I don’t want to talk about Lost anymore. I have alternating feelings of contentment and furious frustration…I guess I’m not as invested in the show in some ways because I really only invested a year and a half of guessing and wanting answers, unlike the poor saps that first started watching the series in 2004. I also generally enjoyed the series enough that although the ending was far from satisfying, it didn’t totally ruin the show for me…until I start taking what’s revealed (or not) in the finale and applying it to my unanswered questions from the entire series and coming up short. Way short.
What was that about being done talking about Lost? Oh right. Well my PVR is blissfully nearly empty, other than the last run of Parenthood episodes (I’m about 5 or 6 behind), a few of TSN’s great 30 for 30 documentaries for the boyfriend, and a few more installments of the incredible ‘Life’ series currently airing on Discovery. A few of my perennial summer shows are starting next week – Little Couple! Toddlers & Tiaras! – to keep me entertained between my movie project and finally finishing Arrested Development…but I can’t help but think of next fall.
So far, none of the prospects for fall 2010 are enticing to me. I’m sure Entertainment Weekly will have an excellent fall TV preview issue that may make me reconsider, but as someone feeling more tapped into the biz these days (I blame it on the aforementioned subscription) I watched the fall scheduling carefully and was mostly disappointed. If anything, I want to shed a few shows off my weekly viewing. In some cases the decision has been made for me – bye Lost & Flashforward! - In others, the decline of some long-time favourites has led me to seriously contemplate deleting them off my PVR.
Namely, Desperate Housewives. I lamented the death of Edie a year ago, and the show has continued to spiral down. Whenever they so much as mention season 1, whether through Rex Van de Kamp’s illegitimate devil spawn or the obligatory Mary Alice Young flashback, I wince at how far the show has fallen. Season 1 of DH was an inspired, satirical take on suburbia. They eschewed the term ‘soap opera’ saying it reminded them of bad lighting and serial drama (especially for daytime soap starlet Eva Longoria). After a stumble in season 2 the series came back around, but it never fully rebounded from the Applewhite horror. Now the show is a parody of itself, with words like ‘madcap hijinks’ springing to mind when I describe the current plotlines.
The over the top drama of the last couple of years in particular (take this season’s horrid ‘mysterious new resident’ yarn re: Angie the eco-terrorist as a key example) has even seemed to take its toll on the actors that once made this show what it was. Felicity Huffman’s strangled delivery of lines while her newborn baby was being strangled by an umbilical cord in the midst of being held hostage by the season’s serial neighbourhood strangler pretty much made me want to throw a book at Felicity’s head and tell her to ask to get written off the show. Career suicide!
While Teri Hatcher moving off the lane because she couldn’t pay her bills was an inspired (however randomly handled – where is Susan’s strip club money???) reflection of the real issues in suburbia these days, the show is notorious for wiping the slate clean and I don’t anticipate this will be a particularly permanent set-up.
The final nail in the coffin for me with the finale was the big cliffhanger – someone’s child isn’t really their child. Oh the possibilities with that one…none of which I care about. This is a classic soap opera gag, and not one I care to see on my weekly primetime supposed sharp-eyed satire on suburban living. Between plane crashes, tornadoes, bombs, and stranglers…I’ve had it with Desperate Housewives and will be deleting the program from my PVR. I threatened to do it at the start of this season, and nothing that happened this year convinced me to do otherwise.
The other big red alert for me when it comes to ‘Should I stay or should I go?’ is how much I anticipate watching the show. Reality series obviously have the best advantage here because the potential for spoilers is dramatically higher. But there are a number of scripted shows I watch that also demanded my attention this year – Lost of course, and also (surprisingly) Life Unexpected. While I would let episodes of Gossip Girl (still amusing enough to keep watching), One Tree Hill (if it doesn’t end this season I might delete it for a follow-up season), and Saturday Night Live pile up, I couldn’t get enough of LUX. I tend to champion one series each year (Mad Men! FNL!) and I think I may purchase S1 of Life Unexpected just to convert more people to my cause.
Another show that’s on the bubble? Parenthood. I picked it up to watch my beloved Lauren Graham in action once again, and I’ve been meaning to blog on it for about a month now but um, I’m pretty behind as mentioned. I’ll give the point form version of that entry. Watching Parenthood is like watching the Cameron Crowe movie ‘Elizabethtown’. Not a whole lot happens, you find most of the characters mildly annoying, there’s a guy who works at a shoe company but it doesn’t really factor into his everyday life, and there’s a sweet enough soundtrack and interesting enough character interactions that you actually kind of dig it. Particularly when you have the option to watch episodes in a mini-marathon, as I’ve been doing in chunks over the season.
Here’s my thoughts – I do enjoy the show and crave watching more once I pop an episode in. Peter Krause and Monica Potter drive me batshit crazy with their helicopter parenting and weird suburbanite obsession with their sex lives. Lauren Graham is still adorable but I pine for the days of Gilmore Girls, when her daughter was much cuter. I want Erika Christensen’s husband to have more of a personality and life, and I enjoy the drama related to the slutty zen mom. Craig T’s wife is also a zero on the personality scale, and has zero connection with her children. I surprisingly love Dax Shephard’s storyline with Jabar, although I wonder whether Reed from the OC will ever return.
My conclusion? I will watch the backlog of episodes I have on my PVR before I come to a decision. Parenthood might be too sleepy to compete with my PVR’s 60 gig download limit during peak television season, but I’m not totally sold either way yet.
Another bubble show? Dancing with the Stars. I watched it for the first time this season out of casting curiosity more than anything and generally enjoyed it. Kudos for finally giving Nicole Scherzinger a vibrant, sweet personality compared to her typical vacant demeanour! The show is cheesy, drawn out, anti-climactic, and I fast forward about 45% of each episode, and 95% of each results show…but if the casting is as good as it was this year I will probably tune in again next year. After all, I’m only watching 60% of three stupidly overdrawn hours of weekly programming! Plus, at least the right person won (although many have speculated this is the first season that didn't feel like a high school popularity contest).
One final show in contention for elimination. ANTM. I’m sort of sick of it. I don’t really care about whether the models succeed after the show…I’m just kind of done with the format of the show in general, I feel like it reached its creative peak a long, long time ago and doesn’t really have anything to offer me. Someone I’ve really liked from the beginning hasn’t won in something like 7 or 8 cycles…that’s probably a sign. Also the fact that I can't for the LIFE of me figure out what this cycle's winner was named and therefore can't post a photo of them...KRISTA! That's her name. Well too damn bad, I just uploaded a generic ol skool photo of Tyra with a sign.
Till then, I’m off to ride into the blissful summer scheduling of one or two shows per week.