Thursday, October 07, 2004


Is it fall yet?

So, for the first time since 1998, it's a fall TV season without something new from Joss Whedon. No Buffy, no Angel, no Firefly (seriously, just get the fucking DVDs and check it out ayeady). So if you're like me, you've had to expand your TV-watching horizons. Here's what's turning my crank these days.

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED: I'm actually liking this more than the previous two seasons of JL. A lot of folks online have complained about the shift away from multi-episode stories, and the emphasis on guest stars rather than the core team, but as a lifelong DC loyalist (one might even say "zombie"), it's just so cool seeing the lesser-knowns like Green Arrow, Black Canary, Red Tornado, and other, non-color-based characters get some play. And the single-episode format actually works: the stories are tight and focused, with a mix of Samurai Jack-like action and mad, brilliant ideas. One episode, "For The Man Who Has Everything," was based on a comics story by Alan Moore. Then there was "This Little Piggy," written by Paul Dini, the man responsible for the best episodes of Superman and Batman (not to mention Tiny Toons and, of course, Droids). In that one, Circe the sorceress appears:

WONDER WOMAN : That's Circe! She--
BATMAN: Yeah, I read the Odyssey.

And Circe, well...she turns Wonder Woman into a pig. Hey, get back here. While some of DC's sillier heroes (like Elongated Man and Red Tornado, who pulls a very Tasmanian Devil entrance) try to find the escaped Wonder Pig, Batman has to deal with a host of mythological characters to try to change her back, including a very Bette Davis-like Medusa. The episode feels very...well, Joss Whedon-inspired, especially when Batman is forced to sing at a Caritas-like bar.

THE GILMORE GIRLS: Yes, I know this show is dripping with the perfumey stench of estrogen, but it's also got some of the best, funniest rapid-fire dialogue on TV. It's like Buffy, without the slaying. And it doesn't hurt that both mom and daughter are wicked hot.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: the trashy hoot of the fall. A suburban housewife kills herself...and serves as narrator for the lives of the other upper-class housewives on her block. You've got the image-conscious Stepford wife, the horny divorcee, the latina slut (who actually fucks the gardener--live that cliche!), and the former professional saddled with a bunch of screaming crotchlings. Everyone on this show is a cretin, and the whole thing is pure shameless fun. For real, y'know, not in a sanitized, Melrose way.

LOST: Created by Alias creator JJ Abrams. A plane crash strands 48 survivors on a desert island. Go ahead, make your Gilligan coconut jokes, I'll wait. All done? Good. As they work to survive, we see flashbacks for each character, and the secrets they brought with them onto the plane. Oh, and there's something huge in the jungle, that's already eaten the pilot.

The writing staff for lost includes former Whedonverse writer David Fury, as well as--hot damn!--Paul Dini. I'm there, dude.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

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