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State of the Networks: 08-09 Midseason

Whoaaa, a report card post written in the middle of a season!  Hah!  I don't think that's happened since 2007! 

I'm writing this in case you, um, were having a hard time judging my opinion from the hundreds of words I write about TV every week?  Shut up!  It's a nicely condensed, easy-to-find-in-one-spot summary, and this way you can glance at my thoughts for shows in which you skip the episode-specific posts.

You know the drill - still too many shows to give individual +/- grades, so I use the half-grades like levels and group them all accordingly.  These take the season to date into consideration, but are generally based on how I feel about the shows right at this very moment.  Only current shows count, nothing from the summer or anything British that I might be working through 8 months behind schedule.

I feel oddly stingy with my grades this time around, but refuse to artificially inflate.  Straighten up and fly right, TV!

(shown in no particular order within the categories, other than what came to mind first and/or my attempt to keep genres together)

A: Top of the line
The Office: The highlight of my week, it can do no wrong.  Well, it can and does go wrong quite a lot, featuring characters I can't stand, but it always feels like an eternity between eps and I love so much about this crazy little workplace that all the bad parts fade from mind immediately, and all can remember is the wonder of Jim/Pam and the many background things that made me laugh or at least smile about.  It makes me so happy - I love it to pieces.  If you could package Heaven in 30-minute shots, it would look like this.

How I Met Your Mother: This show?  Does essentially the same thing.  It halves the power of the epic romance and diverts it to two places (pining Barney and Marshall/Lily), but what it lacks in a dizzying OTP it makes up for several times over with hilarity.  Clever hilarity.  Especially with Barney.  No show consistently makes me laugh as much as this one - and it doles out bonus internet goodies on a regular basis to boot.  It's hard to think of an episode I really don't like.

Lost: Despite my fear that I wouldn't like anything at all about season 5, it's proven exactly the opposite.  I have never been so completely absorbed and enthralled at every turn (I credit the end of character-specific flashbacks).  It is not an exaggeration when I say that 5 episodes in, it has been essentially flawless.  Also: Suliet.  It's a word in my vocabulary now.  Things are inevitable.

Bones: A large part of me feels sort of naughty, essentially declaring this to be the best of my crime shows - that can't possibly be right - but the fact of the matter is that I'm loving this season, even without my OTP or my floppy-haired lab rat, and despite the psychologist-shaped thorn in my side.  Grad Student Roulette is working for me most of the time, I have a new ship, and the cases have become explosive and fresh again.

Survivor: *is hopeless*  I love the format.  I love the challenges.  I love the predictable inter-team bickering and the unpredictable game-changing twists, from players or producers.  I love Jeff's blog and everything in the TWoP forums, not to mention the recaps.  I never walk away from an episode without having thoroughly enjoyed myself.

(side note: Man, I am always so weirded out by the mix of shows I end up putting in the top category.  It never seems to reflect my long-term interests, genre preferences or who I think I am as a TV viewer at all, yet I know it's right.)

AB: Not perfect, but still quite good
Grey's Anatomy: Well, obviously I can't give this show an A.  Not with the age-inappropriate relationships and pig-killing and any/all crap connected to Callie.  But the fact remains that I have been fantastically engaged by every episode this season, and since I'm more against Alex/Izzie than anything involving Denny or her brain problem, it's been working for me.  Sometimes I yell more than I praise, but I can't say that it doesn't keep me entertained and emotionally invested.

CSI: I find myself losing interest a bit, but I blame that more on my waning interest in procedurals than the show itself.  I do still recognize it for quality writing and strong plots, and think it's doing a remarkable job in the wake of its casting shakeup.  It just doesn't have enough oomph for me to grant the shiny A it deserves for effort.  It's like hearty beef stew versus cheesecake: lot of good stuff in it, but blue ribbon goes to the tastebud delight.  Um, I'm hungry.  Don't mind me.

Numb3rs: Only benefit of the doubt is saving it from the lower level, because at present moment I'm annoyed by Amita's recent absence and Charlie's only-semi-less-recent haircut and Alan's presence.  But then I suck it up and remember the copious amounts of Charmita in the season to date, along with Don/Robin and Don's hair, and I'm filled full of renewed optimism and patience.

Medium: I apologize to the show, but while I dearly love the family and look forward to the story each week, it is perhaps not quite as attention-grabbing as other things.  This could easily and quickly change at any moment, of course.  I just need to remember the extent to which I love Joe.  Maybe let tonight's episode percolate in my brain a little more.

B: Consistently above average
Cold Case:
 What more can I say?  There's a Permanent Sticking Charm affixed to the back of this one, tying it to this grade forever.  It will never wow me.  Nor will it ever disappoint me.  It has a special spot in my heart for being the most dependable workhorse anyone could ask for.  Six years, and they still know how to craft stories that make you care about the victims while still giving the detectives personal lives and personalities.  And snark.

Without a Trace: I'm feeling curiously favorable towards you this marking period, show.  Don't make me reget it.  And sure, it's like 60% because Danny/Elena exists in canon again and 25% because Hanna Malone does too, followed by 10% because Samantha is cute (as are Random Baby Daddy appearances!) and has a baby, leaving only 5% left over for other things.  But since those other things occasionally include eye-catching cases and/or feature a newfound balance between procedural plot and agents with personalities, it's gone and gotten impressive again.  As much as the show can in a post-season-3 world, anyway.

NCIS: I did once say that season 6 was much better than the previous two years.  Now start showing me why again.  Show me with legitimately funny Tiva banter I can quote and more of Gibbs visiting Abby's lab, preferably with cheek kisses and/or Caff Pows.

BC: Fair to middling
CSI: Miami: Par-for-the-course ridiculous, and not presently in a way where it's fun.  I mean, sometimes it's fun, like when I enjoy Eric/Calleigh enough that I could probably bump this up a level...but then I realize it's just sad to rank Miami above New York, and NY definitely isn't going anywhere.  I will concede that they've pulled a handful of unexpectedly decent episodes out of thin air this year, though.

CSI: NY: I'm bored.  I'm bored and I've been bored half the season, frankly; very little sticks out.  This is how I felt in the bland days of season 1 when I was watching out of franchise loyalty and nothing more, except now I'm staying for the Mac, Flack(/Angell), and maybe occasionally the progression of Danny/Lindsay: A Baby Story.  I have no advice for improvement.  Just pull out an awesome episode and make my head spin again.  Actually, I bet it would help if you brought back Samantha Flack and/or the season-long plot arc. 

House: It's nearly all to Cuddy and Wilson's credit that you're not lower, too (with help from Visiting Chameron), so be grateful I didn't dangle you over the Pitchfork of Fail for subjecting me to excruciating and unholy levels of Thirteen/Foreteen.  To put it simply, I Don't Care.  About much of anything on this show, unless House is in a verbal and/or prank war with one of the previously credited doctors.  I find it fun enough while I'm watching, but I'm ready to forget about it as soon as it ends.

Secret Life of the American Teenager: I honestly don't know what to do with this.  On the one hand, it deserves a D.  It's terrible, almost a literal soap opera.  On the other, I'm addicted to it like liquid crack.  I'm always bursting with impatience to get my hands on the next episode, and even though all I seem to do is crow about the latest adventures in Stupidityville, I'm actually invested in finding out what happens (also: Ben! ♥ ♥ ♥).  So you tell me.  This was the best compromise I could think of.

C: Dead center
Private Practice:  *nosedives from last report card*  I blame a combination of Charlotte, Archer, and Violet's ridiculous love triangle pregnancy.  The first two things make the show infuriating, in addition to quadrupling the number of nasty sex scenes; the latter just creates unpleasant complications with stories that otherwise could have been fun.  We still like Addison and Pete, and for the most part Sam and Dell, and in fact all the Oceanside Wellness staff when they're actively being doctors, but...it's starting to feel like such a chore to tune in.

ER: I repeat -- "every episode [in the final season] is an event," my ass.  Show's just treading water right now until it can see the finish line, and while it's had spikes of brilliance and a few interesting patients or former doctors back to visit, mostly I've been slogging through a swamp of unholy relationship drama.  The whole thing makes me want to beat my head against a brick wall.

CD: (empty, like a drive)

D: Watch yourself, there’s an axe…
Law & Order: SVU: I don't know when or how, but all of a sudden this show basically sucked all the excitement out of the room.  It's quite literally a chore on my weekly lineup - as in, I rejoice when there's no new episode and I don't have to bother with it or feel guilty for skipping - and um, part of me is keenly anticipating its cancellation this spring and won't know what to do if it survives?  Maybe it's just been a bad couple of weeks + hiatus that's got me down.  Maybe I should read spoilers.  Meh, don't care enough.

American Idol: I don't even know why I watch it enough for it to be on the lineup.  So yeah, I've got an axe.  An axe to GRIND.  Go ahead, show, I dare you to prove me wrong.  Tatiana's a nice touch, but given what you've shown me with Kara, my hopes are not high.  (And yet, we carry on with this game.  Curse my dependence upon you for pretty outfits & music recs!  And Simon's verbal love squabbles with Paula and Ryan.)

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
aries11
Feb. 17th, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC)
I agree that there's room for improvement on both NCIS and CSI: NY. Forget the Tiva banter; they need to just tell each other how they feel already! Abby needs to be perky!Abby more often. I'm not enjoying mellow!Abby. We're also seriously lacking in Ducky.

For NY, I say get rid of Flack/Angell, have more Samantha, and close some of those open plot lines already, namely Stella vs. the Greek killer and Mac's latest stalker.
soulwhispers
Feb. 18th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
The Office/HIMYM/Bones <3
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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