All Joel wants for Festivus
(Full disclosure: I met both of them when I was out in LA last January. But asking for phone numbers would have been unprofessional of me. At least that's what I keep telling myself late at night.)
But, since I'm in a festive mood, here's my list of Festivus wishings for the rest of 2007 and beyond:
Scrubs gets a chance to air a real series finale. Instead of saying "I hope the strike ends soon," which I think everyone is wishing for, I'm going pick individual shows that are affected most by the strike. Scrubs is one of them; Bill Lawrence is determined to give loyal fans a finale, whether it ever gets shot or not. But, you know and I know that a script reading on YouTube or whatever is going to pale next to a real series finale. Fans like us deserve some closure after being loyal to it for seven years, through all the time slot changes, Emmy snubs, cancellation threats, and the J.D. / Elliot mishegas. Hopefully, if NBC doesn't let Lawrence do a finale after the strike ends, one will air on ABC, who produces the show.
Pushing Daisies and Life get to finish their first seasons. We all know how good Daisies is. But who besides my brother Rich thought Life had any potential after its clunky pilot? Well, it did, becoming a procedural with intricate and unusual cases and a compelling lead character, rivetingly played by Damian Lewis. Even though each show had a contrived pre-strike "finale," all those episodes did was leave us wanting more. Especially with Daisies; I thought I'd get sick of the candy-coated world inhabited by Ned and Chuck, but the rotten center under that candy coating is what keeps me coming back.
The Daily Show and The Colbert Report don't suck when they come back. The late-night hosts are in a tough spot; honor the writers' strike or see their non-writing staffs get laid off? They all held out as long as they could, but now they're going to come back during the early part of January. All of the network shows -- even the sketch-laden Conan -- can make do without writers, even if the product is less than optimal, because most of these shows consist of interviews and other non-scripted material.. But what's going to happen with Jon Stewart's and Stephen Colbert's shows? Both are heavily reliant on scripted material, and both Stewart and Colbert would be going against the union if they wrote material for themselves. So, what are we going to see? Interviews? Improv? (Gulp) Real news? I know the producers and hosts will figure something. But it's not going to be pretty.
Drew Carey gets a real shot as host of The Price is Right. Yes, he's not as polished as Bob Barker was. But that's OK; he's also personable approachable in an "everyguy" way that Barker did not have. So far, I think Drew's done a fine job on TPiR, and has made a marked improvement since his first somewhat uncomfortable weeks. The big test to me is that it still feels like the same show I've loved for my entire life, only with a lower-key host. Drew is proving that the games, excitement, and the thrill of seeing people win is what draws people to TPiR, not the host. (By the way, Drew shows a somewhat more serious side in a series of mini-documentaries he made for Reason.tv).
Anna Friel's phone number. Why not? Maybe the pattern will hold and I'll get to meet her during the next press tour (if there ever is one).