Tube Talk: Weekend TV a vast wasteland

By Paula Hendrickson
Contributing Writer

As I type, this is the first weekend I’ve had in a while that hasn’t been busy with deadlines, cleaning, company or home maintenance. On nice weekends, I try to squeeze in a bit of yard work (yes, I actually do occasional yard work, even if I’m the only one who can tell). But it’s supposed to be rainy this weekend. I have guest dogs arriving soon for an extended visit, so I’m not going to waste too much time cleaning now—I’ll save the bulk of that for after they go home.

Nice rainy weekend, not much to do. Good recipe for vegging out in front of the TV, right? Wrong.

Unless you like sports, infomercials or really old movies, there’s not a lot worth watching on TV on any given weekend. Sure, there are 24-hour news channels, and you know I love The Weather Channel, but after hearing the same news and weather reports half a dozen times, it gets old. Fast. Thank goodness PBS still has This Old House.

So for the first time, I’m actually kind of glad that some of my favorite shows are airing opposite each other. Last week, I watched Glee and recorded Lost, so I can finally catch up on what happened on and off the island. I can also watch episodes of The Office and 30 Rock that I taped a couple nights ago. Oh, I haven’t watched last week’s Breaking Bad yet, either. That should occupy me for almost three full hours this afternoon if I forget to fast-forward through the commercials.

The truth is, on any given weekend, TV is a vast wasteland for anyone who doesn’t care for sports.

Occasionally some cable channels will have marathons or mini-marathons of their most popular shows, but the only examples I found today are for Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods and TLC’s LA Ink. I think I’ll pass.

Thankfully, viewing options pick up dramatically this week. NBC’s Chuck is back from a short hiatus, Glee and Lost continue their Tuesday night face-off, and this Wednesday, PBS’ Great Performances presents Hamlet starring Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation; X-Men) and David Tennant (Doctor Who). Despite Stewart and Tennant’s well-deserved sci-fi fame, both are riveting actors with strong theater backgrounds, so I anticipate a production well worth watching.

It’s also FOX Rocks Week, so expect to see several characters on FOX series break into song. While Jack and Chloe won’t sing a duet on 24, stars of Thursday night shows Bones and Fringe will sing. OK, anyone who heard David Boreanaz sing on Angel (the funniest part: “Mandy” was his go-to number) might not be eager to hear Booth sing, but Emily Deschanel is supposed to have a good voice. On Fringe—a show where anything is possible—the musical elements are supposed to be part of a story spun from the mind of music-loving mad scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble), so I’m curious how much Walter’s eclectic musical taste will be reflected in the episode.

If next weekend is slow and rainy, maybe I’ll re-watch some of this week’s shows.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Send in your suggestions to

From the April 28-May 4, 2010 issue

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