Wednesday, July 7, 2010

State Of TV 2010

So it’s the Wednesday after Independence Day, which loyal Whitleypedia readers will realize means it’s time for our annual state of TV installment.

Well, no, but tomorrow the Emmy nominations will be announced, so that’s enough of a news peg to me. By this time, we’ve all had enough chance to digest the now bygone season’s worth of shows, cogitate deeply upon what we’ve seen, and analyze what it means for the health of our republic. These are my findings:

“Community” delivered the best first season since “Arrested Development.” This should not come as a surprise as “Community” boasts two ARD alums: Joe and Anthony Russo. I haven’t blogged really about how fantastic “Community” is, but in short I'll say it’s witty, it’s fast, it has heart without being cheesy, and they don’t use a laugh track. It's a creative premise (characters are a study group for a Spanish class) and it's set in Colorado - the closest we'll ever get to basing a show in Utah that is not explicitly religious or anti-religious. Also, they have gone out of their way to make fun of “Glee” repeatedly, which thing pleases me. However, unlike “Glee,” “Community” actually produces original songs:

It will probably get snubbed in the big categories (Chevy Chase might get a best supporting), but I predict the show will get a writing and/or directing nod for its paintball episode. (The fact that star Joel McHale is announcing the nominations tomorrow indicates that he probably will not be among them.) This show deserves not only the best comedy nomination but the win, however, if it lost to “Curb Your Enthusiasm” that would be fine, since “Curb” pulled off a “Seinfeld” reunion better than anyone ever thought possible. Bravo – and to Miss Louis-Dreyfuss, brava.

“30 Rock” seems to have jumped the shark and does not deserve repeat awards. There’s a lot on this, so click here for more.

“The Office” got its groove back. Though it has been critically ignored since the fourth season, where they began to lose the pace of the outstanding second and third seasons, the sixth season has brought back the funk. Highlights of the year include two sit-com standbys which typically indicate shark-jumpage (a marriage AND birth of a baby) that were nonetheless pulled of extraordinarily well from a dramatic standpoint and from a realistic standpoint. It's fit beautifully with the show’s mockumentary style. “The Office” has also successfully matured the characters and their relationships with each other, where they pull off the impossible of being the same but different year to year.

Also, “The Office” is better at exclusive online content than any other show (“Subtle Sexuality,” which won a Streamy this year) – take note again producers of “30 Rock,” whose online content is always lame (except “Ask Tina,” which they hardly ever do, despite how easy it is to produce -- again, it appears Tina Fey is moving on).

Steve Carrell, who recently announced he will leave the show after the coming season FINALLY deserves an Emmy for best comedy actor. He’s been snubbed every time before, even as the award show has ejaculated praise over his less entertaining British counterpart, Ricky Gervais.

“Mad Men” is still dynamic and impressive, though this year it ran the risk of becoming too cool to be cool anymore (if you follow) – kind of like in 2003 when all the people who liked Homestar Runner in 2000 hated how popular it had become. It will still probably win best drama, and probably deserves it.

This year also saw the introduction of the “Caprica” series on SyFy, a prequel to “Battlestar Galactica.” “Caprica” is so extremely boring I could not make it through the pilot – still a crime its older brother show got snubbed last year. Laura Rosslyn must be spinning in her grave … along with the 40 billion other members of the colonies killed by Cylons.

There’s a lot more on TV than what I’ve mentioned, but I don’t watch it, so I don’t particularly care. “South Park” is still doing great too, and I predict a series of “South Park”-themed blogs soon … their best episode of the year so far as been the Facebook/Tron spoof “You Have Zero Friends,” which is one of their best to date.


Ashley C said...

I agree with much of what you said here - but you really think Office got it's groove back? I'll give you the online content, they did have some good stuff. As for the season itself, half the characters seemed to have a continual identity crisis. The season lacked identity and any basis in reality. It mostly seemed to float off the next stupid thing Michael could do. Personally, I hope they step it up for Carrel's last season.

Whitleypedia said...

I think your criticism is true of season 5, and the memory of that is staining many people's perception of season 6. Give it a re-watch when you have a chance ... they did good work this year.


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