Back when it first hit the airwaves, I don’t think anyone — including the people in charge — could have imagined that SUPERNATURAL would eventually develop into one of the most complex, nuanced, emotionally-satisfying shows on the airwaves while still managing to work the phrase “bag of dicks” into the dialogue. But last night’s episode — Hammer Of The Gods — was without doubt one of the best hours ever produced by this show, once written off by many (myself included) as an X-FILES-meets-BUFFY knock-off. My favorite line had to be Baldur’s opening speech to the gathered deities: “Before we get down to brass tacks, some ground rules: No slaughtering each other. Curb your wrath. Oh, and keep your hands off the local virgins. We’re trying to keep a low profile here.” The twitterverse erupted with shouts of “nooo!” when Gabriel was killed by Kali, relief when it turned out he’d tricked the gathered Gods, and then “noooo!” again when he was done in by his brother, Lucifer, after another of those wonderfully intense family moments this show does so well. While many are extremely upset about his death, the fact is that for a tale involving the Apocalypse to have any gravatas at all, blood must be spilled, and it must be the blood of characters we have grown attached to. With the introduction of Matt Frewer (MAX HEADROOM) as Pestilence — who might be the most stomach-churning baddie ever introduced to the canvas — and only three episodes remaining in the season, the stage has been perfectly set for what I can only imagine will be one hell of a finale. Pun intended.
There’s nothing MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann — host of COUNTDOWN — likes to do more than take republicans in general and Fox News in particular to task for their scare tactics (such as the “death panel” talk that dominated health care reform at one point). So it’s somewhat ironic that in Olbermann’s usual spot last night, the network aired a special titled FUTURE EARTH: ADDICTED TO POWER which was chock-full of scary images like nuclear meltdowns, oil tankers being blown up and Boston being burned to a cinder. And of course, if you’re going to lecture the entire country on how dangerous its need for power is, who better to host than Sam Waterston, who has spent years lecturing juries as LAW & ORDER’s grumpy district attorney. Much like the republicans MSNBC makes its money skewering, this special put forth a whole lotta scary scenarios, but not a lot in the way of solutions.
Shame on AMERICAN IDOL for turning what should have been a feel-good, charity-driven outing into a chance to send a contestant home. Then again, with ratings going down faster than a five-cent hooker at a political convention, I suspect the show is going to start pulling a lot of desperation tactics. Yes, it’s still bringing in a whole lotta eyeballs, but the fact that it’s getting beaten by DANCING WITH THE STARS is going to cause a reaction, you mark my words. By the way, people: Really? IDOL and DANCING WITH THE STARS, the most-watched shows in the country? BETTER OFF TED is dead in the water, and DAMAGES is likely to be shelved, but hey, if everyone’s ready to make THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF PODUNK or JERSEY SHORE the new standard for popular viewing, at least I’ll still have my DVD collection.