Ox Notes: January 3, 2008

Business Week has an article featuring highlights from last night’s return of the late night talk shows. Jay Leno beat David Letterman in the ratings, despite the fact that Letterman had writers and Leno didn’t.

TV Guide features another interview with cast members of the Dancing with the Stars Tour, this time with lovebirds Sabrina Bryan & Mark Ballas.

For some reason, I was fascinated by this in-depth article about Heather Mills’ declining mental well-being, fueled by her public divorce and the unexpected lack of offers following her appearance on the fourth season of DwtS.

Entertainment Weekly has the definitive cast list of Survivor: Micronesia. Jeff Probst gave his take on each of the contestants, all-stars and "super fans" alike.

Fox has revised its midseason schedule yet again.

The Golden Globes fail to strike a deal with the WGA, and Variety has an interesting article about all of the people, from celebrities to party planners, still unsure about what they’ll be doing on January 13.

At long last, the release date for the Battlestar Galactica Season 3 DVD has been revealed: March 25th.

TV Shows On DVD reviewed The Wire Season 4 DVD, and the reviewer made the excellent point that the show is really a live-action novel. It’s especially satisfying when watched straight through, as Greg and I did this past weekend.

Every other series that I love, such as Battlestar Galactica, has at least a few episodes that are so bad they interrupt the flow of the story. But in all four seasons, The Wire manages to avoid that trap. Every episode has a purpose in the larger scheme of things; there’s never a "throwaway" episode that only exists to fill a gap between plot points.

Like a book that takes a few chapters to get rolling, it may take a few episodes for a particular season of The Wire to hook you. But I don’t think any other series provides conclusions as satisfying.

A word of warning to anyone thinking about jumping into the series when the fifth season premieres on HBO this Sunday: don’t. Just as you wouldn’t bypass the first two books in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, you have to start The Wire at the beginning. Fortunately, the first four seasons total only 50 episodes, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly 50 episodes go by when you’re completely engrossed by the material.