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?
Here's my wish list for what I want to see this year. Happy Festivus everyone!
- Lost to end on a good note. I don't ask for the entire series to make sense or even for every single question to be answered, but I do want the ending to be satisfying. The final season does scare me, though, if rumors (spoiler spoiler spoiler!) that the bomb reset everything and all of the dead characters are alive again are true. That could be too "Bobby Ewing in the shower," you know? We'll see. I have high hopes.
You might need to take a break here, as this is a pretty extensive list of specials and such -- all featuring Spongebob Squarepants and his fellow animated megastars. For all listings, make sure to check local listings for times, etc.
Starting off, on Saturday, Dec. 12, the network's "Naughty or Nice Night" will feature new holiday episodes of True Jackson, VP and The Troop.
Nickelodeon will also show repeats of holiday-themed episodes of hit SpongeBob SquarePants, iCarly and The Fairly OddParents, starting this week -- with a marathon on Christmas Day, Dec. 25. The network will also serve up "Miranda Madness" from Dec. 14 through Dec. 24, from 4 - 8 PM, featuring themed marathons of iCarly and Drake & Josh.
I could discuss the lip synching that a lot of the acts decided to do (I'm looking at you, Barry Manilow) and point out just how bad Rod Stewart is at doing either old standards or soul songs. But I really want to talk about Jane Krakowski. She hosted (along with Chuck's Zachary Levi) and it was a little...surreal.
This was a variety show that wasn't too different than a special TGS that the 30 Rock gang might put on, and it almost seemed like it was Jenna Maroney hosting. Krakowski basically plays a really exaggerated version of herself on 30 Rock, and I was waiting for her to say something clueless or potentially racist or have a cat jump on her face and scratch her.
If I'm reading the rhyme correctly, NBC is refusing to negotiate with employees over some dispute, and unless they agree to negotiate, "the crew may just might, do something that would be NBC's blight" and that "they'll be forced from 30 Rock." That's rather vague (and ominous). Could it mean the lights won't work? Dozens of NBC employees streaking live on national TV?
The poem also mentions hosts Jane Krakowski and Zachary Levi and suggests that music guests Shakira and The Roots might not be able to play. Hmmmm...well, it's one way to get people to watch the show, that's for sure.
(Update: The Live Feed has the story.)
[via Damian Holbrook]
Willard, who was terrific on Everybody Loves Raymond, not to mention all the Christopher Guest films like Best In Show and A Mighty Wind, was on sitcom TV just last season on Fox's Back to You. In fact, it was on that show that Fred worked with Modern Family's Ty Burrell. Now they get to do it again.
What makes The Magic of Macy's so much fun is that it doesn't tell you why the place is legendary, it shows you why. All those film clips from movies and television, years before anyone was using mentions like these for commercial purposes, underscore how much a part of pop culture Macy's was.
(It still is, to some extent, but the days of one brick and mortar store dominating the business landscape are long gone.)
Here's a list of the various marathons, specials, and sports that you can see on Sunday and Monday. Let us know if we've missed anything.
- At 8 AM, Hallmark has a Golden Girls marathon.
- At 9, USA has a Law and Order: SVU marathon.
- At 10, WE has a marathon of Girlfriends episodes.
- At 10:30, TV Land has a Beverly Hillbillies marathon.
- At 11, CBS has U.S. Open coverage.
- At 1 PM, Discovery has a Planet Earth marathon.
- Bravo has a Top Chef: Las Vegas marathon at 1.
- At 3, Spike has a Band of Brothers marathon.
- NBC has the Deutsche Bank Golf Championship at 3.
- At 5, TV Land has an Andy Griffith Show marathon.
- At 9, it's the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon (check local listings).
Network television is a free medium, and all but the most impoverished can afford some form of hardware to watch it. So why is viewership down? Is the recession dulling the holiday spirit? Are people selling their televisions in order to afford the mortgage?
I recall that someone once told me that the pro-wrestling industry always garners worse ratings during a recession. I always thought that was a strange statement to make, but there is some logic to it. Most pro-wrestling is on cable, which people have to pay for and is usually one of the first things to go when money gets tight. These holiday specials are on network TV.
The explanation in the article is the ubiquity of DVD and downloads. Nobody has to wait anymore to watch holiday programs. If this is the case, the television industry better step up their plans to change the medium before the viewership changes it for them.
This season (Jay reviewed one a couple of years ago), Comcast, Cox, Time-Warner, and Bright House all have the Yule Log on their On Demand service (via iN Demand). It's that scene of a crackling fireplace to get you in the Christmas mood. It's especially good if you don't have a fireplace of your own (duh), and it's in HD! I have Comcast digital, and to access it, go to your On Demand menu, then scroll down to HD On Demand, then go to TV Entertainment. You'll see a "Yule Log & More" category (not sure how to get to the section on other cable systems - maybe it's the same?).
But wait, there's more...
But what about Thanksgiving? Do you have any TV traditions for this holiday?
Saturday, August 30
- At 6am, TCM starts a marathon of Katharine Hepburn movies.
- At 7, History Channel has a marathon of Ax Men.
- At 9, USA has a Starter Wife marathon.
- Also at 9, Sci-Fi has a marathon of monster movies, including Carnosaur, Reptilian, Beneath Loch Ness, Eye of the Beast, King of the Lost World, and Black Swarm.
- At 10, Bravo has a Shear Genius marathon.
- At 11, History Channel has a bunch of Ice Road Truckers episodes.
- At 11:30, Discovery Kids has a marathon of Flight 29 Down episodes.
- At 2pm, Spike has a CSI marathon.
(S11E05) When this episode began, I figured eventually there would be some explanation as to why it is we color Easter eggs and why a rabbit hides them, some kind of explanation of these traditions and their pagan roots. However, by the end I was glad the story went where it did, because this was both the "worst" episode of South Park this season, and incredibly funny. I say "worst" because of all the horrible gags, like "The Hare Club for Men," and William Donahue's "double cross" that had me simultaneously cracking up and saying, "my god, that was a terrible joke."
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