Quick hits from the TV viewing bag….
* Forgive the obvious joke about NBC putting KNBC and its L.A. news operation in the studio that housed “The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien,” but if Conan had consistently as funny as KNBC’s news is, he’d still be on a broadcast network.
* I don’t like “Community” nearly as much as my colleague Jon Weisman does, but the season premiere is quite funny — and infinitely better than where the show started last fall. There’s an especially clever bit involving a Twitter feed titled “Old White Man Says,” not-so-subtly spoofing a certain new CBS sitcom.
That said, I’m a little tired of the whole Betty White stunt casting, and even an improved “Community” is going to get the snot kicked out of it by CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” which also returns in fine form. (I’ll have a longer review of that on the blog next week.)
* The third season of Cartoon Network’s “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” premieres Sept. 17, showcasing a lot of what I like and a few of the things I don’t about the Lucasfilm series.
On the plus side, it’s absolutely gorgeous to look at — a marvel in terms of being able to produce breathtaking, sweeping animation on a TV (or at least less than theatrical) budget. The action sequences pop, and the half-hour format forces the producers to engage in relatively minimal plotting before diving into battle. No wonder young boys (and grown men who own light sabers) love it.
Nevertheless, the idea of telling little stories between the movies sometimes yields silly detours into subject matter like the two-parter that opens the season: A “Let’s all learn the value of teamwork” lesson involving individual members of the clone army. The second part (which features Anakin Skywalker and Obi-wan Kenobi) is better than the first, but the focus on secondary and tertiary characters is always a crapshoot, and falls pretty flat here.
“Clone Wars” is still a great deal of fun most of the time, and perhaps more significantly to Lucasfilm, a way to keep the franchise alive in the minds of the young, impressionable, toy-buying community.
Just think of it as one of the ways for Lucas to keep fueling the green power of his own intergalactic empire.