Best and Worst of 2006: Brett's List
NBC's handling of Studio 60 and Friday Night Lights - Many of us, myself included, are quick to jump on the networks when they dump a show just a few episodes in. So it's worth acknowledging that the network has been more than patient with these two shows. Many shows that have come before them have been blown right off the schedule for generating similar ratings. Studio 60 kicked off their season with ratings that declined week after week and, honestly, Friday Night Lights just never had any ratings to begin with. I really hope their patience pays off and audiences find these shows. They both deserve to see a second season.
Eureka - This one came out of nowhere for me. I had heard about it, and seen the previews, but I completely underestimated how good it would be. Fun plots, a good cast, and it never took itself too seriously. Sci Fi was quick to order up a second season after the show became their highest rated program of 2006.
More Choices - As I mentioned before, I love the digital cable. Along with all of those channels, Comcast has been doing a good job growing their OnDemand service. The interface is a little clunky, and made more so once you incorporate a DVR, but the content just keeps getting better and better. They are starting to get more network shows that are available at your convenience, and with the huge collection of free movies, there really is never a time when there is nothing on.
Landrey, Trouty, and Kenneth - The stars of the shows get most of the press, and most of the screen time, but these three are my favorite sideline characters. From Friday Night Lights, My Boys, and 30 Rock, respectively, all of them add so much to their shows. Matt Saracen's story wouldn't be nearly as fun if we didn't have Landry to drop his pearls of wisdom in from time to time. Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy is fantastic, but Kenneth steals every scene the two share. And I don't even know where to start with Trouty. He's just so... Trouty. He made the last half of the My Boys season.
And now, some of the bad from 2006 TV
ABC's handling of Day Break - As much as I appreciate what NBC has done with Studio 60 and FNL, I'm at a loss to figure out what the hell ABC is up to. I'm not going to hammer them for pulling Day Break from the Wednesday at 9 slot. The ratings were dreadful, and getting worse by the week. However, it's kind of like my favorite sports talk host Mitch in the Morning says when someone calls in wanting to fire a coach. "Who are you going to replace him with?" And that is where ABC dropped the first ball. It's fine to juggle the schedule and, yes, take off shows that are not getting the ratings. But if you don't have any sort of plan for what you are going to do, you're better off not making a change. And replacing Day Break with reruns of According to Jim and George Lopez is a big freaking neon sign flashing "We have no plan!"
But wait... there's more. As bad as it was to pull the show with nothing to replace it with, they manage to further bungle things. Originally the word was that the remaining episodes would be shown online. That would have been a reasonable compromise, so fans could see the end of the series. Then, mysteriously, the next episode didn't show up and there were reports of "music clearance issues." And looking now, none of the episodes are available online, and Day Break has been removed from the ABC website. I suppose there is hope for a DVD, but with all of this ABC deserves to be the 4th place network on Wednesday night, just like they are.
My Bare Lady - Not all of those fun choices on the digital cable are good ones. I get Fox Reality, and My Bare Lady is one of their original programs. The idea behind the show isn't inherently bad, but the execution was. I think a good show could have been made if the idea had been to look at the girls that star in porn films in a different way. As with any walk of life, the people you bump into differ in many and varied ways. Rather than that though, they went for the cheap joke any time they could get it. Rather than try and show something new, what I saw of the show amounted to trying to see how many innuendos and double entendres they could work in to the voice over script. They weren't laughing with the girls, they were laughing at them.
The introduction of Niki and Paolo - That ABC Wednesday night is just troubled, man. But I say the "introduction" because I'm not ready to write off Niki and Paolo as a mistake just yet. There might be a good story to tell with those two characters yet. Even giving them the benefit of the doubt on that though, how they brought these two in was some of the most ham-handed writing/directing/producing on any show. Not only did it annoy a large segment of viewers, but it undercut the future plans for the characters. Niki and Paolo are both, though Paolo more than Niki I think, now fighting an uphill battle. Many viewers are already predisposed to loathe them.
Pinks and the cop-out ending - I've mentioned before that I watch a lot of racing. As part of that, I also end up watching a lot of programming on Speed, including most of the episodes of Pinks. It's a great idea for a show, with a great tag line. "Lose the race, lose your ride." The problem is that all too often, that's not the case. Off the top of my head, there was the time when the losing team only gave up a helmet. And the time when neither of the two motorcycle racers were willing to actually race for their bikes, so they went halves on a bike that was about an eighth of the value and raced for that. And we can't forget the time they just called it a draw and went home. I always hated ties in hockey, and I hate them in drag racing too. Then there was the time that after the race the winner gave the loser his car back. And if that doesn't make you at least consider pre-show conspiracy, you need to watch more X-Files reruns. The hook is racing for pink slips. It's right there in the title. When you let that go, it's just a so-so drag race show.
Now I need to go make a note so I remember Armed and Famous for next year's list...Happy New Year!