Sunday, September 09, 2007

Friday Night Heroes

I’m tired of Summer.

After weeks of high temperature and humidity, I’ve spent the last few days inside. For the first time in my life, I’ve developed allergies during summer. Every time I’m outside for more than an hour or two my voice gets as raspy as a lifetime three-packs-a-day guy. I even lost it entirely for a couple of days back in August.

I haven’t done much reading during my self-imposed living room incarceration. I picked up the Heroes Season One box set last week, and Norma and I have been watching a couple of episodes every evening. When the show premiered, we watched the first two episodes before my wacky schedule and inability to keep track of videotapes made me miss the next five (I know, I know; I need Tivo). The series has been a lot of fun so far. In fact, it’s now one of our favorites. I’m looking forward to the addition of Veronica Mars star Kirsten Bell to the cast in the second season.

Here’s a prediction: The ratings success and fast pace of Heroes will have a profound effect on Lost when it returns in the winter. I expect Lost fans will get answers (or something resembling answers) faster now. Unlike many, I never thought Lost’s producers had “lost” their way nor did I believe Season Three was bad. Quite the opposite in fact. But the scheduling of the show and the introduction of so many new characters and storylines without resolution of the show’s earliest mysteries led to a ratings drop. That, I expect, will turn around in the 16 episode fourth season.

And now, a marketing success story. I got my Heroes box set at Wal-Mart. When I opened the package, I found something called “A Wal-Mart Bonus Disc”. The bonus was an extended trailer for the new NBC version of The Bionic Woman and the first four episodes of Friday Night Lights.

The Bionic preview left me cold, but I watched the FNL shows and found myself hooked.

Yes, I went out and bought the first season of FNL. Your evil plan worked, Wal-Mart.

The drama about life in a small football-obsessed Texas town is well written. The acting is subtle and naturalistic. The use of handheld cameras lends the whole thing a documentary feel.

It looks like I have to find time between work and writing and reading and reviewing to watch another show. That’s okay. Sleep is overrated.

The Western Channel aired the original 3:10 To Yuma Friday night. This was the first time I watched it, at least as far as I remember. My Dad was a huge fan of westerns, so we watched nearly everything that involved a horse and a gun. Chances are I saw this Glen Ford classic when I was younger, but I didn’t remember it.

Ford is remarkable as the villainous Ben Wade and Van Heflin (Old Time Radio’s Philip Marlowe) gives a career-defining performance as the conflicted, desperate family man who is taking Wade to the train depot solely for the reward money. Even though the film seems a little rushed in places (and movie theme songs sung by Frankie Laine never did anything for me), 3:10 To Yuma is a lot of fun. I plan to see the Russell Crowe remake eventually, though it may wait for DVD. I don’t seem to make it to the theater as often as I used to, for a variety of reasons.

Ironically, I’m headed out in a few hours to see the new version of Halloween, since the Bengals don’t play today. 90% of the reviews have been terrible. But a few reviewers – including someone I trust – say it’s a classic. I’ll let you know.

No comments: