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October 4, 2015

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Seven shows a-thrivin'

by Kona Gallagher, posted Dec 17th 2009 11:03AM
john lithgowOn the seventh day of Festivus, TV gave to me... Seven shows a-thrivin'.

The 2009-2010 season is a great one to be on TV-- especially for returning dramas and new comedies. If we had 20 days of Christmas, I probably could have filled the list with shows that were either thriving right out of the gate or making a resurgence after being on the air for several years. As it is, we just have seven slots, so here are some noteworthy series that are thriving this year.

I've always liked Dexter, but it's never been appointment TV for me. I've generally been content to wait until the season came out on DVD and knock all of the episodes out in a weekend. However, after a creative dip in season 3, I've found myself positively glued to my television every Sunday night that season 4 has aired. John Lithgow absolutely made the season as the creepy Arthur Mitchell. Plus the finale? I know some of you saw the big twist coming at the end, but I certainly did not. Who doesn't like to end a season with their jaw on the floor?

mad men castMad Men
I do not understand at all how people can say that nothing ever happens on Mad Men. A guy got his foot cut off by a lawnmower! Weddings, divorce, affairs, glass vases being smashed over heads, hirings, firings, gay cruising in a park. There is really almost too much happening on Mad Men, but that's why it's one of the most critically-acclaimed shows on television: it weaves together the stories of a disparate group of people with such honesty and feeling, that once you watch an episode, it's stuck in your head for days.

modern familyModern Family
Every single character on this show makes me laugh. Usually in an ensemble, be it comedy or drama, there is someone whom I simply cannot stand. Modern Family does not have that person. Every little family unit could easily have their own sitcom, so having them together is like a sweet 3-for-1 deal. Plus, it's allowed Ed O'Neill to show his softer side, which has been a revelation. There have been more than a few times that I've wondered, "why is Al Bundy making me cry?" Because this show is awesome, that's why.

Supernatural is one of those shows that seems like it's going to get canceled every season, yet it never does. It seems as though the writers have taken advantage of this fact and just gone balls-out. Between an episode featuring a Supernatural fan convention, having the brothers get stuck in different types of shows (sitcom, CSI-style, etc.) and demon Paris Hilton, Supernatural has been nothing if not creative. The creativity has worked out for them too, as now that they're in their fifth season, they're getting the best ratings they've had since their first.

Seriously, I could put Community on the list for Donald Glover's faces alone. But combine that with the hilarity of Joel McHale, Dani Pudi, and the rest of the cast, and you get thirty minutes in which I nearly die laughing. The end credits that normally feature Abed and Troy could make a DVD of their own, and their Christmas episode was not only their best episode so far, but one of the best Christmas episodes of any show, ever. NBC finally did something right.

big bang theory leonard pennyThe Big Bang Theory
I didn't have high hopes for The Big Bang Theory. It was a multi-camera sitcom that was created by Chuck Lorre, who is also responsible for Two and a Half Men, which I cannot stand. However, as I started to watch it, not only did it grow on me, but by the second season it was one of my favorite comedies on television. This year, it's not only critically beloved, but is doing great in the ratings, often beating the immensely popular Men. Regardless of the ratings though, it is still hands-down one of the best sources for one-liners on television today.

So that thing about slow and steady? Yeah, that's true. NCIS, in its seventh season, is definitely winning the race. It's always gotten decent ratings despite being largely ignored by the critics, but this year it's gone to a whole new level and become a number one show for the first time. The seventh season is when most series are circling the drain, but not only is NCIS more popular than ever, but it's spawned a spinoff in which LL Cool J takes off his shirt a lot. If that's not thrivin', then I don't know what is.

Twelve shows a stinkin'
Eleven babes worth watchin'
Ten Shows on DVD
Nine on-air breakdowns
Eight stars a shinin'

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You forgot Days of our Lives, its the only daytime drama to show a steady increase in viewers the past year and it sits comfortably at third place in the Daytime Soap Ratings, and is thisclose to kicking Bold and The Beautiful out of the second place spot!

February 15 2010 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Agree on Big Bang. It was poised to be painful and cliched but has managed to spin all that in a new, enjoyable way.

December 17 2009 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's too bad SAG completely ignored Big Bang Theory. It could easily win in Best Ensemble, Best Comedic Lead.

It's just keeps getting better..

December 17 2009 at 2:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Lithgow played Arthur Mitchell, not Miller. :)

100% agreement with you on Dexter, Big Bang Theory and Supernatural as all three are appointment television for me.

December 17 2009 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SJP's comment
Kona Gallagher

The sad thing is that I read it and thought, "Arthur Miller? That's weird," before I posted it. Thanks for the catch!

December 17 2009 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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