Not Lost At All
Chuck‘s been renewed, and the relief is palpable. Happy, Happy, Happy! It’s Miller Time ™, it’s time to celebrate and, as Lawrence Welk would say, “Let’s a-get down, a-get fun-ky.”
I can’t say if we dodged a bullet, or had a close shave or anything. Those are metaphors which can’t come close to describing the actual details of how Chuck got renewed, or how close it came to not being renewed. I did start to wonder, though, what I’d be watching on television if I didn’t have my favorite show to obsess over, and what I’ll be watching now that season end is on the (near) horizon. Hank Stuever at the Washington Post (free registration required) takes a stab at it.
Now, with the regular television season ending, it’s time for the enjoyably weird summer season, which has gained a reputation as an experimental recess period. The stakes are a little bit lower and the concepts are slightly looser, resulting in edgier dramas, goonier comedy and more humiliating reality shows. It’s also a convenient time to discover shows you’ve overlooked.
My reaction? Put thumb firmly to nose and say “Bleech!”
We have reality shows like The Biggest Loser (the new one being Losing It With Jillian), and reality shows like Real Housewives (the new one being Ruby). I can’t say that these sound promising to me at all. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen a reality show yet that engages me. Am I defective that way, or just weird? Maybe. There are so many on the air that somebody must be watching them.
But what about shows that I do like? I like The Big Bang Theory, of course. It’s very popular, very well done and very funny. But Stuever brings me up short with this:
[M]uch beloved Sheldon on “The Big Bang Theory,” played by Jim Parsons (season finale is May 24), suggest that there is great potential in finding a way to translate the array of behaviors related to Asperger’s and high-functioning autism into a comedy that could be tinged with struggle.
He then goes on to mention a new show, The Big C, intimating that there’s an audience for shows that feature characters with such illnesses and disorders. Maybe. But I must admit, I find Jim Parson’s character “quirky”, not suffering from a disorder. That makes me think that someone is missing the boat here.
All in all, I can’t say that I look forward to the crop of shows that will soon be airing for the first time. Maybe I’m getting picky in my old age!
I am looking forward to the July return, of Neil (Bryce Larkin) Cafferty and Kate in White Collar, and the June return of Hank and Jill in Royal Pains and Michael and Feona in Burn Notice. I sense a pattern here. These shows have a few things in common; wit, style, a sense of adventure and a romance between compelling characters (and doesn’t that sound familiar). I like that. They’re also all on the USA network. I wonder why they, or shows like them, can’t find a bigger audience on, say, NBC, CBS and ABC.
My tastes can be pretty pedestrian. I enjoy some shows whose seasons are coming to an end; NCIS, occasionally, Bones. They are well done and deserve their success. It’s just me, I’m sure, but I prefer them to established offerings like any of the Law and Order franchise shows. I think it’s the deadpan, intentionally humorless presentation. It’s just not my cup of tea. I note that both Bones and especially NCIS also feature humor and some sort of romantic angle (although I find the romances unbearably stilted compared to Chuck. I must be spoiled!). I also have enjoyed (but have not watched regularly) highly regarded shows like Glee, Medium and Ghost Whisperer. I find them to be worthy, but not “must see TV”. Glee deserves more of a chance than I’ve given it, perhaps.
What I have not seen, for no apparent reason, are some block buster shows that are gone, like Lost, 24 and I’ve barely seen the returning V. I started to watch V when it premiered last fall, but it lost me about the second episode when it seemed like the tension would be unrelieved. I’m glad Sci-Fi has an audience, though. I missed Battlestar Galactica and Firefly when they aired, and now I’m sorry I did. Being mildly determined to not let a good show slip by again, so I hope to sample a few to see if I want to make the investment. J.J. Abrams, anyone?
So tell me, please. What are your hot prospects? What is it that you look for in a television show, and do you feel like I do that the bar has raised just a bit this time around?