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Weekend Notebook: "CSI," "Bones," "Survivor," "Lie to Me," "Parks & Recreation"

By admin Published: May 16, 2009

Catching up on last week's shows, and still hoping to get to "Grey's Anatomy" before I trip over even more spoilers. ...

"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" ended on an oddly flat note Thursday. It tried to give more depth to Langston, Laurence Fishburne's character, both with the memorabilia that appeared to belong to his father and with his having to kill a criminal at the end. The problem was that the storyline in which those bits appeared was far from the show's best. And it made little use of two guest stars, Cynthia Watros and Gerald McRaney, both very good actors (McRaney's work on "Deadwood" alone was terrific). Some interesting notes here and there, though, including Nick's deciding that he should be the unit's new bug guy. Plays into the idea that he and Catherine are both still trying to figure out how to be Grissom. But I had trouble getting around the unexpected sight of Mark Pellegrino as a low-life, when he had just been on "Lost."

As I've said here before, "Bones" likes to be enjoyably weird, as with the homage to "Animal House" a couple of weeks ago and having Booth's hallucinations include Stewie Griffin. (As others have noted, lots of hallucinations on TV this year.) And there was a lot of promise in the season finale, a Booth dream in which the Jeffersonian lab was a nightclub, Bones was his wife and everyone else worked in and around the club. Nice to see room made for the parade of temporary assistants in different roles. But the idea didn't work in the long run; might have been better to have a series of shorter dreams, or to wake up Booth sooner. But with the season-ending cliffhanger -- Booth's awakening from surgery with an erased memory -- I suppose they had to hold it until the end. But not great.

As I mentioned in a previous post, "Lie to Me" has been renewed for next season and is bringing in "The Shield's" Shawn Ryan as a producer. The season finale appeared to be setting the stage for the grittier, darker "Lie to Me" I expect to see when Ryan moves in -- more political, more complicated, less clear about good guys and bad guys. But I hope they're not moving toward a Lightman-Gillian romance by having her separate from her husband; not that I mind them dumping the husband, since that was a tired storyline.

"Parks & Recreation" has had an uneven season; the episode a week ago at the tribute to Leslie's mother was awkward and painful, while the season finale worked well. Poehler seemed more self-assured and charming, and we got vulnerability from more than one character. Maybe they have figured things out.

I've seen plenty written -- and comments from Jeff Probst -- about what a great character Coach has been on "Survivor." Me, I'm glad he's not winning. I'm glad I won't have to listen to him too much more (although I expect him to fill a lot of air during the final jury and on the reunion show). The only reason I can think that he lasted this long is that no one else figured he would be a threat with the jury -- Tyson's vote, maybe -- if he got that far. But the whining about his back and his asthma, and the melodrama, and what appear to be tall tales and the endless references to "Dragon Slayer" -- I've had enough.

Of those left, I would be happy if either Taj or J.T. won. Taj is the most likable of the candidates, and J.T. has played the game really well (aside from the Stephen blindside this week). Stephen's been a smart player, too, only I've found him too nervous and even mean-spirited at times; I don't think he would have gotten this far without J.T. And Erinn is another Amber -- tagging along with the smarter players. She nearly saved Coach with her little outburst; true as it was, she picked the wrong time to say it. And, while I know that editing shapes the story, it appeared that Coach did himself in with his comments at Tribal Council. Including, oh mercy, the poem.

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