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Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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for Friday, October 2, 2009

Old TV

Previously in "Tony's Online Tips"...

I was discussing the new television season. But doesn't that sound a lot more exciting when it follows a line like "Previously in 'Tony's Online Tips'"?

How did Thursday night become "The Night of Nine Programs My Family Watches"? Which, once 30 Rock starts, will be one more program than I can record.

I hadn't planned to watch FlashForward. Recording it was a last-minute decision. I'm glad I did. Its premier episode was disturbing, intriguing, and powerful. It has a large cast, but the writers and actors made me care about them. If the show stays on track and doesn't start confusing viewers just because it can, I expect to keep watching it.

Bones got off to a good start this season, but it was jarring to see the socially awkward Dr. Brennan [Emily Deschanel] regress over the summer. She's been working with FBI Agent Booth [David Boreanaz] for four seasons now. She made progress in those seasons. Why is she slipping back? Here's hoping the old rhythms kick in soon.

I tape Vampire Diaries for my daughter, Kelly, and Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice for my Sainted Wife Barb. They appreciate this; my reward is that I don't have to watch these shows with them. I tape other programs for Kelly in the course of the week, but I can't bring myself to name them. This is perfectly normal; some of what I watch horrifies her.

Kelly and I usually watch Supernatural and Fringe together and in that order. She thinks the former is better than the latter. I think the latter is better than the former. But we agree both shows got off to really great starts this season.

From my reviewer's view, the tension between the Winchester bros in Supernatural no longer feels as forced as it did in the previous seasons, and that is making for terrific writing even beyond the whole "coming of the Apocalypse" theme. Every member of the cast brought their "A" game. If they and the writers keep it up, this will make for one heck of a final season...and, though my daughter disagrees, final season it should be.

Fringe continues to delight week after week. Anna Torv has grown into her role as Agent Olivia Dunham. The relationships between the show's characters have been believable and surprising. The creepiness factor is set on "just right." And the prospect of a bigger role for the wonderful Jasika Nicole (Astrid Farnsworth) pleases me tremendously.

Having covered C.S.I. in yesterday's TOT, that wraps up Thursday. I also covered Friday's Law and Order there. The only other Friday network series that I watch is Dollhouse, but I'll have to wait until after Mid-Ohio-Con to watch the first two episode of its second season. I'll be writing about Friday cable series Monk and Psych in the relatively near future, as well as Burn Notice, Eureka, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Leverage, and Warehouse 13. Yes, I watch too much TV, but at least I watch it on my schedule.

Sunday is The Simpsons, whose opening episode made me die a little inside. It was a terrifically funny episode, but it was similar to a premise I had for a comic book several years back and was never able to sell. Timing, as in mine apparently sucks, is everything.

Barb watches Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters on Sunday nights. I don't watch either show, but I'll sometimes sit with her while she does. She appreciates this up to the point when I start snoring.

Cold Case has been one of my favorites. However, while the characters still interest me, the stories have been on the weak side for the past couple seasons. I was surprised when the series was renewed, but I'm thinking this will be its final year.

In the "instant update" department...

The second episode of Cougar Town was a comedic train wreck. Courtney Cox's character went from funny to pathetic, which gave Dan Byrd (playing her son Travis) nothing to work with. The rest of the cast was even worse, so this show becomes my first casualty of the new season.

Much to my amazement, Wednesday's Law and Order: Special Victims Unit is on my own personal bubble. In the real world, the station house incompetence shown by the characters in the last few minutes of the show would lead to several of them losing their jobs and the police department facing a wrongful death lawsuit of epic proportions. You can stretch my belief, people, but you can't outright shatter it.

Feel free to share your own thoughts on the new TV season at my message board:



With the release of 1000 Comic Books You Must Read mere weeks away, Comics Buyer's Guide editor Brent Frankenhoff interviewed me about the book. You can find a link to this audio podcast by going to:


Back Issue #36 [TwoMorrows; $6.95] is devoted to comics monsters of the 1970s and 1980s. Included among the fun contents are Ian Millsted's "Pro2Pro" interviews with legendary artist Dick Ayers and yours truly on the subject of our short-lived "It! The Living Colossus!" collaborations. Kudos to editor Michael Eury for another fine issue.

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'm taking a week off from TOT so that I can recover from Mid-Ohio-Con, do some household stuff, and look for work. But I will be back on Monday, October 12, to thrill you anew.

Tony Isabella

<< 10/01/2009 | 10/02/2009 | 10/12/2009 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined and view my Amazon Wish List.

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Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.

Please send material you would like me to review to:

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