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Monday, February 20, 2006

Wacky week in TV: Veronica Mars campaign, West Wing poll, NYPD Blue and Lost

March 9, 2005

It’s been a funny week in television. Not a “ha ha” kind of funny, but “there’s-a-full-moon-out-and-my-cat-is missing” kind of funny.

Let me explain.

Last week, I achieved the one goal to which all television writers aspire: to be published in TV Guide or its online counterpart. Yep, there I was in the March 2 Ask Ausiello column, along with Spike, Wendy the Snapple lady, and Greg Grunberg of Felicity and Alias fame http://www.tvguide.com/News/Ausiello/AskAusiello/default.htm?rmDate=03022005. It’s a proud moment, Tubers.

As if that wasn’t proof enough that things are a little strange, consider this wackiness. Apparently, I’m not the only one who obsesses a little too much over The West Wing. Pollster John Zogby, who often asks Americans who they think will be elected president, surveyed viewers of the show for an election poll. He asked fans which fictitious presidential candidate they prefer to take over the White House: Republican Arnold Vinick, played by Alan Alda, or Democrat Matt Santos, played by Jimmy Smits. Smits was the favorite, 44 percent to 28 percent. Supposedly, Alda wasn’t as popular with female viewers. (Obviously, those polled never saw him smooching Hot Lips Houlihan.)

Before you go checking the planet alignments for some explanation to this craziness, take a look at some other weird happenings in the world of television.

Veronica Mars - The fans of this show launched an Internet campaign to save their beloved detective from cancellation. They are sending fake $2 bills (a clever prop used in one episode) to the UPN network to show their support. I admit I’ve tried everything short of bribery to get you to watch this show, and believe me, people, that’s not out of the question at this point. But, despite my endorsement and other critical praise from across the globe, Veronica just isn’t scoring in the ratings. Frankly, I’m baffled. It’s really good television, something rarely seen these days. Each episode has an entertaining mystery plot and Kristen Bell portrays Veronica as a spunky, fun, hipper Nancy Drew. This isn’t a teen drama, as it’s often been billed. It’s a mystery drama with some of the wittiest lines on the small screen. Do you really want another show like America’s Next Top Model? Work with me here, OK? It just so happens I have the address for UPN network president Dawn Ostroff, where you can write to support the show. Send letters to 11800 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025. Hopefully, America will get a clue and tune in to Veronica at 9 p.m. Tuesdays.

Lost - A curse of a 1,000 Hurleys on the writers of this show, if they don’t start resolving some of these dangling stories. Last week, we learned Hurley is a millionaire with some seriously bad luck. I like ongoing story arcs as much as the next gal, but trying to keep the myriad mysteries straight is enough to confuse even the most seasoned TV critic. I’m starting to think it may take the Rosetta Stone to decode all the plot pieces.

CBS News - Legendary journalist Dan Rather steps down tonight as evening anchor for CBS News. No matter how you feel about Rather, his final show is history in the making and shouldn’t be missed.

NYPD Blue - Brash, authority-hating detective Andy Sipowicz is now the boss at the 15th precinct. I know. It’s surely a sign of Armageddon. The series finale seemed a little anticlimactic last week, but it couldn’t have been more perfect. It showed that life will go on for our crime-fighting detectives.

Summerland - Last summer’s surprise hit drama returned last week. Sure, I was happy to see Ava and the gang, the rolling ocean waves, and the sandy beaches. But I’m just not sure how well this show will work during the regular season. I mean, it’s named Summerland after all. And, well, it isn’t summer. Technically, it’s not even spring yet.

Originally published 3/9/05 in The Exponent Telegram newspaper.


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