Starting today, we'll be presenting what has become a yearly tradition for us: our own version of The Twelve Days of Festivus. We're going to start with Brad's list of twelve shows that... well, you'll have to tune in later today to find out why those shows make our list. Each day, we'll have a list of things about TV that annoyed or enthralled us this past year, culminating on December 23 (the official day of Festivus, according to Frank Costanza), when we list the best TV moment of the year.
If you're new here and don't know what the heck we're talking about, here are the lists from 2006, 2007, and 2008.
- An awesome end for Dollhouse. I know its cancellation was inevitable – the series was forever tanking in the ratings, and even Joss Whedon devotees were sometimes underwhelmed by it – but I really loved the experimental nature of the show. Dollhouse was a weird, funny and sometimes very dark playground where Whedon could try out new ideas and put new spins on old ones. I'm looking forward to watching the final episodes.
- More sci-fi stuff on Stargate Universe. I love the slow burn character arcs, but would it kill the writers to shake things up a bit with a little action and some fantastic science fiction-based stories?
Also, I'm not sure if who won the game, but Chicago was leading St. Louis 21-0 in the 3rd quarter.
- The end of reality television - I just want this genre to die a horrible, slow, painful death, preferably involving leeches. I recognize that there are some gems in this pile of crap, but I loathe those sorts of shows that appeal to the worst and most gossipy nature within us. Get rid of them all. Except for those on the Food Network, because that channel is cool.
- A stellar fifth year of the new Doctor Who - Admittedly, I was hesitant when they hired Matt Smith as The Doctor, who only yesterday just learned to walk. However, the brilliant Steven Moffat is behind the show and my expectations are very high. And disappointing a man with a television blog at his disposal is a bad idea, Steven.
Has this story been done before? You'd think it would be a natural as a holiday classic.
Continuing our month-long look at Christmas commercials, this one features Grimace and Birdie and is from 1987.
-- Last year I wished for Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman Palladino to get another shot at TV after the horrible Jezebel James. Well, she's got a deal with HBO. Good for her. Now, for me, let's get her to write and film the finale for Rory and Lorelai and Luke and Star's Hollow that she intended for GG. It's time to do it now while all the principals are still active. The Mary Tyler Moore reunion with Rhoda came two decades too late.
With Black Friday behind us and December only a few hours away, I think it's fair for me to bring up the topic of holiday shopping. It's sort of like breaking trump in a card game - once US Thanksgiving is over, it's every shopper for themselves.
I have a good reason for wanting to broach the topic early - shipping. If you are going to attempt to buy something really fantastic for a television fan, the chances of you finding it locally are slim to none. You'll have to order it online, and wait for the package to turn up in the mail. It's funny, isn't it? We can punch a series of numbers into our magical machines which convert the numbers into even more numbers and have little conversations with other machines, and the outcome is much the same as it was in the 19th century - something gets put in the mail.
What was the top TV story of the year? The choice was obvious to all of us, and probably all of you, too: The election. The 2008 race for the White House was not only historic, it was dramatic and played out more on TV with recognizable star personas than any election in recent memory.
And like a great TV show, it was a season-long run of highs and lows, tension and release, defeat and victory. Along the way, Americans made a choice about who will run the country for the next four years, but they were also entertained by a near constant barrage of media coverage in the form of maximum cable news, thousands of commercials, daily political commentary both serious and comic, a plethora of debates, and -- naturally -- Saturday Night Live's take on it all.
It all started about a year ago in the cold of Iowa and New Hampshire...
...two perfect series finales.
As TV viewers, we've been conditioned to not let ourselves get too attached to good shows because more often than not, good shows get canceled early. Or, on the flip side, they go on far too long beyond their prime and the series finales end up falling short as unsatisfying afterthoughts.
So it's always a breath of fresh air when a truly quality program ends not only at its peak, but it ends with a series finale that does the entire run of the show justice. It doesn't happen often, and this year we were fortunate to say good-bye on a high note to two of the greatest cop dramas ever made, The Wire and The Shield.
...three Zachs for viewing.
Perhaps it's just coincidence, but right now our TV world has a trio of superb young actors in very different programs and they're all named Zach. Coincidence or the fact that the year they were born, Zachary was a really popular name for baby boys? Whatever, the bottom line is that Zach Braff, Zachary Levi, and Zachary Quinto are terrific and Scrubs, Chuck and Heroes, respectively, wouldn't be the same without them.
What's really interesting about these three Zachs, beside the fact that they all share the same first name, is that they could probably all play each other's roles -- even though it's hard to imagine Braff or Levi as evil, they're good enough to do it. And Zachary Quinto has done the nerdy, computer guy when he was on 24.
It's interesting, but if you squint a little and tilt your head, they all could look like they're brothers. However, while the Three Zs may pass as the Three Amigos if you put them in sombreros, they are definitely making the TV world a much happier landscape.
More comedy for history geeks: After writing my list of Top Eleven Robot Buddies, I was struck by the terrible lack of history-related humor on today's television. Let's have another Time Squad or Clone High, shall we? Or give Kate Beaton her own television show.
Without further ado, here is what I want for Festivus:
- Christina Hendricks and the rest of the Mad Men cast should guest-star on more shows. Ever since I started watching Mad Men, I've noticed Hendricks popping up places. She's on an episode of Without a Trace here, an old episode of Cold Case there... I love me some Joan Holloway and Mad Men isn't returning soon enough. I loved seeing Jon Hamm host SNL, and I'm super excited about his upcoming guest stint on 30 Rock. More please!
Every year as Festivus comes, we here at TV Squad pump out these "all I want" lists and I always end up feeling guilty because, like everyone else, I come up with a ton of different requests...
I hope Lost is good.
Please don't let 24 suck.
Why can't Rachael Ray just disappear already?
...and on and on and on. Well not this year. This year I'm going to be conservative instead of greedy in the hopes that the Festivus gods will grant my one and only wish:
Come May 2009, please let Jay Leno fail in the 10PM time slot.
With all of the starry-eyed, out-of-work Midwesterners who litter Sunset Blvd., one would assume that our television landscape would be similarly populated with corn-fed blonds. You would, however, be wrong. In fact, there are a ton of non-Americans who have come to Hollywood to take all of our primetime show-starring jobs.
What's fun for me is watching the shows to see who does a good version of an American accent, and who needs to spend a little more time with their dialect coaches. Below are nine stars who've jumped the pond to come to the good ol' U. S. of A.
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