Saturday, November 03, 2007

Tube Notes: HBO is in the doldrums. The Wire doesn't start until January, but checl out the teaser at YouTube. More Deadwood is less likely every day. But there is new stuff coming.

True Blood, a series based on the Southern Vampire books written by Charlaine Harris, should work well with Alan Ball (Six Feet under) as the head cheese behind it. I read the first book in the series in anticipation. It was entertaining escapism, think of them as a wry, ironic take on Ann Rice themes. It should work well as an HBO series.

In Treatment, in from Mark Wahlberg, who was behind the fast failing Entourage. It's a riff on an Israeli series with stories told from varying points of view between therapists and patients. I'm dubious on this one. One wrong move and it turns in to a dramatic version of "Oprah." We'll see.

Anatomy of Hope is a series about cancer patients and their battles. It is going to have to tread a thin line to avoid becoming a sentimental weepfest. Strangely, this is coming from none other than J.J. Abrams of "Lost" and "Alias" fame. Maybe the cancer patients get involved in a conspiratorial organization far more secret than the CIA. Or something.

12 Miles of Bad Roads, about a large, wealthy, eccentric Dallas family has comedy potential, and star power. But a "portrait of eccentrics," while nice as a one shot deal, can't sustain a series. They'll need a direction and an ultimate goal to avoid going soapy.

Whitney is sad. A Sex and the City rehash with the four promiscuous women in Miami instead of NYC.

So of the known new series I am truly optimistic about one, and reservedly optimistic about another. Not good.

On the bright side, David Milch appears to be moving on from the mess that was John from Cincinnati back to the cop genre and is working on a show set in the 1970s about the Knapp Commission that looked into police corruption and begat Serpico. That could be cool. And David Simon is looking into setting his next series in New Orleans, focusing on musicians. So there is reason to hope.

One more HBO thing. The last word on The Sopranos comes from an interview with David Chase. He strongly indicates that Tony was killed in the diner and also said it doesn't matter, which I was right about. He is less pessimistic about the fate of Meadow and A.J. claiming that, while they are certainly messed up because of their father and his criminality, at least they didn't fall into it. They may suffer throughout their lives because of it, but at least they are out.

Over at AMC, Mad Men came to a close. The finale was a mixed bag. Don's uncertainty about the fate of his marriage worked well. Peggy's pregnancy did not. But I am extremely optimistic for next season. I really get the sense this show will hit its stride. The character of Don Draper is one of the most complex on TV. I also hope that they are already contemplating how to end the series because as I have pointed out before, having the end in mind is what stops you from meandering into mediocrity.

Meanwhile, in January AMC is going to give us Breaking Bad a dark comedy in which, "a high school chemistry teacher takes a match to his straight-laced existence - turning a used Winnebago into a rolling meth lab." Ha! Bring it!