Three Things I’m Late On

Round-up time. If only each day was a few hours longer than twenty-four, I wouldn’t be so behind in posting these three items. If only!

First, I was lucky enough to be sitting about fifteen rows back from the third base line at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon when Alex Rodriguez hit that game-winning grand slam against the Baltimore Orioles — in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs and two strikes. I acknowledge that even an event as unique as that is flirting the edge of what readers of this weblog are generally interested in, but I just wanted to say it was one of the coolest, most exhilarating things I’ve ever seen.

As it happened, my Saturday turned out to be a great day for seats at live events. Later that evening my girlfriend and I had front-row seats to see “Jack Goes Boating,” a two-act production from Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz’s LAByrith Theater Company — both actors appeared in it as well. It’s currently in its original run right now at The Public Theater in downtown Manhattan. Even if it’s not a groundbreaking entertainment, John Ortiz’s confident, commanding and highly watchable performance reaffirmed my contention that he’s currently the best kept secret going in the world of acting.

Finally, I’m very, very late to the party on this one: Wow, have you seen “The Shield”? I’d completely missed this FX Network original series until now, but it’s unbelievably good. Oh, and while we’re talking television, one more thing… Sci-Fi Network’s Battlestar Galactica is the most overrated television show ever.

  1. If you like The Shield, you’ll love the much better HBO series “The Wire.” You’ll need to set aside week-long periods to binge on it season by season, so be warned.

  2. Funny. I haven’t gotten around to checking out Battlestar yet, but I crashed a table full of international web superstars in Seattle several months ago and someone said “You need to watch the new Battlestar. I’m not joking when I say, it’s the best TV series I’ve ever seen.” And then the rest of the table who had seen the series actually agreed! Every single one.


  3. I love The Shield and I’m late to the party just like you – I just started watching it a couple of weeks ago.

    I finally OD’d on Law & Order reruns and now my Tivo’s been hoovering up Shield reruns non-stop. Good stuff. Also it’s got an interesting melange of cop-show actors from other series.

  4. Battlestar has been off it’s game for the last two-thirds of this last season, but I still say it’s one of the best overall series on right now.

  5. I have to disagree, Wilson. I think it’s т pretty good television show, but if you look at all the episodes that are really outstanding during its run, there aren’t that many of them. You could boil all three seasons down to about twelve episodes of truly good programming, and then it might live up to all of the hype and praise it’s garnered.

    That said, I’m very unfortunately hooked. So many people I know said so many great things about this show that I had to give it a try. Those twelve episodes or so of good material were spaced out enough to keep me coming back, thinking the series would hit a stride and be uniformly good. Never happened… and now I’m in the habit of tuning in to find out if things are going to be good.

    Anyway, all of which is to say that it sucks.

  6. Word to the “The Wire”, it has to be one of the best shows on TV. Much much more than the normal police drama, more of a social commentary on the problems that plague an American city (including drugs). And like great Orioles baseball, the TV show makes its home in Baltimore. I will let you borrow the first 3 seasons if you come down here for another speaking event.

    On the topic of baseball, I was rooting for the other team but it was exciting none the less. We would have been 3-0 for the weekend until that home run, Rodriguez crushed that ball. That whole inning was so weird, there were like 3 walks. Jeter was hit by the pitch and then he wasn’t, did he swing at the pitch or not, Abreu gets nailed in the knee with the baseball but he is ok to run the bases… It was crazy on TV I can’t imagine the excitement in NY.

  7. I am very interested in your baseball stuff. A grand slam of that ilk is the baseball equivalent of an Australian footballer kicking a goal after the siren when you’re five points down. Absolute childhood dream stuff. Wish I was there.

  8. I’ve developed a horrid obsession with A-Rod’s redemption in the face of critics and teammates alike this year. As a Jays fan, it seems a bit unhealthy and unnatural. That said, I’ve made a pact with a friend to find a way to make it to New York before Yankee Stadium shuts down for good. Hopefully my visit’s as eventful as yours.

  9. While not having seen The Wire, in my opinion The Shield is the best show on TV, let alone the best COP show. And while you can kind of figure out what’s going on starting out new with this season, watching from the beginning brings in ALL of the many intricacies of the plot that you won’t get otherwise. Knowing everything that happened prior to this season makes it even better.

  10. Forrest Whitaker has taken The Shield up a notch. It’s the only show I am able to make myself watch on TV and the only one that surprises me (but I don’t have pay channels like HBO — not home enough).

  11. I’ve been watching The Shield for 3 seasons now, and have to agree that it is a fantastic show. But like a couple other people have said, The Wire is infinitely better. But that doesn’t take anything away from The Shield, since The Wire is infinitely better than any other show on television – and no, I didn’t major in hyperbole. My wife and I watched the first 3 seasons on DVD in 4 weeks, which works out to almost and episode and a half per day, and we still wanted more.

  12. Well, it’s all a matter of taste, but, yeah, you’re wrong about BSG. It’s easily the best show out there, and it ended amazingly well this season.

    The Shield used to be a great show. And then last season (and now this, it seems), it’s become *so* inwardly facing that I’ve totally lost interest. It’s dwelling on shit that happened 6 years ago. Who cares?

    That’s what I love about BSG — it pushes things forward relentlessly, and doesn’t dwell on the past. The New Caprica break was awesome (even if it didn’t quite get pulled off well). And with the end of season three, more propulsion forward.

  13. Hehe, okay, fair enough. I should have just written a post about “Battlestar Galactica”!

    Peter, I respect your opinion and the opinion of those who are fans of the show. I just have to respectfully disagree.

    Admittedly, I was just being testy when I said in my comment above that “it sucks.” It doesn’t suck. It’s a good show. It’s just not that good, in my opinion.

    I’ll summarize my argument here briefly: it has intelligence and ambitions that far outstrip its means and wit. It’s a show that frequently aims for huge story arcs, but at the end of the day it’s very limited in its scope.

  14. The Wire, MI-5 (or Spooks), and Deadwood are the best TV shows, still being made. Just as good were Coupling (funniest show ever), Prime Suspect, the short-lived Wonderfalls (only 13 episodes), and Dead Like Me, all available on DVD.

    Unless, that is, you’re a Joss Whedon fan, in which case, Firefly (only 13 episodes), Buffy, and Angel were the best.

  15. I’ve been a fan of The Wire since the first season, and there’s really nothing like it. Some shows are like novels, but the Wire is literature. The Shield is also a great show, and really pulls out all the stops in the cop show genre. As mentioned above, Forrest Whitaker has been a great addition, and his character is fantastic as played against Michael Chiklis’ Vic Mackey.

  16. RE: Battlestar Galactica


    Yet, there are people who think it’s the greatest show since sliced bread (you know what I mean). I find it to be a little…well…boring.

    But I’ve watched the CSI series since its debut with rapt attention, but can’t seem to get my head around any of the Law and Order series. Though they’re in the same genre, one floats the old boat, while the other makes me drowsy.

    Suffice it to say, heaping praise on any television series will either make you a hero or a villain.

  17. Alright, so after your Studio 60 post and now your post about Battlestar Gallatica it’s confirmed we’ve got almost exactly the same opinions on television shows. Now I don’t get the fancy cable packages, so I’m not up on a lot of the shows, I usually catch them on DVD later, but my favorite show this season was Friday Night Lights.

    Sure, it’s a feel good drama but it’s shot great and it’s not another doctor/lawyer setting. I’m assuming it’s got one season max left since it’s set in high school but I highly recommend it. It helped soften the blow for me when Studio 60 went off the air and we were without Sorkin content.

  18. If you don’t have a chance to pick up earlier seasons of The Shield on DVD, Spike is showing older seasons, I forget the scheduling, but it’s late night. They just wrapped the previous season a few weeks ago and seem to be working back.

    BSG does SSUCK! No reason to back off that comment. Dropping a few intelligent scifi themes into the most plodding soft porn soap opera is not intelligent TV… it’s mindnumbing. I can’t believe someone said it’s always propelled forward. It’s so damn boring!

    The Wire is certainly the best show. It has gritty realism like few other shows but The Shield, but it also has such intense literary form (the narrative arc requires a whole 10-14 episode season to reveal and complete itself, but each episode fully engages and moves the story forward) that once you expose yourself to the arc and structure of episode one, you will be sucked into season 1. Once you get sucked into the barksdales, you’ll be sucked into season 2… when you miss the barksdales in season 2, you’ll become blown away by the dock and Greeks. Season 3 will take a little while to get into, but will complete the major arc of 1-3. Then Season 4 will crush you… Seriously!

    I’ve watched Seasons 1-3 about 6 times now at least (Season 1 more), and it still blows me away… I can’t believe how much happens and how subtle the narrative is.

    With The Shield, there ar lots of storylines that fade in and out and are major arcs, but lots of little one off stories and tangents. In The Wire, everything always matters and everything has value in achieving the end of each season.

  19. Bizarre. I’m a little behind here.
    Yesterday I was drooling over and then read your ‘The Other Times’ . Last night I watched a few recent episodes of BSG; decided that BSG sucks (I’m a former devotee); and then read this post.

    The collective unconscious must be creeping down the east coast a week behind schedule. Or perhaps I’ve just been reading your blog for too damn long! Good thing your blog is better than Jamie Bamber’s acting.

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