Talking Television and Values.

Archive for February, 2007

Law and Order is Fair and Balanced

Posted by Travis R Grant on February 21, 2007

I am a Law and Order fan. I got a late start in the Law and Order series, I got started with the program sometime before the Criminal Intent series was broadcast, but after the Special Victims Unit started broadcasting.

I like the original better than either of the others. But I really like Detective Robert Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) in Criminal Intent. Sure he’s a little Monk (obsessive compulsive) in his nature, but he isn’t overwhelming like Monk is. His psychosis is probably something different, but I like it. It adds to his character.

I am generally bothered by Special Victims Unit. I watch it on occasion, but always with caution. I don’t disapprove of the general message it sends. The cops catch the bad guys, and the bad guys generally go to jail. That’s the way I want my entertainment to be. It is just that sometimes while watching SVU, I get too uncomfortable in the topic, and I just can’t watch any more.

Today’s episode of Criminal Intent had me nervous. And it seemed to go down hill as the show progressed.

Television often portrays religious people as nuts. And Law and Order has had it fair share of such nut case religious people. These portrayal don’t do religion justice. It is an unfair representation of some of the best organizations in America. This episode of Criminal Intenat was in part a contributer to this problem.

In this episode, it is discovered that a televangelist is into homosexual prostitution. And because of that, he is assumed for murder. I will be the first to admit that religious people aren’t free from sin. Even those who are actively involved in preaching religion fall short of everything they preach. However, this portrayal and other like it send a continued message that religion is the problem. The media continues to say that religious people are hypocrites.

However, I have to give this episode a fair and balanced label because they made the ultimate statement that the scientist (symbolic of the non-religious) wasn’t perfect either. The scientist had a secret of his own (his secret was perhaps more innocent), but he was willing to kill in order to hide his secret.

Also, this episode portrayed religion in a positive sense. Det. Goren wasn’t sold on the positive nature, but the show made it clear that religion does have value in our society.

In a surprise twist, we met Det. Goren’s brother in this episode. He is a recovering drug addict, who says that he recovered because of his faith. he was very grateful for what religion had done for him. He was still struggling in life, but he was making a change for the better.

They make this point even more firmly with a poignant statement about the help that religion provided Goren’s brother in only a way that a Dick Wolf creation can. Goren lack of hope for his brother is proven false. And we see that religion can help the down trodden.

There are other examples of Law and Order allusions to the good of religion. The one that comes to mind is the Catholic Sister who runs a shelter for rape victims in Special Victims Unit. And I think that this is perhaps the most balanced show available. However, it still has a taste of negativity toward religion.

Posted in Drama, Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Reality TV, Television | Leave a Comment »

Heroes Twists Are Disheartening

Posted by Travis R Grant on February 20, 2007

This was perhaps one of the more upsetting Heroes. Don’t get me wrong. It was very well done, and I loved the show. But I am not sure I like the direction some of the story lines are taking.

First, Claire “outing” her father and calling him to the table was great. She needs to stand up to him. I am still not convinced that Mr. Bennett is a bad guy. However, I am not convinced he is a good guy either. His “tracking” the genetically different is definitely not right. However, I think that Mr. Bennett is doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. We will see how it develops over time.

I am probably the most bothered by the development in Matt Parkman’s story. Matt is in my top three favorite characters (not because of his ability as much as because of who he is). Last week, Matt steals a bag of diamonds. This really bothered me. I hope that he turns them in eventually. This episode almost had Matt turn them in, but the story gets worse.

What bothers me the most is that Matt is hooking up with people who have a less than reputable nature. I am not saying that they are the bad guys, because after all, they are fighting Mr. Bennett. However, breaking into someone’s house isn’t my idea about doing the right thing.

I still hold hope that this will turn out for good. However, it makes me nervous. Perhaps, this will lead to Claire’s breaking away from her dad.

Another disturbing development is that Simone Devaraux died. I wasn’t a big fan of Simone, but I hate to think that she died out of jealousy and misunderstanding between Peter Petrelli and Isaac Mendez. Does this create a rift between Isaac and Peter? Or does it bring them together? My hope is that it brings them together.

One nice aspect about this part of the show is the Peter has finally learned to control his powers. I don’t think that he has prevented his exploding yet. However, he has become the most powerful Hero so far, and as a fan of Peter, I like that.

The last disheartening aspect of this episode was that Ando and Hiro separated. I am sure they will bring the two back together. I am sure that this is just to add some more drama, but I really don’t like seeing them separate. Ando will now need to work hard to prove himself to Hiro. Maybe now would be a good time for Ando to discover his powers (or maybe he already has, who stopped the bullet?).

Finally, Mohinder needs to wake up. He is so desperate to please his father that he hooked up with the evilest character of them all. About the only thing that could make this story line work is if Sylar killed Mohinder… Oh, did I say that. I meant to say that this leads to the death of Sylar.

This is still a great show. The twists are what makes it great. It’s the twists that keep me watching. I just like some twists more than others.

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The Amazing Race: Some Teams Never Change

Posted by Travis R Grant on February 19, 2007

I am tired of Rob and Amber. Yes, they won the first leg of the race. However, did they do anything different than anyone else? Perhaps, they were nicer (in one instance) than some of the other teams. But they didn’t do anything different.

I am not one to say that competition-based reality TV is fixed. Perhaps, it is just that I don’t want it to be. However, I am starting to wonder. Rob and Amber dominated the race the first time they competed, and it looks like they will again. Is this the work of a producer to try and boost his viewer ratings?

I guess I will just have to be happy in my loving to hate Rob and Amber. I guess I could also be consoled that it appears that I am not the only one. You will notice that you didn’t see any of the other teams making friends with Rob and Amber. Well, David and Mary tried, but it looked like Rob and Amber just snubbed them.

The problem with the lack of friendliness by the other players toward Rob and Amber is that it will just fuel their fire, and keep them in the race. They need a friend or two to through them off of their game. Keep it up Mary and David; your down home, good natured attitude may just be the ruin of Rob and Amber. And the best part is that you aren’t being nice just so you can win.

I am even more upset by my favorite team, Kevin and Drew. They came in second to last. I hope that they can pull it together. It seems that they aren’t as entertaining as they were in the first race. I don’t know if it’s because they aren’t doing as well, or if they have just matured since their fraternity days.

I am still cheering for them to win (with a close second by David and Mary). However, after watching today, I don’t hold out much hope.

Mary and David are continuing to play a good honorable race. It is wonderful to see the star struck nature with the other players. David and Mary are truly down to earth folks, whom America will continue to love. They too are shying away from alliances which may or may not be good. However, I think that they will earn some good will that will prove helpful later on.

It is still early, and I am going to hold of on any predictions. However, I can say that this competition is going to be fierce. The teams are all holding off from making alliances. That is smart. Alliances do not win this game. That is perhaps the only thing that Rob and Amber do right in this game.

The Amazing Race is won on street smarts, book smarts, athleticism, and sometimes just dumb luck. Right now each of teams have interesting combinations of all of those. It will be a great season.

Posted in Reality TV, TAR, Television, The Amazing Race, TV, Unscripted Dramas | Leave a Comment »

George Takei Is Not a Hero

Posted by Travis R Grant on February 7, 2007

I think that use of George Takei in Heroes is an excellent move, and I love the role that he played. I just have to say that I am glad he is not “special.” Honestly, I am glad that no new characters have been introduced into the show this week.

I have been really bothered by all the hype-like advertisement for Heroes lately. It seems like they are trying to have a tag line for every episode. And it is just too much.

“Save the cheerleader, save the world” worked for me. I thought it was unique, short, and matched the show. The winter promo, however, just didn’t stick with me. What did they mean by “Are you on the list?” I would have rather they went with “How do you stop and exploding man?”

But this past week’s over emphasis of “Who’s her daddy?” was just unoriginal, uninteresting, and really a turn off. There wasn’t the play up to finding out who dad was, and I just wasn’t as invested in it. Not to say that I would have rather they drag it out. Just to hype it up without some foundation.

Along with the over use of tag lines, I didn’t like the “who’s her daddy?” tag line because I am tired of them adding new characters with new powers. Sure I expect there to be more gifted individual, but right now it seems too many too soon. Let me work with the Heroes that I know now. Let me understand them more. Let me develop a deeper relationship with them first.

So, when in this episode we learned that Hiro’s Father was not associated with Linderman (at least for now we are lead to believe that), and more importantly, that he has no special powers (at least for now we are lead to believe that), I was happy. I hope to see future episodes with Takei, and I think it adds a great piece to the puzzle.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see that Claire’s father is no one new. He is a character we already know and love (or hate, I haven’t decided yet). It will be interesting now to see how these interrelationships work.

I would like to see the Heroes come together. We have seen the Heroes work together, but they are not a team yet. I want this to happen by the end of the seasons. Sure, leave a few stragglers behind (i.e., Niki, DL, and Micah), but let’s start getting a team together (i.e., Hiro, Peter, and Isaac).

Also, I am waiting to find out what super power Simone, Ando, and Zach have. You have been thinking it. I know that you have, and I have finally said it. I just can’t wait until they find out their powers. I am also thinking that Mr. and Mrs. Bennett have powers too. Mr. Bennett is obviously keeping it a secret from Mrs. Bennett (the brain zapped).

Okay, we may already know Mr. Bennett’s power. He appears to be able to block the powers of the others. But, I am still stumped why he wasn’t able to stop Sylar in this last episode.

So, these are some of my thoughts on the show, and I have been very impressed. Personally, I like what is going on. I think that it is well developed. It is providing new mysteries, while answering some old ones. I can’t wait for each new episode.

Just an apology for posting this so late, my VCR didn’t record the show, and I couldn’t get it on the Internet until now. Also, it looks like NBC’s Video Rewind has made some changes for the better.

Posted in Drama, Heroes, Television, TV | Leave a Comment »