Here's my Opinion Five-Spot for the week ending March 20, 2011:
V - I made it through all of season two of V (after bailing early in season one and returning during the New Year's Day marathon) but I was still never really convinced the show was that good. The finale, while very meaningful to the show, didn't really convince me either. But I'm more interested in seeing the complete reinvention of the show that the finale promised than I would be in more of what has come. And as I remarked on the Twitter, if they had to kill off a bunch of characters (budgetary reasons?) they certainly picked the right, most useless ones.
Survivor - Just three seasons into my return from a multi-year Survivor hiatus, am I burning out again already? Perhaps it was just the complete void of drama in last week's episode, as there was clearly a pair of ladies on the chopping block who weren't willing to try a thing to save themselves. Overall, things are playing out fairly predictably and I wouldn't mind seeing a shake-up soon. I'm perhaps most interested in Matt's winning streak on Redemption Island. I think winning streaks are the most compelling way that twist can play out, and I'm rooting for him to get back.
March Madness - I have to say that the four-network setup for the NCAA basketball tourney has been quite neat. I know some people want CBS to "do the work for them," but I don't remotely mind flippin' channels. I can still see every interesting ending; that's not really what's different. What's different is the middle of games, where I can always have my TV tuned to the closest or most compelling game. With the CBS-only setup, I frequently had to make use of the online streaming to find something watchable. Haven't used it once this year.
Shark Tank - The good news about perhaps my favorite unscripted show on TV is that it doesn't seem particularly dumbed down or anything for season two. It's still surprisingly smart stuff. The... shakier news, at least from the premiere, seems to be that the show has attracted much more legit companies to make pitches. I suppose that's nice for the show, but I wonder if that means there'll be fewer people who are completely unprepared and get eaten alive. Admittedly that was part of the appeal. Maybe that's why people like Idol auditions, too. Maybe future eps prove me wrong.
Pretty Little Liars - The first season wrapped up last night, and I have to say I find this show pretty fun. (Though it is often less than "good.") When it premiered, people called it a teen version of Desperate Housewives, which I can see thematically, but the tone is much more "drama" than "dramedy." Like the (usually better) Vampire Diaries on CW, it manages to have its conventional teen soapy moments and yet create this genuine sense of dread hanging over the whole affair. Some fat (like the teacher/student affair) should be trimmed, but I'm looking forward to June overall.