I'm no longer in school, and part of my current job actually involves assigning A-F grades, so like everything else that changed when I ditched academic calendars...for the first time ever, I'm assigning normal grades! It is harder than I thought it would be. But I prevailed. I was on such a roll I even threw in a whole bunch of extra shows if I watched them with with any regularity, even if I didn't officially review them. Unwieldiness FTW!
By popular opinion, "arranged by letter grade" won out, so off we go from (relative) best to worst! I'll go alphabetical within the grades, though.
Haha, wait, what, how and why is this here, given that I have seen 13 episodes max and steadfastly refuse to discuss them? Because every time I turn this on it produces hysterical sitcom perfection, that's why. With bonus multi-option shippability, conveniently not emotional enough to devastate me should either fail to work out.
CSI: NY: A
Apparently the entire internet disagrees with me, but too bad! I'm still on a giddy high over the memories. Between Flack's grief-and-guilt spiral, Aubrey being enchanting, Lucy popping up as an occasional subplot and a slew of fantastic cases including but not limited to THE DEATH HOUSE, both the writing and the characters hooked me more than they had in years. Now, let's hear one last hurrah for Stella.
Ghost Whisperer: A
Four words, one of them hyphenated: adorable ready-made family love. Three more words, Shinies vs. Shadows. Plus the ghosts themselves terrifying the pants off me every third episode or so. But back to the family; I have up to four seasons' worth of unwatched material, but it's hard to imagine any of them living up to the standard they set with the time jump. This is probably blasphemous to original fans, and I can't shake the feeling that I am the equivalent of those new Doctor Who fans I so despise who blew in with Eleven, but...whatever, I choose to take joy wherever I can grab it.
Living up to its name? Yes. *eyes full of stars* Even though there are many, many, many many many ma-HANY things wrong with it, this delivered consistent scads of entertainment week after week, including two of my now all-time-favorite characters. I'm still in rapture over the existence of a high school show that splits its focus between students and academic personnel. The music is just a bonus. I am tempted to dock it for the existence of Sue Sylvester, but I'm not that punitive.
The Sarah Jane Adventures: A
Sarah Jane Smith + her ragamuffin band of teenage investigators = still the most adorable thing to exist. Period. The go-to source for all that is sweet, innocent and uplifting.
It literally dazzles me speechless. I have no idea if I'd watch episodes twice, but I know that whenever when airs, I'm never bored and it transports me to another world into which I can feel myself disappearing completely. Hence the lack of reviews.
I think I've given this show an A every time I've doled out grades, which is weird given my tendency to hate half the characters at any given time plus my professed hatred of sci-fi. Those biases are, of course, what's contributing to the minus sign today, because as much as I enjoyed the final season, it was not my favorite. What with all the ships being run aground and only being made up to me in the finale. And having to see a lot of Jacob, who is just so incredibly dull.
This is where both Past and Future Me look at the vast slew of shows that got pure A's and are like, "ARE YOU MAD?" But for as feverish as my excitement was for new stuff with my beloved characters, the episodes themselves weren't quite as intoxicating as seasons 4 and 5 - I can only think of maybe two worth remembering, and none that truly qualify as series highlights - so it gets docked a little. Just a little. It was still a gem of an hour.
Grey's Anatomy: B+
Started and ended strong, but the middle wobbled thanks to fake triangle manufacturing. And, you know, the 270 character/couple-related things that are wrong with it at any given time and which ensure its wings stay clipped. Still! I came out of it with the shiny new ability to love Mer/Der with 95% of my heart, and for all the sexing nonsense from others that I spend all my energy tuning out, it feels like they not only focused less on the bedroom, but when they did, they focused less on bed-hopping and agreed to stick with committed relationships for unusually long stretches at a time.
Law & Order: UK: B+
It's just plain delightful at all times. Not in a particularly stunning way, because the Law & Order franchise is by necessity cut-and-dried, but in a way where it is better than any of the U.S. versions even at their best. Matt, Alesha and Ronnie are love and the setting is a lovely change of pace.
The Office: B+
Started great, devolved near the end of the season. Which is kind of what this show always does. High points for The Jim/Pam show cramming both marriage and a baby into the same year, even with the diminished visibility afterwards; points lost for Erin, Andy, Donna, Pam's horrible mom and firing David Wallace; rescued by Gabe, Jo, her adorable dogs, and Jim the Manager, whom I enjoyed.
Nothing particularly exciting or overwhelming, but generally more interesting cases and personal lives than we've had for a while. House/Wilson roommates forever! Or at least until I can pass him off to Cuddy and hook Wilson up with Cynthia Watros. That works too.
Not a whole lot of excitement happening here either, and I docked 50 points from the House of Tragic Haircuts (10 each for Joe and Allison, 30 for Ariel's beautiful princess tresses), but it's been relatively solid. I guess. Damn, this grudge is burned into my soul. I am positive I had some good times with it eventually...
So You Think You Can Dance (summer): B
Sure, I only remembered to watch half the episodes, didn't write about them, and not one of the new contestants was interesting (except Ashely, for a week, until she injured herself out of contention). But I loved Cat and the judges (MIA FOREVER) and, what's that, the sound of 80% of my all-time favorite contestants coming back to share the spotlight again? Way to come back from a failing fall experiment.
Cold Case: B-
My classic, hardworking drama staple slipped a little in its last season. Still good, still doing what it does, just with less oomph.
How I Met Your Mother: B-
When it was good, it was really pretty good, but when it was bad I abandoned it for weeks at a time. Also, Robin dated Random Don longer than she dated Barney. This was a problem. The plain B felt a little too generous, given the abandonment periods. I don't know why this season was so much less funny than usual, but it clearly suffered.
Private Practice: B-
I feel like there should be way more distance between this and GA, so think of this as an 80% and GA as an 89%. It had such an incredibly promising start! Clothes were staying on, platonic relationships and patient stories were getting focus...and then the unholy hookups began. Followed by unholier hookups just as soon as I finally felt comfortable with the first set. To put it another way: I am no longer completely embarrassed to own up to watching Grey's, but I am mortified that this pile of sleaze is part of my pack.
Extremely uneven (which is kind of how this show always is, at least lately). The plus mark is for the awesome finale arc. And no, I do not feel bad ranking it below Private Practice. ...okay, I care a little, but PP had like 9 really stellar episodes before it went to hell.
The last time the show tortured/bored me this much, I stopped watching for five years. I only stuck around this time because Mick and Brett got to the final week semester 1 (still the worst season ever) and semester 2 brought me a variety of friendly faces before Sandra awesomely won a second time. 100% of the blame for making the year suck goes to That Horrible Contestant Who Shall Not Be Named.
American Idol: C-
It was almost entertaining for a while, thanks to Crystal - certainly better than the last two years - until they started cleaning house of females even though 70% of the girls were better than 70% of the guys.
And we should consider that a generous grade, given that there was NOTHING INTERESTING HAPPENING AT ALL. As evidenced by the fact that Greg and Sara occasionally talking to each other about case-related things was the highlight of my viewing experience after she and Grissom did their marriage off screen.
Law & Order: SVU: C-
If possible, this show is even less interesting. Like, one awesome time, Naveen Andrews showed up! The end. (Ignore my lies that the first 10 episodes of the season were "more interesting than usual" when watched in a one great string. Focus on how I largely stopped discussing it in the latter half. The only reason it's not getting a D+ is because I enjoyed the ADAs prior to Sharon Stone)
CSI: Miami: D
Is the sort of default grade you get when people end up skipping more than half your season because they hate your new characters that much. The 1/3 I saw was certainly enough to merit a C+, though.
And we all know that incompletes become Fs after enough time passes - say, by the start of the next school year. Which is a shame, because it would have been an easy A until episode 100 happened. But if I can't bring myself to watch a thing due to overwhelming anger still going strong 5 months later, it merits an F. (At some point I promise to stop bringing this up, it's just, SO ANGRY.)
Did I forget anybody? I tend to forget shows the minute they cease to be on the air; I left at least 5 off the first draft of the list last week. Meanwhile, I've been reading my last two SotN posts, and sometimes I honestly don't understand myself. I know the most recent one was done midseason 08-09, but still, an AB for Numb3rs and threats to drop it lower? Now that's just wrong. And NY barely scraping by with a B? That is so not how I remember season 5.
Old Post Ironies: House, season 4 retrospective
And there were new ducklings, permanently! Finding them was exciting, even though Kutner & Cutthroat Bitch instantly became huge thorns in my side and never went away.
--Give it 12 months, Past Self.