Tune in to
Two and Half Men
this week on CBS and you can experience the queasy thrill of watching a show self-immolate. The guest star is Robert Wagner, a.k.a. the Kiss of Death.
Boston Legal has been in a tailspin since the former Hart to Hart star turned up in two episodes. Believe it or not, Hope & Faith was chugging along on Friday nights on ABC until they brought on the dashing jinx. (The double mojo of Wagner and Ted McGinley was more than any show could bear.) H & F died a painful, lingering death.
Memo to Jon Cryer and Charlie Sheen: Start updating those resumes now, boys. Because when it comes to jumping the shark, Robert Wagner is Evel Knievel.
A word from our sponsors. I never know when I'm going to see the best thing currently on TV. It's the commercial where the mom, alarmed at the size of the cell-phone bill, grills her daughter on who she's text messaging constantly. "IDK," says the girl insouciantly, "my BFF, Jill?" (Subtitled translation: "I don't know, my best friend forever, Jill?") This 30-second spot makes me smile no matter how often I see it. I prefer it to AOMAS (any of my appointment series).
Stupefying gangsters. Could The Sopranos get any more pretentious? Last week's episode began with Tony descending from his bedroom, sleepily singing, "When I was a child I had a fever / My hands felt just like two balloons." The lyrics come from Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb." Whoa, heavy. And stagey.
That's not a song people casually warble. But when they do, it's inevitably the line "There is no pain, you are receding" (except they mangle it as "receiving").
Later in the episode, Tony bemoans his "putrid" genes. Does this strike you as a word a Jersey mobster, presumably with a high school education, would employ?
There are five episodes left. Let Tony be Tony, not some writer's marionette.
Don't set your calendar. Can't anybody at NBC count? The network carpet-bombed us with that promo proclaiming: "Just three episodes left until the Heroes season finale." Wrongo, peacock breath. Up until Wednesday, there were three episodes left in the season, two until the finale.
But who's counting?
Y'all come back now. This week ABC announced that for its remaining three seasons, Lost will run 16 consecutive weeks each year from January into May. You'd think the network had learned its lesson: Taking a show, particularly a serialized drama, off the air for weeks at a time drives away the audience.
So how do you explain the roll-out this week of ABC's latest serial thriller, Traveler? It debuted on Thursday and will next air again on a different night (Wednesday) three weeks from now.
Way to cultivate viewer loyalty.