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Monday Morning Notebook

By admin Published: March 2, 2009

This and that, after the jump, including recent telecasts of "The Closer" and "CSI"; episodes of "House" and "Private Practice" with something in common, and a "Brothers and Sisters" spoiler if you haven't seen last night's telecast. ...

Well, they didn't kill Rob Lowe on "Brothers and Sisters," although they did give him a vivid vomiting scene during his heart attack. Once again, though, ABC promos appeared to promise more than a show delivered -- which, let me add, is the fault of the network, not the people making the show. "Brothers and Sisters" is a respectable effort, its roots in "thirtysomething" constantly on view, the cast solid, and it has actually made it possible for me to watch Calista Flockhart without cringing. Well, when she's wearing long sleeves anyway. I'm not hooked on the show, seeing it mainly when I sit with the bride while she watches, and I'm usually doing something else. But I pay some attention, and it's not painful to do so.

Have been meaning to talk about the "House"/"Private Practice" thematic convergence in recent weeks, when both did shows involving "intersex" patients, ones born with aspects of both male and female. "Private Practice" approached the issue with a child born that way and the parents (including "Buffy" alum Emma Caulfield as the mom) having to decide what to do about the child's identity; "House" almost worked as a sequel, dealing with a couple who had raised their child as a boy but are struggling with what to tell him when he begins having severe medical problems. While I am very iffy about "Private Practice," this was a case where it did far better than "House," which has been in a serious slump lately. Just as I was ready to drop "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" from the DVR rotation, both have shown signs of improvement -- although "Private Practice" hasn't done enough to make me look forward to it.

By the way, the mom on "House" was played by Julia Campbell, the real-life wife of "The Shield's" Jay Karnes, and Karnes is guest-starring on the next new "House."

I enjoyed some of last week's "CSI," which intersected four stories in a moderately interesting way, but this was also one of those episodes that made me think they haven't quite sorted out how to make the show work without Grissom. It seemed in the previous episode that Nick was taking on Grissom mannerisms, and it made sense that someone would consciously or unconsciously try to fill Grissom's place, with Nick a logical candidate. And Ray, of course, has some Grissom in him. Still, Ray is a very dfiferent character in many ways, including that vaguely angelic quality that Laurence Fishburne has brought to his facial expressions and line readings. Nick, though, I can see becoming more Grissom-esque, and the promos for this week's episode (if we can believe promos) promise a measure of suffering much like what Grissom was enduring before his departure.

"The Closer" has finally wrapped its most recent run of episodes with the Fritz-Brenda wedding, and a mild cliffhanger involving the two battling detectives. It was a serviceable episode, and I did laugh at times. But I guess I am mostly just glad that we're past the wedding planning, which has felt as if it dragged out for-freakin'-ever. Although it had its compensations, notably the presence of Brenda's parents, who brighten any episode.

Anyone want to agree/disagree?

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