The second half of season 3 of Battlestar Galactica began on Sunday night with Rapture. Despite some weaker standalone episodes in the middle of the first half run, the Eye of Jupiter/Rapture cliffhanger didn’t disappoint. Welcome home, Mr. President.
The show has already wrapped filming for season 3. The blooper reel has found its way on the the internets:

In the New Yorker, Tad Friend meditates on the differences between the British and American versions of The Office: The Paper Chase: Office life in two worlds: “The challenge that faced the American “Office” was to honor the spirit of the original while tweaking the workplace dynamics so that audiences would want to watch more than twelve episodes. The British scabrousness and barely suppressed violence is gone, and the Scranton office—brighter and noisier, with more posters, parties, and pep—is Slough on Zoloft.”
The difference in tone between the two was very obvious in “The Convict,” the first US episode penned by Ricky Gervais and Steven Marchant. The tone of the episode was more cringeworthy than usual for Scranton. While Steve Carrell and Ricky Gervais are the focal points of their respective shows, Mchael Scott is not David Brent and the jokes that work with one don’t necessarily work with the other. Friend explores the distinction in the New Yorker with both depth and elegance.

In Slate, Spencer Ackerman looks at the real-world context of Battlestar Galactica: Battlestar: Iraqtica: “Like many science-fiction shows before it, BSG concerns itself with the porous membrane between humanity and barbarism. Unlike most of its predecessors, however, it has the benefit of an open-ended, real-life war as its backdrop, making its lessons about barbarism unavoidably resonant.”

Studio 60 is perhaps the most talked about new show on television this year. And for good reason– it may be the best of the new crop, but also the one that fails to live up to its potential.
The problem with Studio 60 is that the sketch show (the show within the show) is not funny. It’s about as funny as recent Saturday Night Live. That’s not good. And that would be fine if the show didn’t believe that the sketches were funny. But the Sorkin-penned Studio 60 thinks that his alter-ego’s show is the most brilliant comedy writing since the Colbert Report. It’s not.
If the show realized that, it would be more believable. The actual show– the light-hearted drama show– would live in the reality-based community. And it would be funnier, too.

Lesson for all future Amazing Racers, courtesy of the Cho brothers: if, while on a train, you pantomime talking on a cell phone to talk to a ticket agent and book tickets, your opponents might actually get on a cell phone and book tickets. Actually, if you give any opposing team the idea of something to do to get ahead, the opposing team will probably do that.
Flight drama! The last few races have been relatively weak on teams actually having to work the airport to get better flights. It’s good to see teams working the airports.
The simple juxtaposition of perception diverging from reality is entertaining. For example, “We do not think we’re in last” while a “currently in last place” caption is on screen.
And finally, the rules changes for TAR 10 have at least one change for the better. The new NEL penalty is a major improvement. It’s a real penalty affecting time– the most important part of racing. And, it affects teams at the end of the next leg– so, unlike losing time at the beginning of a leg, the penalty won’t be eliminated at a bunch point.
The only drawback of this penalty, as opposed to a time penalty at the beginning of the next leg, is that it is more difficult to explain. The beauty of the Amazing Race is that the rules are all straightforward and easy to understand: Teams of two racing from place to place, solving clues and completing tasks to get the next clue. The last team to arrive is eliminated. That’s it. It’s a simple formula that is difficult to improve upon. The new NEL penalty, however, is logical, and shouldn’t be too confusing to explain in the next episode.
As far as the effect on the tension of finishing the next leg, the NEL penalty could go both ways. If the non-eliminated team arrives in the middle of the pack, with one of the other trailing teams far behind, the trailing team’s demise is not certain until that team hits the mat. However, if the non-eliminated team is in a close footrace to the mat with another team to avoid elimination, that could detract from the drama of the situation.
No matter what happens with the finishes on the next leg, this penalty is a major improvement.

These are the television shows that I’ve been watching and will continue watching in the current season (and discussing here at BRR):
The Amazing Race. This is the 9th race already? Wow. (Even though the series is “The Amazing Race 10,” the Family Edition doesn’t count. Sorry.) The information that’s leaked out about the route makes this season sound like it will visit interesting destinations and the route should induce some killer fatigue. Is the Race be the best reality competition show? Premiers Sunday 9/17 at 8:30.
The Simpsons. If the characters aged, Bart would now be 27 years old, Lisa, 25, and Maggie 18. It probably should have ended years ago. After more than 300 episodes, there isn’t much the characters haven’t done, and the new shows have become more cartoonish and tied to pop culture. They probably won’t age as well as the episodes from the earlier seasons. But the quality is still good relative to most other series and I’m still watching. Just not while it is on opposite TAR. Premiered last Sunday, 9/10. The White Stripes guest voice this week.
Family Guy. No, it’s not plot or character driven. The jokes are random. But it’s still funny. Premiered last Sunday, 9/10.
Lost. Do the producers have a clue as to where they’re going? Will it start to X-Files out? Does it matter? After the season 2 finale, I’m heading back to the island for season 3. Premiers Wednesday 10/4.
My Name is Earl. The high point of the series so far has been the pilot. The episodes suffer the danger of becoming formulaic. But it’s entertaining. Premiers Thursday 9/21.
The Office. It’s not the British version. But it’s developed into the best comedy on network television. The characters are real. It has its own unique rhythm and puts the characters in hilariously uncomfortable situations better than any show since Seinfeld. Premiers Thursday 9/21.
Doctor Who. It’s lighter than BSG. It’s not as cheesy as the old Doctor Who series.
Battlestar Galactica. The best show on television? Quite possibly. It’s also very bleak. Will the characters ever have a good day? The colonists resume the battle against their new (sexy and evil) robot overlords on Friday 10/6. Webisodes are available Tuesday and Thursday at SciFi Pulse.
The Daily Show. With a lot of turnover in correspondents this year, is TDS in danger of losing its edge? Probably not.
The Colbert Report. In its first year, the Report has proven to be more consistently funny than its lead-in. You’re on notice.
Mythbusters. This summer’s new episodes haven’t been all that great, but have filled in admirably during a bleak summer season.
Good Eats. Education and entertaining. Alton Brown is the Food Network’s MacGuyver. In a good way.
South Park. Bitingly satirical and funny.
So that’s as much as 12 hours of TV per week, which is something like 10 hours of actual viewing per week. And I’m considering adding new shows to watch? Yikes. That’s an upcoming post.

Well, it’s a choice.
Not the choice that I would have made, especially after hearing the Glam Hobbit sing the [band to be renamed later] songs that Toby and Magni sang previously. Maybe the lyrics on the Supernova album are so bad that they want a singer who no one can understand?
I don’t quite understand Gilby’s reason for booting Magni. He seemed like he was too much a member of the band? Um, aren’t you looking for a member of your band? Or are you looking for an Axl Rose type?
Perhaps Mark Burnett and CBS should have waited until after announcing the winner to show a promo for Survivor: Racial Tension that used the dreadful “Headspin” as its soundtrack.
Fortunately, we can forget all about [band to be named later] and the supernovices now.
Though I probably will actually buy Throwing it all away and Ladylike when they hit iTunes.
This season went on at least one week too long. Or maybe Burnett needs to license more songs for next season to avoid these retreads in the last few shows. But then the band seemed to have enough of an idea who these singers are to make up their minds a few weeks ago. And according to the rumors floating around the web, it seems like the band did make up their mind a few weeks ago.
For next season, shoud MBP try to find another long-standing band without a singer (I’m looking in your direction, Van Halen) or create another less-than-supergroup to start from scratch? I actually kind of like the blank slate for purposes of the show, even though the band created for the show is probably not going to be any more interesting than this one.
Elsewhere: Like two stars colliding… in a courtroom (Discussing the preliminary injunction granted that prevents this band from using the name “Supernova” in connection with performing rock music. Maybe they should officially go with “Suave Porn.”)