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A Little Bit of Drama

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 11, 2006

In spite of the ambition in yesterday's post, the day got away from me. I had a story about SportsTime Ohio that ended up consuming part of the day and evening; it was after 8 p.m. before I had the information I needed to write. And while I was working on that, I was trying to track the two local contestants on ''Deal or No Deal'' to get something about them in today's paper. Since I was on the phone during the end of one player's journey, I ended up e-mailing an NBC publicist for the results, then wrote a brief item about it.

By which time it was well after 9, so the night's viewing was ''Everwood'' (on recorded delay) with the bride. I got through part of ''Veronica Mars'' after that, but it was late by then and sleep was demanded. Finished ''Veronica'' this morning.

So, some thoughts on recent viewing:

''Veronica Mars'': Decent episode, although it was pretty clear that Thumper was in the stadium bathroom before the show revealed it. (At least, I think he was in the stadium. Some tricky editing there.) I continue to like the way Tina Majorino has become part of the show; she knows how to do both intelligence and vulnerability. And Steve Guttenberg is fun to watch, although I wonder if the writers are, in essence, playing to his weakness -- making Woody transparently suspicious-looking because anything subtler is not going  happen with Guttenberg. Very much liked the way Jackie handled Wallace. And was there anything more loaded with tension than the scene of Veronica and Logan dancing? Talk about issues...

But probably the best thing about the episode is that I don't have to wait a week to watch another new one, since ''Veronica'' moves its new telecasts to Tuesday beginning tonight.

''The Sopranos'': Sunday's episode was the first one this season I had to watch in regular time, since HBO sent out the first four for review before the season started. And I was watching it with friends as part of a regular ''Sopranos'' gathering, with the two previous weeks' episodes viewed before we got to the new one. My one beef: that Tony's spiritual awakening in the hospital seems to be over. I know, for some things he has no attention span, but the near-death experience after the shooting should have set him off on a more extended journey. But maybe I'm asking too much of Tony.

Vito in the leather bar was weirdly hilarious -- loved the cap -- and I'm really wondering how that will play out. The Johnny Sack scenes were touching; as calculating and cold as Johnny can be, we keep getting reminded that his love for Ginny (and, by extension, their family) is absolute -- far deeper than what Tony feels for Carmela. So, of course, it had to become an issue of weakness.

Also liked the event-planner dialogue with AJ, a nice reference to the previous season and to AJ's overall aimlessness.

As for the bodyguard story, well, didn't you sense soon after seeing this guy that someone was going to pound him? (I suspected Christopher would get the chance to show the difference between bodybuilding and street fighting.) The show's deftness was in the way Tony ended up doing it.

''Everwood'': I'm on and off in terms of watching the show, although I like it for the most part when I do. (I did cring on Monday night at the way mastectomies' aftermath were treated as loathsome scarring.) At its best, it reminds me a little of ''Veronica Mars.'' The characters are allowed to be smart and articulate, but not in the fake-grownup way of ''Dawson's Creek.'' And their emotions feel genuine. I also like that it's not a teen show, even though many of the characters are young.

Yesterday I was talking to Glenn Gordon Caron, the writer-producer behind ''Moonlighting'' and now ''Medium,'' and he was explaining how ''Medium'' is really a show about married, settled grownups -- something that can be a challenge for young TV writers to handle. He's right, too; ''Medium'' repeatedly sets up opportunities for melodrama, then dials it down to a reasoned discussion. ''Everwood'' often does the same thing, testing the characters but not making them cartoons. But that may also explain why The WB never seemed as enthusiastic about ''Everwood'' as it did about lighter and simpler shows.

''Gilmore Girls'': Not sure about this one, especially with the return (again) of Jess in tonight's episode. Didn't buy for a minute Rory's getting back together with Logan -- and was disappointed that Paris was shuffled off again in short order.  Am wondering when Lorelai is going to get off the pot and deal with Luke about his daughter. It's long past time.

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