I meant to write this a couple months ago, but never got around to it. I wanted to make sure it got posted before the new season began. Since it begins tonight with the new episode of The Office airing, it goes up now. I may do follow-up on shows that I can’t give a fair hearing to here.
24 (Fox) - 24 definitely wins the “most improved” award after the dreadful Season 6. I wish that they had brought back Tony Almeida in a role that would allow him to be more prominant in the future, but who knows? Half the fun of the series was trying to figure out whose side he was on, so at least they used him to potential. Though I realize that Jack Bauer is the star of the series, I wish they would quit killing or dispensing with all of the supporting cast (except Chloe). It’s lost its shock value and much of its emotional resonance and it’s sort of reached the point where you don’t want to become attached to any character cause they’re probably gonna get killed off. Complaints aside, it was 24 hours of action-packed excitement.
Battlestar Galactica (SyFy) - I’ve gone back and forth on the conclusion of Battlestar Galactica, ultimately deciding that they did about as good as could have been done with where they had put themselves. I especially liked Tyrol’s role in the implosion of peace negotiations. Aaron Douglas, who plays Tyrol, has a fantastic everyman quality about him. I hope some network takes notice.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - TBBT has probably become my favorite comedy on television now, edging out The Office. Even Howard and Rajesh, two subjects of complaints last time I commented on the series, are doing a better job of earning their keep. That being said, I liked the comic book guy more and would have prefered he get a role than either of those two. The Lawrence-Penny storyline weaves in and out as one might expect in the early seasons of a show with the potential to last for a while. I look forward to the next twist or turn.
Boston Legal (ABC) - It’s over, and not a moment too soon. Boston Legal was easily the most exasperating show I have ever watched. Moments of brilliance interrupted by smug moralizing that I found off-putting whether I agreed with what was being said or not. Most frustrating is that this could have been a truly great series, but it just couldn’t get over itself. But despite all that, it remained a good show and one that, even when I tried, I couldn’t stop watching.
Chuck (NBC) - The Subway gambit worked! I’m not sure I care as much, though, having seen the season finale. I believe that, knowing that the series was probably going to come to an end, they needed to give us a good stopping point. There’s really nothing worse than a “To Be Continued” on a TV show’s last episode. And given how much certainty there was in many circles that the show was going to be cancelled, and given that they chose to end on a cliffhanger (and went out of their way to do so, I am left with no choice but to conclude that they will never end the series. A television show has a sort of contract with its viewers. We’ll invest our time and interest and they will give us a pay-off. I understand that sometimes shows are canceled without warning and there isn’t much that can be done, but that was not the case with Chuck.
Dirty Sexy Money (ABC) - Like Chuck, DSM was expected to be cancelled and ended on a cliffhanger, but unlike Chuck it actually was. I’m more inclined to give DSM a pass, though, because it was cancelled before midseason. This one was always on the borderline of whether I wanted to watch it or not, but it sadly picked up the most steam in the final four episodes, which they didn’t air until this past summer. I really, really wish I knew what happened next and the story of Nick George’s father.
Fringe (Fox) - I quit watching after 14 episodes. Rather, I quit watching after five episodes, then decided to watch the remaining 8 of the half-season, then quit again. It’s not a bad show and in fact got a lot better in episodes 7-14. But they reached a good stopping point and Mark Valley, one of the best things about the show, left. I found that I didn’t care enough about the general storyline to keep watching. Particularly when I am suspicious about whether or not these shows will be given a proper ending.
How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - This show just keeps getting better and better. At the same time, I wonder if it’s not going to start a down-hill descent soon. But if it stays this entertaining as we wait for The Moment (when Ted meets his future wife), I’ll definitely stay tuned.
Life (NBC) - This is how it should be done. Life was on life support (no pun intended) during its first season and ended the half-season with a sort of conclusion. Then, at the end of the second season, it was almost certain to be cancelled. Rather than pulling a Chuck-like gambit, they simply gave us a conclusion that we can be satisfied with. You can see where they could have kept going, but alas it never picked up the viewership. It’s a shame and probably worth a post all its own.
Lost (ABC) - Somehow, they got me to feel a little sorry for Ben. Right as he was killing somebody, too! And they finally got me really liking Juliet and of course they kill her. And… almost all my comments here are on the little stuff cause I don’t even know what the big stuff is. Overall, I thought the season was good. It actually did a pretty good job of doing some of that explaining of stuff that others said would never happen. And by using time-travel, it did it in a way that wasn’t tedious. Not sure what to make of throwing the Jacob/Esau at the end there. Is another layer really what they need right now? They seem to think so and I don’t have the energy to doubt them. Whatever they’re doing, it’s been a heck of a ride.
My Name Is Earl (NBC) - My Name Is Earl pulled a Chuck. Boo. Worse, like Chuck, if they’d just ended the episode a couple minutes earlier, the cancellation would have been more okay. But they went out of their way to try to manipulate us into begging for another season. What’s sad is that the show had actually gotten a lot better from some of its iffy earlier seasons and was more worth-watching than ever. And now it’s gone. Grumble.
The Office (NBC) - Probably the weakest season in the history of the show, it got a lot better in the second half. Michael Scott quitting and the introduction of Charles Miner hit the spot and brought the show closer to its Officey roots and away from the soap opera of the Dwight-Angela-Andy love triangle.
The Shield (FX) - Fantastic ending. It gave a sense of completeness that few shows do. The show created a fantastic reality wherein the characters you find yourself rooting for are (mostly) dealt their just desserts and you have to keep reminding yourself “This is what they deserve”.
Southland (NBC) - Southland is sort of a grittier version of Boomtown and I liked Boomtown and so Southland was alright as well. The bleeping oddly works. We’ll see how they do when they have more than six episodes to work with.
Two and a Half Men (CBS) - For the last couple seasons this has been the show that’s always barely worth watching and this season was not much different. It’s there, it provides a few laughs, and I find myself watching it out of pure momentum. Charlie’s girlfriend honestly doesn’t do much for me, which I think is dampening my enthusiasm a little bit. Always frustrating to see the layabout Charlie get these responsible, with-it women that ought to have little or no use for the Charlies of the world. Blar.
Worst Week (CBS) - Cancelled after 14 episodes and, though I enjoyed the show muchly, I can’t really complain. It had a formula that was bound to get old sooner or later. It’s interesting watching the British version how much better than American version is and how important it was in this show to have a really likeable protagonist. And the girlfriend/wife has to be one of the best girlfriends/wives ever on television ever, ever, ever.