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Monday, February 20, 2006

More new show reviews: Veronica Mars, Desperate Housewives, Kevin Hill, The Mountain and Lost

October 6, 2004

I’m making a fearless prediction here: 2005 may be the best year in television we’ve had in years.

Based on the fall shows that have already debuted, it suddenly feels like the glory days of the '90s again. That was the decade that gave us Buffy, Felicity, Dawson, Seinfeld and Friends. Despite the fact that creative genius Joss Whedon won’t have a show on the air in 2005– I know, it hurts me, too – we may be OK. Here’s the proof.

Veronica Mars – Three stars. This show is getting plenty of critical acclaim, and rightly so. Veronica Mars – (how cool is that name?) – is a high school student by day and detective by night. She’s tough, quick-witted, and could teach courses in sarcasm. Of course, she has plenty of reasons to be sarcastic; She’s suddenly an outcast at school, where she once was popular. Her father was fired as the town sheriff. Her boyfriend dumped her. She was raped, and oh yeah, her best friend was murdered. (And you thought you had a tough time in high school.) Even with all those heavy storylines, Veronica Mars is funny. The writing is sharp and so is the sincere, humorous delivery, thanks to lead actress Kristen Bell. In Bell’s capable hands, Veronica has the intelligence, charm, and sparkle of those other take-no-prisoners teens Buffy Summers and Chloe Sullivan, but she has an originality all her own. Veronica is on the case to solve her best friend’s murder. Do yourself a favor and join her. Please? This is the kind of quality television we can’t afford to lose. Catch it Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on UPN.

Desperate Housewives – Two stars. Other critics have touted it as the season’s best new show. I don’t share that opinion. It wasn’t as good as I’d hoped or heard. It’s a mix of a black comedy, mystery, and drama with some soap opera elements. It’s odd I didn’t love this show. The story premise is interesting, and the cast is excellent, especially Teri Hatcher and Marcia Cross, who seem made for their roles. But it’s a little creepy in the suburban cul-de-sac of desperate housewives. I liked it. I didn’t love it. Catch it Sundays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Kevin Hill – Three stars. Taye Diggs shines as a charming attorney who inherits his cousin’s baby. The cousin was electrocuted trying to splice and steal cable. (The TV gal in me loves that.) While the gimmicky drama of inheriting a child isn’t new – (We saw it already this season on Summerland.) – Diggs brings a fresh perspective. It’s fun watching him go through the challenges of Mr. Mom, while juggling his social life and promising career. If that’s not enough to entice you, maybe this will: Diggs has quite possibly the best smile on television. Catch it Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on UPN.

The Mountain - Two stars. Poor David, he inherited a ski resort at beautiful Boundary Mountain. Sure, the place is packing a wad of debt and a rival resort is closing in, but how is this a bad thing? Oh yeah. He can’t be bothered by the day-to-day business of running the playground for the rich because he wants to race his motorbike. Oliver Hudson is good. But something just didn’t click in this drama. The best part is the breathtaking scenery and the cool action shots of airborne skiers and motor cross racers. Now, if only the plot was as daring. Catch it Thursdays at 8 p.m. on The WB.

Lost – Four stars. Seriously, why can’t all TV be this good? For those of you who continue to ignore my advice and avoid this winner, there will be consequences. I’ll be talking to Santa about you and your obvious lack of sense. No, ABC isn’t paying me to peddle this show. (I wish.) It’s just so fantastic that I want you to experience how innovative and exciting the TV medium can be when it tries. If you missed Lost, you can still catch up. Tonight is only the third episode. And before the show airs, ABC gives a lengthy recap of what previously happened so you won’t be – (I can’t resist) – lost. Catch it Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Originally published 10/6/04 in The Exponent Telegram newspaper.


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