I'm really enjoying The Colbert Report. I saw every episode the first two weeks because I was worried it would be canceled soon - I love Colbert, but am always pessimistic about my countrymen's taste. I found out that he's retaining like 86% of his Daily Show lead-in, though, which is AWESOME - I would have been happy with half. Especially when you consider that Stewart is just up against the local news, while Colbert needs to compete against Letterman and Leno.
It's been really interesting witnessing the birth of what could be a very long-lived show. There's a ton of talent going into it, but it's a show that's still obviously trying to find its legs. Some of its flaws seem technical (Stephen sometimes has trouble with the teleprompter), others are more conceptual (I have yet to see a really satisfying interview on that show, although some have been decent). So I'm planning to hold on to my episodes so I can compare what the show looks like a year or so from now; I imagine it will look very different.
The stuff that works on the show is rock-solid. One of my biggest fears coming in was that Colbert's central persona, essentialy his Daily Show character of an incredibly egotistical and misinformed do-gooder, would wear thin with constant exposure. I still think he could stand to share some more time, but the writers have done a great job at fleshing out his personality in new and entertaining ways. So, while he generally cheers on the Bush team, he can still take potshots at Libby because of his entanglement with bears (#1 on the Threatdown!) It's also really smart to avoid being simply an impression of O'Reilly; he takes good cues from O'Reilly but also is free to go down other paths that wouldn't seem natural for a straight-up impersonation.
For all that I love about the show, there are two personal tics Stephen has that are really obvious. One is the way he audibly inhales through his teeth after delivering a punchline. Another is the way he constantly adjusts his glasses. Both of these are actually things I do too, so I shouldn't complain, but it does make me wonder. Do most people not notice these? Or does Stephen just not care?
If you haven't already you should check out his unofficial fan site, Colbert Nation. Not as good as the show but it has some really funny stuff, including fanfiction about Stephen Colbert and an excerpt from his self-published novel, "Stephen Colbert’s Alpha Squad 7: Lady Nocturne: A Tek Jansen Adventure."
In other TV news, Arrested Development looks like it might be getting the axe after an aborted season. This makes me sad. Not counting animated shows, Arrested Development is definitely my favorite sitcom of all time, it is amazingly clever and funny and whimsical and creative and innovative. If you haven't had the pleasure of watching it yet, I highly recommend it; it takes an episode or two to get into its rhythm and start collecting references, but the payout is well worth it. If you already have watched it and share my disappointment, and feel like doing something, check out this post which collects some relevant information.
I'll be out of town this weekend doing this and that, so please play nicely.