March 06, 2006 12:00 PM

>The Olympics

POINTS OFF Ratings weren’t so hot for the first week of NBC’s Winter Olympics from Torino, a.k.a. Turin—one night’s were the lowest since at least 1988. The network is at a disadvantage, not being able to broadcast events live because of the time difference. Even though every sport looked as if the slightest slip would result in an airlifted gurney, viewers preferred the thrills on Grey’s Anatomy. It’s hard to top Christina Ricci panicking over a bomb.

THE ITALIAN CRAWL What a long, long opening-night pageant in the Olympic Stadium. Parts looked like a Vegas floor show staged in the fire pit below Saruman’s Dark Tower. I did like the jocular dancing trees.

THIS SPORTING LIFE NBC’s bio segments on key athletes were slick visual packages, but the narration tended to mush: “Meet Lindsey Kildow,” began the story of the U.S. skier, “sweet Midwesterner, focused competitor.”

SOARING MOMENTS The network’s camera work was excellent, and just about any event had suspense and beauty. Favorite: American athlete Johnny Weir’s figure skating. For once I understood what a skater was trying to express choreographically. Flamboyant yet literal-minded, Weir dressed in a swan costume and, to Saint-Saëns’s The Swan, skated like one. He all but honked.

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