Stormtrooper Terry

Stormtrooper Terry

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tales from the Tube: The 2009/2010 Season

By now, most people know I watch a lot of television. Over the course of this season, I watched 22 shows (not counting the latest series of the BBC show Merlin because, well, it's British.) which is oddly fitting, considering that's how many episodes of a show there usually are. So I've decided I'm going to count those shows down, with mini-reviews for each one. I'm including only shows that ran between September and May (with the exception of Friday Night Lights; yes, I know it only started on NBC a few weeks ago, but it aired on DTV starting in December, so it counts). And since this is my countdown, no, you won't see Grey's Anatomy on here, just shows *I* like. So without further ado, and unlike some other countdowns I've seen recently that started with number one, let's kick things off at the bottom!

22.) Melrose Place
That picture right there basically sums up why I started watching this show in the first place: hot chicks. There were, like, six of them on this show. However, by the time I realized even they weren't enough to make this worthwhile, my OCD had kicked in and wouldn't let me stop until it was over. Mercifully, it won't be back next season.

21.) Legend of the Seeker
If Melrose Place wasn't so awful, this would have been dead last. Never before has something I've loved as much as Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series of novels been bastardized so horribly. I love the characters too much to have not watched the show, but after two seasons, this is another instance of me being happy as a pig in shit that a show won't be back next season.

20.) Heroes
Heroes Season 4 Promo - heroes photo
Lord, how the mighty have fallen. The first season of Heroes was a revelation; yes, I know much of it was ripped off X-Men and other sources, but still, it was a compelling show about people with powers when it started. As it went on, though, it became more about powers with people, and it kept reusing the same plots (time travel, is Sylar good or bad, how did Hiro lose his powers this time) over and over and it got boring. Add in too many characters to that, and it just became a mess. While I do hope they get to do the two or four hour miniseries they want to do to wrap it all up, this is yet another show I'm glad won't be back.

19.) Gossip Girl
The shines off the apple on this one too, folks. A lot of the cleverness the show used to have is gone; thankfully though the three year long Jenny storyline seems to be over. The thing this show does better than anything else I watch is cliffhangers. Whether it's the end of an episode or the end of a season, they know how to make you want to come back. And the way this year's finale ended, they accomplished just that.

18.) FlashForward
As I've said before about this, the show was decent, but such a disappointment nonetheless. It suffered from ABC's enthusiasm to create a new Lost: too many characters, too many storylines and puzzles... and yet, ABC wasn't patient enough or dedicated enough to let it unfold properly. I do wish it had been renewed for next year, but, no.

17.) Scrubs
If this had been done as a spin-off instead of a continuation, it would have worked out much better. It had it's moments and definitely picked up towards the end, once the focus was off the old characters and their guest spots and the new characters were really given a chance... but by then, it was too little, too late. Bye, Scrubs.

16.) Smallville
I know what you're thinking: "Smallville is still on?" It is, and admittedly it's had some weak seasons, and it has traveled pretty far afield from it's original purchase. Still, last season and this season were both pretty good, as more and more elements of the comics have been introduced, and they've gotten strong performances from guest stars like Callum Blue and others. It's worth watching, at least.

15.) V
Admittedly V started off weak, but as it moved along and started exploring issues like faith, religion, innocence, loyalty, and right and wrong, it started to get pretty damn compelling. Well-acted, too.

14.) The Cleveland Show
This show killed me just about every time it was on, especially the Thanksgiving episode. I really agonized over whether or not it was funnier than what comes in at 13...

13.) Family Guy
... but I had to give it to the originator, if for no other reason that what you see above. Plus, "the friggin' chicken is Boba Fett? Sweet!" Both these shows would be much higher up if I wasn't personally more into dramas and such than I am into comedies.

12.) 24
I'm not going to say much about this now because I plan on writing a full blog all about it now that it's over. I will say, however, that the first half of the season felt really weak to me, and while it finished incredibly strong, it didn't make me happy, and that's why it isn't higher.

11.) Lost
Yeah, umm, for more information, just see here.

Here come the Top 10... boy, this is tiring. Anyone else need an adult beverage?

10.) Castle
I never would have thought this would make the top ten, but the fact is, Nathan Fillion is infinitely watchable, and Stana Katic is the perfect foil for him. Plus, the murder cases they investigate are some of the most inventive ones I've ever seen on a cop show, with some weird twists and turns. It's almost never predictable, and always fun.

9.) Fringe
Always weird. Always flawlessly acted. The only problem with Fringe this season as opposed to last season is that last season, when the episode wasn't connected to the main storyline, it was still good; this season, though, a lot of the standalone episodes fell pretty flat for me. Still the episodes in the main arc were incredible, and, well... Leonard Nimoy.

8.) How I Met Your Mother
Some of the episodes didn't really work for me this season, but the show is always funny and just about always has heart. The 100th episode was just amazing, as was the season-long idea of the doppelgangers. And honestly, I think this show has given me more inside jokes between me and my friends than anything else on television.

7.) Life Unexpected
Awesome show, unexpected. Honestly, never expected to like this as much as I do. The characters are it's greatest strength. They're all so wonderfully flawed that no matter what they try to do, it ends up getting messed up. And unlike a lot of shows, it isn't fixed by the end of the episode, it takes time for things to get better. The cast is fantastic at what they do, and I couldn't be happier that it got renewed for a second season.

6.) The Vampire Diaries
Boy, talk about a surprise. I was expecting another awful to insult to vampires, like Twilight; what I got is a show that puts Twilight to shame. Sure, it's no True Blood, but Ian Somerhalder's "Damon Salvatore" would fit right in with Bill and Eric. He's delightfully evil, except when he's not, which is entirely true to the dichotomy of a vampire. Compelling storylines, interesting relationships, characters that actually get killed off, and mysteries everywhere... this was definitely an awesome surprise.

5.) House
I'm not sure what I can say about House that I didn't say the multiple times I've mentioned it in my "Week's Best" column. They did something I never thought they could do... get House off of Valium... this season and still not only kept it compelling, but made it more so, by focusing on his relationship with Cuddy and Wilson more than ever before. This is a show that just gets better and better.

4.) Dollhouse
The fact of the matter is, Dollhouse was just too smart for network television. It forced people to look at and question things like self, identity, and free will in ways a network program hasn't done in a long time, and it just didn't go over well. Regardless, the writing and directing were sharp as hell, the acting was awesome, and the character arcs, especially in the last few episodes, were unparalleled. I want to badly to hate FOX for cancelling it, but...

3.) Glee
If I hate FOX for canning Dollhouse, I absolutely love them for giving us Glee. Great music. Great dancing. Stories about acceptance and self-confidence and love. Sue Sylvester. It doesn't get much better than this.

2.) Friday Night Lights
I have loved this show since the first episode of the first season and I haven't stopped since. It's the most real thing I think I've ever seen. It has the most loyal fans and is so beloved by critics... that's literally what has kept it going. So many cast changes and everything else that has happened and it's still so amazing because of Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, who give unbelievable performances each and every episode. I really could talk about how mind-blowing this show is, but, well, (spoilery) video speaks louder than my words, so...

1.) Supernatural
This show absolutely blew me away this season. It proved that it has the tightest continuity and mythology of any show on television (sorry, Lost) that I've seen since the days of Babylon 5. Literally everything that had happened over the span of 104 episodes had a point. It was all leading up to something, whether it was a moment in season 1 where the ghost of Sam and Dean's mother tells them "she's sorry" for some mysterious reason to a battle with a trickster in season 2, it all had a point, was all part of the plan. For no other reason at all, that would make this episode of the year after the big pay-offs in the last few episodes. However, it was also a season full of action, comedy, frights, emotional moments, angels, God, Satan, breaking the fourth wall, deaths (literally, Death), and rebirths. Supernatural ran the gauntlet this season and every minute of it was awesome.


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