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Archive for Sunday, December 9, 2001

Television has its winners and losers

December 9, 2001

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I watch quite a bit of television. My eyes are such that I can't read as much as I used to, so I watch some TV. I'm sure none of you thought I was a super-intellectual who saw only foreign movies and watched only PBS. In the '60s, I told a class that "Hawaii Five-0" was one of my favorite shows, and you should have seen the horrified faces (from students who mainly listened to rock).

So, here are some comments about TV:

Football games that run late on Sunday really mess things up. I have to check "60 Minutes," a show I don't like much, to figure out when "Max Bickford" will be on. I like Max. I know how it feels to have someone hired who is scarcely your choice. I remember nursing along two graduate students through their theses proposals and see them go to someone else for a final adviser.

I wish that when CBS schedules two hours of CSI (a good show) they'd start the first hour on time and let us know that the second hour is a re-run.

There are far too many commercials. Whatever happened to the regulations about the number of commercials? (Gone with the wind in the great "freedom" of Reagan days.) Sometimes we'll time six straight minutes of commercials. Half-hour shows are about 15 minutes long.

The singers on Coors Lite and GAP commercials are dreadful. Are these people trying to sound like Bob Dylan, who never could sing? (Yes, he could write.)

"West Wing" is getting trendy. Let's keep this the best show on the tube.

Why are all dot-com commercials so puzzling? What's going on? They're like trying to understand that movie called "The Matrix."

"NYPD Blue" has started off fine. Great cast.

There are too many "Law and Orders." One was enough.

Why do TV critics put down "Third Watch"? This seems a mighty good show, until, that is, it gets into some man-woman stuff. Let 'em put out fires and rescue people.

The Antiques Roadshow used to be all right. Now it even tells us in the TV schedule what's going to be evaluated. Next? Like "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and that thing with the English dame, will it have show business people bring in their antiques? Will it hire Alex Trebek to be cute?

Most situation comedies are a mess. I have to confess that I try to stay away from them. Maybe they're all right.

American Movie Classics has gone bad. It has commercials in the middle of the movie. And if you try to copy an AMC show, you'd better allow for half an hour extra at the end.

TNT is even worse. A two-hour show will run three hours. Best solution: if something is on TNT, don't watch, except for basketball and re-runs of "The Shawshank Redemption."

"Frasier" is the best comedy show on the tube. Why did we let all those years go by thinking it wasn't any good?

Best dramatic show on TV is "The Practice." How can Bobby, who isn't really bright, continue as head of the firm? I don't care for Camryn Manheim, or however she spells her name.

The most dysfunctional family is on "Judging Amy." Tyne Daly is getting on my nerves. Why does Judge Amy have to live with that domineering mama?

JAG is far better than I thought it would be. I'm glad the Australian is gone. Are there only three lawyers in the whole military office?

"The Guardian" made me cry recently. Don't run any more shows that have sweet little girls (or boys) dying.

Can you imagine an emergency room anything like the one on "ER"? I never see anyone who has to fill out a lot of forms.

Thanks for giving us "The District" on Saturday night. But why did they have to kill off that Irish (or was he Scottish?) cop?

I'd be happy never again to have to hear that duck on the AFLAC commercials.

How could a U.S. senator (now out office) have three daughters who are kooks? "Citizen Baines." Would you let your daughter have a jerky live-in boy friend living in your home?

Thank the commercial that comments on stupid car commercials that have cars perched on cliffs in the Grand Canyon.

Too much silly talk on Channel 6 news shows. Have they noticed that Rather, Jenning and Brokaw can do it all alone?

Somebody tell Channel 16, "Headline News," to get all that distracting stuff off the screen.

Let's ban all commercials that use tiny children as commentators.



Calder Pickett is a professor emeritus of journalism at Kansas University. His column appears Sundays in the Journal-World.

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