Sunday, December 19, 2010

Television Update 6: Fall Finales '10

Here we are again, it's the end of the year and there's nothing on TV. Here's the stuff I've been watching.

30 Rock - The show is back, and that's a pretty good thing. It's always been the same series, thin plots supporting joke after joke after joke. Last year the jokes weren't very good, but this year they are. Pretty simple. Not up to the show's peak but still fun.

American Dad! - It doesn't seem quite as unique and inspired as it has in the last couple years, but I am enjoying it more than the other Seth MacFarlane show I'm watching right now.

Castle - The cases seem less interesting this season. The audience is skewing older and older, which means less complicated plots and more standing around and doing nothing with character development. This could be the last season I watch unless they impress me this Spring. It's not bad, it's just very unexceptional.

Chuck - Timothy Dalton is a great villain, but otherwise this has been a pretty blah season. They still haven't found a way to avoid making me roll my eyes at least once a week, and putting Chuck and Sarah together has resulted in annoying "let's talk about our issues" stories instead of annoying "are they going to get together?" stories.

Community - Holy crap, Community. Awesome in season one, hands down the best network show of this Fall. Truly tremendous combination of amazing high concept stories and brilliant character work. I just love watching it every week.

Family Guy - I don't know... something just seems off about the show these days. There's a weird rhythm to it, and now that they pretty much have free reign to do whatever they want, they seem more interested in sweeping computer-generated landscapes and longer, non-cartoon like stories than making me laugh.

Fringe - By far the best network drama I watch right now(seriously, do you see anything better?), and Fox rewards it by moving it to the dreaded Friday night slot. The show isn't going down without a fight, I'm just worried that it's going to die right when I'm really starting to dig it. The dual-universe stuff was great, and the cast and writers both seem to improve every year.

Glee - Have you heard of the Three Glees theory? Basically, the show was created by three dudes who write all the episodes separately, and they all have different ideas of what the show should be. That means different strengths and weaknesses, and while in season one they tended to work off what they could do well, this fall has brought a very disappointing show. Insulting plot lines, bad character work, terrible gimmicks - the show is in desperate need of something to put it back on track.

How I Met Your Mother - The cast is still a great mix, the meta jokes are back with a vengeance, and they've given me a reason to hope that maybe this season we really will meet that damn mother.

Modern Family - I think more people are realizing this is a really typical family sitcom that just happens to work because the cast is awesome and the writing is usually exceptional despite the tired plots. But both of those good things are still there, so it's still a very enjoyable program.

The Office - With this being Steve Carell's final season, I thought they'd be doing more work to bring his character to some sort of natural end point. Maybe there's a grand plan that I'm just not seeing yet, but progress seems to have been pretty slight. Still, I like the show.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The end of season two gave me hope, but if anything the show was even worse this Fall. Too much focus on both characters I don't care about and things that just don't feel like Star Wars. Seriously, what am I watching? Anakin and Obi Wan hardly even got a chance to cut things in half with laser swords. And worst of all, they brought Ziro back. Yeah, they killed him off, but that entire episode was like a drill slowly boring its way inside my skull.

Sym-Bionic Titan - And casting the awfulness of The Clone Wars in stark relief was the giddy brilliance of Titan, the new show by Genndy Tartakovsky (you know, the guy who actually made Star Wars on TV interesting?). The high school stuff is forgettable, but the show looks amazing and is just fun in all the ways kid-friendly action cartoons should be and The Clone Wars isn't. I'm not sure when they plan to show the rest of the production season, but I'm holding off on a full review for now.

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