Friday, October 17, 2008

Slim Pickins: What I'm Watching and Liking This Season

We're several episodes into most of the shows for the the new season, both returning and freshman series, and I've started to realize that the shows I look forward to this year have changed.

Last year, hands down, I would have listed Dexter as my favorite show. This year...I'm not completely buying into it yet. I had high hopes for Fringe, And Sarah Connor? Well, the last episode I watched (the third?) was better than the first two, and I hear the next one is even cooler, but...I just haven't been won over yet.

The times they are a'changing.

I should note that my schedule has been kind of crazy these past few months, so there are a number of shows I just haven't seen at all or have fallen a number of episodes behind with. (Does that sentence make grammatical sense? I don't know.) Still, here's my top 10 list for the shows I find myself craving. Yeah, I know, I'm real list-y lately.

I should also note that this isn't my list of best shows. Notice that word above: craving. While many titles on the list would be the same, I couldn't leave out Mad Men, for example. Instead, this is what I find myself wanting to watch. It's like knowing that the 5-star steak house is better, but lusting after Outback. Mmm, Outback. Screw you, arteries!

Also...the first few shows on the list are kind of cheats, so bear with me. Believe me, it could have been a lot worse. I could have had a list with things like Battlestar, Dollhouse, Kings, 3o Rock... at least I'm restricting myself to things that are currently airing.

10. The Shield - This is a cheat because, well, Jul and I have only watched the first two seasons, and we refuse to watch the show out of order...but that doesn't mean I'm not sorely tempted to find out what's happening to Vic Mackey in this current, final season. I just continually exercise restraint. Must find time to watch DVDs...

9. Sons of Anarchy - I keep wanting to watch, but damn if that 90 minute pilot isn't daunting. Still, how can you go wrong with Hellboy, Leela and Skinner in the same show? About bikers? Especially when there are all the Hamlet overtones. Gotta get to it soon.

8. Life On Mars - Okay, okay, I've only watched the first episode, but it was good and interesting enough (not to mention the great things I've heard about the British version) to whet my appetite and make me curious for more.

7. The Office - The first and only half hour show on this list, The Office still finds ways to stay consistently smart and funny in its 5th season. Not to mention the fact that it has done that rarest of things with Jim and Pam: have two characters in a relationship that feels real and loving AND remains interesting enough to watch.

6. Ugly Betty - Still hasn't regained the heights of the first season, and to a great extent they mishandled the character of Alexis, but I always enjoy it. And sometimes they knock a story out of the park, like with the recent subplot involving Hilda cheating with a married man.

5. Pushing Daisies - Keep in mind this list isn't necessarily a measure of quality. There are several shows above this that probably aren't as creative, well-written or just plain good. But for some reason my Daisies desire has never really reached rabid peaks: for reasons I can't explain, I simply want to watch the shows above it more. That being said, I've seen two episodes thus far, and the second one was much-improved from the season premiere. Something about it just felt off, exaggerated and ultimately lifeless. With things now seemingly moving in the right direction, and with the amped up story-ness that Fuller has promised this season, I think Daisies will be gaily skipping up a few numbers before many weeks have passed.

4. Dexter - I said it had fallen, not that I didn't watch and wasn't interested. Time will tell if Dexter stays as fantastic as I found it to be in its first two seasons or loses my interest, but right now... Well, showrunner Daniel Cerone left to head up Dirty Sexy Money, and I can't help but feel that that is part of the reason that Dexter just doesn't feel like Dexter anymore. He used to be a monster that observed humanity and straddled the line between feeling disgusted by us and desperately wanting to be one of us. Now... he just feels like a guy who just happens to kill people and it gets in the way of his increasingly normal life. Even his trademark voice overs have lost much of their wit and bite. I'm still on board, but sometimes I find myself staring out the windows instead of watching what's in front of me.

3. Chuck - It's not perfect. In fact, Chuck does a number of things that make me roll my eyes, but the stories and performances are so fun and entertaining to watch that I'm willing to forgive it a lot. I also feel like Chuck pretty much knows exactly what it's doing, and when they explain something with a silly device (which is often) at least they own it and usually make it a joke. Plus: what other TV show do you know that has a Thunderdome? That's just awesomeness incarnate.

2. True Blood - Vampires that live among humans in an alternative history (future?) world with a Southern Gothic aesthetic? Now add political overtones...and mind reading...and a dog that just kind of shows up and makes you wonder what the hell is up with it, it's got to mean something...?! It's safe to say that I was curious about HBO's new show from the get go, but I only got fully on board after we marathoned episodes 3-5 last Friday night. I trust you Alan Ball; take me on a good ride.

And the show I'm most psyched to watch week-to-week...

1. Greek - I know, right? I can feel you judging me. But I can't stop watching. What was a moderately fun diversion a year ago has become one of the most consistently entertaining and clever shows on television -- for my taste, anyway. It's still silly and soapy, but the comedy has gotten a lot smarter and the character stuff and plot twists are fantastic. Right now, if I'm completely honest, I have to admit that Greek is my favorite show on.

(As a side note/PSA for all the people who work on Greek that read this blog -- because clearly there are many... or at least one, I hope -- check out our pilot On Duty on our website We must write for you!)


Blogette said...

Considering the fact that Greek is awesome, I won't judge you at all. Your list is about the same as mine (although, I'd probably have Chuck at #1), only I've replaced The Shield (hey, you've seen two more seasons of it than I have) with Supernatural (and that's pretty high up there for me).

I must say, you need to get on with watching Sons of Anarchy. I am so in love with this show, it's not even funny.

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just me said...

You know what's wrong with Dexter? His freaking girlfriend.

Dear jesus. She needs to go.

True Blood is slowly disappointing me. The only reason I keep watching is that I REALLY NEED TO KNOW what / who that dog is.