Tuesday, December 5, 2006

A Note on Television

The least agonizing post I could think to write for the day is a commentary on television. You'll have to forgive my lack of commentary on ISU politics and the ever put off movie review of Bobby.

Sunday night I was watching ABC's Brothers & Sisters. It was a re-run, but like all good shows I caught on late to the brilliance of the writing and just started watching (9 or so episodes in). While I was watching, I couldn't help but marvel at Sally Field. This woman is one of the greatest actresses around. She can play a stable mom just as effectively as she can play an unstable mom (i.e. Abby's mom on ER). Her range of emotions are present on the small screen always and she has remained true to herself, picking even small roles, and her talents.

The entire cast of Brothers & Sisters is stunning. Calista Flockhart returns as the highly conservative sister who has begun to question her own politics post-9/11. I watched Ally McBeal every now and then as it for awhile ran in front of The X-Files, but never really got into it and this had nothing to do with Calista. In addition to Sally and Calista as strong female roles, Rachael Griffith (of Six Feet Under fame) joins them as the stressed out executive, the sister who took over her father's business. The father was originally played by Tom Skerritt, a throwback to Steel Magnolias.

In addition to strong female roles, the brothers and uncle add a nice touch. The openly gay brother who at times presents the "holier than thou" attitude is a riot to watch. And Justin, oh Justin. If every show has to meet a quota of sex appeal here is where ABC struck it rich. His character is remarkable as well. After a recent return from Iraq, Justin is the messenger delivering the horrible news of his father's infidelity to his siblings. With a drug problem in tote, Justin is not free of baggage.

If you haven't watched a single episode of this great drama, I would recommend watching the upcoming episode (airs on the 10th of December). Rob Lowe is joing the cast!! I despised Rob Lowe for a very long time--that is until Sam Seaborn walked on the screen with the rest of the amazing ensemble cast of The West Wing. And the segway...

The writers of The West Wing never really left television. They transitioned beautifully into writing Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The original TWW writer, Aaron Sorkin, is back. Sorkin had disappeared for several seasons of TWW leaving a few of those seasons barely watchable. His wit, intelligence, and creativeness had been the greatest aspect of TWW. Now, with Thomas Schlamme, they have written a wonderful show with great characters. This, too, I didn't catch right away. I'm of the mindset that all spin-offs bomb, but I guess this isn't really a spin off. It's about two television producers and their executive (played by Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford, and Amanda Peet) trying to keep a studio afloat. NBS, the fictional National Broadcast System, is not without turmoil and each week a new facet of the turmoil comes to light.

It is not only smart and funny, it is dramatic with political undertones. And in addition to the already mentioned members of the cast, D.L. Hughey, Timothy Busfield, Steven Weber, and a multitude of others round out this fine cast.

Like Brothers & Sisters, Studio 60 is brilliant and well-cast. You can catch Brothers & Sisters on ABC Sunday nights and Studio 60 Monday nights on NBC.


Jessica said...

I would have to agree that Brothers and Sisters is a brilliant television show. I was impressed that they didn't dwell on the missing money from the company for too long and they moved on to other storylines.

I just now realized that Arrested Development is one of the greatest shows I have ever seen.

Diana Rowe Pauls said...

I also have been absorbed by the storyline on Brothers and Sisters. It has struck home with me in more ways than one... but the most glorious part is that even though the family members have differences (in values, choices, beliefs, etc.), they still have unconditional love for one another. I envy that...