ENTERTAINMENT/TELEVISION

Heavy Hittin’ Summer Picks

There is nothing like a good old 5.4 magnitude earthquake to shake you into a reflective state of mind. For example, once I crawled from under my dining room table, I began to wonder about the merits of seeking refuge under a 500 pound piece of furniture. I would really like to know, how many lives have been saved in an earthquake by hiding under a table or desk? I need to judge the value of that advice. We all have occasions where we rely on advice from others. We don’t always let those who offer us advice know the value of their suggestions, or the complete disaster that resulted.

I began to reflect on the recommendations I’ve given here at Tube Talk. Since we’re about half way through the summer, I thought I’d turn my critical eye on myself, the same way I judge sports reporters. I love when sports reporters make predictions. After the game, there’s a winner and a loser. The reporters share the thrill of being right with the win and agony of being as useless as the loud mouth, drunken fan with the loss. What I love most is the accountability. If there was an injury report for writers, it would be filled daily with men and women hyper extending their arms, patting themselves on the back for the wins they guessed right. On the other hand, most of them stand up and say “I got it wrong” and brace themselves for the verbal flogging following a loss.

Last week, “America’s Got Talent” was the top rated show. Rounding out the top ten were, “Two and a Half Men”, “60 Minutes”, “NCIS”, “CSI: Miami”, “Criminal Minds”, “Wipeout”, “So You Think You Can Dance”, (twice), “Dateline” and “House”. (“SYTYCD” Thursday and “House” tied at #10). I have recommended 6 of the top 10 rated shows on television. That’s not bad when you consider opinions of the arts are totally subjective. In addition, if I continue with my sports analogy, if you’re hitting average is 400 in baseball you’re in the Hall of Fame. I’m hitting 600!

I didn’t put “America’s Got Talent” on any of my lists but I must confess, I do watch. It appeals to me on the same level as “American Idol” and “SYTYCD” from the stand point of watching talented people getting a chance to make their dreams come true. It didn’t make my cut because I fast forward through Piers and David bickering as well as many of the filler pieces between the actual performances. I know everyone doesn’t have Tivo or DVRs, but my criteria is if I don’t watch the whole show as broadcast, It doesn’t make my list.

I’m a little off the mark with “Fear Itself.” My basic feeling about the show is the same. It’s attempting to tell unique stories, and I applaud that in a sea of rip off concepts. However, in the hour format I think they would benefit from telling 2 half hour stories. It seems like the hour versions have a good premise that just goes on too long and loses its bite. I still watch…hoping…but looks like I got that one wrong.

I didn’t have “Wipeout” on my list either, and I have to “fess up” to watching that too. If you have neither the tolerance nor the time for “silliness” it’s not for you. However, if you get a good chuckle from regular folks busting their behinds, you’ll love “Wipeout.” My ten year old niece can’t stop laughing.

On a quick note, and a topic for a future blog, it is amazing how well represented people of color are in reality television, yet so scarce in scripted television.

I’m all over the dial, trying to give every channel a shot and find the hidden gems. If I’m missing something you like, let me know.

Let me get my remote!

Darryl Bell is an actor and Chicago native, best known for his role in classic TV series “A Different World” and Spike Lee’s “School Daze.” His unique television commentary is exclusive to Urban Thought Collective.


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