More of This and That
Sunday’s National League game was just amazing. A classic we’ll be talking about for years to come. Things I liked about it: Roger Clemens coming in and pitching one-hit ball for three innings, laying down a great sac bunt and then making certain the spotlight was on Chris Burke, who hit the walk off homerun. The Braves played a great game, just not great enough even though they still had fresh arms available as the 18th inning dragged on. I feel somewhat sorry for Joey Devine who looked nervous out there but his stuff also looked very good. I can see why they rushed him to the Big Leagues and suspect he’ll be around for a while.
The Yankees, mean time, got sent home and for that I’m thankful. They did not play like a juggernaut all season, somehow squeaked to the top of their division and then got beat by a clearly superior team. With luck, GM Brian Cashman will be allowed to rebuild carefully with an eye towards the future and not some wholesale clean sweep that will reduce payroll and have them playing like the 1969 Yankees (or pick your favorite post-Mickey pre-Reggie team).
We finally sampled Commander-in-Chief and like it. Robbie decided to watch the second episode with us which flummoxed me. I asked why he’d want to watch this but not West Wing which has superior characters and sharper writing. He explained he preferred the balance between work and home life, that the new show was less about the politics. OK, I’ll give him that. I do like that the older daughter has policy issues with her mother but so far, all three kids are shallow. Kyle Secor’s first husband is also lacking some depth. Geena Davis has been rock solid. Donald Sutherland on a TV show has great promise, but honestly, he needs to be more than a political Snidely Whiplash.
I’m also going to be curious to see the series’ second half of the season which should about the time Steven Bochco’s influence should be felt. He was announced as replacing creator Rod Lurie as overseer so it’ll either toughen up to reflect Bocho’s other prime time shows or it’ll soften him up.
As for the other political series on TV, this year’s West Wing feels sharper than last year. Oddly, though, even though we see plenty of Santos staffers, edging out the familiar Bartlet cast for screen time, we still don’t know anything about them. By now, Sorkin would have allowed everyone to be shaded to some degree. And the fact that we’re seeing so much of the Santos campaign and staff versus the Vinick Campaign makes me wonder if John Wells is misleading us to think Santos will win or just prefers them. Still terrific television, especially compared to so much of the competition.
Smallville got great press over the summer for the casting of James Marsters as Brainiac and the arrival of Aquaman this season. Over the last two weeks, the press has focused on how well it has performed over the first two airings, taking third in a highly competitive timeslot (you know, opposite Alias, I Hate Chris, and Joey). I have to admit I stopped watching around halfway last season because I thought they jumped the shark and would never fix things. Well, I’ll admit, the first two outings were stronger than last year and promise a good solid season. That being said, I have a lot of trouble understanding how the Jor-El A.I. managed to strip Clark of his super-powers, if the powers were a result of Kryptonian physiology reacting to Sol and Earth conditions. Oh well, nothing’s perfect.
Our family has also been enjoying Grey’s Anatomy which boasts an appealing cast, a fine mix of medical and soap opera storylines and feels fresh. Which cannot be said for E.R. which may be past its shelf date. We continue to watch, somewhat out of habit, somewhat because we still like some of the characters but it has yet to feel compelling as it has in its earlier years.
Got in the first bound set of Absolute Crisis on Infinite Earths yesterday and I am very, very pleased. George Pérez’s new covers sparkle, Louis Prandi’s design is terrific from end to end, and the Compendium volume should provide hours of reading to the diehard fans who want all the nitty gritty.
I also received the OK too bind sections for my very first DC-related archive, Golden Age Hawkman and it looks pretty sharp. I hadn’t read many of these stories and liked Gardner Fox’s variety, a mix of high adventure and pulp silliness. While artist Shelly Moldoff has taken knocks for his Alex Raymond-inspired art, it’s very good for its time and I can see why he was a favorite of management.
Meantime, I’m floored by the positive responses I’ve been reading regarding the Showcase Presents line. The first three are now out and the response has been something like 99% positive. Heck, they even compliment the page numbers. I’m working steadily now, having finally gotten into a rhythm on these books and we’re running ahead of schedule on January’s Green Arrow volume so all is good.
And at home, I’m still waiting word from all the various editors so I’m focusing on campaigning, and other little projects.