Well, my stats page seems to be broken, so I can't reports some of the frankly bizarre search terms people have been using to get here lately (more hits for "sex bloggs", though, which is possibly a good thing. But probably not). In fact, I'm number one in google for this phrase. Whoopee! I'm number one! So, in lieu of another tedious dissection of idiot net users search terms, something else instead.

Death and Television

For some reason, death has suddenly become very popular on US TV. No idea why. The obvious but wrong suggestion would be the wild success of "Six Feet Under", but let's face it, Six Feet Under might be a hit with a critics, but no one actually watches it. It's on HBO, which means that the potential audience is pretty small, and anyone who can get HBO also has about another 150 channels to choose from. But anyway. Now there's a whole host of death themed shows fo you to pick from.

First up is the rather obvious Dead Like Me. It's a high concept show, the concept being that a bored and boring teen with nothing to say for herself dies suddenly. But, rather than letting that be the end of it, instead she becomes a "grim reaper", and has to collect the souls of people who are about to die, for no adequately explained reason. It's a moderately entertaining concept, and the first episode sets this up quite nicely, and introduces the quirky other reapers. But, as with all things high concept, it rather flounders with the switch to having regular episodes. The second episode is incredibly tedious: it spends far too long recapping the first, and then meanders about with no story and no character development and pretty much nothing to show for itself. Perhaps things will improve with time.

Another supernatural / dead people program is the abysmally titled "Tru Calling". Eliza Dushku gave up the opportunity to appear in one or more of the inevitably-going-to-be-awful Buffy spin offs to take a chance on this Fox drama. Hmm, that really ought to be your warning sign already: "Fox Drama". The concept here is a mix of several other shows and movies: take a pinch of "Quantum Leap", a dash of "Early Edition (where a guy gets tomorrow's paper, today -- which is a whole other rant about shows which sound really bad when you summarize them in one line, but when you actually watch them, they're only quite bad), a slap of "Sixth Sense", and a tickle of, well, "Six Feet Under", I guess. Oh, and Angel, too, now I think about it. Have I whet your appetite yet? Or possibly destroyed it completely? Anyway, the idea is, get this, that Tru works in a morgue (natch), where the fresh corpses talk to her. You know, "How's your day been? You wouldn't believe what happened to me...". Tru then falls unconscious, and wakes up back at home the day before, where she gets to run around a lot (why the girl doesn't invest in a bike, or at least a decent bra, if she's going to do all that running, I don't know) and try to stop the person dying, and thus, I don't know, save her from endless Groundhog Day-style repetitions.

The show hasn't actually aired yet -- it's currently scheduled for October/November time, but thanks to internet geeks with too much time on their hands, I watched a copy of the pilot. It is incredibly bad for several reasons. Let's just list a few, shall we?

a) Tru displays evidence of "Incredibly Slow on the Uptake" Syndrome. When you wake up to exactly the same song on the radio as you heard yesterday, when your boyfriend makes exactly the same comments about what he's going to do today, when the date doesn't appear to have changed since yesterday, and when you switch on TV and see exactly the same numbers being picked out on the lottery as yesterday then, chances are, you've somehow slipped back in time a day. If you've watched pretty much any naff sci-fi show or movie ever, then you should be able to work it out.

b) When you call your best buddy who happens to be a computer geek who sits by the phone all day writing computer games singlehanded and who is obviously obsessed with you, it is still considered unusal to immediately launch into a conversation about exit wounds. In real life, people usually ask a few questions about why you want to find someone's address before hacking into the telephone records.

c) The crass and fairly heavy handed references to Dushku's past TV appearances. Either that, or the lines "Well, you've got to have a little Faith" and "You're my Angel" really haven't been thought through properly.

d) To point the finger at the wrong murderer once might be considered unfortunate; to point the finger at two innocent people looks like carelessness. Honestly, how many false leads do you need in one forty minute show?

Maybe they can sort this out before the show finishes shooting. Maybe they'll have the good sense to sort out the more awful characters, like the computer geek hacker... and Tru's boyfriend... and her sister... and brother... in fact pretty much all of the secondary characters are quite losable. But, perhaps the only real fix for this show is to can it completely, and stop it being made at all. If only there was some way to go back in time and prevent it from ever happening...

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