar to the feeling I get when CBS carries all of the NCAA Mens' Basketball games on one channel. The thing is, baseball is beautiful, majestic, tense, dramatic, funny, and dark all at once. (In other words, it's just like watching Mad Men!) The only downside to having it all on TBS is the incessant Frank TV commercials. Still, incessant pimping of Frank TV is better than the non-stop self-generating hype machine that is ESPN. By the way, I feel for you, Brewers' fans who read this blog. Next year, we will surely see the epic Twins vs. Brewers World Series that we've all dreamed about. Sleep rating: Nice to fall asleep to after just barely making it through another engrossing DVR'd episode of Deadwood.

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  1. Blogger Brigitte | 1:22 PM |  

    i ALWAYS fall asleep during True Blood...even if i wasn't all that tired when the episode started. Not sure why that is, cause i wouldn't say that it's a particularly boring show. maybe the vampires are hypnotizing me.

    also, i'm totally getting into It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. laff factory, indeed! though, on some later viewings, i have fallen asleep to that one.

  2. Blogger Adam | 2:15 PM |  

    Hurray for post-season baseball! I'm pretty disappointed to see the Brew Crew eliminated so quickly. I'm always rooting for them so long as they're not playing the Twins. Only one game away from witnessing the demise of the White Sox season!

  3. Blogger Adam | 2:19 PM |  

    FrankTV looks like it may be one of the most horrible "comedy" sketch shows since Blue Collar TV

  4. Blogger DoktorPeace | 2:31 PM |  

    My dad f'ing loves FrankTV. Then again, he also wrote to Letterman a few years ago asking them to have an "Impersonator's Week." Some people just want to see people pretending to be other people. All the better if they're *snicker* politicians.

    Frank's from Waukesha, didja know? He probably reads the blogulator, so I'll quiet myself now.

  5. Blogger DoktorPeace | 2:34 PM |  

    Also, sans the exponentially hotter sex scenes (a big draw for people of my ilk), I'm pretty much over Dexter. Not that I was ever truly on board, but yeah. This pregnancy can only make things more melodramatic and, consequently, worse.

    Watch out for the Orioles! They may just sneak their way into the World Series... Section 402...

  6. Blogger chris | 3:25 PM |  

    Do you have a link to that Stephen King article? Does he bash Mad Men? I know he's a proponent of Breaking Bad...

    Hooray for the Doktor standing up for us anti-Dexter peeps! Jimmy Smits, really?

    I'll be covering Weeds, Sons of Anarchy, and Fringe soon...

  7. Blogger Lady Amy | 3:28 PM |  

    Y'all are crazy. Dexter's awesome!

  8. Blogger qualler | 3:32 PM |  

    Whoops, link is in there now -- he doesn't really say much other than reducing MM to a soap with kitchy nostalgia factor involved, and does reinforce his love for Breaking Bad. Then again, he is the guy who wrote himself into his Dark Tower series, so I will give myself the benefit of the doubt here. (Oh slamma jamma, Stephen King! I still love ya.)

    What's with the unity for people bashing what other people like? Perhaps some are threatened by it? Doktor and Chris, you're gonna get killed by Dexter.

  9. Blogger DoktorPeace | 3:42 PM |  

    Don't you know, qualler: Dexter only kills killers. But maybe you missed that undertone, which is why you don't fully understand the show, which is why me and Chris do and we see it for who it really is, behind its mask and ours, just like Harry used to teach...

  10. Blogger chris | 5:43 PM |  

    That and you guys always unite and gang up on me for not liking it! WAH! I WANT MY BINKY!!!!

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