TV time with Bob

Robert Taylor

The A’s of prime time not A quality

“The Apprentice: Martha Stewart”

NBC, Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

How could an episode of Martha Stewart’s “Apprentice” possibly be more suspenseful than most horror movies? Have the two teams carry a 100-pound wedding cake through hallways and then drive said cake through downtown Manhattan without hurting the cake in any way, that’s how!

In one episode I have fallen completely in love with this show. Watching the contestants first scoff at the “simple” task of designing, baking and selling a wedding cake before having complete nervous breakdowns during the completion of the task was a thing of beauty.

Watching the Matchstick team make mistake after mistake was a thing of beauty. I have never been married, nor do I intend to become a wedding cake designer, but I instinctively know that a pink oval off-center key lime wedding cake is not going to sell.

I’m also loving Martha’s scenes more and more, because it is so damn obvious that the woman is staging every line of dialogue. I’m not talking about her conference room smackdowns on the contestants, which are fair and give good insight, I’m talking about when she calls the loft while feeding a horse or typing on a computer. The unintentional laughs are a thing of beauty because they come just at the moment where you think the series might be taking itself too seriously.

You’ll notice I’ve made it through this entire critique without mentioning Shawn’s dismissal. It’s because for the past two episodes I kept thinking she was Martha Stewart’s daughter, since they look almost identical, so it’s no big loss to me.

“Alias:” What The-!?

ABC, Thursdays at 9 p.m.

What happened to “Alias?” The show used to be a perfect mix of drama, action and characterization and now I find none of those present.

Sidney has become an agent without a cause. Vaughan has become – well, dead. Sloane is rotting in jail without a plotline. Dixon hasn’t had an interesting story in three years. Jack sits around and looks like he is in pain for no reason. And Weiss is leaving.

I miss Francie. I miss Will. Hell, at this point I miss Lauren. They brought life, humor and fun to the series when it was at it’s most dramatic. Now “Alias” is made up of a bunch of people who don’t laugh or have any kind of fun, they sit, brood and eat coffee ice cream.

I can’t remember the last time Sidney was in a memorable costume, and I don’t care if Garner is pregnant or not. The action sequences are now nothing more than rip-offs of what we’ve seen before. For example, Sidney storming a plane in last week’s episode was just a bit too much like the classic episode where she finally took down SD-6.

And because I can’t care about the action or characters, I have no reason to care about their drama.They can make a big deal about the next big plan to conquer the world or the next enormous threat, but why should we care?

Contact ALL corespondent Robert Taylor at [email protected].