The Week In TV: The Walking Dead (The New Series, Not Charlie Sheen)
I'm slightly sunburned, spoiled by three-day weekends, and trying to figure out whether I want an iPad. This was the week in TV Land:
• So, the iPad came out, as you have heard about from every news outlet imaginable, and several TV apps have already been announced. Yahoo's entertainment portal will be available, and Hulu is prepping an app that will likely be fee-based. ABC has an app that offers streaming content, but it's the only network to do so, though it's only available over wi-fi. Thanks to the iPad's lack of Flash and the reluctance of nets like NBC and Fox to offer streaming content for the new device, there aren't a ton of TV options right now for the iPad. Then again, that's new TV. If you want to watch older shows offered via Netflix's Watch Instantly program, the free iPad app will allow Netflix members to access their queues and watch movies and TV shows. In order to really let you know the pros and cons, I should probably get my hands on one, so whoever wants to buy me one is more than welcome.
• Charlie Sheen, everybody's favorite wife-beating Hanes spokesman, is making noises about wanting to leave CBS' Two and a Half Men at the end of its current seventh season, which would probably do irreparable damage to the show and maybe usher in its ending. However, he hasn't officially issued any statement to the effect, and it's likely just a leveraging tool to get more cash from CBS, which last year gave the show a three-year pickup through 2012. Sheen's probably not dumb enough to walk away from an easy gig on a lowbrow sitcom that's one of the biggest in the country, so this is probably just a way to raise his paycheck. But still, wouldn't it be nice if the show really did end?
• This might be cool: AMC has ordered six episodes of The Walking Dead, based on the comic book of the same name about the zombie apocalypse. The series is great, and the idea of a running series about a lengthy narrative would mean a potentially more faithful adaptation than a feature film might be able to offer. Potential downside: It's being written and directed by Frank Darabont, whose feature credits almost solely consist of Stephen King adaptations except for the mawkish The Majestic. Will the series be all about the healing power of a wrongly convicted black man, or will it stick with the zombies? Who knows. But it hits the air in October, and it'll be worth checking out.
• So, we're halfway through the final season of Lost, and it's mostly been pretty good. I always feel I have to qualify my feelings for the show in some way: I've been a devoted watcher for years, but it's not as if I'm kidding myself into thinking I'm watching something that really connects on a personal level, at least as much as the shows I've come to treasure have. It's usually fun, and at its best it's the kind of pop mystery show that only happens every decade or so, but as things get closer to the finale, I can't help but wonder if part of my fandom is based not in the joy of seeing the characters but in the sheer mechanical tension of wondering what will happen. And sure, that's always a part of any show, but is it enough? I mean, I'm really enjoying the show now, but is it the kind of show I'll rewatch years on? Does it need to be? Who knows. Maybe I'm just bouncing back from the letdown of a weak episode (at this point I don't care if Sun finds Jin again, just so long as she shuts up about it for a couple hours). Am I overreacting?
• NBC comedies are in repeats for a while, and though there's definitely a pro/con argument to make about avoiding a potentially dreary installment of The Office but missing out a winning ep of Community, the bigger issue is that I still can't believe we have to deal with reruns like this. Smaller nets like FX have a great rotation model where a new season will air in a given slot -- say, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET -- until it ends, at which point a new show will be cycled into that same position. That's a great way to promote variety and eliminate repeats. It's also been nice to see shows like 24 and Lost streamlined and given compact seasons in which a new episode airs every week, with no interruptions for reruns. It would be amazing if the big three could come up with a feasible way to do this. I'd even be happy to stick with the traditional September-May season if they'd show nothing but new eps except for a six- or eight-week break at some point. Between Lost and premium cable shows, I'm getting spoiled on seeing new episodes when I want them, and I'm tired of having to hold out and wait for the networks to come back with fresh material.
I'll tell you what is happening this week, though: Justin Bieber as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. I'm not sure that the presence of Tina Fey as host will convince me to watch.