The Husband:

While we, the children of Saint Clare, have found the time to write about many of the biggest shows on television (and even some small ones), there is only so much time and energy we can spend on this site. The truth is, we watch a whole lot more than what ends up on the site, and since I watch most of these on my own and yet never find the ability to write about them, their absence is mostly my fault. But no matter. For those that fall through the cracks, I have here a grab bag of the 30+ shows I watch in addition to whatever ends up on the site. These are the ones that slipped through the cracks. And hell, I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting (and also not even bothering writing about, which tend to fall under instructional/educational stuff like anything on Discovery), so if you think I’ve forgotten something, please let me know. (And no, I don’t watch any CSI or L&O shows, so don’t even try to get all up in my grill.) Here they are, the missing shows of the 2008-2009 television season, in alphabetical order.

24

I really should have written at least some criticism on this season, but work piled up and I simply didn’t have the time. It started off as the most intelligent season with some of the most compelling political questions being thrown around (welcome to the show finally, “debate on torture”), but by the fourth time Tony twisted his alliance and Jack was infected with the disease, I kind of stopped caring. Great first half of the season, though, and I think Renee is the best new character in a very long time.

Adult Swim (Xavier: Renegade Angel / Superjail! / Squidbillies / The Drinky Crow Show / Metalocalypse / Delocated / Robot Chicken / Etc.)

Thank you, young people of Adult Swim (who I have spent some time with, don’t forget) for freaking my mind week after week, and giving alternative comedy a major boost in America. And for freaking out my wife.

A beacon of normalcy in a world of wackiness.

A beacon of normalcy in a world of wackiness.

Better Off Ted

It took me a couple episodes to latch onto the tone, but once I did I simply couldn’t get enough from this latest product of the mad mind of Victor Fresco. Check out some episodes online, then watch Andy Richter Controls the Universe (his previous show), and I guarantee you some of the oddest network comedy in a very long time. I still think Portia DeRossi is trying to hard, though, and should take a page from the book of Fresco mainstay Jonathan Slavin.

Castle

Bring it on, Nathan Fillion. Hypnotize me with your nostrils and your addictive but borderline-stupid mystery writer-cum-detective series. (Although how weird was that Judy Reyes episode? What the hell, Carla Turk?)

The Celebrity Apprentice 2

So sue me, I liked Joan Rivers. And the addition of the phrase “Whore Pit Vipers” to the television lexicon.

Celebrity Rehab (Sober House) with Dr. Drew

So help me, I can’t stop watching. It’s just a disaster. I will say, though, that I like the drama in the rehab far more than the sober house, as the latter seems to exist simply to destroy any progress the celebrities made in rehab. And now having seen all three of his seasons of Taxi, Jeff Conaway’s fall from grace is fishbowl television at its finest.

Dating in the Dark

Really fun, actually. I hope it gets a second season. I also hope that more matches will be made, and that people stop being massive failures.

Dirty Sexy Money

Everything I needed to say about the failure of the second season of this show can be found on this blog, and it ended its truncated run by turning itself inside-out by revealing that the show’s central mystery, who killed Peter Krause’s father, was a bust since he wasn’t dead after all. What the hell, Dirty Sexy Money? Oh well, your cancellation made room in Krause’s schedule for the much anticipated (by me) adaptation of Parenthood coming to NBC mid-season.

The Goode Family

It took a few episodes to find its footing, but by the end of its sped-up summer run, I was a major fan of the latest Mike Judge effort. (R.I.P. King of the Hill.) Vastly misunderstood by viewers who only watched the first episode, it, just like KOTH, found a middle ground between conservative America and liberal America and found the ability to make fun of both without drawing blood, choosing to love instead of hate. Some of the voice cast was misused (why was my beloved Linda Cardellini in the cast?), but as a Berkeley native, I had a blast relishing in mocking the stereotypes of my own people while rediscovering what it is I love so much about them. The bull dykes were also two of the most original characters of the season.

One Earth isn't just a grocery store, it's a way of life.

One Earth isn't just a grocery store, it's a way of life.

The Great American Road Trip

Any show that has two contestants debating over which is more correct, “y’all” or “youse,” gets major points in my book. A nice and forgettable summer trifle after a long, way-too-hot day. Silly, yes, but I can’t say it was bad. And it was a definite improvement over the similar family-based season of The Amazing Race. (I’m sure The Soup is really grateful for this show, too.)

Heroes

Oh god, kill me now. Volume 4 was a marked improvement over #3, for sure, but I just don’t care about anybody anymore. And yet I feel that I need to keep watching. It’s too late to give up now. There was one great episode this season, though, and that was the flashback one surrounding Angela Petrelli’s stint at a mutant internment camp. Why can’t they all be this good?

Howie Do It

Yeah, I watched it. Shut the fuck up. About one-third of it was funny, and as I watched it on Hulu at work, it’s not like I wasted any of my own time. Howie Mandel is savvier than you think, but I wish he would return to his wilder roots.

How’s Your News

This Parker-Stone produced MTV show revolving around reporters who are developmentally delayed confused the hell out of me initially, but once I realized there wasn’t a mean bone in its body it became a warm bit of fun. I want a second season, dammit. These are some of the most joyful television subjects I’ve ever seen.

I Survived a Japanese Game Show

Better than the first season, but I’m still glad I only watch this online while doing something else.

In the Motherhood

Worst opening credit sequence of the year. Some pretty funny material hidden underneath unfunny slapstick. Horatio Sanz got thin. Megan Mullally couldn’t find a rhythm. I still think Cheryl Hines is oddly hot.

Lie to Me

I unfortunately didn’t start watching this until July, and I wish I hadn’t waited so long. While gimmicky to a fault and not nearly as intelligent as it pretends it is, this Tim Roth vehicle about an FBI specialist who studies the subtleties of the face (OF THE FACE) is clever, compelling and well drawn. I’m not sure about the addition of Mekhi Phifer’s character, but we’ll see how it works out next season, especially with Shield creator Shawn Ryan at the helm of season two.

Life

This cancellation reallllly hurts. One of the unsung gems from the 2007-2008 television, this, the smartest network cop show in recent memory, took its great season one energy and hit the second season with all it had and came up with a compelling, hilarious, devilishly clever and gleefully violent run that was only marred by a major cast shift during the final few episodes. (I’m looking at you, Gabrielle Union. Your presence was what I like to call a massive failure.) A Zen-obsessed cop recently released from prison after serving over a decade for a murder he did not commit, this show had the best cases of them all. It also gave me one of my favorite hours of television of the year in an episode that revolved around a seductive assassin, fertilizer and pigeon aficionados. And at least the major serialized storyline (who framed Damien Lewis and why) got paid off in a major way thanks to the ever-reliable Garret Dillahunt.

lifeshot

My Boys

Putting PJ and Bobby together was a great idea, but your nine-episode seasons are too short to gain any momentum, and the spring training season finale was a bust.

Nitro Circus

Moronic glee.

Numb3rs

Man, did they put Charlie through the ringer. First, he nearly gets his brother killed with a miscalculation on his part, he questions his own validity as a mathematician and then Amita gets kidnapped just as he decides that he wants to marry her. Otherwise, another fine, if somewhat uneventful, of this show that never captured the glory of its über-nerdy first season. Also, thanks for all the great guest star work, but sometimes it gets laid on a little too thick, such as in “Sneakerhead” which brought together Bruno Campos, Patrick Bauchau, Dr. Edison from Bones and Eve. (And points for making the Liz Warner character actually bearable. I fucking hated her in season 4.

Privileged

So apparently the CW thought that their best idea ever was to get rid of this show, the smartest show on the UPN/WB merger since the Buffyverse, one that was technically pulling in bigger numbers than 90210, one that was a delight to watch and deeply addictive, and make room for what is sure to be one of 2009-2010’s worst new offerings, Melrose Place. I gotta tell ya, this cancellation hurts. While I wrote recaps and reviews of the episodes way into its freshman (and only) season, the looming axe, as well as a more heavily serialized structure, turned me off from writing on the final stretch of episodes, and I told myself that I’d only recap them if the show came back. Lo and behold, another Joanna Garcia vehicle has gone down the tubes. I’ll miss you oh so dearly, Ms. Too-Smart-For-The-CW Palm Beach satirical melodrama known as Privileged.

I hate to say this, guys, but I think Robert Buckley might be a showkiller. And that's sad, because he's so damn pretty.

I hate to say this, guys, but I think Robert Buckley might be a showkiller. And that's sad, because he's so damn pretty.

Rescue Me

I thought it was a great season, and thanks to an extended number of episodes (it didn’t air in 2008 thanks to the writer’s strike), the show was able to focus much of its energy on pages-long dialogue-happy battle-of-wits in nearly episode, which to be is melodrama heaven. Gone is the maudlin tone, returned is all the comic energy, and the stories seem to actually progress instead of just flopping around like a dying fish. Leary and Tolan deserve major praise for bringing the show back up to snuff. And now having seen all of Newsradio, I love any chance I get to watch Maura Tierney, although I’m still not going to watch ER. (I am proud to have only seen three episodes of that show ever, being a Chicago Hope fan.) Special shot-out to the Sean cancer storyline, if only to allow Broadway actor Steven Pasquale (husband of Tony winner Laura Benanti) the opportunity to belt out some songs in a handful of hallucination scenes.

Samantha Who?

One of the biggest upsets of the last two years was the rise and fall of this light-hearted, occasionally gut-busting amnesia sitcom that started off the talk of the town, only to waste away its final episodes after the conclusion of the actual television season. Ending on a shitty cliffhanger (Sam’s parents are getting divorced, so Mom is going to live with you and your formerly-estranged-but-now-love-of-your-life lover), we nevertheless found out who caused the accident that brought about Sam’s amnesia, Jennifer Esposito finally made it with the towel boy, and Melissa McCarthy continued to be one of the brightest stars of the year.

Scrubs

Like Privileged, I hesitated to continue writing due to the threat of its cancellation, but now it’s continuing on into yet another season (albeit with some major changes), so I really have no reason to stop writing about it. But let’s just say that while the hurry-up to conclude its many disparate storylines often felt rushed (those two Bahama episodes felt especially odd), the conclusion to J.D.’s years-in-the-telling tale was a lovely way to conclude the season. (No props for the awful awful Peter Gabriel song that accompanied his final walk down the hallway, as laughably bad as it was when I heard it in the remake of Shall We Dance?)

The Shield

I don’t have to tell you how amazing the final season was. Watch it. Seriously. You owe it to yourself to experience one of the hardest hitting cop shows of all time. Like The Wire, a Greek tragedy hammered into modern-day policework with some of the most finely drawn characters around. And oh man, did those final three episodes pack a major punch. Ouch, indeed.

Southland

Quite a bit like The Shield, really, had it followed Michael Jace’s beat cop instead of the Strike Team. A little too dour at times for me to really give a crap, and the sprawling ensemble needs to be cut down (which is what I hear it’s doing for the second season), but this L.A.-centered procedural has a lot going for it, not least of which its pitch-perfect direction. (I especially dig the long shots, including my favorite, which involved a cabin and a K9 unit bringing down a perp.)

Way better than dating Marissa Cooper.

Way better than dating Marissa Cooper.

Surviving Suburbia

A sitcom in serious need of finding one tone and sticking with it, this sometimes-sweet-sometimes-brutally-cruel suburban comedy worked as well as it did because of Saget as well as G. Hannelius’ performance as the precocious daughter. Still, all the jokes about disabled people, pregnant teenagers and strip clubs really didn’t mesh together with the clichés of the genre.

Survivor: Tocantins

I love Survivor, but this was one of the most boring seasons in its ten-year run. I don’t think I gave a shit about one person, and I simply couldn’t find anything compelling to write about. A waste of a good location.

True Beauty

The right person won, the losers got (mostly) schooled in this trick show designed to expose the douchery involved in modeling, Ashton Kutcher made another heroin-like show, and I concern myself for months with how they can pull the trick off a second time in the next season.

The Unusuals

When grading a cop show, I tend to focus on three things — the tone, the characters and the cases. A bizarre, pessimistic yet comedic take on all those wacky cops we’ve seen throughout the years all thrown together (one is deathly afraid of…death, one has a brain tumor, one talks in the third person, one is a closeted socialite, etc.) pushed into some remarkably dark territory, The Unusuals had tone and characters down pat, but suffered at the hands of some DOA storylines. But oh man, did the tone ever make up for most of the show’s shortcomings. Great ensemble cast, too, although I would have recast Eddie Alvarez.

Rather unusual.

Rather unusual.

Worst Week

A breezy and often hilarious slapstick comedy based off of a British hit, it could never regain its momentum after moving away from the initial “week” of the title. Kyle Bornheimer is a true find and made the more unbearable misunderstandings and embarrassing moments of the show (of which there were many) all the more palatable. I’m not the biggest fan of comedy based around humiliations, but this show found a likeable ability to have its characters not completely despise each other at every moment. This was, to say the least, very refreshing. Big points for giving me the biggest network TV laugh of the year (when Bornheimer wakes up his brother-in-law only to be thought a murderer) but major negative points for pushing back a major character-based episode into a weekend spot months after the show had already ended its run.

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The Wife:

Since 90210 returned from its hiatus, it has indeed been infinitely less lame, but its actually bordering now on a different kind of lameness, like a trippy nostalgia kind of lameness. Like how it’s kind of fun that my husband is watching Saved by the Bell, which is by no means a good show, but I grew up with it and therefore love it. Or, perhaps, like how it was fun for people who grew up with the original 90210 to enjoy a show that basically has no purpose other than to entertain. And it achieves that purposes in a completely artless way. Because I’m starting a PhD program in the fall, I’m coming to realize that there are a number of shows I’m going to have to give up. And really, when it comes down to it, I’d rather spend my leisure time watching something that at least attempts to be challenging. (Gossip Girl does not always reach the heights of brilliance that it could, and neither does Fringe, but those motherfuckers are staying in my viewing schedule.) But for now, while I have the time, I’m sort of enjoying the campy 42 minutes of 90210 I get each week. Rebecca Rand Kirschner Sinclair’s name may be two names too long, but she’s guiding the show to a good, if completely culturally insignificant, place. It’s watchable now. And not utterly hateable. Here’s “9 Points of Interest about This Week’s 90210.”

1. Adriana and Navid are turning into Amy and Ben on SLOTAT. I actually don’t entirely approve of this rehashed thread because it’s completely tepid on this show. Amy and Ben work because they’re Amy and Ben. For Kenny Baumann to suggest that Shailene Woodley keep her baby and raise it with him is idealistic, romantic and utterly believable. For Michael Steager to suggest it of Jessica Lowndes is less so. It’s not that either of the latter pair are any better actors than the former, or even that the latter show is of a higher writing caliber than the former (although at least SLOTAT knows when it’s being ridiculous). It’s simply the way the characters function. I like Navid and I think he’s a sweet boy. I believe him when he says he’s loved Adriana since they were seven. But what I don’t believe is his suggestion that a girl who was addicted to drugs only a few short months ago is in a strong enough place in her life to keep her baby. I have no issue with the overly idealistic notion that a 16-year-old girl can raise a child just fine and go to high school and have her much more ambitious boyfriend go to college nearby to raise a baby with her. I do think, though, that if Navid really loved Aid he would know that she’s still not stable enough for a baby. She knows she’s not; that’s why she’s spending all this time looking for adoption and pretending the baby doesn’t have a sex or a name. But for all that, what I do like about this plot is that she keeps undermining her own adoption search because some part of her does want to keep the baby she’s pretending she doesn’t want. That strikes me as real. But dudes, don’t get married. I totally won’t tear up at your fake wedding like I did at Amy and Ben’s. There’s just not enough development behind this plot for it to get to that point and mean something.

2. French Fries. Oh, yeah, and if Navid really loved Aid, he’d let that girl have some damn French fries. She pregnant! Let the girl have some starches!

3. Donna, Kelly and the Fortune Teller. Could there have been a more hackneyed plot thread for these ladies to embark upon this week? Hated the fortune teller and Donna’s quest, but I actually have to give Tori props for finding a good emotional space for Donna. When she breaks down and her voice cracks over her sunniness about opening a store in L.A. because she doesn’t know if her marriage will survive, that worked. I felt that, and it was good. Having had no prior relationship with the character of Donna Martin, I kind of get her now. And I’ll welcome her back on the show, running that clothing store that she managed to full renovate and open within a day or so, which is so impressive that it proves she isn’t functionally retarded.

Poor little Donna, making adult decisions all of a sudden.

Poor little Donna, making adult decisions all of a sudden.

4. Annie and Naomi. So Annie finds out that, like, Naomi’s dad is getting sued for sexual harassment. But she’s, like, trying to be a good friend and all because Naomi doesn’t know yet and doesn’t want to tell her after the fact. But then, like, these girls are mean to Naomi about it at The Peach Pit and, like, Annie tells them off. And then Naomi is all, like, “You knew and you said nothing? You’re a shitty friend!” And Annie, like, comes to the hotel and apologizes because she, like, didn’t want to her hurt. Whatever. Annie and Naomi are both shitty friends to one another. Deal with it. Just play some late night foosball in the driveway and you’ll be fine. Especially because Naomi gives more of a shit about having to move out of her hotel than she does about what’s going on with her dad.

5. Silver’s leaving WestBev. Yeah, I’m okay with that. She’s already screwed up enough to have gone to Catholic school her whole life. Besides, I bet St. Claire’s is a great place for artsy kids like Silver. She is, after all, the patron saint of television. (And now you know why this blog is named for her.)

6. Ethan. I have no idea what the fuck is up with Ethan, and neither does anyone else, apparently. It’s like the pod people totally forgot to plug into him this week.

7. Directed by Rob Estes. Which, I guess, explains why he did an entire scene in a terrible Scottish accent with a Tam and fake ginger hair on his head, all the while fondling a Big Mouth Billy Bass in preparation for the Wilson Family Yard Sale.

8. Kelly Taylor’s sexual escapades. She’s supposed to meet her dream guy with a six-pack, but ends up going to a lesbian bar with Donna. Lesbians totally love moderately attractive 30-year-old femmy blondes who shake their heads to and fro while dancing. Later, Kelly meets Matthews at a convenience store and he has a six pack of Red Eagle. They hook up. And I still hate that fortune teller plot.

9. Where was my obscene Dr. Pepper cameo? Did Rob Estes veto product placement? Because, and I really hate to say this, I kind of missed the requisite lingering shot of the Dr. Pepper logo. Without it, I have nothing to scream about.

The Husband:

Some bullet points:

  • Dude, Adriana’s nickname is Aid and she almost got AIDS in rehab!
  • Yes, I’ve found Rebecca Rand Kirshner Sinclair to be the owner of a terribly cumbersome name (so much so that for a while I thought it was two separate people just credited side-by-side), but I give her some leeway because a.) she went to Harvard, b.) she wrote for Freaks & Geeks and Buffy, and c.) her husband, New Zealand actor Harry Sinclair, played Isildur in The Lord Of The Rings movies, as well as Roger in Peter Jackson’s brilliant slapstick zombie romantic comedy family drama horror bloodbath Braindead (a.k.a. Dead Alive).
  • To bring things full circle, yes, I am watching Saved by the Bell, and it is purely coincidental that at this very moment, I am on the episode “House Party,” where Screech’s parents leave him home alone so they can visit Graceland, and who is trying to get all up in his junk but Violet Anne Bickerstaff, played by Tori Spelling. Why didn’t anybody prepare me? I yelped out at work. I DEMAND MORE WARNING WHEN IT COMES TO TORI APPEARING ON MY TV/COMPUTER, DAMMIT!
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