06 October 2009
What is wrong with this TV season? Maybe it’s that Lost, Better Off Ted, 30 Rock, My Boys, Big Love and Friday Night Lights didn’t return to the schedule in a timely manner. Maybe it’s that I’m a season behind on Dexter and Mad Men so am holding off on watching those this season. Or maybe it’s that I really miss the dearly departed series of last season (Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, Kings, Valentine, Samantha Who). Whatever the cause, I’m bored of the current season of TV, and we’re only a couple weeks in!
First of all, there’s simply too much dancing. I’ve never felt quite so apathetic to a season of So You Think You Can Dance in the show’s history. But FOX’s harebrained decision to air season 6 immediately after season 5 has taken all the excitement out of the show. It’s not a long-awaited summer treat anymore, but rather a tedious parade of boring. Add on to that the fall run of So You Think You Can Dance Canada and the recently premiered (but enjoyable so far) season of Dancing with the Stars and there’s something to be said for what Entertainment Weekly calls “watching other people dance fatigue”.
The rest of reality’s doing ok though. I’m excited to take a look at the new season of Amazing Race, Survivor hasn’t lost Tim’s viewership yet and excellent seasons of Top Chef and Project Runway (and its counterpart Models of the Runway) have made their way to the top of my priority list each week.
The comedies are ok I guess. How I Met Your Mother started strong but followed up a great opener with 2 good but not stunning episodes. Big Bang Theory is chugging along at a predictably decent pace but stopped surprising me back in season 1. Accidentally on Purpose is still endearing enough though. On ABC Wednesday’s new comedy night, I’m generally disappointed. Modern Family, I can safely say, is the let down of the season for me. The critics did the show no favours with their high praise, raising expectations beyond what the show can achieve. Cougar Town, though I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, is really just not my cup of tea. Hank and The Middle have no allure for me at all (Hank lost my viewership when they lost Melissa McCarthy and The Middle‘s Neil Flynn is not quite enough to make me watch yet another Patricia Heaton mediocrity-fest). NBC Thursday is hanging in there though. I do enjoy Community, I’d say it and Accidentally on Purpose are the new comedy highlights this year, but it’s not up to par with the comedy of NBC’s heyday. The Office is charming in its new season and this week’s wedding episode hopefully will not disappoint (viewers have only been waiting for it for 5 years!) though Jim’s promotion already annoys me. Parks and Recreation is just not my thing but while I’m waiting for the overrated but still pretty damn good 30 Rock to return, I’ll take an extra half hour of Seth Meyers a week (even if he has nothing to talk about). In the world of hourlong dramedies, Ugly Betty hasn’t returned yet and I haven’t gotten back to Desperate Housewives, apprehensive as I am about Drea de Matteo. Glee is slowly trying to win me over. It’s a slow process but I believe they’ll get there someday. The hybrid genre is only holding its own in my TV schedule because of a little Lifetime show called Drop Dead Diva, which is currently the highlight of my week. Star Brooke Elliot is delightful, her supporting cast is great (Stacy is my new favourite character in the absence of my beloved Fred, Rosie O’Donnell’s recurring and Roy from The Office is super charming and believable as Jane’s boyfriend) and the writing is fair and balanced in an extremely rare way. It’s also funny, though at times suffers under the weight of its campy premise and the conventions of the TV courtroom.
But mostly, I’m bored with the dramas. I have so little motivation to watch the new dramas that I’ve had the premieres of The Good Wife, FlashForward and Brothers sitting on my DVR for weeks and haven’t touched them. I’m amazed that Eastwick has managed to make me NOT want to watch a show that stars Paul Gross and Sarah Rue. Dollhouse still doesn’t seem to be into the Whedon groove yet; Brothers & Sisters is sweet but nothing special (a sad fact for one of my favourite shows); Grey’s has kicked off well and Private Practice had a surprisingly non-vile premiere but both are struggling for substance in their own ways. I’ve already abandoned Vampire Diaries out of sheer hatred and The Beautiful Life has bitten the dust. One Tree Hill (which I’ve long since decided is a comedy at heart) is thoroughly entertaining, though not to the same degree as last season, and 90210 is fun (not good, just fun); but Melrose is mediocre and Gossip Girl has lost lethal amounts of its sparkle since the kids have left highschool. Realistically, if that show wants to have a life in years to come, they should have stayed at Constance and St. Jude’s, using Jenny and Eric as a bridge and introducing new characters, like Friday Night Lights has done with their character turnover. The Gossip Girl premise works best in highschool. The choice to stay with their established characters (based, I’m convinced, on the argument that the audience would follow Chuck and Blair anywhere) means having to adapt their format to college, something that has not been successful so far this season. Also: too much Vanessa, too much Dan, and would someone please get rid of Michelle Trachtenberg?!?!
In general, nothing is pulling at my heartstrings the way they should be. Nothing is making me laugh out loud or want to call a friend to share a joke. Nothing is making me stand and cheer or yell at the screen or care at all. And mostly, nothing is making me want to write. In a good season I have to keep my laptop at my side every time I turn on my TV because my shows always give me something to say. So all I can ask of this new and blah TV season is to please, as Buffy would say, “give me something to sing about” or, in my case, something to write about.