So. There’s good news and there’s bad news. The GOOD news is that there are some fantastical, magical, should-be-riding-on-unicorns shows on television in 2010. Some of those babies are so adored and beloved that their safety is secure. The bad news is that because of your neglect (yes, you. It’s your fault. I have a TV blog, I watch enough to cause social services to take my kids away.) some of them may very well be canceled before 2010 is out.
Fact: Earthquakes suck. FACT: Being financially stable enough to help people is awesome. Fact: Good TV can be saved too. Let’s do this.
5. Better Off Ted (Tuedays 8:30/7:30pm, ABC)
Ah, yes. My panicked warbling about ABC’s (dare I say it?) quirkiest show continues. Great, snug writing, fantastically weird and likable characters, a setting that is just bursting with possible story ideas, Better Off Ted is a dream of a workplace comedy, capable of cheerfully zinging the ridiculousness of massive conglomerates in the same beat that a crazily-coiffed magician named Mordor the Unforgivable gets shot with a harpoon gun. Even this show on its worst day is far-and-away better than the middling sitcom fare you’ll find on CBS these days. At least tell Charlie Sheen to take a hike for God’s sake. Clear up some programming time for Ted instead (see what I did there? Classic Lemon).
4. Parks and Recreation (Thursdays 8:30/7:30pm, NBC)
One of the all-time best turnaround stories for a network comedy. When Parks and Rec first aired last year, I made it through two episodes before I had to stop watching. Despite my love for Amy Poehler, watching her grating, Tracy Flick-esque Leslie Knope stumble, crash and burn amongst coworkers and townspeople who seemed to despise her was too much for me. (That episode where she’s flagellated in a town hall meeting in front of her mother? Just painful.) And then… and then someone (probably Beal) told me to take another look at the show when season 2 came around. So I did. A few weeks back, I sat down and caught up on Parks and Rec. And then I proceeded to watch every episode back to back in the span of three days.
What’s different? Leslie Knope is now completely lovable. Sure, she’s still got her high-falutin’ ambitions but it’s tempered with a lot more self-awareness, a healthy dose of idealism and hard work. Instead of her begging for Anne’s friendship, you can tell Anne adores her. And Louis C. K as her boyfriend-cop? Adorable. The episode with Megan Mulally as a slutty, malicious bureaucrat for the library? Fantastic. And that damned Christmas episode made me tear up.
3. Friday Night Lights (Fridays 8:00/7:00pm, NBC)
Here’s how good this show is and I swear, sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a wall when I bring it up. My dad, holed up for weeks after surgery, got the first season of FNL thanks to his third and doting daughter’s recommendation. Cut to three weeks later. My mother, who is incapable of staying up past ten minutes of any show (something about the lull of the voices, the softness of the couch? Or maybe the fact that she gets up at 5am every day) is rabidly asking me when the show is coming back on NBC (DirectTV has shouldered the production costs with NBC, so it gets the new episodes first. I love you, DirectTV). My dad reports that she is obsessed. He even caught her sneaking upstairs to watch an episode while he napped and rested. When I brought up the scene where Smash learns he’s going to college, she choked up. And my father is just as hooked.
Returns to NBC on April 30th. Rent the first three seasons on Netflix. Email me a nice thank-you card when you’re done.
2. Lost (Tuesdays 8:00/7:00pm, ABC)
If you’ve been watching this show, then I don’t need to convince you to do anything. You’ll watch. You might shake your fist at Obama’s State of the Union if it pre-empts it too. Lost for us TV geeks is the very definition of appointment television (and there is far too little appointment television these days.)
For those of you who haven’t watched it- look, don’t be turned off by the “mysteries” and the “clues” and the “LEXICON.” It’s a show. A damned good show. The acting is good, the twists are great and when Lost is good? It’s very, very, very good. I could personally give a damn about what the polar bear symbolizes. To me, this is a twisted, funky show about a whacked out, magical island and the very flawed people stuck on it. The end. Watch it because it’s fun. And because I think this whole plan to map out the story and end it this year was a brilliant one (and something serial dramas should always do. Hello, shows-that-spin-out-of-control-toward-the-end-because-they-have-no-direction! Yes, Alias. I am talking to you.)
This is a big year for Lost. The last season. And there’s still time! Hole up for a few weekends, catch up and don’t get bogged down in all the extra stuff.
Returns to ABC on February 2nd.
1. The Tonight Show with CONAN O’BRIEN (Mon-Fri 11:30/10:30, NBC)
I have seen every single episode of Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show, which would be a laudable feat if it had lasted the usual tenure of 10-15 years on air. It looks as if Coco’s run, however, will be capped at a measly 7 months. Catch up on the whole story here, just in case you’ve been on Mars for the last week and missed it.
I’ve tweeted and Facebooked and languished over every bit of news and every awkward and hilarious and awful and painful late night segment about the debacle since it all started with Heir Zucker’s announcement to move Jay Leno back to 11:30pm. I am, quite frankly, too sick at heart to talk about it for much longer. Suffice it to say, my perspective of the situation is merely one of a devoted fan. Like so many others, I’ve been watching Conan O’Brien for years and years, for so long that when he saw his dream of hosting The Tonight Show realized, I was beyond thrilled for him. He’s talented, he’s paid his dues and he deserved it. To see it taken from him just hurts.
I don’t care to dissect the reasons or the secret reasons behind the lineup changes or why we hate Jay and love Conan and what it means for comedy and for NBC. It’s all been said to death. Suffice it to say, Conan did not have enough time to secure his legacy with The Tonight Show or to prove himself in the ratings. We’ll miss him and we hurt for him. And wherever he goes, we’ll go. Simple as that.
The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien could very well end on Friday Jan. 22nd. Watch it until the fat lady sings or I will stab you in the face.