Tuesday, May 24, 2011

3-Sentence Reviews: End of the 2010-2011 Television Season

To bookend the season properly...

I can’t give a proper three-sentence review to The  Event because I stopped watching it mid-season.  What began as a promising political thriller a la 24 with a touch of Lost-like supernatural intrigue turned into a bland mess of aliens over the course of about three episodes.  The acting performance turned in by Zeljko Ivanek was a much-needed bright spot, but sadly the writing was so uninspired that I can’t even remember his character’s name.

Against all odds, Michael Scott leaving The Office just might have breathed new life into the show.  The last few episodes of this season, beginning with a surprisingly touching farewell to Michael, were the strongest the show has been in years, and the B plots (like Angela marrying a gay state senator) are firing on all cylinders.  As long as new boss (and I’m thrilled that it’s not going to be Will Ferrell’s DeAngelo) creates the same inane dynamic that Michael carried through seven seasons, The Office has at least a few more years of life in it.

The number of people who wrote off Outsourced without giving it a chance (“oh, it’s set in India, so it must be racially offensive”) continues to astound me.  After performing reasonably well in the fall despite that negativity, NBC shipped the show off to the death slot of 10:30 pm, where it had expectedly miserable ratings leading to its cancellation.  That’s a pity, because Outsourced’s Vaudevillian-meets-absurdist comedy was like very little on television, but at least fans got the relative satisfaction of a reasonable season-turned-series finale.

This season of Survivor only went to prove the point that a cast filled with less-interesting-than-average people leads to a season that’s less interesting than average.  I didn’t hate the redemption island mechanic as much as a vocal contingent of fans apparently did, though I agree that its impact was lost when it crammed in four people (erroneously calling it a duel) and having everyone but the guy who came in dead last “win”.  And CBS, if you subject me to the Rob Mariano or Russell Hantz season one more time, there’s a good chance I stop watching your show; the novelty of bringing back old players has long worn off, and I’m already skeptical of next season because of it.

After a mostly solid season, The Mentalist shocked with a season finale that might have been the best-ever episode of the show.  The constant one-upmanship between Jane and Red John took some seriously inspired writing and acting, but everyone pulled it off.  The only question now is where does the series go from here?

House burdened us with some real clunkers (see the horrible attempt at a Pulp Fiction tribute episode where House decides to spend a few days hanging out at an elementary school), and storylines like Taub’s ongoing marital issues aren’t nearly as interesting as the show thinks they are.  Worse, we had to endure an entire season of “Huddy” detracting from the snarky medical drama just to hear a restatement of the show’s main theme that everybody lies and nobody changes.  Now that the show has it out of its system, and especially with Lisa Edelstein’s much-publicized departure, maybe House will hearken back to its brilliant first three seasons as inspiration for its last.

I laugh, on average, about three times per episode of The Big Bang Theory.  It's become oddly romantic comedy-y, with even Sheldon, the caricature of social ineptitude, settling into his approximation of a relationship.  Bernadette and Priya add basically nothing to the show, there's been virtually zero character development over the course of the show's sixty-plus episodes... yet each of those three jokes is genuinely hilarious enough for me to keep watching the show.

Currently listening: "Underneath the Sycamore,"  Death Cab for Cutie

1 comment:

Cathy Pavlovich said...

So I was wondering if they were going to do the next season of House from prison as House solves medical mysteries from a jail cell. What's the other option?