After a week away in New York, which was really exciting, I came back to a pretty huge backlog. While I might not end up reviewing any individual shows beyond Mad Men (which went up earlier tonight), I do want to be able to comment on the comedy of the past week or so. Drama might be a bit more intimidating (was two episodes behind with both House and Sons of Anarchy), but we’ll see if we get to that in the days ahead (Reality won’t be there at all: Top Chef was predictable, Runway was boring, Survivor was expendable, and Amazing Race was a week ago and similarly uneventful).
For now, thoughts on (deep breath) The Office, Community, Parks and Recreation, Glee, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Saturday Night Live, Modern Family, Cougar Town, The Middle and Greek (phew!).
If you’ve been following along with Cultural Learnings’ 2008 Television Time Capsule [Full links available at the intro post], you will have surely noticed that there are shows I watch that didn’t make the list. I could have just ignored this fact, but in writing the various pieces that comprise this epic journey through the year in television I had to, for my own benefit, justify my decisions.
Here are my reasons for not including various shows on the list, and feel free to comment with any shows you think I unfairly left out of the time capsule for one reason or another.
The Shield (FX)
Last year, it was The Sopranos that had me left behind as the rest of the world of television criticism discussed its ending and the show’s role in shaping a decade of television. This year, I missed out on The Wire and The Shield both, and at a certain point I had to make a decision about which one I wanted to rectify first. The Wire won, which leaves the Shield’s highly acclaimed seventh season, and the six which came before it, on my catchup list for 2009. I reserve the right to dig up the time capsule, should its genius not be overstated.
Breaking Bad (AMC)
I fell behind on a fair few shows last year, but Breaking Bad is the one that feels like the biggest mistake: I could take not finishing off the first season runs of Reaper or Eli Stone, but this is a show that won Bryan Cranston an Emmy, had a really compelling pilot, and has earned a great deal of critical acclaim. The show is returning in 2009, and I do hope that I’ll find time to watch the shortened first season in time to see if season two might find a spot in 2009’s time capsule.
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
After starting out with a great deal of promise, Grey’s Anatomy’s fifth season quickly devolved into a bizarre experiment on how far Shonda Rhimes could push her audience. It wasn’t just the scandalous departure of Brooke Smith, or even Denny’s ghost rising to bring Izzie to a point of emotional breakdown, but rather that the show has at the same time introduced some elements (like the arrival of Kevin McKidd to the cast, or the guest appearance by Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica)) that should have made a difference and have been either squandered or terribly conceived. I’m willing to put a show that shows potential but doesn’t live up to it in the time capsule as a lesson, but right now I don’t want anyone following Rhimes’ example.
As far as TV months go, you’d think that June would be pretty dead.
All the finales have ended, there is largely still a lack of quality in summer network offerings, and enough major films release that it seems that other media formats are outweighing my personal favourite.
However, at the same time, June is a month in which I have a fair amount of time: summer is here, DVD prices are continuing to drop rapidly, and after pontificating to great length over various finales there is a desire to continue on the same path. As a result of this, perhaps even more than last year, I have every intention on keeping busy during this month.
Most pressing is tonight’s guest spot on the /Filmcast, the official podcast of SlashFilm.com. My old pals from The Watchers have gone corporate, but with good reason: /Film’s a great site, and the podcast remains a great community in which to discuss film and television. I’ll be on for the first half hour of the show or so to discuss Lost’s season finale, so tune in @ the live uStream Channel at around 10 EST to listen to me attempt to condense 5000 words of analysis into quippy contributions to a group discussion!
Elsewhere, however, there’s plenty of other things to chat about.
First off, I’m in the process of what I’d like to call “Myles Meets HBO,” a chance for me to catch up on shows that aired on a cable network I didn’t get, and to a certain extent pre-date my interest in television. First and foremost, I am now 2+ seasons into Six Feet Under, a show I picked up on DVD and have been enjoying greatly (I’ll probably talk about this later in the week, maybe once I hit the official halfway point).