Even though the TV season is still going and some shows are still on the bubble, some have already been told they are pretty much done or are outright cancelled. I want to take this time and talk about my shows, the ones I’m happy will be returning and the ones I’m sad didn’t find the audience they should have.
Three of my favorite shows will be signing off for good, but the word cancelled, even though that’s where they are labeled as, is a bit harsh. First up is BIG LOVE. I loved this show from the very beginning. Not just because I’ve had a big Man Crush on Bill Paxton since TOMBSTONE, but because of the uniqueness it presents. Polygamy has been a custom that has existed since the beginning of civilization. Usually it’s a king or a pharaoh or sultan who has many wives but some cultures adopted as part of everyday regular joe’s lives. Mormons practiced it at the very beginning of their religion but quickly disassociated with it a few decades later. Still, some Mormons still practice it today, and now we have two tv shows about it. The reality trash that is SISTER WIVES(I really hate Reality tv) and the Emmy-nominated brilliance of BIG LOVE. To me this show gives a equal voice to both groups, the Mormons who oppose plural-marriage and those who practice and support it.
But this show is about performance, Bill Paxton’s Bill Hendricks is simply brilliant, a man with many flaws, but his love for his family is unquestioned. Even dealing with his insane mother(Grace Zabriske) and morally challenged father(Bruce Dern). You also three different female point of views through the eyes of Bill’s wives. Wife #1 Barbara(Jeanne Tripplehorn) who needed convincing about the Principle but her love for Bill trumped any objections she had with sharing him. Wife #2 Nicci(Chole Sevigny) the woman who grew up on Juniper Creek(The polygamist compound Bill also grew up on), a place that was ruled by their Prophet(Harry Dean Stanton) who also happens to be Nicci’s dad and Bill’s biggest rival. And then there is Wife #3, Margie(Ginnifer Goodwin), the wide-eyed former catholic bad girl who finally felt loved and accepted by this extended family. Whether you believe in Plural-marriage and most don’t, or you do not believe, you can’t deny that these people love each other. The show may have gotten a bit tired in the last season or two but I’m still sad to see it end. And it was one hell of an ending. That final shot is one of the most emotional moments in a very emotional show. Here’s to you Hendricks family, We will miss ya. Here is a great moment with all three talented and lovely wives of Bill H.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS was one of those shows that was always unfairly on the bubble. Praised by nearly every critic, it has struggled in it’s five seasons to find the massive audience it so richly deserved. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about this show before and how I think the book, the movie, and the T.V. show is some of the most brilliant entertainment every created. It is the most accurate portrayal of High School Football, anywhere. And I’m a guy who played on a team where High School Football was king. So many memories, some good, some sad, flood me when I watch this show. And it’s not just about football, it’s about people. Every week seemed to be more outstanding than the next. Just the fact that it had low ratings yet still came back every year is a testament to how much the crew, the network and the loyal fans believed in it. I wish I could find the scene where QB Matt Saracen(Zach Gilford) breaks down and laments the death of his father. Some of the best acting I have ever scene, your heart can’t help but break for this really good kid, whose life just continues to spiral. Here’s a montage of the Show’s most powerful episode(and that is saying a lot) entitled The Son(Go on Amazon or Itunes and buy this episode.)
And last but not least the Boy of steel becomes the Man Of Steel. Now this show has been my favorite for quite a while, mostly because I love Superman, but even I admit there has been some weak seasons in there, especially from 6-8. But last season and now midway thru the 10th and final season has been absolutely fantastic. The journey of Clark Kent to Superman has been rich and layered trip that has never been equaled in the based on a comic book format. It’s a heroic feat that this show got ten seasons to begin with, almost unheard of in Television unless you are the SIMPSONS or LAW AND ORDER.
With all the DC characters they have been able to bring to the screen, and still the best Clark Kent this side of Christopher Reeve, SMALLVILLE has rightfully earned it’s spot in Superman lore, even to the point where Clark’s best friend Chole Sullivan, an invention for the show, has made her way into the comics. Also, the fact that in the show, Lex Luthor was Clark’s friend in Smallville before he became Superman, has made it’s way into the comics in the amazing graphic novel, SUPERMAN BIRTHRIGHT, written by comic legend Mark Waid and illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu(anybody looking to read a great story or begin their discovery of Superman Comics, would be hard pressed to pass this book up). The comic also explains why Lex doesn’t recognize Clark in their post-teen years. Margot Kidder may have immortalized Lois Lane on the big screen, but Erica Durance brings the exact kind of moxie, beauty and attitude that makes her the only woman in the universe who could handle being the strongest being ever born’s better half. I will guarantee you this, not one fan of this show will have a dry eye the moment Clark puts on that suit and soars to the heavens finally becoming the hero he was born to be.
Now to the cancelled and very on the bubble shows I’ve come to enjoy. 1st up is DETROIT 187, already cancelled or close to it if not official. This probably fell victim to the fact that there are way way WAY too many cop shows on TV. All I’ve got to say is this, get Michael Imperioli a TV show that is not a cop show. This man needs to be on TV and we as an audience deserve to watch talented performers like Michael. Unfortunately, nothing beside him stood out on this show. So bye bye 187. The next few shows are all on the bubble, but there is still hope. BLUE BLOODS may also fall victim to the too many cop shows. However this might have a bit more edge on the bubble shows, due to it’s pedigree(Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan) and the fact that this more than a show about cops, it’s a show about family.
These next few shows include two midseason replacement sitcoms, a show that started out as a Tweet, and a cartoon plugged into the already crowded Fox’s Animation Domination. MAD LOVE stars Jason Biggs of AMERICAN PIE fame and SCRUBS cutie Sarah Chalke. Both are likable people playing characters who are pretty card board, but you can look past it if you enjoyed what made them famous. SEE pie-humping and neurotic doctor. It’s their best friends and costars that steal the show, as they often do. Tyler Labine is one-trick pony but he is really good at that one trick, as he showed the criminally underrated and too early cancelled REAPER and the little show SONS OF TUSCON from last summer. The star of the show is acid tongued Judy Greer. She was absolutely amazing in her first scene-stealing role as George Bluth’s assistant in ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.
Next up is the Matthew Perry’s MR. SUNSHINE. Here he plays Chandler, whoops, I mean Ben a self centered narcissist who runs a sports arena in San Diego. This show reminds me how much I miss FRIENDS, in the sense that HE IS playing Chandler, albeit not quite the sweet narcissist that Chandler was. Ben is much more shallow, but his reactions the cooky characters surrounding him led by the incomparable Ilena Douglas, makes the show a much wants for FRIENDS fans and others who just want to laugh a little bit. Then of course there is the at first it was hit, but now it’s not so much S**T MY DAD SAYS. The novelty of the cantankerous old curmudgeon played by William Shatner, is running pretty thin. I still Love the Shat, but this show is so formulaic, it borders on write by the numbers. Although there is still hope, because of Shatner’s huge fan base.
The last is newest addition the Fox Animated Family, BOB’S BURGERS. Given the plush time slot between THE SIMPSONS and FAMILY GUY, anything that has not been animated in that time slot has died an early death, so Fox decided to throw another cartoon on that like AMERICAN DAD and THE CLEVELAND SHOW did in previous seasons. There are at least one or two moments of side aching hilarity each episode, usually coming from the mouths of the youngest daughter Louise and middle child, Gene. I think Bob has the best chance of any of these of coming back, and as long as one does, I’ll be happy.
Three shows I’m ecstatic are returning for more fun. First up is SUPERNATURAL, which last season had one of it’s best years creative-wise ever. The ratings dipped a bit since it was following VAMPIRE DIARIES, but CW smarted up this season by putting back to back with SMALLVILLE, where it belongs. This season has been a challenge for the writes, since creator Eric Kripke only had a five year plan and the show was supposed end with last year’s finale. However, somehow they have found a way to keep fresh, much darker and far more emotional than it ever has been. It hasn’t been officially picked up, but it will, the ratings justify giving it a 7th season.
NBC’s COMMUNITY has been officially renewed, so Joel Mchale and Chevy Chase fans rejoice. This is a show that just keeps getting better and better. In fact, as much as like everyone on the show, you could easily cut them all as long as you had Danny Pudi’s Abed and my favorite new comedian, Donald Glover’s Troy. And finally, my new favorite show and will be as soon as SMALLVILLE signs off, MY FAVORITE show, JUSTIFIED. FX’s pitch perfect Elmore Leonard adaptation is so much fun, it should be illegal enough for Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens(Timothy Olyphant doing what he does best, being a badass) to arrest us. Walton Goggins Boyd Crowder will someday be on a list as greatest TV villains ever. Him and Olypant have tangible chemistry that only best on-screen love affairs have been able to pull of. It is a relationship of mixed hate and respect that keeps these two at each other’s throats, yet given the chance neither one can kill the other. It’s a very Professor X and Magneto type of relationship. If you plan on watching season 1 of JUSTIFIED and you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t watch this next clip. However, if you need proof beyond my word about how much this show rules, watch it.
Fear not fans of these shows going by waste side, there is a lot of exciting TV coming your way in the Fall of 2011, one I am most excited to see get picked up is David E. Kelley’s WONDER WOMAN starring my FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHT’s girl Adrianne Palicki.
In fact I’d like to take this moment to address my fellow geeks out there regarding this show. Lighten up nerds. I mean come on, you’re complaining about a damn COSTUME?!?!?! It’s folks like you that get us other nerds pantsed or dunked in toilets or stuffed into lockers. It’s a costume, I for one thinks she looks damn hot in it and now they’ve changed it just because you and you’re still complaining. I read comics for the story and the characters, not for what they wear. Wait til the thing premieres and if the show sucks, have at it. Who gives a flying shit what she’s dressed in?!?! In the words of William Shatner, Get a life!!! It’s just a television show.
Cap out.FBF With Captain Dan: TV SEASON 2011, WHAT WILL STAY? WHAT WILL GO? (4-1-11),