Excellent deal on a TiVo HD

Seen in various sources... TiVo is offering a $179.99 refurbished TiVo HD, with full one-year warranty as if it were new, and a 30-day money-back guarantee to boot. Refurbished hardware tends to be at least as good as new; it's been thoroughly checked out and verified to work.

Thanks to an awesome deal I got through a friend this spring, I now have a second TiVo HD, and I'm using it in the bedroom on my non-HD TV. The TiVo HD works fine that way; it's capable of happily recording either HD or standard TV, and displaying either on an HD or standard TV. It does all the thinking about how to display what it needs to display. So, even if you think "I don't need HD," this is a good option. The TiVo HD uses CableCARDs to tune in the channels you're entitled to view on cable, without the need for an external cable box, and it can record any two shows at the same time without restriction.

(They also have a refurbished TiVo Series2 Dual Tuner for $49.99 and their excellent wireless adapter for $39.99 at the same page.)

"CSI: Heat Wave"

It must be the heat in Miami that makes everything and everyone move so slowly. I watched an episode of "CSI: Miami" this week after my new TiVo recorded it for me as a suggestion (I left that feature on for the first time in several models and several years), and the thing that strikes me most about the show is that it was slow and ponderous.

The acting was mostly not bad, and the story was interesting, but boy, everything moved so slowly! It seemed as though they had about 30 minutes of material to stretch into 42 minutes of show, so they just all talked slowly, took long pauses, and made lots of thoughtful expressions to slow things down.

Is it just that I'm used to the "Law & Order" series taking place in the much faster-paced New York?

Weeds and Call Girl's fourth wall

Tonight's episode of "Weeds"? Brilliant. Guillermo's ploy couldn't have been more obvious, but that's OK; it was fun watching it play out. Not surprisingly, Hunter Parrish and Alexander Gould as Nancy's kids are visibly older in this fourth season, but they're also both solidifying as actors and still proving to be lots of fun.

Meanwhile, I love the offhand way Billie Piper's character in "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" breaks the fourth wall to talk to the viewer. It's a very confessional, confidential style that works extremely well in telling the story.

"Fear Itself"

Spotted a familiar face in the promo for the upcoming premiere of NBC's new mystery series "Fear Itself," and stopped fast-forwarding.

I'm kind of amused that the bride and groom in the first episode are played by the adorable Maggie Lawson and quick-witted James Roday, two of the stars of "Psych." It should be interesting to see how Roday, in particular, plays a straight role. (His character on "Psych" is way over the top.)

The series should be interesting. It's thirteen separate one-hour horror-mystery stories from thirteen top writers and directors. I set up a season pass; oddly, it looks like it's not going to be in HD.

"Tru Calling" marathon

Sci-Fi is running a marathon of Eliza Dushku's "Tru Calling" series, from 8am-4pm eastern time on Wednesday, July 2nd. Oddly, they're running episodes 107 through 114, rather than the whole series. No sign that they're running the rest another time.

If you want to know what it's about, Tru (Eliza's character) discovers that she can go back in time one day to help prevent the deaths of people whose dead bodies ask her to. The last episode they're running is the one in which Jason Priestly shows up for several episodes.

It was a fun, funny, well-written, somewhat mindless show, with the hot Dushku in a rare role that has nothing to do with how hot she is. She's great at it. I recommend setting your TiVo to record it. (Note that the Season Pass default keeps up to five episodes, so the first several will get deleted before the end of the marathon if you leave the default.)

Boulet, is that you?!

What fun! I guess it doesn't bode well for the potential renewal of "K-Ville," but it's great to see star Anthony Anderson in another cop role. He's on tonight's "Law & Order" as an Internal Affairs detective. Looks like he's in two more episodes in the next two weeks. "Law & Order" is one of the most episodic shows in history, and a multiple-episode story arc is an extreme rarity, but this is the story arc leading to the departure of a major character at the end of the season.

Is it just me...?

Once again, the audio is screwed up in the HDTV broadcast of "NCIS." The music and background sounds are there, but no voices, as though a channel has simply been left out of the mix. Luckily, my upstairs TiVo still records the show redundantly, so I'm able to watch that copy. (No problem with the stereo, just the 5.1.)

Is this happening repeatedly for anyone else, or just people in Central New York? Seems like the sort of thing CBS would notice right away, but maybe WTVH wouldn't.

At least the missing HD network affiliates are back; a couple of hours ago, only the CBS affiliate of the four HD network affiliates was there at all.
Viper Wings

OK, so I'm behind...

Last night, I finally watched "Battlestar Galactica: Razor," the flashback BSG movie that aired in November, in the middle of the long drought between seasons three and four of the brilliant Sci-Fi series.

I watched it now so I could start season four (last Friday's season premiere awaits on my TiVo), but I don't think it's strictly necessary to watch in that order if you haven't had a chance to see it. "Razor" stands on its own quite nicely, but also beautifully fleshes out the character of Admiral Cain, played beautifully by the wonderful Michelle Forbes. Cain gives Forbes a meatier character than she's had the opportunity to explore in the past. We also get plenty of Jamie Bamber, Tricia Helfer, Katie Sackhoff, and even Edward James Olmos, though I quite enjoyed the new Pegasus officer, played by Stephanie Jacobsen. She worked for me in lots of ways.

It's vaguely tempting to buy the "Razor" DVD to see the extra quarter hour or so of story that didn't make it on the air, and I may do that when we run out of new season four episodes to enjoy.