Monday, April 18, 2005

Toob Notes: Deadwood is still clipping along, but not quite at the stratospheric level of the first few episodes this season. I know I sound like a broken record, but the dialog is absolutely mesmerizing as it waffles between striking, almost Victorian, formal beauty and guttural profanity.

This site provides a pretty comprehensive background on what’s fact and what's fiction in Deadwood. Also noted is the actor who is playing Wolcott this season, Garret Dillahunt, is the same one who played Jack McCall last season. Dude has some serious range.

HBO has now produced the best cop show ever (The Wire) and the best Western ever. Amazing work.

In contrast, sitcoms, as we all know, had their golden age nearly a decade ago. The middle seasons of Seinfeld marked the high point. The long slow deaths of Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Will and Grace have marked the whimpering end of that era.

And still, amidst the wasteland of CSI in all cities over 5,000 people, Law and Order down to the meter maid level, and the unmitigated and unrelenting vulgarity that is called Reality, there are wonderful signs of life. The new comedies don't follow the strict sitcom path of gags and irony, instead seasoning their fare with farce, satire, and black comedy. I'm talking about shows like Arrested Development and The Office, both of which tread new ground (well, in the case of The Office, new ground on this side of the Atlantic). You could even lump Malcolm in the Middle or Scrubs in there if you were feeling generous. So things are not as bad as they seem. And as the Dark Age of Reality slowly wanes, we may yet see a renaissance of TV comedy with these shows leading the way.

That is, if they don't get cancelled.