Cultural Learnings’ 10 Shows to (Hopefully) Watch in 2008 is a list which reflects not the best series to possibly air in the calendar year, but rather those which shall prove most interesting to watch both in terms of the show itself and the buzz surrounding it. Some shows have made this list due to curiosity, hype, or a genuine interest in their creative future. Some of these shows may not air a single new episode of television until the fall, but it’s never too early to look ahead. On with the list!
Last year, I designated an episode of Heroes (“Company Man”) as the #1 episode of television during February Sweeps, and perhaps during the entire year. Ultimately, I’d probably give that distinction to an episode from another series, but the fact remains that Heroes did some great things in the past year that should make them something to watch in 2008. Unfortunately, almost all of that goodwill has been squandered.
As a result, Heroes barely makes this list due to a sheer curiosity as to how low Tim Kring and Co. can sink this ship. If the season one finale took the wind out of its sails, the show’s “Volume Two” was a shipwreck of epic proportions. Everything that went wrong did: new characters fell flat, beloved characters were stuck in awful storylines, and there was no “Company Man” to save a sinking ship.
Before the last few episodes of Season Two, I was at least optimistic that Tim Kring’s apology would at least ensure that the series would right itself heading into Volume Three. However, what Kring sold us as an altered course was still in a fundamentally wrong direction, and an awful fall finale was enough for Heroes to become entertaining not due to its quality but due to its continue descent into mediocrity. If I’m watching in 2008, it will only be out of a morbid curiosity…and that’s kind of sad.
Heroes will not go back into production until the Writers’ Strike is resolved. Chances are it will complete its 22-episode second season with a string of 11 episodes to air in the fall of 2008.
YouTube: Heroes Volume Three Preview
I feel obligated to place one of the season’s midseason debuts on the list, but don’t view this as a token selection – Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles is perhaps one of the most interesting drama series to hit the airwaves this year. This attempt at spinning off the Terminator franchise seems a terrible idea on paper, but its execution is solid: the pilot presents a level of action and drama that at the very least appears to offer a smarter and more cohesive alternative to NBC’s fading sci-fi series.