Anyone want to picket this picket?

I'm not sure how to feel about this whole television writer's strike. Of course I support the writers -- even the obscenely rich ones -- and I think they should be paid fairly for their work.

But on the other hand, I want my shows back!

Now, please.

As a longtime television fan, I thought I'd already endured every indignity possible -- re-runs, season splitting, unjust cancellations.

But a writer's strike? Until a few months ago, I didn't even know that was possible. Isn't there some sort of law against messing with people's TV? And if not, shouldn't there be?

And is anyone else worried that the writers are going to give the makeup people ideas? I have HDTV, so I know the results of that strike would be even less pretty than this one.

Plus, I just don't need the stress of knowing I've seen my last episode of "The Office" until who knows when. And I'd used up my last ounce of patience last spring, when I reluctantly accepted the news that I wouldn't see "Lost's" scant 16 episodes until February.

How am I supposed to accept that now, I might see only eight?

If this thing doesn't resolve itself real quick-like, it's going to be a long, lonely winter. Some of television's most popular shows, like my beloved "Office," are already out of original episodes. Many more will be done before the end of the year.

There are some signs of movement, though. Late this week, "Lost's" show runner Carlton Cuse said he'd cross the picket lines to do post-production work on the eight episodes already filmed. And it sounds like talks are in place to get Conan, Dave and Jay back on the late night airwaves.

Although I'd prefer a different outcome for the passionate people risking their careers and my happiness with this strike, at least something is happening.

I know that the issues here are complex, and it's very hard for me to sympathize with the studios trying to keep future Internet profits away from the very people who make them profitable.

But this strike is starting to feel like it's own episode of "The Twilight Zone."

Shows are shut down. Actors are off work. And at this very moment, people are gathered around tables coming up with new reality shows to fill the void.

I read that NBC is planning one called "Clash of the Choirs."

As in church choirs.

I want my shows back.

Now, please.

Running out

Peruse the following list to see how many episodes remain before your favorite shows dry up (according to TV Guide). Then cross your fingers, face the north, click your heels together six times and wish for the end of the writer's strike.

• "30 Rock"-- Four episodes left

• "Back to You" -- two episodes left

• "Bionic Woman" -- two episodes left

• "Boston Legal" --eight episodes left

• "Brothers & Sisters" -- five episodes left

• "Chuck" -- four episodes left

• "CSI: NY:" --five episodes left

• "Desperate Housewives" -- three episodes left

• "Dirty Sexy Money" -- four episodes left

• "Friday Night Lights" -- seven episodes left

• "Gossip Girl" -- five episodes left

• "Grey's Anatomy" -- three episodes left

• "Heroes" -- three episodes left

• "House" -- five episodes left

• "Las Vegas" -- 10 episodes left

• "Law & Order SVU" -- six episodes left

• "Lost" --eight episodes left

• "Medium" -- nine episodes left

• "Men in Trees," --12 episodes left

• "My Name is Earl" -- three episodes left

• "The Office" -- All gone

• "Private Practice" -- three or four episodes left

• "Pushing Daisies" -- three episodes left

• "Samantha Who?" --seven episodes left

• "Scrubs" -- seven episodes left

• "Smallville" -- seven episodes left

• "Ugly Betty" --four or five episodes left


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