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Tuesday Notebook

By admin Published: September 23, 2008

Tonight's DVR pileup, part interest, part obligation: "90210," "NCIS," "Dancing With the Stars," "Privileged," "Fringe" and -- oh, wait, there's a "Quantum of Solace" commercial. Bright shiny object! James Bond! Daniel Craig! Could we just see it now, please?

Back to TV. I have seen tonight's "House," and it's a bit better than the season premiere as it continues the House-Wilson conflict. I have also seen "The Mentalist," which I mentioned in a previous post, and which isn't bad even though it is cobbled together from parts of other shows.

Simon Baker stars as a former TV psychic who was in fact just very observant (I know, I know, "Psych") but who has abandoned his old gig to work with the police. Yes, tragedy led to the change. I reasonably suspect that someone at CBS decided that, after watching "House," viewers are thinking, "You know, I would really like to spend another hour of an egotistical, rule-breaking and rather unpleasant guy dealing with terrible pain and speaking unpleasant truths. Hey, there's 'The Mentalist'!" Now, field conditions -- at home, tired, just wanting something to relax with -- may have made me more willing to forgive the flaws in "The Mentalist." But it was a reasonably escapist hour. And, as I said before, I find Simon Baker generally unlikable, so this role worked for me.

By the way, I haven't gotten around to observing how very bad "Saturday Night Live" was. Expected much better, since James Franco can be quite funny. But not here. The writing deserted him and pretty much everyone else. When the high point of an "SNL" is uncontrolled laughter by the "Weekend Update" hosts, then things have gone terribly awry. Even the opening sketch didn't work, because it went on too long and because the real McCain ads have gone to an extreme beyond parody. "SNL" is off to a poor start, and I don't think things will get any better when they're trying to do the show as well as those Thursday-night "Weekend Update" half-hours.

Might be time to bring in the Baldwin.

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