TV

Opening Ceremonies Recap

As with pretty much any Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics, you hear the range of "boring" to "spectacular" when it comes to critiques.

Having never been to the Olympics, I can't say this for sure, but I don't think TV can do it justice over seeing it live.

Still, I thought London did a pretty good job. Perhaps all those weeks of watching the comedy "Twenty Twelve" had me assuming disaster, but everything seemed to go on without a hitch.

The closing fireworks were indeed spectacular, and the segment where James Bond (Daniel Craig) picks up Queen Elizabeth for a ride to the stadium -- via helicopter, where the two proceed to jump out -- will be remembered for a long, long time.

Director Danny Boyle presented a theme of history, which the British seem to have a sense of more than most countries. Though people were initially concerned when reports leaked that the production would use live farm animals, it made sense in showing the country's rise from an agrarian culture to the leaders in the Industrial Revolution.

Boyle touched upon all the things in which the British take pride. There was a tribute to Britain's unparalleled contributions to literature, ranging from Sir Kenneth Branagh reciting Shakepeare's "The Tempest" to "Harry Potter" author JK Rowling reading J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan," followed by a "dream" sequence in which Mary Poppins saves the children from Voldemort and other villains. (I wonder if Boyle has read the latest installment of "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen").

I didn't care as much for the musical "Frankie and June" sequence. It went on too long and I think they missed out on a lot of the great British bands going back to the British Invasion.

But there were some terrific visual sequences, ranging from the forging of the Olympic rings to the closing fireworks across London. And though some American viewers complained that the show dragged, as commentator Bob Costas noted, the parade of countries moved at a brisk pace.

In the end, Boyle -- known for his visual flair -- created some lasting images, such as the climb on Glastonbury Tor (where King Arthur is supposed to be buried) and the lighting of the torch itself, performed by young athletes who had the torches passed to them both literally and symbolically by great UK Olympians, igniting leaves that were placed down by every country who participated.

How the Games play out remains to be seen, but I think the Opening Ceremony was a good start.

'FAMILY' NEGOTIATIONS: The adult cast members settled with Fox TV and ABC over the weekend on new contracts, but now the youth cast members are holding a similar stance for their deals. But considering how quickly the first dispute was settled, I don't expect this one to drag out.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: As NBC continues with the Olympics, ABC broadcasts its own so-called reality with "Bachelor Pad" and "Glass House."

On cable, TNT airs "The Closer" and "Perception" from 9-11 p.m., while SyFy has "Warehouse 13" and "Alphas" at the same time. MTV has a new "Teen Wolf" at 10 p.m.

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