28 December 2008
As the year comes to a close it seems only fitting to pay it tribute. So here are some of the highs, lows and in-betweens of the year, in my opinion.
The Best Network Decisions of the Year:
– NBC giving new life to Friday Night Lights by striking a deal with Direct TV to split the costs instead of just giving the struggling series the axe.
– ABC, way to give the people at Scrubs the chance to end on their own terms.
– CBS comedy. Not a specific decision, but credit should be given where credit is due and CBS has been standing behind their comedy lineup with honourable resilience. Not only has fan favourite How I Met Your Mother lasted into it’s 4th year of being on the bubble but critical darling The New Adventures of Old Christine is still standing strong, The Big Bang Theory has made it to their second season funnier than ever and underrated gem Rules of Engagement remains on the schedule, whether anyone notices or not.
The Worst Network Decisions:
– ABC cancelling Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone and Dirty Sexy Money, three of their smartest series in one horrid swoop.
– ABC not bringing Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money and Private Practice back until almost a year after they last aired. The decision made sure that the fledgling series stayed out of the minds of viewers after the WGA strike ended and led to the eventual demise of 2 of the 3.
– The CW re-booting 90210 and planning to do the same with Melrose Place. What made its predecessor The WB successful wasn’t sticking with a proven formula, it was finding new and different shows and giving them a chance to find an audience (see Buffy, Roswell, Smallville, Jack & Bobby, Dawson’s Creek, Everwood, Charmed, etc…). They had a shot at something with Valentine then let it go before letting it grow into its potential- rookie mistake.
– NBC. Jay Leno. Way to take 5 hours of quality primetime off the market for scripted programming while seriously undermining Conan and the opportunity he’s been waiting for.
The Year in Showrunners:
– Though Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice have had some highlights in the past year, as a whole Shonda’s been really letting me down. The characters haven’t been consistent, the plots have been contrived and the total products have been underwhelming; I expect more from the powerful Ms. Rhimes.
– Whedon Whedon Whedon. This was the year that I finally watched all of Angel and Firefly so I am, indisputably, on a bit of a Whedon kick. But you have to admit that the man’s had quite the year. He proved the true scope of his influence when his web series Dr. Horrible had so much traffic that the server crashed. With his own resources, circle of talented friends and passionate fanbase, Whedon proved that he could tell stories on his own terms. Which is why I find it confusing that he’s putting his promising new series Dollhouse in the incapable hands of FOX. Notorious for early cancellations, FOX is the same network that mishandled and ultimately killed Whedon’s genius brainchild Firefly. So you should understand why his current affiliation with the killer network gives me pause, but if there’s one showrunner I trust, it’s Joss.
– Damon and Carlton got a little too caught up in their plot this year on Lost but I’m on board until the end, whether they want to give me the deep character stories I want or the mythologically muddled puzzle I’m prepared to sit through.
– Josh Schwartz. After my OC renaissance early this fall I’m newly a fan of TV’s wunderkind. I’m absolutely loving Gossip Girl and about to leap full-heartedly into the world of Chuck so all I have to say to Mr. Schwartz is “keep on doin’ what you’re doin'”
– I have the same thing to say to super-producer Greg Berlanti. The driving force behind more of my favourite shows than almost any other producer out there, all Berlanti needs to do is come back from the cancellations of Dirty Sexy Money and Eli Stone with some serious determination and a couple great ideas and he’s got Hollywood in his hands.
The Year’s Most Pleasant Surprises:
– So You Think You Can Dance Canada had better dancers than the American version. Their judges were more annoying, their choreography wasn’t as interesting and their host not nearly as engaging, but the Canadian dancers (forgive the pun) danced circles around their American counterparts.
– Sports Night gets new life on DVD. An All-Time favourite of mine, if there’s any show I’d like to see a 10th Anniversary collection for, it would be Sports Night. And whadoyaknow there it is! With new commentaries and interviews, the new box set makes the great show even more celebration-worthy.
– At this time last year Gossip Girl was a fun show with high production values and a welcome escapist quality. Now, thanks for the most part to the psychologically fascinating Chuck and Blair, the beautiful show is as full of genuine character drama and human emotion as it is full of top fashion and underage drinking.
– Big Brother 10: the best non-AllStars season in 6 years; who saw that coming?
– Kevin McKidd on Grey’s Anatomy.
– almost everything about Privileged.
The Year’s Disappointments:
– The Emmys. The nominees, the hosts, the winners, the fact that I was on a plane during the broadcast… boo.
– GONE, DONE, DEAD: Aliens in America, Journeyman, Dirty Sexy Money, Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, Boston Legal, Valentine, The Ex List, Do Not Disturb, My Own Worst Enemy.
– Big Brother’s inaugural winter season.
– Private Practice somehow makes me not like Alexis Denisof, Meredith Monroe and Sarah Drew.
– Frumpy Gabrielle Solis isn’t any fun.
– The So You Think You Can Dance tour people won’t let fans take pictures with the dancers.
– All the other new people on Grey’s Anatomy (crazy cardio lady, sadistic new intern, stupid ghostly Denny, etc…)
– The Big Bang Theory not available online- what is that?
Things I Wish I Started Watching Earlier and/or watched more regularly:
– Eli Stone
– Top Chef
– Project Runway
– Boston Legal
– Big Love
– It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia