Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2009 in Review - Television

Let’s run down America’s true favorite past time today: Television. So many good new shows and some disappointing old ones. I’ll be spending time in my least favorite city (Hartford) today so I don’t have time to beat around.

Time is of the essence.

BEST OF THE BEST

The Office: I had my doubts when Pam became pregnant and Jim got promoted, but this show hasn’t missed a beat. Even the wedding episode was fall off the couch hilarious. Right now, this is a series at its creative peak. Miss it at your peril.

Modern Family: It’s not often a comedy arrives on television fully formed. Usually it takes a few episodes to get rolling. Even ‘Seinfeld’ took a few seasons to really hit its stride. That’s why ‘Modern Family’ is such a pleasant, gut busting surprise. All the relationships are familiar; the family dynamic is caustically intimate; the one liners come fast and furious. Put it this way – I’ve had to rewind this show several times because I’ve missed the next punch line due to my still laughing at the previous one.

The Good Wife: Ridicule me all you want, but never has a series sucked me in so completely and efficiently in so few episodes. The individual cases are just as absorbing and interesting as the overall plot. Each and every character is fully formed, intelligent, human and acted to perfection. It’s also a blueprint on how to weave hour long stories into the overall arc of the series so they mesh seamlessly. Do you want me to say it? Because I will. The best drama on television.

Community: Another first year comedy that took off out of the gate. Unlike ‘Modern Family’ I’m not sure I can describe this one. Just watch one episode (Thursdays at 8 on NBC) and you’ll get the idea in the first 5 minutes. Deranged, biting, politically incorrect and funny as hell. Plus, it reminds us how funny Chevy Chase can be. He’s still got it.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Leave it to Larry David to reunite Seinfeld as a way to get his ex-wife back. Overall, it wasn’t as good as previous seasons, but the season finale was so perfect I had to put it here. ‘Do you respect wood?’

30 Rock: We seem to be in the golden age of comedies. If you want to laugh yourself sick, just watch NBC on Thursday nights. Fey, Morgan, Baldwin are still at the top of their respective games which makes this show funnier than ever. I wouldn’t have thought they could have topped last season but they’re heading that way in a hurry. As Jack would say, ‘O.M.F.G!’

Dirty Jobs: I don’t know what it is about this show, but if I run across one I haven’t seen before I’m glued to the set for 30 minutes. Even my boys are excited when it comes on, so it has universal appeal to males of all ages.

House (Last Season): I need to differentiate between the two halves of House for reasons you’ll see below. Last season’s surreal twist and unexpected (and as yet unexplained) suicide made House the most riveting show on television. Alas….


HONORABLE MENTION

Lost: I know, I’m addicted to it. Just read my 40 something entries on it over the past two years. But I’m also objective enough to realize this season was the weakest of the entire series. I couldn’t help but get the feeling there were a lot of red herrings thrown about in an attempt to confuse viewers from what’s actually going on. I’m giving the Lost creators the benefit of the doubt, but I am fearful I will be let down in this final season. Which begins Feb 2nd, by the way! Oh, fuck yeah. I’ll be there.

Life: Yeah, I know this has already been canceled, but I finally caught up with the entire series on Hulu and am sorely disappointed we’ll never see this again. Highly addictive and entertaining. Time is limited, by the way. Hulu is only carrying this until January 10th. Get on it and crank them out while they’re free. Just watch the first episode and if you're not hooked when the camera pulls back on that final shot, I don't know what to say.

V: Since only a handful of episodes have aired, I can’t add it to the Best list. Although from what I’ve seen it could be great. Still a lot of unanswered questions and some possible dud storylines (the son and that hot alien being one) so hopefully when it returns it will be a lean, mean, TV machine.


DISAPPOINTED

House (current season): It starts off with one of the best episodes in House history (the music box excepted) only to stumble when it gets back to the hospital setting. The Cameron – Chase relationship is annoying and strange and House is becoming less funny and more of an asshole by the day. It seems to be getting it's footing back, but this has been a subpar season at best.

Bones: I still watch, but have been increasingly annoyed with the gimmick shows they’ve been pushing at us. The season finale was absolute bullshit with Booth dreaming about what life would be like if he and Bones were a married private investigation couple. Really? From the beginning we knew it was a dream but still had to sit through an hour of it. Terrible. This season has been spotty with the low point an episode that was basically an hour long ‘Avatar’ promo. Get your shit together, Bones (the show, not the character) or you’ll be off the DVR list.

Fringe: I got so sick of sci fi mumbo jumbo that I finally just stopped watching this. I can handle an X-Files clone, but it somehow made the bizarre seem mundane and repetitive.

FlashForward: Another one I had high hopes for only to be let down by the fatalistic, whiny and self serving behavior of all the main characters. It wasn’t until one of the main men took drastic measures to prove to everyone that you can in fact change your destiny that it became somewhat interesting. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to have kicked anyone in the ass and they’re just as mopey as ever. All done. Thanks for stopping by.


GUILTY PLEASURES

American Idol: I’ll admit I get caught up in this. Having a flamboyant, borderline insane person like Adam Lambert certainly helps. I fear the loss of Paula Abdul will make the show much less entertaining. Part of the fun was watching her stutter and slur her way through a critique. Maybe the new girl will start doing drugs to compensate.

The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: This is a ‘kid’s show’ on the Cartoon Network that is so bizarre and hilarious I don’t even think I can do it justice. A young boy lives with a former adventurer (Captain Knuckles – pronounced with the K) inside a whale who talks. Their main purpose in life is to find Candy Island which leads to all sorts of hijinks. I’m tempted to watch this while high to see if I can decipher any hidden meanings, but I think I’d just wind up terrified.


BASTARDS!

The Bachelor: How is this show still on? This year brought us the first single father bachelor who proceeded to so totally fuck things up he probably traumatized his son and made every woman in America hate his guts. For the record, I actually didn’t see any of this but had to sit through play by plays while Wifey recounted every detail. She also seemed to hate it and love it at the same time.

Carrie Underwood/Jennifer Hudson Holiday Specials: Was anyone else unlucky enough to stumble across these two disasters? Underwood’s didn’t even strike me as a holiday concert and they made the strange decision to show backstage skits between the songs as if she were auditioning for her own variety show. Not funny. Just awkward and strange.

Hudson’s special seemed to be her riding around her home city of Chicago while lip synching some holiday songs.

To be fair, I only watched about 10 minutes of each show, but that was more than enough to gauge the damage these train wrecks were about to do.


SINGLE WORST SHOW I’VE SEEN THIS YEAR

Glee: Yeah, I’m going there. I tried. Honestly. I gave this more than one chance but I seriously hate this fucking show. I have always had an issue with musicals busting out in a song and suddenly everyone knows the lyrics and sings incredible, but I could forgive all that. I can appreciate the cast and some of the comedy is ok, but I just don’t get why that female gym teacher (who is hilarious in almost everything else) has such a problem with the Glee Club. Why? Her obsession over it borders on psychotic and I find the entire story line and most of the characters annoying. That I want them all to suffer tremendously should tell you where I’m at.

Also, if you're going to do a show like this, have them sing live (or at least live while taping the show). The lip synching drives me crazy!

Until next year. Let’s hope ‘Lost’ blows everyone out of the water this season and enters ‘Seinfeld’ status. If only….


Today’s distraction: Highjacking a post has never been so amusing. Sometimes people just ask for trouble.

1 comment:

A Tribute: deer a train and basketball said...

I will agree on just about everything you said minus the guilty pleasures of course. I hate those shows. Mike Rowe pretty much mad me start watching dirty jobs, he's hilarious.