Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What's with the interviews?

I don't know.

I'm on some odd interview kick. And I'll never apologize for that.

This time I went after the man who's TV article I recently published, Ted Cox.

Let me say, I strongly disagree with some of his statements (see his comments about "Arrested Development" and Kiefer Sutherland) yet strongly agree with others (criticizing Lost, praising The Sopranos).

WARNING: He doesn't mention Oprah once in this entire interview (I know, such audacity). So if you're hoping for a Winfrey lovefest, you might have more fun here.

DBrown: What's the best show on TV right now that nobody is watching?

Ted: Well, "nobody" is a relative term. I've always said "Gilmore Girls" was the best show on broadcast TV, and its audience is paltry compared with, say, "American Idol." Still, you're talking millions of viewers. Even fewer millions watch "Veronica Mars," so I guess that would have to be my answer. As for shows really nobody is watching, you could do a lot worse than "Slings & Arrows," a theatrical comedy from Canada on the Sundance Channel. Also "The Newsroom" on Ch. 11.

DBrown: Are there any current TV trends that you really like? Any that you don't like?

Ted: I like the general trend toward dramas getting more realistic. If you look back 20 or 30 years, the restrictions of commercial TV made for pat, formulaic dramas that weren't very realistic. "Hill Street Blues" broke through that, but even it seems tame next to "Homicide" or "The Wire" or "The Shield" these days. Family dramas have gotten more realistic too, as in the aforementioned "Gilmore Girls" and even "Everwood." "The O.C.," of course, is another matter.

DBrown: How do you as a critic differentiate the best shows and your favorite shows?

Ted: Well, I think you have to have catholic tastes and a solid sense of aesthetics -- how art works, what makes it effective. So even though I might personally be drawn to the cartoony violence of, say, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," I have to make sure it works as art and doesn't just press my buttons. Conversely, I have to be able to appreciate, say, "Everwood," which I find treacly and sentimental from time to time, but still respect for its acting and realism.

DBrown: Who are the best actors/actresses on TV right now?

Ted: Hugh Laurie is terrific as house. Michael Chiklis and James Gandolfini are both great, and very similar. I think Kiefer Sutherland is overrated. Kristin Bell is great as Veronica Mars. I like Felicity Huffman on "Desperate Housewives." I appreciate a lot of the "Lost" actors, even though I think the show is sort of lost itself.

DBrown: How has TV changed over the last ten years? How do you think it will continue to change?

Ted: The last 10 years have seen a bit of a retrenchment. Reality TV has changed everything, of course, as it provides cheap programming that frequently turns out to be a trashy hit. The money at stake is so huge, it has also made the networks more cautious. But "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" helped break the mold, and I think TV is better for it. Still, there isn't an "X-files" or "Homicide" or "Twin Peaks" or "Northern Exposure" out there right now, much less a "Seinfeld," although you have to respect any era that can produce "The Simpsons." As for cable, HBO continues to do great work, and FX and USA are doing their best to keep pace.

DBrown: What are the most overrated shows right now?

Ted: I think "Lost" just doesn't add up. It's thrilling from week to week, but I like a little more significance to the very best of TV. "Arrested Development" too I thought was a pedestrian comedy masquerading as something more than it was. For my money, it wasn't as daring as "Malcolm in the Middle" -- or as funny, for that matter.

DBrown: If you could only watch 3 shows a week, what would they be?

Ted: Well, this will change when "The Sopranos" comes back, along with "South Park" in March. For now, I'd say "Gilmore Girls," "Veronica Mars" and "The Shield," with apologies to "How I Met Your Mother," "My Name is Earl," "Everybody Hates Chris" and, yes, "The Simpsons," clearly in decline.

Thank you to Ted Cox for answering my silly questions.


Blogger mos said...

I'm a little surprised he was that critical of Keifer Sutherland. As for his opinion regarding Arrested Development, I say he's a lunatic particularly when it is compared to the likes of Malcolm in the Middle; those two don't belong in the same sentence.
I do, however, like the fact that he likes Mike "Chiki" Chiklis.

February 01, 2006 5:58 AM  
Blogger Jackie R. said...

Hee hee - I love it!

February 01, 2006 8:17 AM  
Blogger tory dolan said...

Gilmore Girls? Drew, what was I telling you? While typically thought of as a "girlie" show, the writing is super smart. Crazy amounts of dialogue. It's a good show. Maybe not a "Drew" show. But a good one.

February 01, 2006 8:35 AM  
Blogger dbrown said...

I actually think Malcom in the Middle is a great show. It makes me laugh out loud which is more than I can say for most comedies.

It may be good. I'm still not interested.

February 01, 2006 9:35 AM  
Blogger mos said...

I didn't say that I didn't like Malcolm in the Middle, I simply said that they don't belong in the same sentence.

As for Gilmore Girls, I'm with you, Dook. It's bad enough that I must endure Sex in the City. I can actually feel my testicles fall off.

February 01, 2006 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! Drew Brown has FINALLY linked Oprahs page to his blog!

Smart move Drew,smart move!

Women everywhere will LOVE you for this!

This is the best blog ever!!!

February 01, 2006 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey buddy!! so i dont think im liking that "women" are trying to tell you what to write about on your very own blog. obviously they dont knooooow you! so go ahead and phase them and write about whatever the heck you want. i like all the 24 talk. and i like you they way you are!!

February 01, 2006 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gilmore Girls! Eeeck! I cannot sit through one of those, the dialog is a marathon (like the infomercials) and the acting is superficial. Just like I cannot sit through a Friend's episode...u know that laugh machine going off on every other line just drives me nuts (don't believe me, time it for urself). My two cents worth.

- A girl

February 02, 2006 12:03 AM  

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