Entry for February 28, 2008: TV update

My thoughts are with Janice's mother Linda, who is recovering from knee-replacement surgery, and friend Corbin A.Y., who also has orthopedic work ahead after a spill this week.

Although the writers' strike is over in Hollywood, we'll have to wait until autumn for new episodes of many television shows, including favorites such as Heroes, Reaper, and Pushing Daisies. Still, there has been no shortage of stuff to watch, even for those of us who aren't big fans of reality programming.

On PBS, Janice and I have been following the "Complete Jane Austen," which is airing as part of the retooled "Masterpiece" (formerly Masterpiece Theater) on Sunday nights. We've also been following a ballroom dancing championship on Wednesday nights, and we caught dog breed (Westminster) and agility (AKC/Eukanuba) contests in the past month.

The closest we get to reality shows is watching Ninja Warrior and Unbeatable Banzuke on G4 or Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on the Food Network. Janice also watches some home-design shows on HGTV and other channels, but I'm usually busy with various games. Thanks to Stars/Encore/IFC, we've enjoyed "samurai Saturdays" and recent movies such as The Queen, and I hope to catch The Tudors on Showtime this spring.

I've fallen behind on military space opera spin-off Stargate Atlantis and cyberpunk prequel Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles, but I've caught up on Smallville and Torchwood. Although the young adult melodrama on Smallville has been drawn out, at least the presence of Oliver Queen/Green Arrow has encouraged belated character development.

I've previously mentioned how I think a lighter tone is helping the paranormal investigators of Torchwood be more sympathetic and interesting. Parent show Doctor Who will return to the SciFi Channel soon, joined by new spin-off Sarah Jane and computer-aided Sanctuary. I won't miss the "reimagined" Bionic Woman or Flash Gordon, which have been canceled.

Although Psych is also off the air for now, the comedic sleuths will return to USA's Friday night lineup this summer. The revisionist Battlestar Galactica will also be returning soon. While I expect to finish the well-made series, I hope the next crop of genre shows will be a bit lighter in tone.

This week, I've picked up the much-anticipated DVDs of Justice League: the New Frontier. I'll try to review the animated video the next week or so. There are a number of animated superhero series in the works, including Spider-Man, Wolverine and the X-Men, and Batman: Brave & Bold, plus the Batman: Gotham Knight and Wonder Woman direct-to-video releases. Of course, there are also numerous genre films coming this summer!