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Sometimes the Toys Don't Work

By RD Heldenfels Published: September 19, 2006

I had hoped to write something here about the season premieres of ''How I Met Your Mother'' and ''Two and a Half Men'' last night. Unfortunately, I only saw about one-and-a-half shows.

I saw ''HIMMY'' and found it funny enough, although I do fear how ''Friends''-ish it is getting in blending the romantic drama into the comedy. And even though the show is trying to liven up Ted, he's still pretty bland. Best thing in the show: Barney's bold twist on Henry Fonda in that ''we'll be there'' speech.

I recorded that, as well as ''Prison Break,'' ''Two and a Half,'' ''Vanished'' and ''CSI: Miami'' while mostly watching football. Unfortunately, Time Warner's HD DVR decided to eat ''Two and A Half,'' ''Vanished'' and ''CSI: Miami.'' ''CSI'' wasn't recorded at all, and ''Two and a Half'' and ''Vanished'' did some weird scene-skipping thing that boiled them down to a fraction of their running time; although ''Two and a Half'' surprisingly still sort of made sense, I was missing halves of jokes -- setup but no punchline, or vice versa. I'm hoping it was all a one-time glitch in the system; still, I'm limiting use of the DVR tonight in case it messes up again -- and has to be swapped for a fully functioning one.

That gets into one of the problems I have with a DVR. Although it's nice to have all that programming stored in it, you risk losing a lot of material if the machine goes bad. Still, it's preferable to those old stacks of unmarked videotapes lying around.

And I may just be having a bad technology streak. Today, a tape of the second-season premiere of ''Little People, Big World'' arrived -- and I know a bunch of you are interested in hearing about the show, which returns on Oct. 7. But the top bar on the tape was broken, making the tape unplayable. Fortunately, I have run into this before and have swapped the broken piece with a working one from an old tape -- and it was working in a VCR. So I should be able to watch and comment on it.

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