You Gotta Have Faith: Eli Stone, Breaking Bad, and Other New Shows

First off, how ’bout that episode of Lost last week?  Am I the only one who got to the end of the hour and thought, “Why in the hell hasn’t Jorge Garcia been a Boyfriend of the Week yet?”  Probably.  But in any case, watch for THAT to be remedied soon.  I can’t believe I lasted this long, given the fact I’ve been insanely in love with Hurley since season one.  I’m psyched Lost is back, and, more importantly, that it’s back on track, and am eagerly awaiting this week’s new episode!  What did you guys think? 

More importantly, though, did you guys hang out at ABC after Lost was over to watch the premiere of Eli Stone?  Aside from the incredibly horrible plot, which irked the crap out of me (for those who didn’t watch, it was about the many-times-now-disproven “link” between vaccines and autism and just threw more fuel on the fire of that whole ridiculous controversy), I thought the rest of the show was nothing short of goofy brilliance. 

For one thing, nothing makes me happier as a lit major than when a plot element goes full circle, and in terms of that kind of thing, I thought this episode was lovely in its architecture alone.  Additionally, I thought the show was just truly FUNNY.  The opening scene (in the mountains) made me laugh out loud at least three times — and that was just the first five minutes!  I haven’t laughed like that since. . . well, okay, since six days ago when I finally watched the first episode of Arrested Development, but more on that later.

And George Michael!  Oh my god!  Never have I so strongly wished I could have crazy prophet-like hallucinations myself!  I was in heaven. 

All in all, it’s kooky, it’s wacky, and it’s got a LOT of potential.  Unfortunately, choosing to start off with what I would describe as a recklessly irresponsible storyline was a really, really stupid thing to do.  They essentially kicked off their brand new series by angering dozens and dozens of professional medical organizations, doctors, parents, and other individuals.  And I’m worried that since so many people were so vocally upset, that means a lot of people not only didn’t watch but will NEVER watch.  This might be one occasion where the writer’s strike can only help, frankly, since it’s not like ABC has anything else to put in that timeslot these days.

Anyway, I hope you’ll forgive it for its amazing stupidity and tune in this week to check it out.  But I’ll totally understand if you ain’t interested. 

The other new series I’m really enjoying so far, by the way, is AMC’s crystal meth drama-comedy, Breaking Bad.  It’s about a middle-aged schlubb named Walter White (never has the word “schlubb” been so apt, by the way, nor the name “Walter,” for that matter) who discovers he has terminal lung cancer.  He’s been working two jobs — by day, chemistry teacher, by night, clerk at the car wash — and he’s freaking out at the thought of leaving his family (his wife, her fetus, and their developmentally disabled teenaged son) penniless when he dies. 

One afternoon, Walter’s doing a ride-along for fun with his brother-in-law, a smarmy DEA agent, and he witnesses a crystal meth bust.  Fleeing the scene?  One of his old students, a punk named Jesse Pinkman.  Inside the meth house is a bazillion dollars, and pretty soon, our schlubby hero has an idea:  I gots the science, Pinkman’s got the connections.  Let’s buy a Winnebago and cook up some meth!

Of course, nothing goes right, and by the end of the first episode, Walter and Jesse have two dead bodies on their hands.  In the beginning of the second episode, it gets even worse, when they discover they actually only have ONE dead body on their hand — the other guy is still alive.  Barely.

Right about here’s where my husband stopped me to say, “I thought you said this show was a COMEDY!”  And I know — I know — it does NOT sound funny.  But it IS!  I’ve loved every episode I’ve seen so far — it’s smart, weird, and fun too.   Definitely recommend this one, especially if you also liked Weeds.  But you do have to have somewhat of a twisted sense of humor, for obvious reasons.  And also, it’s probably not for the squeamish, either. 

Also coming soon to TV this month: 

Dexter — the Showtime series about a serial killer with an ethics code will be airing on CBS starting February 17th (edited for content, of course).  I can’t recommend this series highly enough, and Mom, even though you hate serial killers, I think you’ll like this one.  It’s smart.   You can read my review of Season One here.

Jericho — Season Two, back by popular demand and insane amounts of peanuts (my favorite fan campaign of all time, by the way — Jericho fans totally rule), begins February 12 at 10pm on CBS.  I still haven’t finished Season One, but it’s my goal for next weekend!

New Amsterdam — This FOX series, beginning February 22 at 9pm, sounds a little hokey — it’s about a New York City detective who is immortal (some kind of Native American curse/spell thing) — but it might still be fun.  The star, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, looks just like a friend of mine, too, which is always entertaining.  Anybody hear any buzz (positive or negative) about this one?

America’s Next Top Model — Cycle 10 starts February 20th at 8pm on the CW.   I don’t know why I’m still watching this show, especially after the ridiculously stupid and borderline-offensive “Boot Camp” episode from last season (or was that the season before?  They’re all running together now. . .).  But I just can’t seem to get enough of this one.  The fights!  The tears!  The pointy shoes and impractical skirts!  I’m so ready — bring it on, fierce girls!

12 Responses to “You Gotta Have Faith: Eli Stone, Breaking Bad, and Other New Shows”

  1. Jessie Says:

    Glad you’re watching Arrested Development. Is it awesome, or is it awesome?

    New Amsterdam was scheduled to start this last fall (it had a premiere date and everything) but was pulled at the last minute. I was looking forward to watching it, and I still am, even though I heard the reason it was pulled is that it’s bad. Like, REALLY bad. I guess we’ll see!

  2. Liz Says:

    I loved “Eli Stone” … and not just because it reminded me of the stupid cyst I had removed, which caused my voice difficulties and terrible balance! I thought it was funny and clever, and George Michael was great! I didn’t hate the plot about vaccines and autism as much as you did – probably because I don’t know as much. It just seemed like a handy little device to get the show going. If people are going to be turned off to the show because of it, MORE’S THE PITY!

    I can’t wait for “Dexter.” I’ve never seen it, but I’ve read about it, and I bet I’ll like it. I have a cousin who raves about it. But she called it “Becker,” so I “had” to educate her!

    I decided last season not to watch “Jericho” (I had to stop somewhere!), so I don’t expect to start watching it now. I don’t plan to watch “New Amsterdam” because it looks like a rip-off of “Highlander,” which I loved (the series, not the movies). I haven’t seen “Lost” yet, but it’s on tape, because I’m still into it – so I skipped that part of your write-up.

    I’m SO GLAD that you liked “Eli Stone,” though – I was afraid your were going to tear it to shreds. It is clever, isn’t it?

  3. John T. Folden Says:

    I was lucky enough to be able to see an unfinished version of New Amsterdam last December and have to admit I rather fell in love with it. Decent acting all around, a solid and subtle script, good chemistry between the leads, etc. There are lots of possibilities there.

    I’m not sure where anyone would get the idea it’s a “rip-off”, though. There’s no sword play, questionable mythology, or even any other immortals here that I see. Indeed, it’s very much a typical procedural where the lead just happens to be 400 years old. 😉

  4. Alisa Says:

    I sort of like Eli Stone, it had that kooky, I’m hearing things, and seeing babies dance, Ally McBeal kind of feel to it.

    Meg – Thank you so much for turning me onto Dexter, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to watch the watered down version, I’m so used the the nasty, bloody, dirty version. LOL 🙂 I tried watching the 1st season of ANTM, but after Janice called that one model fat, I just stopped watching all together. But are you still watching PR? I know that I said that I didn’t like Christian because of his “Tude”, but I really have to say I LOVE most of his deisgns, they are really great.

  5. Alisa Says:

    Meg – I just read your book review on The Mist, I saw the movie, and it was pretty good. Marsha Gay Harden is fricken FABO in the movie. Love her.

  6. jo Says:

    Lost made me very happy. When it hits, it hits hard, and last week it hit in a way it hadn’t hit since season 1. I think I said “hit” way too many times there. I could hit myself for that.

    I also rather liked Eli Stone, even if the vaccine/autism thing made me want to throw my shoes at the television. Luckily for my television, I was barefoot. But it really was a lovely show, and well put together, and George! Michael!

    It was really refreshing after the annoying forced quirkiness of Pushing Daisies, which I wanted to love but couldn’t because of the constant Look! We’re being quirky! in-your-face-edness.

  7. Lorraine Says:

    “Lost” is like a roller coaster. I’m there for the ride. My choice of boyfriend from Lost is Desmond (“brotha”) but I definitely like Hurley.

    “Eli Stone” seemed very ordinary to me. The visions were interesting but nothing else made me want to watch the next episode. I agree that the plot was not too interesting. I think my problem was that the characters didn’t seem to connect with each other. And I really did want to like this show.

    I like trying out new shows and “New Amsterdam” sounds interesting. I’ll be checking it out. I loved the Highlander movies.

    “Dexter” – I saw the season 1 dvds and I LOVED it. Even if you are squeamish, I would encourage you to check it. It will be sanitized and it can’t be worse than the gore that they show on the CSIs and ER. It has a wicked humor that is unique.

  8. Ellen Says:

    Okay, I can’t believe you never discovered “Arrested Development” before… IT RULES!
    Love Johnny Lee Miller & I can even forgive him for being married to Angelina Jolie for 5 minutes, because he was so great in “Trainspotting”. And dammit if my cousin didn’t get me all sucked back into “Lost” last week, be forcing me to watch it, even though I never really got into it before. “Breaking Bad” is pretty darn good too!

  9. Liz Says:

    Aha! Thank you, Jo, for finally putting into words what bothered me about “Pushing Daisies!” I tried so hard to like it, but it WAS annoying – in its “Look, we’re being quirky/in-your-face-ed-ness!” What a wonderful way to put it!

    As far as “New Amsterdam” goes, maybe I’m wrong, and it’s not a rip-offl But, for whatever reason, it didn’t pique my interest the way “Eli Stone” did.

  10. megwood Says:

    Pushing Daisies is my favorite new show of the whole year, you guys! I LOVE the quirkiness — it reminds me a lot of Tim Burton’s movies (and I definitely don’t think it’s any more “in your face” that Tim Burton’s stuff, either).

    I do have a few problems with it — a few minor things I wish they would change. But I’m totally enjoying the hell out of it, including the narrator, who is the thing I hear the most complaints about (but I’ve loved Jim Dale ever since listening to one of the Harry Potter books on tape — he narrates all those as well and just has a WONDERFUL voice for it). And let’s not even get me started on how much I love Chi McBride’s character. He’s a knitter!! I love it!

    I’m just in heaven to finally have another show that is WEIRD to watch. Bryan Fuller, creator of both PD and another show I loved, “Wonderfalls,” is totally my hero!

  11. Liz Says:

    Here I am, again. I’ve been looking for your review of “The Mist,” and finally found it. I read it this summer, when I was in an airport, and needed something to read. Now I love Stephen King (although I agree that many of his movies fall WAY short). I just felt that this story was early King, and very immature, but had the makings of some of his future “hits.” I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’d really like to – sounds like good casting.

    BTW, I saw the 2nd episode of “Eli Stone,” and liked it quite a bit. It does creep me out a little to be reminded that he has this inoperable brain aneurysm, but his visions are so great, as are his reactions to them, and I love James Saito (who I actually remember from M*A*S*H!). AND since we’re (I’m) talking about TV shows, “Lost” rules!

  12. megwood Says:

    Update on Eli Stone: I hate it! The second episode was so boring I quit paying attention, and by the third, they were back to using a storyline I found so offensive I could barely stand watching. Great dialogue — it’s witty and fun. But holy crap, who is coming up with their storylines?! The third ep was almost worse than the first!

    It gets one more from me before I give up. Shame, too, because it was an interesting idea and has a lot of things to like about it. But the plots — gah!! They’re awful!!

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