Last year’s TV. And next year’s too.
Is it me, or has this year been pretty bad for TV? I wrote a big post last year about the 2009/10 season and I wanted to do the same for 2010/11…but I find myself wondering if it’s even worth bothering. I actually know it’s not; it just looks like I’ve nothing better to do with my time…so here I go.
Should I start with what sucked?
House. Season 7 was painful to watch – first the crappily handled huddy, then a couple of episodes of almost-House-normalcy and then…the stupidest finale in recent memory. I doubt season 8 will be in any way redemptive, but I’ll stick with it to the bitter end. I’m faithful like that 😛 And I’m glad Cuddy’s gone – as much as I love Lisa Edelstein, her character was mangled beyond recognition. HIMYM. This too is far from what it was during the first 3 seasons; now even Barney’s become tiresome and this year was largely forgettable, save for the awful mess that was Jennifer Morrison’s Zoey. The Big Bang Theory. Most critics enjoyed the new girls, but I really could have done without them. I fondly remember the times when this show was about a bunch of nerds and their silly hot blonde next door neighbor. Now it’s getting too…Friends-y for its own good. (but here, at least, I enjoyed the finale). Mr. Sunshine. I wanted this to be Matt Perry’s & Alison Janney’s return to TV. After 10 episodes, I was happy it was only a brief return; it was unfunny, unoriginal, and unlikable. I can’t think of any other ‘un-’s, but it does deserve more.
Moving on to sweet mediocrity…I have to say: Grey’s Anatomy. Don’t judge too much, it’s like candy. And in this case, a pretty decent candy. It dealt with the fallout from the shooting, in integrated the new cast pretty well & it had a musical episode during which I mostly didn’t want to pull my hair out. Plus, Sara Ramirez & Sandra Oh are still great. Castle. It’s still relying a lot on Nathan Filion’s seemingly endless supply of charm, but it’s fun and there was an actual twist thrown in there (Montgomery? Didn’t see it coming.) Stana Katic’s gotten better too, and next season I assume we’ll see if they’ll do the Moonlighting thing and crash & burn. Modern Family. Last year I was very excited about it but now…it got too slapsticky and repetitive (how long will Gloria’s accent be “funny”?). It still has its moments though…I just wish I would remember any of them (which is also part of the problem).
And now…my only two As: Community. This one braved the sophomore year really well, with parodies for genre movies (I was quite particular to Prof. Proffesorsen) and with a finale building very well on last year’s paintball fest (Josh Holloway needs a gig in a western). My only beef is that Chevy Chase’s character has become so annoying, to the point where you wonder why he’s even in the group. Towards the end they addressed that particular concern, but I’m not yet convinced. Oh, and less Senor Chang, please, please, please 😀 And finally, Game of Thrones. I really like it, even most of the bits that aren’t in the book. I only wish the kid playing Jon was more like I imagine Jon from the books to be 😀
Plus, I’ve taken up a few new (to me, not to the TV scenery) shows this year: Bones (which is a terrible show, filled with half-assed patriotic crap and pretty stiff actors. It’s only redemptive quality is that it makes for an excellent sleeping aid); Cougar Town (terrible title, but funny title cards in season 2 – self-deprecating humor always wins with me – plus, it morphed pretty quickly into a show about a group of quirky wine-guzzling, jingle-singing friends…which is not so bad. And Christa Miller is just as deliciously mean here as she was on Scrubs) and 30 Rock (I did get over my dislike for Tina Fey, but I can’t really compare this season to the others; I pretty much watched all episodes in a row. It didn’t strike me as particularly bad though). And over the summer, I might give The Good Wife a go. I keep hearing how great it is…but I still can’t help the skepticism.
But, like I was saying in the beginning – it’s been an unexceptional year at best. And next year’s crop doesn’t look the tiniest bit more appealing since, as far as I can tell, we’ll have the following:
– (quirky) chick power shows: Whitney (“What can you say about Whitney that hasn’t been said before?” asks the voice over guy. He does get the answer wrong though, it should be nothing. But, look, there’s Jonathan), Prime Suspect (Maria Bello trying to be Helen Mirren. I’m not as appalled as I expected.), Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea (this sounds so much better before you actually see the trailer), Best Friends Forever (how would a 40ish lady crying about how no one wants to ride a tandem bike with her make anyone go “Hmm, I gotta check this out”? ), Charlie’s Angels (no intro needed for this one, but the trailer looks godawful), Apartment 23 (Krysten Ritter is cute, but one note), Good Christian Belles (initially, this was Good Christian Bitches. Too bad they changed the title; the shock value might have served it well, since it’s got nothing else going for it), 2 broke girls (snotty chick meets worker class chick. Hey, wait, wasn’t that the first episode of Friends?), New Girl (Zooey Deschanel moves in with some dudes after a breakup. By the end of the season, she will have slept with all :P)
– shows for the parenting crowd: Up all night (Will Arnett’s biggest thing will forever be Arrested Development. Maya Rudolph is pretty much squandered here), Last Man Standing (the 49 – 65 demo will be all over this), Suburgatory (Jeremy Sisto is that disturbed guy from Six feet under. To picture him as a dad is just plain creepy), I Hate My Teenage Daughter (a feeling shared by many parents out there, I assume, though I doubt any of them have the cheery laugh track to help them through the day.)
– Medium wannabes: Awake (pointless parallel realities. think Sliding doors, the serialized version), A Gifted Man (as in, with the gift of seeing his dead wife. I would call him a delusional man and have him committed, but…)
– Mad Men wannabes: Playboy Club (cleavage, bunny tails, Eddie Cibrian and….murder!), PanAm (the thrilling world of stewardesses, Christina Ricci…and spying!). In this game, I think ABC is trying harder.
– Fairytale reboots: Once upon a time (Jennifer Morrison, making the world a worse place one show at a time), Grimm (Also known as *ahem* Once upon a crime. These puns will never get old. At least it was a cool idea behind that pretty crappy trailer :D)
– shows from big name producers: Smash (Steven Spielberg goes to Broadway and tries to get in on the Glee train), Scandal (all Shonda, all the time – Grey’s Anatomy in a political setting), Person of interest (from Jonathan Nolan & JJ Abrams, with Michael Emerson…if this gets good reviews & makes it to a second season, I’m in), Terra Nova (again, from Mr. Spielberg, but now with dinosaurs. I’m thinking…that last episode of BSG meets Jurassic Park. It was supposed to be in the schedule last year, but it got postponed.)
– what some people are no doubt considering to be “buddy comedies”: Work It (the official descriptions says “This high-concept comedy centers on two unrepentant guy’s guys who, unable to find work, dress as women to get jobs as pharmaceutical reps.” The only vibe I get is ‘rejected SNL sketch’. I think it was the most cringe-worthy trailer of the whole bunch; and I’ve seen Sorority Boys.), How To Be a Gentleman (weird dude with manners à la Niles Crane – though seemingly with less neurosis vs. jackass à la…Bulldog, if we’re to stay in the Frasierverse).
And finally – here’s an article on the ratings’ game for this season. Little teaser: “Let’s repeat that: More folks aged 18 to 49 watched Jersey Shore than Modern Family, or Grey’s Anatomy” – following that sad logic, it’s no surprise network TV is getting worse.
But back to 2011/12 – what will get cancelled first? With so many to choose from, my money’s on Free Agents or Work It. In terms of what I’ll actually watch next year – I guess I’ll just have to wait for Sorkin’s HBO show. It had better not be Studio 60 2.0