Random TV Watching

Random TV Watching

I’ve been catching up on Tivo the past few nights, killin’ time until Battlestar Galactica (AKA the Best Show on TV) starts back up again in January. For those of you missing out, I’m not talking about the campy 80’s tv series…I’m talking about the new series running on the SciFi Channel here in the States.

Numb3rs — Produced by Scott Free Productions, this show is nominally about math theory being used to solve FBI crimes. My favorite part is when the math guy describes how a particular theory can be used to predict behavior or reveal some hidden pattern behind a case. Like a Fourier analysis being used to discovery frequency patterns in seemingly random crime times, or Flocking behavior used to backtrack to find the central node in a Meth lab distribution network. I’m not quite sure if these are practically applied in real life—this is sort of explained away by the math guy’s prodigy status—but the theory is presented with awesome computer graphics. Not surprising since Scott Free has produced films under the Jerry Bruckheimer banner like Enemy of the State; they’re well known for their shiny FX-laden productions. Scott Free Productions, incidentally, is comprised of Ridley Scott and his brother Tony Scott…you may have heard of Blade Runner, Alien, Gladiator from Ridley, and slightly lesser-known films like Top Gun from Tony. So yup…production values are pretty high on the show. The plotting is a little odd…doesn’t really have much snap to it. Some terrible technical dialog…I’m not sure if the math theory is any better, or if the equations they scribble on the blackboards are real.

Prison Break — I was originally fascinated by the premise: some dude is framed for an assassination by scary organization, smart younger brother concocts elaborate scheme to get into same prison and bust him out from the inside. More murder, and violence ensue. It reminds me a bit of Oz, 24, and MacGyver swished together. The last episode I watched may have turned me off for good though…I get easily tired by sudden switches of plot device to draw out the story. I feel like I’m watching an elaborate set of dominoes being knocked down.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex — This one is animated, and I’ve talked about it before The Cartoon Network has started showing the second season (called “2nd Gig”), and the animation has improved slightly so we don’t see as many horrifically distorted views of Kusanagi. Unfortunately, her outfits are still really really horrible, to the point that I wonder if it’s part of her character. However, between the first and second seasons, there were are few notable episodes that actually moved me far more than either Prison Break or Numb3rs. And the themes are far more interesting that the two movie versions’ yawn-inducing plotting; Stand Alone Complex is much more like the manga (comic book), and more accessible. The manga, at times, is pretty confusing if you don’t already have an interest in politically-motivated military action, robotics, and cognitive science.

If only the voice dubbing had a little more crispness to the delivery. Some of the themes about human-machine interfacing, politics, and artificial intelligence are pretty cool. It’s no Battlestar Galactica

That’s been about it. I’ve seen a couple issues of Monk, which I enjoy for Tony Shaloub’s portrayal of his obsessive compulsive detective. I also accidentally saw some episode of JAG that was remarkably cheesy…for some reason I thought it would be like Law and Order or something more dramatic.

I should just stop watching TV until January. Sigh.


  1. Daniel Nicolas 19 years ago

    January…January… hmmm what happens in January?



  2. Dave 19 years ago

    Battlestar Galactica starts up again in January. Yay!

  3. glytch 19 years ago

    oh I wait with tremling fingers for BG to return.
    sad geek, that’s me and I luv it

  4. Alvin 19 years ago

    I love GITS:SAC! Both the 1st and 2nd seasons are excellent, and are brilliantly written. My favorite for 2nd gig has to be the one where Kusanagi gets transported to the antique shop where she sees the old cyborg bodies of a young boy and girl…and the story the old woman tells subtly reveals Kusanagi’s history and her connection with Kuse. Just brilliant.

  5. Beth 19 years ago

    I love Prison Break, but I often speculate that one could get almost the same effect in watching only the “previously on” and “next week on” scenes.  Sometimes it’s painful to watch, in a weird Curb Your Enthusiasm-like way.

  6. Brandon 19 years ago

    Without doubt, you should check out House on Fox.  I was recently turned onto this show and have become addicted.  The show has some mystery and some interesting special effects, but really shines with the characters.  The main character is witty, sarcastic, and brilliantly portrayed as a world-renowned doctor who is crippled physically, emotionally, and addicted to pain killers.  This is now one of my favorite shows that doesn’t involve Jack Bauer.

  7. David W. 19 years ago

    We’re big fans of Numb3rs here, too. If you like Numb3rs, you should also check out Criminal Minds. Every time I see either show, I start hoping that one day they would do a cross-over.

  8. Dave 19 years ago

    Thanks for the recommendations, Brandon & David! I’ll add them to the Tivo! Out of curiosity, I’m wondering if you *24* fans have seen the creator’s earlier show, *La Femme Nikita*? It ran on the USA cable network a number of years ago, and was one of my favorites at the time. In some ways, *Alias* is the fluffier successor to that show. Peta Wilson! Yeah!

  9. Brandon 19 years ago

    I never really saw La Femme Nikita, but I do seem to remember it was action-oriented with a female lead.  It was on USA for a number of seasons, wasn’t it?  I’ll have to check my guide and see if anyone is playing old syndicated episodes.  If I am lucky, I can find some late night showing I can Tivo.

  10. Dave 19 years ago

    Yep, it did ran for a few seasons. It’s also out on DVD so you might be able to netflix or rent a disc or two. I haven’t seen it on air in a while, but then again I haven’t been looking.