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An interesting alternative. Sad to see him go.
Well, I've finished watching Craiggers' last episode. I used to be an avid watcher of his program when he first aired in 1999- mainly due to the fact that I was a fan of his work on The Daily Show and also of The Late Late Show's previous host, Tom Snyder (so the match-up of timeslot and host at that point was seemingly perfect for me.) As time went on, as fewer and fewer a-list actors appeared on the show, I began flipping over to Conan to see some of his irreverent comedy. However, if for some reason Conan wasn't delivering the goods, the TV went straight back to Kilby.
Craig Kilborn and his writers had a certain unique style when it came to presenting the show that usually engaged the viewers in a more intimate give-and-take with the show. It never tried to be the biggest show in its slot- it made do with the audience who stuck with him and who weren't too thrilled by Triumph the insult comic dog, or later by Jimmy Kimmel's brand of comedy. It was low-key, moderately higher-class humour than his competitors. It was late night comedy at its simplest- no sidekicks, no house band. And I gotta admit that the show did have one of the most comfortable-looking sets.
The show followed a generally regular pattern:
First, there is Craig's monologue. While the monologue was usually lukewarm at best for delivering the laughs (mainly due to Kilborn's horrible timing and rhythm of presenting punchlines), his "desk chat" sketches like A Moment for Us and the 90-second-zoom were always very kitchy and enjoyable. The "In the News" segment gave viewers a micro-version of his Daily Show routine, which were usually hilarious.
Then the guests arrived after the commercial break. Now, Kilborn's interviewing skills seem to have deteriorated after the Daily Show, because it always seems that he is not interested about who he's interviewing with, and subconsciously conveys that not only to the interviewee, but more importantly the audience. That, unfortunately, gives people the impression that Craig is some sort of jerk at times. However, one of the key jewels in the show's 5 year history has to be the 5 Questions game he plays almost every night with one of his guests. I consider it fascinating how some of his guests react. Some play along (like Sir Ian MacKellen's dramatic reading of tire changing instructions). Others seem non-chalant and don't really care how well they do- they just want to get out of the studio so that they can go on to the next PR gig.
All in all, though, the show somehow exuded a sense of nonchalantness to the whole Late Night show idea- it did whatever it wanted to do and had the most fun in doing so. And in that sort of attitude is where it managed to find its niche. People considered that sort of devil-may-care look at its place in the television listings as cool, while others may have seen it as careless.
However it was, it's all over now. Craig has decided to pack up and try out something new- and at a time when he was still somewhat strong in the ratings. Maybe next time he'll have some more decent writers back up his next endeavour. Maybe he'll just disappear into obscurity- where people won't even remember that his show was on the air at all. Whatever it may be, I wish him the best. His show was indeed an interesting alternative to the normal method of delivering a late night television program, and there won't be another show like it. And I, for one and probably only one, will miss that. I'm glad, though, that Craig ended his last show doing what he loves- and that is to dance, dance, dance.
CBS and Worldwide Pants now have the arduous task of finding out what's next for this little show after Letterman. Will it be the return of the one-on-one interview in the style of Snyder? Will it be more irreverent in order to get Conan's audience? Will it be something completely different that no one has seen before? Who knows (at the time of this writing)? All I know is that it has to be good in order to retain the Kilborn audience at the least. Best of luck to them.
Dennis Miller Live (1994)
What the heck is HBO thinking?
Dennis Miller Live is the very reason I watched HBO to begin with. Miller's fast-talking, metaphor-filled, vulgarity-laden jokes and rants make the show one of the most edgy, provocative, and therefore funniest talk shows in the history of television.
And HBO is canceling it.
Sure, it's been nine seasons, and most shows are lucky for lasting that long, but there is no conceivable reason for HBO to cancel DML while Miller still has some steam left. His rants after September 11, 2001, were some of the funniest he has ever done, since he was chronicling a very severe change in American society with the same rapier wit that he used to observe the minutiae of that same society in the days of pregnant chads and Monica Lewinsky.
HBO has really let go of a true gift to television, and they should have let it run until Dennis himself felt is was time to close up shop, not because the network wants to fit an extra episode of "Six Feet Under" or "Sex in the City"...
Well, there will always be the reruns on the "HBO Comedy" subnetwork, so I could be able to enjoy the episodes that I haven't seen yet when they first aired, and I can enjoy Miller's books of rants- however, they will not be topical anymore. I'll be hearing jokes about President Clinton and his affinity for French fries. The jokes will still be funny, but just dated.
First Monday Night Football, now this... 2002 is just not the year of Miller, cha-cha.
Here's to hoping that DML can get picked up by another cable network (I know that none of the broadcast networks will allow Dennis Miller's seemingly vicious language) for at least a couple more seasons. Good luck, Dennis. You've done a great job with a fantastic show for the past 9 seasons, and we will miss you when you leave the airwaves, babe.
Of course that's just my opinion.... well, you know the rest.
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Excellent from beginning to end.
This film is simply fantastic. The animation, storyline, character development, and overall feel of the movie was well done. Kudos to Pixar for once again using computer graphics as a storytelling tool instead of as a ploy to garner tickets. The CG is only second banana to a great story. Still, though- the CG was downright breathtaking. I look forward to what the people at Pixar will do next.
The Mole (2001)
Extremely intriguing series!
At first, I thought that the show would be a weak me-too attempt by ABC of Survivor. However, this show is very good. This show involves feats of intellectual ability, not just athletic ability. The show utilizes impressive camera shots (especially the helmet-cam). Think of it as the best parts of "Survivor" mixed with "Mission: Impossible". Plus, Anderson Cooper is perfect as the host of the show.
Highly recommended. With only three shows left as of February 20, 2001, the tension only increases- making the show a lot more interesting. If ABC makes another installation, I would love to participate.