Sometimes it's not just about the ratings. And sometimes it is. That's the takeaway from an eventful week in the win-some/lose-some sweepstakes we call TV programming.
On the plus side: TNT's renewal of Southland, the latest lifeline for the gritty police drama that NBC ditched during that misbegotten period when Jay Leno put the 10 pm drama on the endangered species list. It will never be as popular as the network's signature shows like The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles (which got a funny shout out from 30 Rock's Liz Lemon this week), but Southland's uncompromising integrity helps give credence to TNT's "We Know Drama" credo.
Dancing With the Stars (Monday, 8/7c, ABC)
Here we go again. Time to strap on the heels, attach the sequins and apply the spray tan. TV's giddiest dance competition returns for a new season, with the outrageous Kirstie Alley (paired with fan fave Maks) the highest-profile celeb in the cast. Her competition includes the usual suspects: athletes (Hines Ward, Sugar Ray Leonard), C-list performers (Ralph Macchio) a rapper (Romeo), a reality "star" (Kendra Wilkinson), a flamboyant talk-show host (Wendy Williams), a supermodel (Petra Nemcova) and a Disney personality few of the target audience will ever have heard of (Chelsea Kane). The mirrorball isn't the real prize for most of the contestants. Instant (if sometimes fleeting) stardom comes with the flashy territory.
The LoopIf I ran TV — and I eventually will, so treat me nice — I'd always air the second episode the night after the premiere, just like Fox did with this little gem. You can't go wrong! The folks who liked it in the first place get an immediate second helping, the fence-sitters don't have to wait a week to get a second look, and the naysayers... eh, who needs 'em. Me, I was happy to jump back into The Loop, and not just because I'm totally crushing on Darcy the overqualified assistant. I hear ya, sister. (Note to boss: Don't fire me.)
More importantly, last night's episode brought the funny in a big way. The "Jack" ads cracked me up, Philip Baker Hall's prom-queen metaphor was priceless, but the Joke of the Night award definitely went to foxy
The LoopThis show made me think. Really. It made me think that if I hadn't moved in with my buddies Dave and Jeremy right after college, I too might have ended up sharing a sweet, spacious apartment with two buxom lasses who parade around in little tank tops and are prone to fits of giggles. And that perhaps I overvalue Dave's and Jeremy's friendship.
But enough about my problems — we're here to talk about The Loop, Fox's latest foray into the magical land of Quirk. Come, come, friends! Into the Quirk! I'm happy to say that last night's premiere exceeded my expectations — though, to be honest, they weren't sky-high (did you see The War at Home? Yeah.). But The Loop has plenty going for it: It's genuinely funny (a scarce commodity these days), employs