Body count, rearview mirror

Quality TV dead this year:

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Veronica Mars
Gilmore Girls
The OC

All eminently savable, only one really past its prime and ready to go (Gilmore Girls). Veronica did good to get its three years, I’ll take my DVD sets and walk away from the table. Rome and The OC were … I want to say basically the exact opposite of each other in almost every way, and victims of completely different business breakdowns, and I’d like to blame the deaths of both on Mishca Barton. I’m sure one case’d be easy to make stick, the other I’m just feeling like blaming.

Studio 60 gone means no more Ain’t It Cool reviews for me. Hopefully something decent airs a day early next year, I’ll take another stab. Luckily Julia has gotten me hooked on West Wing, so I’ve got seven years (five left to get through) of that to tide me over. Then maybe Sports Night, but my white-hot hatred of Peter Krause (thanks to the last season and a half of Six Feet Under) might prevent that from happening.

Jericho, which had intrigued me from the beginning, really ramped up over the second half of the season, creating a real, gritty and fascinating tale about the world’s most powerful nation forced to take a look at itself (through the lens of its most typical small town) and what it really was made of and believed in after getting blown to hell. And then they axed it in the midst of one of the biggest cliff-hangers since the hatch door got blown off, or the Cylons strolled down the middle of New Caprica City. It will be missed.

Reasons for hope:

Supernatural — I’ll keep calling it a sleeper until people watch the damn thing. One of the best hours going. Managed to survive in the toughest slot in TV. Great finale, one that understood how to give possible closure if no pickup came but still weave a compelling tale to pick up from.

30 Rock — I guess people were listening when I said if only one late-night-based show could be saved, make it Ms. Liz Lemon.

Galactica and Lost — Neither are quite where they were two seasons ago (though that kind of intensity is hard), but damned if they aren’t some of the finest storytelling I’ve seen in a while. People complain about both for not giving us everything while simultaneously keeping huge, labyrinthine mysteries. Cake, try to stick around after I’ve eaten you, please.

Surprises — And good to see some familiar standbys able to really pull out some great stuff. Numb3rs (the delightful Rob Morrow and David Krumholtz) just had a really good finale, with an honest to god twist, on CBS no less. I’m amazed they risked alienating their usual 80-billion year old audience by turning a good guy.
And CSI (the original, the only one that counts) has apparently kicked some ass this year, being all dark and twisty, hopefully we can catch some in reruns. Plus they had Liev Schrieber, my second favourite modern actor to play Orson Welles (Maurice LaMarche will ALWAYS be the first, even if it’s just for the voice), so how could that go wrong?
The Office too, loved loved loved the ending of the finale, and I’d even been tiring of it a little bit lately too. Steve Carell is turning into a bit TOO much of a caricature. I realize that’s the point of the character, and it was never going to be played as close to the vest as David Brent, but the cringe:laugh ratio with him was veering dangerously close to tipping the wrong way too consistently.
Heroes last. I expected to at least sorta like it, as cribbing from a bunch of my favourite sources (Rising Stars, Lost, X-Men) couldn’t possibly be THAT bad, and its admittedly shaky start smoothed out by midseason, and this home stretch has been stellar.

Letdowns — Grey’s Anatomy decided to blow everything up with no real good reason.
Veronica Mars (one of, if not THE, lowest rated shows on network TV) apparently decided NOT to hedge its bets and include a bit of closure in its finale, which we’ll see Tuesday — I’m hearing it may cliffhang a little. It would be a shame if pride prevented even a measure of resolution for these marvelous characters.
Scrubs just hasn’t been funny. At least not as good as its early reruns which I much prefer watching on SunTV to its new installments. I’m really sick of seeing Zach Braff pine for BlondeDoctor.
And the big, constant letdown of what the general public votes (with their viewership) to keep on TV. The fact that Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? and Search for the New Pussycat Doll are ratings hits (not to mention American Idol, Deal or No Deal, and that there is an honest to God bingo — BINGO — show airing tonight) just hurts my heart a little.

I think my writing is getting better. Cleaner. Must be a side-effect of doing it eight or so hours a day. *Edit: Or maybe it isn’t. I’m tired and it’s late. We’ll see how this actually reads in the morning.*

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