Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Night -- The Best Night of Television -- on Cable, Of Course!

Tonight is jam-packed with absolutely incredible television, cable television, that is.

We have to give our biggest shout-out to the Season 3 premiere of Dexter on Showtime, at 9pm. This year there's a great new castmember in Jimmy Smits, a stunning new short haircut for Dexter's sister Deb, played by the incredible Jennifer Carpenter, and a shocking development that starts this season out with a surprising gut-wrenching premise. Actually, there are several surprises in this first episode of the new season. The show looks to be in fine form and we can't recommend this terrific show too highly. Dexter is a show worth falling for; it's exciting, amusing, complex, and richly involving, on so many levels. Uniformly skilled and nuanced performances by all involved, the vibrant Miami setting (for which Los Angeles environs often admirably stand in), and an intriguing blend of the outrageous and the utterly mundane make Dexter possibly the consistently entertaining of the new dramas, completely satisfying all our desires for a great hour of television.

At 10pm on Showtime, David Duchovny's show business saga Californication starts its second season. We wouldn't have said it was a roman a clef until his unfortunately well-publicized sex addiction treatment became known, but there it is, and if the adventures of randy screenwriter Hank seem just a little more interesting since we know Duchovny walked the walk, it can't hurt the show. This is definitely worth tuning in for.

HBO's sexy vampire romance TRUEBLOOD continues its first season at 9pm. It's a gooey mixture of vampire blood, illicit attractions, frequent and vigorous sexplay, Louisianna accents as thick as gumbo, divey nightlife, sweaty interactions and yes, somewhere in there, sweet romance. Anna Paquin is delightful as Sookie, the hard-working telepathic waitress who falls for brooding ex-Civil War soldier vampire Bill, played broodingly and Heathcliff-like by Brit Stephen Moyer. Lois Smith is warm, loving and unique as Sookie's Grandma. Sookie's black galfriend Tara, played by Rutina Wesley, is amusing and also tragic (she has a hopelessly addicted mother who treats her like shit), carrying a torch for Sookie's belligerent, dumb but obviously sexually potent brother. I have trouble telling apart Sookie's brother and her boss -- played by Ryan Kwanten and Sam Trammel, respectively -- but I will say that the male characters are as convoluted as the females, and some are a bit of both, like the spirited gay cook Lafayette, played with verve by Nelsan Ellis. The show is exciting, a bit over-the-top, maybe at heart simply a fanged Romeo and Juliet, but I think there's enough there to entertain and you don't get to see multiculturality like that -- yeah, I know, two Brits are in the leads -- on television that often. Curiously, this show doesn't make me as hungry as Dexter does, with its occasional tasty glimpses of Cuban sandwiches. I keep hoping for more Cajun deliciousness to appear in TRUEBLOOD, but then, I guess solid food isn't a big deal for vampires, is it?

At 10pm on HBO the fifth season of Entourage continues, as Vince and the boys try to put their lives and careers back together after the superflop of their Medellin biographical film. Entourage is full of scabrous humor, hostility, desperation, and ambition but the friendship of the group continues to evolve in the deadly waters of Hollywood show business. You think that the guys in Mad Men are disrespectful and kinda hateful to women? I think Entourage gives them a run for their money...not that I'm complaining.

HBO's new series Little Britain USA premieres at 10:30pm. You may already be a fan of the original British series, which I like...mostly...but I don't think it's for everybody and you may be left cold by its assortment of characters. I watched some clips of the U.S. version online and I'm not sure that it's going to work quite as well with the Stateside setting, but it will be worth watching to sample the transition. There's no doubt that Matt Lucas and David Wallaims are marvelously talented. Good luck to them.

And we can't forget the next new episode of Mad Men on AMC, at 10pm. AMC rightfully postponed this episode for last week's Emmy Awards, but the ad men and women are back with what will undoubtedly be another superb episode. Mad Men is deep, deliberate, not a crazy romp but a complicated story brilliantly told, completely deserving of its Outstanding Drama Series win.

Most fortunately, all these series air multiple times throughout the week on their respective channels, as well as On-Demand if you have it, and you can find some of them online, too, officially and unofficially. Can you think of any other night that has ever had so much can't-wait-for-it viewing excitement in store?

It's unbelievable. Sunday Rocks! Cable Rocks! Television Rocks!

1 comment:

Jane said...

Absolutely AWESOME post on the best night of TV Lisoid! Especially the True Blood overview. I am really starting to love that show and I think the blog-o-sphere and print critics are not giving it the attention it deserves. DEXTER ROCKED last night and I can't wait to do a full post about it. Watch for one tonight. I promise to include lots of real life references to South Florida food!! I have a lot of TV to catch up on after my vacation. Looks like you and Scott have been holding down the fort...hooray for faithful Nose Posters!