May 29, 2005

Already wishing it was Fall

What the heck happened to tv this year? It was good. I mean REAL good. This has to be one of the first years in I don't know how long when I've actually had too much to watch (thank you, whoever invented the DVR) and not enough time to watch it. I've always had a roster of a few shows I liked to catch when I could, but nothing like this. And almost all of the shows that claimed such high ratings and critical acclaim this year (Lost, 24, House, etc.) owe their success to the same thing -- damn fine writing.

I actually started thinking about this about halfway through the season, wondering what the deal was. The conclusion I came to was that almost all the shows, aside from being tightly written, had an underlying mythology. A sort of "night time soap" feel to them, but without getting melodramatic about it. They also raised the stakes. No fewer than 5 shows knocked off regular cast members. And popular, well-liked cast members, at that. I think this speaks well of how serious television producers/writers are taking their projects right now. Risks and highly dramatic actions are becoming the norm. Finally!

Of course, what's a good season if it ends like a wet firecracker? I was really concerned we were all headed for a couple of weeks of groaning and remote-tossing, but I have to say I was pleasantly proved wrong. Almost every show I spent time with this year ended on a note that made me wish it was September next week. No mean feat! (The notable exception was, of course, ENTERPRISE. But I'm still too mad to even try talking about that yet.)

In the coming weeks, I'm going try assembling a few lists associated with the fine television I've been privy to this year. Things like "the 10 best characters now on tv" or "the top five lines of dialogue" or "the top 3 easy-outs that were never taken". You get the idea. In the meantime, feel free to tell me yours!

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