They both provided pleasant surprises to me this weekend.
1) Donny Osmond- I took my daughter and mother into NYC on Sunday to catch Beauty & the Beast on Broadway. Donny Osmond, as the villanous Gaston, stole the show. I swear I was hoping the Beast would die and Belle would end up with Gaston. Anytime Donny was on stage the production had energy. Anytime Gaston disappeared, the show lagged. The actor who played the Beast had the worst line readings of the show, and hurt an otherwise impeccable production.
Afterwards, Donny signed autographs, which thrilled my mother. I had seen Donny at a signing before, and he is just really nice to his fans. He talks to everyone and is happy to pose for photos. He is a man who appreciates his fans.
As an overall assessment of his performance, I would say Donny is fairly talented. I'm usually annoyed that the male performers in musicals tend to be the weakest part of the show. He is a strong singer, and had great stage presence. I think Broadway is a venue where he shines.
2) DEXTER - This weekend, Showtime provided free previews, so I was able to catch the much-talked about Dexter. It lived up to the hype and then some. It was just a highly watchable show - from start to finish it kept my attention. Seriously, I didn't get distracted or surf the net like I do during Desperate Housewives. And despite the fact that the protagonist is a demented serial killer -- it WORKS. I hate CSI-type procedural shows, but even the crime scene investigations are interesting here, because Dexter has such a demented POV.
After watching so many hyped up shows and being disappointed (Smith, Kidnapped, Jericho come to mind), it was nice to watch something that is probably the "best show of the season." The acting, writing, direction all gelled together for a change.
Like other cable shows, Deadwood and Sopranos, Dexter is a show about a fairly dispicable human being, who is struggling with his inner demons. I shouldn't like Dexter. But I do. I should find the whole premise repugnant. But they went ahead and made Dexter the most interesting and complex character on TV. Damn them.
Now I have to decide if I want to shell out the extra dough to get my "Dexter fix" on Showtime.