Notorious: Johnny Smith = Cordell Walker

Time for another round of Notorious, and I actually have quite a bit to talk about tonight. Just to get it out of the way now, however, I didn’t bother to TiVo the second episode of Hogan Knows Best, and I’m still scouring the internet to find a download of it. For right now, it’ll lay dormant though. All I know is that among my wrestling buddies Hogan Knows Best is the best thing going on TV right now, certainly above Raw and Smackdown, but more on that later.

Leading things off with The Dead Zone, and a more elaborate approach to what I’ve touched on in the topic of this flagship this week.

Now, you can blame the fact that this column is late on The Dead Zone, as I saved that show for last. In fact, I played through half of Destroy All Humans! before deciding that it wasn’t worth my time, and then watched the Machinist and even played a little bit more of GTA: San Andreas before finally getting to the Dead Zone early Wednesday morning.

The reason for this is that I felt, before watching this episode, that The Dead Zone was starting to show some subtle similarities to a rather infamous show: Walker, Texas Ranger. Now before I get my mailbox stuffed with messages about how radically different The Dead Zone and Walker, Texas Ranger are, realize this: Both shows are starting to be built on the idea that the main storylines need to be stretched out and filled in with easily solved one-hour plots. As far as the Dead Zone goes, the plots are fairly basic: Either someone is in distress and Johnny Smith has the task of getting them out of distress, or someone’s about to be in distress and Johnny’s going to keep it from happening. This seemed to keep repeating, and it seems that The Dead Zone is simply adding some gimmicks along the way, such as the double vision and whatnot.

Walker, Texas Ranger definitely follows the same ideal, having some reoccuring storylines but mainly focusing on Chuck Norris kicking ass for the Lone Star State. That is why I have every expectation that The Dead Zone will become the next Walker, Texas Ranger. You’ll be watching reruns of The Dead Zone ten years from now on USA, and the Hallmark Channel, and so on. There’s just so many of those convenient one-hour plot solvers that it puts the other coherent shows to shame, such as Lost, Desperate Housewives and The 4400.

But I will give The Dead Zone some credit in that this week’s episode actually had a pretty neat gimmick. The autistic kid illustrating the story for the weird woman narrator to tell had a very Desperate Housewives feel to it, and even though it was a unique story on its own (Johnny Smith has never had to deal with autism), they decided to spice it up a little more by adding the fairy tale feel to the whole thing. They could’ve probably saved that episode for something that would’ve been a little less stronger down the line this season, but it definitely broke up the monotony that I was feeling towards the show.

Touching all the other bases before heading into the final thoughts:

The 4400

“It’s A Wonderful Life” episode this time around, as there is no 4400 and life takes its natural course instead of being interrupted. Richard goes on to get killed in service, the mind-reading baseball player goes on to bat .300 lifetime, and things were pretty neat, all told. The one thing that I seemed to have issue with was the liberal use of time, going forward so fast in such little time that everything just seemed so crammed into the 40 minutes they were being allowed. They managed to keep bringing us back to the fact that in the real world, Kyle just murdered Jordan Collier, although I would’ve preferred the ending of the episode to be Kyle’s father learning about Kyle’s dirty deed (done dirt cheap) after having spent such a wonderful life with his entire family in this fake reality. All in all, it was a nice episode, but I’m ready for them to get back on track with the storyline.

Family Guy

The pop culture references were hot and heavy throughout the 22 minutes of this episode, and from the Neverending Story to A-Ha to Greg Louganis to the Goonies, I was enjoying it for the duration. Family Guy continues to polarize its fans by throwing more and more 80s pop culture references, and it seems that those that hate the fact so many pop culture references are being thrown in are starting to turn towards American Dad, even though that has appeared to go on break.

Robot Chicken

Napoleon Bonamite continued the trend of Napoleon Dynamite stuff getting insanely annoying, as I look at the Vote For Pedro shirt and just can’t help but think of the millions who have one of those shirts now, and just how unfortunately mainstream the Napoleon Dynamite thing got. It’s still pretty fun to quote every now and then, but it’s gotta be in the right context. You Can’t Do That on Robot Chicken was good stuff, as Breckin Meyer pitched a fit and it’s always fun to see B-level actors getting all crazy. The Mikey joke was awful and would’ve killed the mood for me if I didn’t know that something better was going to come right after it. This is the final episode of the season for Robot Chicken, but I’m not entirely sure yet if I’ll be ordering the DVD. Maybe I’ll save my money just in case MTV decides to release Wonder Showzen on DVD.

30 Days

Another fine episode from Morgan, as two people go all hippie and have to live off the grid. It was hilarious to watch Vito lose his mind towards the end, actually using the puppets to mock how his life was a hellhole without his meat. One of those hippies was hot, too. I forget which one, though. She was clearly going au natural, though, so she probably had hairy armpits like crazy. The vegetable oil-powered cars are the wave of the future, considering that everyone seems to be chowing down on french fries at an alarming rate these days, and watching Morgan drink water from an exhaust pipe was one of the most surreal things I think I’ll see until I start watching MythBusters again. The season finale is coming up, and it looks to be a doozy as a mom (MILF by the looks of it) tries to teach her daughter a lesson about drinking…by drinking herself stupid like her daughter. Lady, when your own daughter says she won’t be affected unless you die, it’s time to try and teach some other way.

Some quick thoughts:

— Raw and Smackdown aren’t getting much better, and Matt Hardy seems to be the only thing that can break Raw out from being Groundhog Day II. I almost wish HHH was around to spice things up at least a little bit, even if he’d only be putting himself over.
— Destroy All Humans is a nice game in concept, but it’s insanely short and is actually quite aggravating. It’s much more fun to cheat and just wreck everything in your path than it is to actually strategize away to outsmart the humans. Of course, there are some missions which require a little bit more than cheating, and that’s why I haven’t beaten the game (yet).
— The Machinist is a movie that can be classified as “out there”. Not quite as radical as Requiem For A Dream, but you can’t recognize Christian Bale as Batman in this movie. He’s so insanely skinny that there can be no doubt to him taking steroids to get back up to the ideal weight for Batman Begins. Anyway, a pretty screwed up thriller movie with plenty of twists and turns and a decent ending. Not as great as I thought it would be. Oh yeah, and Mean Creek (which was previewed before The Machinist) looks like a new version of Bully (from the maker of the awful movie Kids).
— Penn and Teller: Bullshit! is probably my favorite show on television right now, simply because they took a show about hair and made it hilarious. Hair is bullshit? They sure know how to drive a point home, too. I love it when Penn gets all serious. It’s dead sexy.

That’s all I got for this week. Come on back now, ya hear?