Tuesday, March 30, 2004

I'm now three episodes into Wonderfalls, and I hate to say it but I was wrong before. It has superficial similarities to Dead Like Me, including the same creators, but the two series are light years apart in several ways. Wonderfalls, despite a mostly promising first episode, is sinking into a quicksand of cutesy quirky-for-quirky's sake, and the last three episodes have had me gritting my teeth at the inanity of the characters and the contrived situations they keep getting into. Dead has its share of quirk and cutesy, too, but the far superior ensemble cast knows how to underplay it, and apparently the writers of DLM also don't feel like they have to be writing Joan of Arcadia, Amelie, and My So-Called Life all wrapped into one package. And last week's eppy didn't even have Tracie Thoms in it! Oh well, even though I've just spent the best part of a paragraph knocking it, I still haven't given up on the show yet...but I'm getting fidgety.

HBO's Deadwood, on the other hand, is really developing a nice, gnarly drama out of all the muck, grime, and foul bodily functions which it delights in showing us. I get the feeling that almost anything could happen, even to the point of someone bumping off town bully Al Swearengen, which would be shocking (and unlikely, true), but it just serves to show how much I can't see where any of its going- and that usually always earns my attention. And props to Brad Dourif, who's endured countless crappy nutball roles in thousands of no-budget crapfest films to graduate to significantly better parts, mostly thanks to his turn as Grima Wormtongue. He's showing us several layers to his jittery town doctor, and it's one noteworthy performance in a show full of 'em.

This has been your weekly TV update. Tune in again tomorrow.

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