It's been a while since I talked about the current crop of television shows and I thought today that we would touch base. Honestly I think the amount of TV I am watching is decreasing as many shows I like have either taken a step backwards or have drawn to an end. Let's look at what hasn't been working first.
When the fall and mid-season shows dropped, there wasn't that many new programs I was looking forward to. So far only three have managed to make the cut. I quickly lost interest in shows like The Mentalist and I didn't even watch the first episode of the new NBC drama Kings. Even established shows that I have enjoyed in the past haven't been as compelling. Heroes is one that I keep waiting for to take off. A very solid show with great characters, I just don't know if the writers know where they are going with it this season. For nearly 3 seasons we have been waiting for some epic throw downs between the super powered folk and it seems like all they want to do is tease us with it. Just get to the fights! A little action will go a long way toward developing characters to the viewer.
Terminator is another show that is facing the same dilemma. For a show about robots from the future killing people there is a hell of a lot of talking. I love great characterization, but when I watching a show called Terminator, I want some damn terminators. Even the show I was most looking forward to this season, Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, runs that same parallel. It's a show where each girl can be anything, but I don't know that they are providing enough entertainment to be successful long term. Admittedly the last few episodes have been better, but I still can't call it a great show.
Fox's Fringe is borderline show for me. I love the concept, but I am still waiting to be sold on each character. I haven't made an attachment to any of the leads, but I like the general subject matter, sort of Lost meets the X-Files. I think it pays by being in a safe timeslot on Tuesdays when I don't have any counter programming.
There have been some positive moves in programming this season. I still think that The Office may be comically the best show on television. They continue to push the boundary of awkward, socially channelling humor each week. Just a great cast of characters and Steve Carrell as Michael Scott may be the most fearless actor in TV. Next up is Chuck from NBC. This show I think finds the best balance between pure fun and action and character development. It's got an overall story that furthers each character, but it intersects each week with humor and action to keep things going. Just a great balance.
Then there is Lost. Without a doubt the BEST show on TV. This season the producers have taken the show up a notch from last, no small task, bringing the mysteries of the island to the forefront. They still provide more answers to our questions, but leave enough room to ask another question in its place. Just from top to bottom the best show each week.
There have been some sad departures this season as well. First out was the criminally underrated Pushing Daisies. Fun, quirky, and offbeat, I wish it had the chance to continue. I fear there was simply to long a layoff between season 1 and 2 with the writer's strike last year and it became a victim of the ratings. This was certainly a show that had something for everyone, men, women, young, or old, it was a very pure form of entertainment that wasn't preachy. Just a good show. Another loss that will hit me hard very soon is the cancellation of the only other new show this season I like, ABC's Life on Mars, about a cop from today stuck in 1973. One part Lost, one part crime drama, it entertained many fascinating concepts. This ranged from time travel and mental illness to social issues like gender and race issues that were so prevalent in the 70's. I am really sad to see it go as it was one of my favorite programs on TV.
The biggest loss is undoubtedly Battlestar Galactica. Easily one of the best shows on TV (second only to Lost for me) it wrapped up its run in an epic 2 hour finale, full of blockbuster action and really great closure for the cast of characters we had come to know. Despite future BSG spinoff's in the works, the main show and cast is done. With it went a great balance of action and character beats, where you really watched the characters grow and change over the 5 year run of the show. Each person is a far different cry from who they were in the beginning. I'll miss BSG, there really was nothing else quite like it.
That's my rundown of the current state. My guess for a follow-up would be a good re-evaluation around the end of the season, specifically in the final episode of Lost. Thanks for reading, I'll be back again this week hopefully finishing up the last chapter of Three More Bullets and maybe even some new Darkest Dawn by the end of the month. Thanks!
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