Season Pass and season pass

Three shows — Jericho, Heroes and Ugly Betty — have been picked up for full seasons, but only one of them earns a Season Pass on my TiVo.

As I’ve written before, I’m interested in the general arc of Jericho, but I don’t want to put up with the very predictable human dramas unfolding within that arc. I thought I saw something on Digg which compares Jericho to Lost. Um, no.

The dialogue of Lost doesn’t read like some MadLib of television screenwriting, and the disparate backstories of the characters allows for a wide range of storytelling. Jericho is limited by its small town setting. Everyone knows everyone else. These people aren’t complete strangers trying to figure out who to trust.

The grander stakes are high on Jericho, but the smaller stakes aren’t. That’s where Lost and Battlestar Galactica succeed — you get a sense that the stakes at every level are crucial.

I tried to get through another episode of Heroes, but I groaned everytime Milo Ventimiglia’s character, Peter, opened his mouth. I have nothing against Ventimiglia himself — I think he’s an actor who’s potential has been squandered on really flat roles, even on Gilmore Girls. But everytime he talks his new age crap about being destined for something greater, I feel the urge to slap Tim Kring’s writing team for patronizing my intelligence. Yeah, we know he’s going to do great things, but could you just let him express his realization of that just a little less obviously?

I ended up fast fowarding through most of the episode just to see the major plot points. Then I deleted any future scheduled recordings I programmed on my TiVo.

What’s worse is, like Jericho, there’s an interesting story arc in Heroes. I would like to see what happens. But I’m not going to tolerate flat characters who say the obvious and do the obvious.

So that leaves Ugly Betty, and it receives the first of two Season Passes I’m granting a freshman TV show.

The show could have just focused on America Ferrera’s Betty Suarez and her struggle not to be undermined by her backstabbing co-workers at Mode magazine, but the show is just as much about her boss, Daniel Meade (the appealing Eric Mabius), a man for whom everybody is waiting to fail.

Daniel and Betty make a great team, a pair of Davids taking on the Goliaths of Mode, in particular Vanessa Williams’ Wilhemina.

Too, the show is gay as all get-out. Betty’s nephew is shaping up to be a real queen.

What’s the other Season Pass? I’ll deal with that in another entry.

To summarize, I’m getting a Season Pass for Ugly Betty, and I’m passing on a full season of Jericho and Heroes.