Saturday, June 25, 2011

TV's Best and Worst of 2010-2011

I finally have some down time today to compose my thoughts about last year’s TV season. Of course, I’m way behind here, and the fall line ups have already been announced – but for posterity, or perhaps just because I feel like it today, I’m going to pontificate about the many, many hours of TV I watched this past year. It’s going to be my own mini-Emmys.


HANDS DOWN the best show I’ve been following on TV this year. Superb acting by the entire cast, excellent writing, interesting cinematography.

MOST FUN – Castle

This is the show I looked forward to the most after The Good Wife. Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion have finally gelled, and the supporting cast has settled into their roles well. The writing is spotty week to week, but they clearly have fun with themselves and don’t take the plots too seriously. As a result, it’s easier to enjoy as a serial crime series than its competition. Tends to run formula - campy, campy, campy, SERIOUS episode, back to campy for a while etc., but it's been an enjoyable ride. Nice season finale too.

MOST IMPROVED – Big Bang Theory

This little gem had a quirky and interesting start, but last year fell into to what I like to call “The Sheldon Show” to the point it was getting pretty lame. With the introduction of larger roles for Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik, it’s gone back to the ensemble formula which is much, much funnier.


Beyond the schmaltzy House-Cuddy relationship that went down this season, you end by cutting tumors out of your own leg after ingesting experimental drugs barely tested on rats? Where has this show gone, really? It’s boring me a lot. Other than some interesting writing choices for Wilson and Cuddy centered episodes this season, it’s lost a lot of its initial magic.

JUST AIIGHT FOR ME – American Idol

While you can argue the talent was better this year, the judging pool was fairly worthless. I cannot believe that no one on this show uttered a single constructive criticism to Scotty the entire season when he clearly needed it. And no negative comments apparently means that you now win this show. I’m even more convinced the thing is rigged when the first year you let 15 year olds compete, the two that make the cut make it to the finale…in a large part because you didn’t critique them all season because “they’re young” yet rip apart the 20+ year olds.

GUILTY PLEASURES – Hellcats & Covert Affairs

It’s all about the eye candy. Terrible writing for the most part on both shows, but really, really nice looking people. And the production value of both have some flair - the dance scenes from Hellcats were fun to watch, and the action sequences in Covert Affairs look much better than you’d expect for TV stunt work.

MOST OVER-RATED – Modern Family

Don’t get me wrong, I dig Modern Family. It’s legitimately funny….sometimes. My problems with it lies in the way the characters sort out according to gender politics. The Pritchet crew is clearly the “masculine” force in the show, while their significant others are the “feminine” counterpoint. The fact that two of those SOs are men, and are frequently satirized for being too feminine makes me a little squeamish as a gender scholar. I should probably write a longer post on this at some point.

DOWNWARD SPIRAL OF SUCKAGE – Brothers & Sisters and Grey’s Anatomy

It’s a tie. I already ranted about Grey’s, so let me rant about Brothers & Sisters – a show that used to be an interesting character study in family dynamics has now become a trite construct whereby each episode revolves around people not being able to communicate effectively at all. And while it was interesting at first to think there was a “lost child” in there somewhere, now the lineage of the entire family just keeps getting called into question. It’s tired, and it’s clear the actors are tired of it…so, I was not particularly surprised to see it won’t be returning next fall. Unfortunately, Grey’s is. With the lamest season ever (and a terrible season finale – I know, I said I wouldn’t watch it, but I thought they might pull it out like last year. No luck.).

NEEDED TO BE CANCELED – One Tree Hill and Smallville

While I’m a bit nostalgic about the cancelation of two shows dear to my heart that have been a large part of my research on teen television, they really, really had worn out their welcome.

And that's all for post (when I get around to it) will be the battle of more comic book movies.

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