sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 24, 2005

tv season — grade, c minus
posted by soe 11:47 pm

Well, the television season pretty much wraps up this week and I have to say that it couldn’t end soon enough for me.

I used to watch more tv than I do now. I’m not sure whether that’s because I have more of a life now than I did when I lived in Connecticut, I am pickier about what I watch now, or because this season’s crop didn’t live up to past viewing season.

The highlights of the season:

The only new show to get added to the roster was FOX’s House, a medical drama featuring an arrogant, crabby doctor of last resort who, with his crack crew of residents, comes up with miraculous diagnoses for rare diseases. It’s a lot like a cop show, except the illness is the criminal you’re searching out. The show is well written, the cast (including Hugh Laurie of Jeeves & Wooster fame, Omar Epps, and Robert Sean Leonard from Dead Poets Society; Sela Ward played a recurring role in the final two episodes of the season and seems likely to return next year) is excellent, and there’s usually a happy ending. I can’t ask for more in my dramas. Thanks to Gramma for the recommendation on this one.

The West Wing made a turn back from the dark side this season. When it started, it was excellent — so excellent that I was certain it would be cancelled because it was above the average viewer. But they surprised me and it’s hung around for quite a long time now. I do have to say that I’m ready for next season to be the final one. There have been some weak plot lines and some character changes I didn’t agree with. (For instance, what in the world happend to the idealistic Will? Who would have believed he’d sell out to the VP, especially if you saw the episodes he appeared in early on?) While generally I believe this season was better than last (especially with the addition of Jimmy Smits, Alan Alda, and Patricia Richardson to the cast) and while I enjoyed reliving some of the better moments of life in a campaign, I’m ready for the Bartletts to head back to New Hampshire, for Zoey and Charlie to feature in a storyline that doesn’t end in disaster, and for Donna and Josh to finally end up together. Apparently network execs agree, because they’ve moved the show to 8 p.m. on Sunday next fall — a switch likely to lose them viewers. May they be like Friends and go out on a truly high note.

Joan of Arcadia has lost its bid to stay on tv, just as the show was gearing up for Joan to have to face the Devil next season. I liked Joan and her family and I particularly liked how Joan was a reluctant vehicle for god’s good works. Most people who know me find it hard to believe that I follow a faith-based show on a regular basis. But I liked the fact that the writers generally believed that god with a lower case “g” could be a universal theme — embodied in any number of bodies — as opposed to God with an upper case “G,” which could have divided people along religious lines. Ultimately Joan wasn’t a religious show, so much as one in which the characters struggle to live moral lives — sometimes without fully understanding the choices they’re presented with.

Everwood limped into the season on the back of a poor plot decision by the writers and never made a great recovery. I like many of the characters in the show, but I just don’t see it making the weekly cut next season. I think with Rose’s illness at the end of this season, it completely jumped the shark. Too bad.

Finally, I will admit to watching one reality tv show: Extreme Makeover Home Edition: How’d They Do That? I’m not quite sure how we got sucked into that one, but I like the fact that they help needy families get a leg up. I once had a conversation with a homeless man who was working at a farmer’s market and at a nightclub in San Francisco. He said, “I don’t want a hand out; I just want a hand up.” And I think that’s generally what this show strives for: a way to give a hand up to people who are too busy helping others to help themselves or to those who’ve been knocked flat on their backs. Yes, they only help a few families. And, yes, they provide a ridiculously opulent lifestyle for those families they do choose. But they do seem to go in with good intentions every week. And it’s nice to see there’s good in the world, even if it is done for ratings. Survivor goes for ratings, too, and I challenge anyone to find the good in people in that show.

Hopefully next season will bring me some good comedies. This season, sadly, the best I’ve found is Stacked, which isn’t saying much. It’s not nearly as bad as I suspected it would be, but that’s not saying it’s good. I’d like something good please, network execs. Please see what you can do, okay?

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