Tuned In

TV Weekend: I'm Only One Man Edition

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Time for a housekeeping note. As my TV review this week notes, America’s programmers this month, the bastards, are debuting or returning too much good TV to the schedule. I feel a little like one of the patrons in the SNL Limits of the Imagination sketch about the “all-you-can eat” restaurant where the customers are force-fed. 


Tonight and Sunday, we have at least five series that could be candidates for a regular weekly Watch on Tuned In: Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, Big Love, Flight of the Conchords and, potentially, United States of Tara. Well, that just ain’t gonna happen. So here’s my plan for now: 

* For tonight’s Friday Night Lights, see the post I wrote back in October when it aired on DirecTV. I’ll post on tonight’s BSG—though it may not be immediately afterward—which I’ve watched a couple times now, but minus the final scene, which Sci Fi cut from the screener. Maybe it’ll be tonight, over the weekend or Monday. I make no promises. 

* Going forward, I’ll probably do a BSG Watch most if not all weeks, since it’s the end of the series. And I’ll do Big Love weekly, because I want to, and it doesn’t get as much obsessive blogging elsewhere. 

* FOTC can probably survive with more drive-by comments now and then; likewise Tara, though if I get drawn into the story more after the first few episodes I’ve seen, that could change. 

* FNL is tough. I watched most of the season 3 episodes via DirecTV screeners, but simply don’t know how much time I’ll have to go back and blog them. Much as I love the show, there are limits. We’ll see. 

* Where I don’t do a Watch on any of these particular shows, though, I’ll at least try to put up a weekly discussion post. (Which I should probably start doing for Damages as well.) 

Oh, and speaking of FOTC… my feature for TIME on the show was pushed back until next week’s issue for space reasons. (A reminder, if you haven’t seen it, that my video interview with Bret, Jemaine and James Bobin is still up.) But here’s what I think so far:

Of the three episodes I’ve seen, the first two are very good; the third is a bit off. They’re very good as sitcoms, that is: tightly written and funny. As others have said, the songs so far are weaker, probably a result of the accelerated writing schedule. The first song in the first episode features Murray singing operatically—once you get that one gag, there’s not much left to it. Of all the songs in the episodes, only one stuck in my head afterward: “Sugar Lumps,” from the second episode, a raunchy brag-rap about a certain part of the male anatomy. FOTC songs tend to get praised for the funny lines, but “Sugar Lumps” reminded me that their best songs work because they’re really good songs—well-written examples of the genre. “The Most Beautiful Girl (in the Room)” or “Business Time” are funny on the page, but they wouldn’t work so well if they weren’t also simply catchy. 

I’m hoping the songs improve in later episodes, but I also find—for better or worse—that the scripts are good enough that I wouldn’t mind fewer songs down the road.