Au Revoir TV Season – The Dramas

It’s not a secret that Jen and I watch a lot of prime time TV – and by a lot I mean in the twenty hours a week time range. So, it seems somewhat appropriate that here at the end of TV season we take some time to discuss the previous season.  A quick clarification though, by TV season I mean the season that goes from September through May. TV exists from June to August, but with a few notable exceptions most of those shows are not worth watching – which is why they are on when everyone is outside enjoying the sun. Nonetheless, let us discuss the season that was…

The Good

I feel like there are several shows that did well this year. Grey’s Anatomy found new legs this year. It had started to lag, but towards the end of the season with Meredith doing an insanely stupid thing and nearly killing off Cali the show really picked up.

Bones has kept the crown for the best writing on a police procedural. The macro storyline that has all the main characters becoming parents is interesting. Though the most interesting thing in the entire season was the last 10 seconds, where Brennan announces to Booth that she’s pregnant and the kid is his. Neither Jen and I are clear when they slept together, but that’s the assumption the show is leaving us with. Nonetheless, one of the things that make this show is the sexual tension between Booth and Brennan, I’d like to know what they intend on doing now that they’ve apparently released that tension. Though I suppose they’ll have crazy different parenting styles, so that could be fun.

Parenthood, Castle, and The Good Wife kept things going with drama that doesn’t feel completely contrived.  With that said, I feel like I might only have one more season in me with The Good Wife. They tried pretty hard to restore some of the tension that was there at the beginning of the show and in my opinion were fairly unsuccessful. But they’ve set themselves up for success, so hopefully we’ll see something next season.

No show gets my wife and I talking quite like Parenthood. The most amazing thing about this show is that even when the drama seems contrived it also seems plausible given the way they’ve developed the characters. Again, they’ve set themselves up for success in the next season with a good ending this season.

I’ve enjoyed Nathan Fillian’s work since back in his Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place days – yeah he had work before Firefly – so the fact that I enjoy a show he’s in is nothing new. But Castle is something special. Like so many shows the drive within the show is sexual tension, but no other show knows how to tantalize with it the way this show does. It’s that tension that keeps us coming back. The murder of the week makes for good filler, but really the show is all about how Castle and Becket are going to get together. Unlike the previous couple shows, I’m not sure that they set themselves up for success. I’ guess we’ll have to see, but I’m not convinced.

We really like Dana Delany’s new show Body of Proof. I keep trying to understand what it is about this show that makes me like it, but I can’t put a finger on it. It very well may be that it does nothing badly, which isn’t to say it does everything great just that nothing is bad enough to make me think about not watching it. The casting is good – especially Ms. Delany who I always thought was too good to be on Desperate Housewives. Interesting side note, did you know that she was offered the role of Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City and turned it down before Sarah Jessica Parker took it? I for one am glad she didn’t take that role, it doesn’t seem like the right fit; Body of Proof however does, and that’s a good thing. The writing is good, though they need to do more character development. Fortunately for us they’ve been granted a another full season to do so.

The Not-So-Good

I understand that part of what makes a drama is the constant stream of drama within the character’s lives. This is great when the drama seems organic, but when it starts to feel contrived or forced I start to lose patience.  Two shows that epitomized this for me this past season were Private Practice and Brothers and Sisters.

I’m not sure that there was ever a good reason for P.P. to exist, but being solid Grey’s fans we followed. After 4 or 5 seasons, I’m fairly certain they’ve run out of story lines – at least the kind that feel organic. The show feels like it needs to be put out of its misery and it looked like they were going to try and do that, but alas ABC has decided to give them another season to figure out a purpose for existence.

I could tell B&S was almost done when they invented not one, but two new infidelity scandals – one of which made a sister a half-sister. The main problem with this show is not that the stories seem forced as much as the fact that it seems preachy in doing so. I really don’t need to hear a fictitious Pasadena millionaire rant and rave about why everything conservative is evil. Fortunately for all involved, this show has seen its last scandal and will no longer be bothering us.

House was once one of the most compelling shows on TV. I’m fairly certain that they’ve now “jumped the shark” and are simply having House do stupid things for stupid’s sake. I’m not sure the show is going to work minus Cuddy, but for better or worse it seems like they’ve only got one season to figure it out as rumor has it that this next season will be their last.

The Oh My God What Were They Thinking

Every season sees a bunch of new shows get canceled. Jen and I tend to be good at picking shows that don’t get canceled in their first season, but somehow we picked two this year. Chase and The Whole Truth were both twists on their respective genres, which is exactly what made them interesting and enjoyable for a couple of serial TV watchers like us. Unfortunately it seems like only Jen and I were watching them and their networks cut them off. Though of the two it seems like The Whole Truth really got the short end of the stick only airing 3 or 4 episodes before ABC sent them packing.

I thought about putting Lie to Me in both of the previous sections, but I don’t know what to make of the show. When they stick to their bread and butter police procedural they’re really great, but then they do these shows that have Kal doing absurdly strange things that makes the show unwatchable. Really they need to figure out what to do with the show so I can figure out whether or not the show is worth the time.

A Fond Farewell

For several years now, in our opinion, the best show on TV has been Friday Night Lights. This season – number 5 – is its last season. We will miss seeing Coach and Mrs. Taylor as well as the rest of the cast. For me Eric Taylor is the savior of the TV husband. He’s not a perfect man, but he’s also not a bumbling idiot. The marriage between Eric and Tammy seems real, which I think is the highest complement I can give to both the actors and the writers. Everything else in the show flows from that point and it just feels right. Both Jen and I will surely miss this show, but at least we own all the seasons on DVD and will be able to go back whenever we feel the need.

I know there are a lot of shows not covered here, but frankly I’m surprised you’ve read this far, so can you imagine if I wrote about every show. There were several dramas that we watch that I didn’t cover here. We watch a bunch of cable dramas, but I decided to reign myself in to only broadcast network TV – so please don’t go off on me for not mentioning them.

 

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