RS (rainbowstevie) wrote,

State of the Networks: Judging Season Strikegate

[Steps for Dealing with Army of Ghosts/Doomsday
Step 1: Immediately read packet of Doctor/Rose bedtime stories, then sleep off the worst of the sting.
Step 2: Ditch the internet for 24 hours. Remember what books are.
Step 3: Upon return to the internet, avoid dealing with show by selecting idea from "Topics for a Rainy Day" cache.]

It's been a shamefully long time since I did a SotN post. Like, I don't think I actually did any this year. BAD RS. BAD! I did a fall preview, where I mentioned what I was/wasn't looking forward to, which I have just looked back at and found sufficiently amusing that I might quote & address some points from it in another post...but no actual letter grades since like, last March. Which is silly, because I always thought doing grades would be one of the best parts of being a teacher. I hereby promise myself to be better about this next year. If I have to mark down grading days in my planner, I will!

For this year, though, we'll just have to be content with a single grade to cover the whole season. And despite my proclaimed hatred of the half-grades my college gives, I'm using them here because I have so many dang shows that it's easier to place them in tiers rather than scrutinize the individual merits that might tip a grade towards a +/- for each show. 

*frowns at report card*  I feel like it's all out of whack , with a lot of weird shows cinching the A's and way too many shows packed into the top levels (grade inflation: not myth!), but...I spent a long time weighing and measuring my series against themselves and each other, poking and prodding them into place, and this is what I came up with. Shows within each level are listed in no order except that in which they rose to my brain.

Did I get everything?  (except the summer shows, as I haven't decided where to put them, but think I may just skip 2007's offerings and put 2008's in its own end-of-August category)  I think I got everything...damn, I have a lot of shows. 

A: Top of the line
There were school-age kids, there were oodles of Cute Moments for both the parents alone and for the whole family together, there was Anjelica Houston, there was Ariel's hair, and there was a distinct shafting of screen time for both Devalos and Scanlon. Could you ask for anything better? No. No, you could not.

How I Met Your Mother: Hee, remember that time when HIMYM was getting a D because Robin gave away her dogs? (*still bitter*) But then Ted & Robin broke up, which ended up being amazing instead of depressing like I thought it would be (despite Gael & Stella), and Marshall & Lily were married and ADORABLE, and Barney continued to be Awesome, and I eventually came around on Barney/Robin, and I giggled multiple times every single episode (though nothing was greater than the moment of Slapsgiving), and there were all kinds of internet goodies like "Ted Mosby is a Jerk" and Barney's Blog, and...IN SHORT, IT WAS EXCITING.

Lost: OK.  After careful reflection, and some trepidation, I'm going to go ahead and give you a winning grade.  But it's not because of your ZOMG PLOTTY PLOT, understand? It's for the little things.  Alex & Karl before you killed them off.  Jack & Juliet kiss.  Kate & Sawyer playing house for a minute.  The excitement of flash forwards when they were still shiny and new.  Not as good as season 3, but for the most part you did a good job keeping my attention; for a while there I looked forward to Thursday nights mainly for Office & Lost*, and that's a marker of note.

Survivor: * = and Survivor.  That's right.  Even when they were struggling through the middle part of China, this was always one of the most thrilling parts of my week. Partly because of the Television Without Pity recap, but not entirely. I don't know; this show is exhilarating. I have exactly zero pieces of supporting evidence, but my opinion is Law.

Numb3rs: One word, CHARMITA.  Also general good stuff involving brothers-bonding, Cute Scenes with Don starting with Liz and ending with Robin, a book subplot, and some more stuff that I can't quite remember but have a good feeling about.  You lose points for the Charmita-lite and/or David-heavy episodes, where the plot bored me, and the irritating as all hell "green up!" subplot.  You get an A because those things weren't actually all that awful, and if Lost can get an A despite having Locke, Hurley etc., your show, with the cast I completely like, definitely can.

Moonlight: Shut up!  It counts!  And was fantastic, which you know because I just talked about it in a very excited, very concentrated slew of posts.  A quick refresher: Mick, Beth, Mick/Beth, Coraline.

AB: Not perfect, but still quite good:
The Office:
This would have been an A right up until the finale, but then I got ticked off and decided to take off points for excessive Michael & Andy throughout the season. Still bitter about that, but have to admit that it was pretty much my reason to live for much of autumn, and lit up my life and such, which is amazing seeing as a year ago I still hated the show with fiery burning passion. In a related note: JIM/PAM. Kissing. Hugging. Cuddling up in bed. Being generally adorable in a manner that made me explode from squee every time I saw it. Oh so good.

CSI: Oh, show. Such a conundrum. First you let Sara live, then you got her to accept Grissom's proposal, and all was amazing! And then you sent (or let her be sent) away and shattered our dreams. Except not really! Because you kept her in the picture, and showed us the dog, and kept churning out unnaturally compelling episodes! And then you suddenly stumbled and faltered, and 99%-probably killed Warrick. Which was bad, and totally cost you your A.

Private Practice: It started out blazing-hot, then performed a little face-plant when Charlotte & Cooper hooked up (sorry, did I say little?  I meant enormous), and was heading downhill when the strike mercifully cut it off at the knees.  Despite being a spin-off, I ended up liking it more than the original, with excellent characters and good cases.   It was a good little Wednesday-night winner.

America's Most Smartest Model: Utter crap from VH1.  Yet also crack-addiction show, at least until the last couple of episodes, which not many series can claim.  Where to put it, where to put it??  Here sounds like the best compromise.

B: Consistently above average
Grey's Anatomy: It could have been really awful...but it wasn't. Despite a few eye-scarring scenes from various couples it hurts me to name, Lexie & Rose & Ava-turned-Rebecca have made my general recollection of the season one of happiness, and before that I was clinging to the last shreds of Gizzie and Mer/Der. The new interns were amusing. Cristina & Bailey still kicked all ass, even when the latter's marriage was falling apart. I dunno, the parts I watched made for some decently good TV.  It stays a B because of the aforementioned eye-scarring scenes, because they were really bad.  Also I have a permanent grudge against Shonda Rhimes for the way people overindulge in accolades where her show is concerned.

CSI: NY: Plummeted from the previous season, which was bound to happen because the rule of the CSI franchise is that as soon as one has its most amazing year yet and pulls me into fandom, it crashes and has its worst year yet (rule: followed), but it was still usually the one I looked forward to most every week, and one I could spend the most text reacting to. Some things were good: Flack/Angell, the serial killers, the Amityville Horror House, and Ruben's death. Others were not: Danny cheating on Lindsay after largely sweeping their relationship under the rug, Jordan, Quinn, and Reed turning into a sulky, petulant brat.

American Idol: From the Top 24 to the Top 4, after the hideous audition rounds that I skipped and before the show exploded into a ball of flames from which there was no recovery even in Jason's pretty blue eyes, this show entertained me on a weekly basis.  It gave me lots of music recs, a few shots of eye candy, and some excellent and likable women to cheer for.  And a touch of Rymon, of course, the shipping of which breaks at least two cardinal rules in my Shipping Law, but which I continue to be delight in anyway.  Do I think it deserves to be the most-watched show on TV?  Not on your life, but while it's there, I apparently can't resist its siren call.

Cold Case: Very little is jumping out in the way of character development, although the characters' personalities are all pretty firm in my mind - the show does an excellent job of writing banter between the colleagues, especially sniping between Vera & Kat - but I can think of several cases that stand out without even going back through my reviews (the boy held captive until he collapsed, the one that started with a Boxmart explosion and ended with One Republic's "Apologize," neo-Nazis, the haunted house...) .  It's not a show that has me bouncing with anticipation, but as always, it's a solid workhorse.  More animated than usual this year, too.

BC: Fair to middling
I try! I try so hard to get jazzed up about this show, and then I just...can't. Despite a phenomenal finale, and the fact that I am always pretty enthused while I'm actually watching it, I have no problem forgetting about it as soon as it's over. I think it's because I don't sail any ships. That being said, the season...wasn't awful. It was almost exciting at first, as it sank in that the original ducklings were really gone, and there were new ducklings, permanently! Finding them was exciting, and even though Kutner & Cutthroat Bitch instantly became huge thorns in my side and never went away, as I flip through all my old reviews, I find myself nodding and going "Yeah, that one was good, and that one and that one and that one..." which is why it's here, and not in the C category I originally meant to put it.

Bones: Got off to a rocky start, took a while to grab my interest and hold onto it, but eventually I settled in and adjusted to the haircuts, and things got better.  Sweets grated on my every last nerve, but they brought back interesting cases, and I remembered why I loved all the Squints (*cough* or at least 2 of them), and Booth was as great as ever.   By season's end I was downright in love with it again. I've blocked all memory of the finale and/or rumors for next season, why do you ask?  But it's languishing down here because it took too long for that to happen.

ER: I feel like this deserves to be higher, but then I remember that despite being worth watching for Gates & Neela, there wasn't enough Sarah and Luby Love spent most of the year in tatters and despite some highlight episodes (Christmas comes to mind), I skipped at least as many scenes as I watched.  I looked forward to it every week nonetheless, but it lost a bit of magic from the preceding season. 

C: Half and half
I'm sorry.  Let me say that up front, I am so, so sorry about this, especially after that finale, which was spectacular despite being heartbreaking as hell.  But the fact of the matter is that this show was all over the map.  Sometimes I adored it, other times I was bored to tears.  I actually had to go through every review and tally good vs. bad before I could even figure this out, because this is the only show where I told myself to think "overall reaction" and came up blank.   I love Gibbs, Jen, Abby and Ziva.  But I am not especially fond of anyone else, except Tony when he shares scenes with Ziva.  The cases were hit or miss, and they did about an equal number of both, possibly with an edge for the latter.  Ergo, a grade of average.

Law & Order: SVU: Throwing Munch back into the mix and packing Lake off to jail at the end of the year still weren't enough to boost its grade.  Didn't see nearly enough of Elliot's kids this year, aside from the baby I didn't want to see, and...the show eventually started to feel more like a chore than anything.  Still by far the best of the L&O franchise, though, and it had some good standouts - Robin Williams, the street family, and the season premiere with Miranda Richardson's multiple personalities (of which I've never seen the beginning, but I've seen most of the rest 2 or 3 times now, and still love it).

CD: Less than exciting, but still passable
Law & Order: The fact that's it still billed as a special presentation rather than a regular on my network grid means I shouldn't even really be putting it on this list, but I've seen more episodes lately than I've missed, so I am. Connie and Lupo made the year much more interesting than it could have been, even enjoyable at times, but I've got real issues with Cutter. And the general boredom that accompanies a basic plotline on this show. Although it's still better than Without a Trace, which...I never thought I would say.

D: Watch yourself, there’s an axe…
CSI: Miami: OK, fine, it's probably never actually going to get axed from Network RS. It still has its good moments, and even though Kyle turned out annoying and only got worse with the addition of his mother, that was vaguely interesting. But it is going to routinely try my patience, with Horatio's robotic character too far gone to be redeemed - even if he IS doing lab work now, no more Alexx, Natalia still there, and every other crime taking place at some ridiculously gaudy mansion with equally ridiculously good-looking people. It has finally become worthy of the mockery it's received since its inception. You can't placate me with semi-Eric/Calleigh, Stetler, and the Fashion Shows forever!

F: Dear God, kill me yesterday
Without a Trace:
I have put up with a lot of crap in the past couple of years, gotten increasingly annoyed with the decreased focus on character interaction - they seem to have designated minutes for showcasing personal life, and the rest of the time, while at work, the agents speak to each other with almost no individual characterization whatsoever - but I just put up with an entire season in which Danny & Elena spoke to each other maybe 3 times. That on top of the fact that their relationship plotline was dropped with no resolution or reference whatsoever was the final straw. Samantha's pregnancy was almost redeemable, at times, despite the focus on Baby Daddy Drama, but it was negated by Jack, Melodramatic Jack Malone, becoming more hideously unwatchable than ever before. Worst season ever - the show officially became sheer torture.


FINAL COMMENTS: I am disturbed by the amount of paranormal/sci-fi in the upper levels, and really, really disturbed by the fact that the bottom 5 shows are all crime dramas.  I mean, I knew I was steadily losing interest in them despite the fact that they started off being pretty much my whole fandom-y world, but seeing it in black and white like that hurts me.
Tags: doctor who, state of the networks

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