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:

Our DVR was getting close to capacity, so this weekend was very procedurally focused for me. But before I start talking about Criminal Minds, I’d like to suggest that you all visit Matthew Gray Gubler’s personal website. I discovered it a few months ago, and even though I already harbor a fairly well-known crush on the good Dr. Reid, I am now head-over-heels in love with the actor behind him. Gubler has worked with Wes Anderson, used to be a fashion model and is also an artist, drawing some truly strange and macabre little watercolors and sketches. You’ll either love him more for this website, or become slightly afraid of him. Either way, you should check it out. He’s amazing.

4.17 “Demonology”

An episode about exorcism that I no longer really remember, sufficient to say that it took place in Georgetown, which is funny because that’s where The Exorcist was filmed and also funny because I happen to know that a linguistic consultant for the show sometimes guest lectures at the school.

I do remember, though, that this was a good character episode for Prentiss, who is rocked by the death of her friend, a friend who stood by her when she had an abortion in Rome at 15 and helped her walk into church with her head held high, despite what everyone in the room thought of her. Some very good work by the multi-talented Paget Brewster in this episode, but nothing else stand-out.

(Husband Note: I do, however, remember the presence of Walton Goggins as one of Prentiss’ old friends, and that I could not take him seriously because of how pathetic he as a character became during the final season of The Shield. I hate to typecast actors, but he was so good as the show’s truly tragic, wretched second lead that I can’t see him as anybody else. Sort of like how Dylan Baker will always be a pedophile.)

4.18 “Omnivore”

Besides Matthew Gray Gubler, you know who else is amazing? C. Thomas Howell.

First of all, dude works like a motherfucker. He may have never been a star, but when I see someone with 127 credits to their name since the age of 11, I’d say they’re living the dream that only a lucky few get to experience: being a working actor. Tommy is perhaps best known for his work in The Hitcher and the movie that should have made him an 80s teen star, Soul Man (but kind of didn’t because he was kind of in blackface . . . just watch it . . . it’s not as horrifying as it sounds, but why anyone thought Tommy would make a convincing black man, I’ll never know). But I know Tommy best for somehow beating Hal Sparks on VH1’s Celebracadabra, a short-run series where “celebrities” learn magic. Look, I love Tommy, but Hal Sparks had that shit in the bag. In any case, Tommy is a totally likeable human being . . . which just goes to show you how good of an actor he is in this episode of CM.

(Husband Correction: He is definitely known the best for Red Dawn and The Outsiders, but yes, we are in agreement that C. Thomas Hwell is the muthafuckin’ man.)

I am hurt and confused that The Wife does not remember my brilliant performance in Red Dawn. Wolverines? No?

I am hurt and confused that The Wife does not remember my brilliant performance in Red Dawn. Wolverines? No?

Given that he had top billing of guest stars in the episode, it was not at all a surprise to me that his character, George Foyett, was actually The Boston Reaper, a serial killer that had made a pact with the police 10 years ago to stop killing as long as he was no longer pursued, a pact that would soon expire. Foyett was the Reaper’s sole survivor, and that’s because Foyett, a hebophile (someone who is sexually aroused by teenage girls), had murdered a girl he was allegedly going to propose to and then inflicted 67 stab wounds into himself to throw the police off his trail, all the while being able to assume another identity (his own, non-killing identity) and profess the “real” story about the Reaper to the media, thus gaining the kind of fame serial killers like to have.

Once the team figures out that Foyett is the killer, they arrest him, only to find out that he has engineered his own escape from jail – the arrest and escape were something he had been plotting in the ten years he lay dormant, all to feed into his own legend and narcissism. Frankly, I think that was a great twist and it opens us up to another episode with C. Thomas Howell in the future. And that’s only a good thing, because I now cannot get the image of Tommy with blood running down his chin out of my head. And that’s disturbing, because it was kind of sexy.

4.19 “House on Fire”

And that truly brilliant Boston Reaper episode was followed by something of a non-starter involving a serial arsonist in a small town, all because the town drove away a due whose “love map” went all wonky when his parents died in a fire, thus giving him an unnatural attachment to his sister. Lost’s Sam Anderson guest starred as the town doctor, basically playing another version of Bernard, and Michael Rooker had very thick facial hair as the town Sheriff, which really threw me off because I’m used to a clean shaven Rooker.

The best part of this episode, though, was Garcia having to play profiler by digging deep into the victim’s pasts to find any connecting threads at all. She’s excellent at digging, and there were some good character moments for her here when she realizes that she likes to pour through information, not the minds of people.

4.20 “Conflicted”

I never really did “Spring Break” the way MTV wants you to do Spring Break, so I have a hard time picturing people voluntarily going to warm locales just to drink a lot and have random hookups. I can, however, picture a scenario like the one in this episode where Alpha male Spring Breakers are being raped and murdered, presumably by a male-female partnership.

And they’re right – except that the male/female partnership are the same person, hotel housekeeper Adam Jackson and his alter personality, Amanda, who surfaces to protect Adam. And when Amanda is arrested, she becomes the dominate personality, locking Adam away inside her.

I should note that in addition to guest star Roma Maffia (Hey there, Liz Cruz!), this episode also featured Jackson Rathbone as Adam/Amanda. I thought that Rathbone was incredible in this role, because that Amanda was definitely one fucking crazy bitch, and I am now even more impressed because I should have known him from Twilight. He plays Jasper, and he seems to be one of the most hated things about the movie as it always looks like Jasper is getting an enema. Rathbone is a good actor, I’m just pretty sure that working with material from Stephenie Meyer is nowhere near as good for stretching one’s acting abilities than twisted shit in a guest spot on a procedural. Or maybe Jason Alexander is better at directing actors than Catherine Hardwicke? Either way, I’m now looking forward to the later movies in the series where Jasper actually has things to do.

Sorry, I just got a flash of that one time I created an army of vampires during the Civil War.

Sorry, I just got a flash of that one time I created an army of vampires during the Civil War.

(Husband Note: I just had a fun time calling the episode out on its bullshit, as the “Texan island” where the episode took place was just Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles, right the fuck next to the airport. Had the camera moved slightly to the right in some shots, I would have seen my clearly SoCal alma mater. I don’t know a whole lot about the islands off of Texas in the Gulf, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t look like an episode of The O.C.)

4.21 “A Shade of Gray”

A sociopathic child incapable of feeling remorse kills his little brother and his parents hire their cop friend to make it look like it’s part of an ongoing serial kidnapping case to get the BAU involved. All I could think of is that this is all probably guest star Gretchen Egoff’s fault, because she should have made that little sociopath a pizza sandwich.

Oh, man, I miss Journeyman.

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