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Catchup Night: ''Lost,'' ''Veronica,'' Bits

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 27, 2006

Before we get to anything else, here's the latest (and hysterically funny) check out what the ''Nobody's Watching'' gang has done with ''Lost'' in this video. Hysterically funny, and with a surprise guest.

Well, not so much a surprise now.

Anyway, because Thursday was a night of reruns, the bride and I were able to get to Wednesday's ''Lost.'' Getting tired of the show's undercurrent of Lucy holding Charlie Brown's football. As in, Kate says she loves Sawyer, then denies that she meant it, except we all suspect she did mean it -- and it all adds up to the latest reminder that Sawyer is a big old pile of sentimental goo. Nice to see Kim Dickens again; although it's not too hard to find her on TV these days -- ''Deadwood,'' a recent ''Numb3rs'' two-parter -- I've liked her work going back to at least ''Things Behind the Sun.'' (It's on DVD. Take a look.)

But even though I watch attentively every week, ''Lost'' has gotten too sprawling -- Sawyer and Kate in the cages, Jack in solitary, The Others, the glimpses of people back in the settlement, the NEW people back in the settlement, the flashbacks ... What's the story here? Whom are we supposed to care about?

Yes, ''Lost'' was smart early on to offer a wide range of characters so that if, say, you thought Jack was just too pouty -- so many hands go up! -- you might like Sawyer. Or if Locke was too deep and complicated, you had the easygoing Hurley as an antidote. But now it's gotten all ADD -- jumping from place to place and person to person. Everything feels undertold, everyone looks underused.

Fortunately, just about any week with a new ''Veronica Mars'' cheers me up, even if it's an odd ''VM.'' ''Just Shoot Me'' reunion! ''Veronica's'' Logan meets ''Gilmore's'' Logan -- and they're brothers! (Well, it briefly seemed so.)

Once again, the theme was how we judge character, especially all the people who are misjudged: the frat boys, Keith's client's husband, Logan's fake half-brother and real half-brother and, of course, Veronica herself, who has built herself a nice little House of Ostracism in her new college life. As is so often the case on ''VM,'' it feels as if the latest search for truth is going to end badly.

Other notes: I didn't post any specifics about my latest aggravation with ''Studio 60,'' but since I got a detailed comment -- in German -- about the show, I ought to elaborate. First, D.L. Hughley is doing terrific work and the first scene between him and Matthew Perry really clicked. But the self-important stuff is getting unbearable. Steven Weber's knock on a show about the United Nations had ''insert 'West Wing' for 'UN' '' written all over it. We knew that Eli Wallach's character had a connection to the show, and the blacklist connection was telegraphed during the studio tour.

As for the trite, predictable and patronizing, I may not live in Columbus, but I do live in Ohio. People here have indeed heard of ''Who's on First.'' (And where exactly was that record supposed to come from?) You know the minute the ballplayer signed his autograph that his phone number was going to be in it. You know the minute that Perry and Hughley decide to sit at the bar, they're going to hear a good comic who's African-American. Amanda Peet's I-need-friends silliness goes again to Aaron Sorkin's inability to write smart, capable women without giving them a demeaningly silly side. (C.J. on ''West Wing'' also suffered from that.) And now I will stop before I hyperventilate.

In today's Beacon Journal, or on, you can find my review of ''Running With Scissors,'' my weekly DVD column (now looking at big-screen fare, too, including ''Mission: Impossible III'') and the latest installment of The HeldenFiles (still a work in progress).

One thing I meant to mention in the DVD column and didn't get to was another wonderful item for the fine print file from the back of a new DVD: ''Barry Manilow is a registered trademark of Hastings, Clayton, Tucker, Inc.''

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