Wednesday, June 2, 2010

TV 2010, Winners and Losers

Last fall I wrote about the "New Kids On The Block" of prime time television. With summer offering the Netflix time to catch up on things missed and with the season drawing to a close it's time to take a look back and see how the new offerings fared.

Winner: Modern Family (ABC)

There a some that say a good mix CD should be a blend of rise and fall. I say it should be ALL rise ALL the time. Modern Family came out of the gates screaming and never missed a beat. In the space of one season ABC has single-handedly resurrected the family comedy genre and breathed new blood into the Ensemble Cast comedy. They even inspired not one, but two of my research assignments this semester.

From Dillon performing "Underneath the Moonlight," to Mitchell and Cameron's neurotic (and gay, not that there's anything wrong with that) parenting, to Phil and Claire arguing over which one of their kids is the dumbest, this show brought the funny, and the heart.

I don't know how many times I've heard people attempt to choose a favorite character only to collapse into a heap of loving everyone. 22 minutes haven't felt this good since arrested development.

Grade: A+
Personal Duration: Didn't miss an episode
Expected Actual Duration: December 20, 2012 or the end of the world; whichever comes last.

Loser: V (ABC)

Proof that ABC can't win them all, serial-alien-drama V is a textbook FAIL. The greater of the two evils that ABC hoped to replace Lost (the other being Flash Forward, more on that later), V is a melodramatic sci-camp snorefest about an Alien invasion on earth.

After the first 4 episodes the series went on Hiatus to not be thumped by the olympics and by the time it returned we all wonderd "V what? Oh yeah."

While the players are certainly pretty (Oh Morena Baccarin, why couldn't Firefly last a little longer), their development is so skin-deep (get it? no you don't, because no one watched this) that whether they live or die is hardly any consequence. The acting is stiff, the writing is forced, and the action is, well, just plain boring. You don't get a new lost by slapping together a cast of cute things with issues, you need to make us actually care.

Grade: D-
Personal Duration: I made it through 6 episodes.
Expected Duration: I'm amazed it even finished the season. Truth be told, I'm not sure it did.

Winner: Community (NBC)

Yes Virginia, it's ok to watch NBC. In fact, comedy is what NBC does best and the Peacocks latest offering about a group of community college misfits and their snarky leader Jeff (played with the perfect balance of smart and stupid by The Soup's Joel McHale) revels in cliche-parody and comes out a champion.

The season hit a few snags in the middle, but no sooner could you say "Modern Warfare" than the show hit back with vintage Greendale laughs, (after wasting the Glee club in a school-wide paintball fight, Jeff taunts "Write some original songs").

We'll be seeing Community again next season and I could not be more excited. Senor Chang is now a student, and the study group moves into Anthropology as their collected study. I can only imagine what the show will do with a new professor, a lingering love-rectangle and the study of humans. What more could a group of 7 Human Beings ask for (the school mascot, in case you didn't catch that.)
Grade: A-
Personal Duration: Every episode, with honors.
Expected Duration: 4 years, I don't see how the story would survive graduation, but I'd be willing to find out.

Loser: Flash Forward (ABC)

Oh Flash Forward, we had such high hopes for you. You brought back Charlie for crying out loud. In the end, however, the lack of forward thinking on the part of the writers became apparent in the "Everyone has seen the future" storyline. Pieces to the puzzle weren't found as much as they just kind of dropped out of the sky when neccessary, and most of the season's lingering questions came to rather unsatisfying fruition (Is Dimitri going to be shot by Mark Benford's gun? Turns out that Dimitri's death was going to occur becuase...D. Gibbons saw that he was supposed to die in the future? But why? Because he saw it in the future? What?)

Ultimately the show's Ace was the hole it fell in. There has to be a reason that major plot points occur in the future besides the mere fact that they were seen happening in the future. If you a problem because in the future you already know the answer, then it was never actually solved. It hurts you head to think about, but not in a good way, kind of like this show.

Too many characters, too much filler, not enough...point.
And Joseph Fiennes still bugs me.

Grade: C
Personal Duration: I actually made it through every episode, but not promptly.
Expected Duration: Goodbye again Charlie. See you in another life, Brotha.

Winner: Glee (Fox)

Glee, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
1. Sue Sylvester, the fierce embodiment of protein and someone we love to hate. (I could never be a mother, I don't have the time or the uterus).
2. Will Schuester, makes me want to buy, and wear, more vests.
3. Overblown high school drama, this show is not a TV High School Musical (you know who you are), it is satire. Pure, unadulterated and awesome satire.
4. Don't Stop Believing, even when the storylines get repetitive (gee, who's going to threaten to shut down the club this week?), the music...still...ROCKS! This group of misfits had me tapping my foot to a Lady Gaga song for crying out loud.
5. Jayma Mays, her love-sick/recently empowered guidance councelor is absolutely precious (you know, the non-based-on-the-novel-push-by-saphire-kind).

This show hasn't wrapped yet for the season, and I wish it never would.

Grade: A
Personal duration: I skip things in my queue to watch this first.
Expected duration: till the fat lady sings.

Returning Characters
1. House
The latest season of the medical drama reminds us why we love Dr. Gregory House. He is simultaneously rude, brash, indignant, brilliant, hilarious, vulnerable, and tender. The season began in a psych ward, had Wilson and House move in together, said goodbye to Dr. Cameron, made us want to slap Taub and kiss Thirteen and ended with a long-overdue kiss. Most well-written show on television.
Grade: A
2. 30 Rock
What can you say. Exquisite, except for Julianne Moore. Gross much.
Grade: A-
3. The Office.
I don't care anymore, and yet I keep watching. That tells you something, and bonus points for the Nard-Dog.
Grade: B
Maybe Someday We'll Meet Again

I wanted to end with a special shout-out to our dearly-departed Lost, 24, and Better of Ted. Lost gave us 6 years of mind bending lovin'. 24 gave us the embodiment of America in Jack Bauer, the B.A. of all B.A.'s. Better of Ted gave us the best show no one watched, and will be sorely missed.

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