My Favourite Seasons. The season in which a show was the best it could be.
The West Wing– Season 2
With the critics clearly in their circle and the fans starting to finally pour in, the great minds behind my all-time favourite show brought their A game to their second season. Season 2 marked the introduction of new and spectacular characters like (my personal favourite) Ainsley Hayes and the brilliant Dr. Stanley Keyworth. It also featured most of the series’ best episodes, including: “The Shadow of Two Gunmen Parts 1 &2”, “Galileo”, “Noel”, “And it’s Surely to Their Credit”, “The Portland Trip”, “Shibboleth”, and “Two Cathedrals”, among many others.
How I Met Your Mother– Season 1
This was the romantic season; the one where Ted steals the blue french horn, searches the city to find the woman he fell for at the wedding and makes it rain for Robin. It’s also the season where Barney wears at least 3 different Halloween costumes (including Maverick from Top Gun and a penguin), Ted sacrifices his date (and potential perfect match) to be a friend to Lily, Barney and Marshall plot against a practical joker, Robin “suits up” to be a “bro” to Barney, Ted wakes up next to a pineapple, Barney sets Ted up with a “prostitute”, Marshall and Ted swordfight, Barney and Ted lick the liberty bell and Alexis Denisof guest stars. It has the truest tone of friendship, the sweetest Marshall/Lily dynamic, Ally Hannigan’s best hairstyle and the funniest Barney catchphrases.
Big Brother– Season 7
All-Stars: Will, Danielle, Will, Nikomis, Will, Jase, Will, Boogie, Will, James, Will, and Will… ‘nough said.
Veronica Mars– Season 1 This show was always good but it was truly, momentously great in its first season. The central mystery was so close to Veronica personally that season 1 packed a punch that the other seasons just didn’t have. In addition to that, season 1 was about female empowerment, the division of classes and the role of the outsider. Seasons 2 and 3 were more about wit, emotional walls and the lines that must or must not be crossed.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer– Season 6
While season 2 is right up there on the brilliance scale (with 3 and 7 not far behind it), season 6 of Buffy is my favourite. With an amusing trio of mortals playing big bad, the threat of apocalypse subsides for awhile and makes way for the possibility of actual, irreversible damage. Unarmed against the harsh realities of the natural world, the mystical butt-kicking heroine and her ultra-human posse battles life in season 6. They sing, they dance, they share amnesia for awhile and then ultimately, the world is saved by a best friend and a yellow crayon.
Angel– Season 3
We didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Fred until the end of season 2. By season 4 we’ve alienated Wesley (my favourite), lost the true Cordelia forever and been forced to endure hours of teenage Connor’s existence. But in season 3 we have it all: a beautiful growing love story (Angel and Cordy), the redemption of an all-time great villain (Darla), a present but not overwhelming comic relief (Lorne) and perhaps the greatest love triangle ever written for TV (Wesley, Fred, Gunn).
Slings & Arrows– Season 3
The New Burbage Festival stages the greatest play ever written King Lear. Geoffrey was always the heart of this show: genius, tortured, comically perfect and dramatically engaging. But in season 3 those around him rise to to occasion with such aplomb that it’s almost impossible to decipher who among them shines the brightest. Sarah Polley and Aaron Abrams play an honest friendship/complicated love story so beautifully that it almost eclipses their phenomenal play-within-a-play portrayals of Cordelia and Edgar. Martha Burns tears at your heartstrings and makes you laugh until your belly hurts as Ellen, being forced to decide between her best friend and her best love. Susan Coyne’s Anna reaches new heights of hilarity and strength with moments like when she yells at an ailing man that if he ever treats her like that again she’ll “hit [him] so hard [his] cousin will fall down”. Melanie Merkosky brings unmistakable humanity to the role of Megan, a slightly dim but big-hearted and talented triple threat who threatens to come between Sophie and Paul (Polley and Abrams). But, topping them all, is the late great William Hutt as the ailing actor Charles Kingman who is living the Lear that he’s playing. When asked about Geoffrey’s Hamlet, Ellen replied that he was “incandescent”, and, if applied to Hutt’s performance not only as Kingman but as Lear himself, no truer words ever were written.
So You Think You Can Dance– Season 3
Not only had the judges hit the correct balance of entertaining, critical and helpful and the choreography hit a new high, but the dancers of season 3 were unparallelled on any of the other 3 seasons. Sabra’s joy, Dominic’s determination, Lacey’s strength, Neil’s athleticism, Lauren’s commitment, Hok’s eccentricities, Jamie’s grace, Pasha’s charm and everything about Danny Tidwell (from his perfect technique to his great passion to his irresistible personal journey) made this season the best.
The Office- Season 2
In season 1 they copied the stories of their BBC predecessor; they were successful but not wonderful. Season 2 marked The Office‘s departure from the constraints of the British hit. It was in season 2 that the American version of the series developed a world of secondary characters that hoisted the show on their quirky yet lovable shoulders and carried it to the height it eventually reached. Season 3 and 4’s desperate story lines were never able to capture the consistency of the brilliant second season and I will always remember The Office as it was for those 22 episodes of near-perfection.
Grey’s Anatomy– Season 2
The secret ingredient in Grey’s Anatomy is Addison Montgomery. She’s funny, charming, strong, smart and human, but most importantly, she’s mature. With the addition of Addison, the expansion of Bailey’s role and the continued (and soon to be non-existent) presence of Burke, Seattle Grace was a much more “grown-up” place in season 2. The interns were best when they were interns. Christina was best when she was with Burke. Izzy was best when she was falling for Denny. Karev was best when he was pining for Izzy and George was best when he had a best friend. All these things were happening in season 2.
Prison Break– Season 1
It’s simple: the show is called Prison Break. Once they break out of prison, what was once a smart, gritty, character-heavy and enthralling show becomes an inconsistent, far-fetched, spontaneous marathon of boring. The later seasons of this once-great show are not at all Wentworth-worthy.
Lost– Season 3
Though critics and fans complained incessantly about this new-character-heavy season, I found the new characters so engaging that I couldn’t have cared less what Hurley was doing that week. At the time, Ben was still mysterious and engaging as opposed to tedious and preachy as he is now and the addition of the ambiguous and possibly dangerous Juliette had me hanging on the edge of my seat. Don’t get me wrong, I care about the rest of the castaways, in fact the brilliant Sun/Jin stories played a big part in my love of this season as well. As did the lack of Michael (my least favourite by far). In fact, my favourite story of the season had nothing to do with “the others” at all; it was Charlie, Claire and Desmond. My enduring love for Charlie made it almost impossible to cope with Desmond’s declaration that his death was inevitable, yet it was only strengthened when Charlie knowingly and heroically faced said fate to save Claire and Aaron. Charlie, Claire and Desmond’s season 3 arc and Charlie’s demise was exactly what Lost is at its best and what it should always strive to be: mythological yet human, sweet yet tragic, character driven yet plot dependent, timely, beautiful, grand and poetic.
Felicity– Season 2
You know I loved the haircut- it looked great when it was short, it only caused problems when it started to grow out. Outside the realm of hair, though, I loved season 2. Season 1 was all angst, over-complication and too much talking. Season 2 was a little brighter (without the forced colour of season 3) but still introspective and subtle. In season 2, Felicity dated 2 men who weren’t Ben or Noel (David and Greg- both wonderful!). It also introduced fan-favourite Tracey (Donald Faison) and the beginnings of the Megan/Sean relationship (arguably the best thing ever to happen to the show). In season 2, as far as I can remember, no one got shot, no one did hard drugs or drank themselves into the hospital, Ben didn’t get beat up by frat boys, no one got raped and no one was in danger of getting kicked out of school (well, not for anything more serious than sneaking into the pool). There were episodes that were hard to swallow (the Twilight Zone homage and the subway car episode spring to mind), there was an unwanted pregnancy, a school protest, a parental divorce, an affair with a married woman, Julie was still there and Meghan was still a very minor character but Felicity still talked to Sally, she still considered sex a big deal, Noel experienced at least a fleeting moment of happiness (a rarity for him on this show), Felicity considered men who weren’t Ben for once, Sean was adorably in love with Julie, they began to humanize Meghan and the season ended with Javier getting married- as lovely as this show ever got.