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UPFRONTS! But first, some boring shows.

1. I cannot deal with the amount of preciousness in this post. Where do I focus my eyes?? Chris? The cat? (side note: what kind of celebrity adopts an 8-year-old shelter cat? The perfect kind) The llamas in the photos? It is a serious dilemma.

2. Now, while I rejoice in my work-free 3-day weekend and furiously dig some more at my giant pile of television...

It occurs to me that I have yet to write about the end of Survivor's season, which at this point I've almost forgotten watching:


When I last wrote about this show, I was threatening to walk away over the pig. Hah, whoops! I was actually assured relatively quickly that everyone liked the pig and then it was basically never mentioned again, so I ended up watching the remainder of the season. Just not...talking about it. The only thing noteworthy was how bad I felt for Kat when she got voted out before Tarzan. I was hoping she'd go out in 5th place. So, skipping to the finale...

Suffice it to say that I had a blast and it was absolutely wonderful to watch my final 5 unfold in exactly the order I wanted. So happy to see Kim go with her heart (and a healthy dose of the obvious fact that she could beat everybody no matter what), because if she'd booted Chelsea out I was prepared to throw myself on a funeral pyre for the dead sisterhood. I loved watching the pair of them bond more than anyone else. And now, as always, I'm tempted to circle back and watch the first four episodes of the season again, the ones that were unbearable while watching but are now a really exciting splash of bonus footage of your favorites and some "look what ___ was doing even back then!"

I don't know why everyone is so mad at Christina, though. Especially the viewers. I am THRILLED she made it to the final episode despite every odd stacked against her (beating Alicia! all I cared about), and by Final Four she was in an unwinnable situation. I would have hated watching her scramble uselessly; it would have been terrifically embarrassing. This way she saved face and still got a decent closing position (there's not that much difference between 3rd and 4th, and 3rd is where she would have ended up because no one would have voted for her, but she would have had to sit through Tribal and probably gotten a ton of harassment for not doing anything major. Yeah, thank you, but I'll take the free ride to 4th and bow out gracefully, Jeff).

And did I mention how KIM WON, HALLELUJAH. She might be the best player I've ever seen? I really want to say she is, for managing to play a perfect social game - I love how basically no one stayed mad at her if they ever even were, except Weird Troy - as well as being a challenge monster, neither of which were as relevant as the fact that she was so good at orchestrating the boots she wanted that she practically sweet-talked people into voting themselves off. She even found an idol but never had to use it. Could she have done any better?

And of course she won fan favorite, too. For once, I don't mind about the lack of fairness at all. I don't know how any of those other people they named were even in contention for the prize (unless that was a joke? I literally cannot imagine someone enjoying watching Tarzan, even if I will grudgingly admit respect for his ability to routinely use words I've never heard of), but of course she won.

Best line from the TWoP recap: Probst tells Troy that people "on the street" liked him. What street? That street should be shut down.

Per usual, I skipped most of final tribal -- I heard it was gentle? I still can't deal with it -- and ended up bailing on the latter half of the reunion show as well, but the first few minutes of the latter where Kim was still talking were fun. I stuck around long enough to deal with Colton's grosser-than-usual face while he flailed around and did his very best to say sorry without actually sounding sorry. That was enough punishment for me.

Next season: medically evacuated people who thankfully are not Colton come back. Oh wait, only three of them. Still, based on all available rumors and spoilers, I am pleased with two and indifferent to the third, so bring it on.

---------

CSI, 12x21, "Dune and Gloom"
Episode summary: "When a bomb kills an off-road race truck driver mid-race, the CSI team is called on the scene to investigate why."

And you think, why in the world should I watch that? Followed by this seems like a terribly boring choice for a penultimate episode.

Answer: this admittedly boring thing is so secretly so packed with deftly sneaked-in character moments, it will make your head explode. These things include but are not limited to:

-Finn going ahead and assuming that Morgan is dating Greg, then making the other logical guess, Nick. After striking out twice, she tries "Hodges?" The vehemence and horror with which Morgan shouts this last NO is priceless. Please let it be legitimate and not some sort of awful "the lady doth protest too much" response, because as previously mentioned: Greg. Or Nick.

-That said, I love their hatey interaction. Morgan, please always do things like mock his disgusting boot-to-the-face cologne/musk overload

-Magically smirky Sara/Greg interaction while evidence processing. Complete with, I kid you not, "Cite your source." (and hearts exploded in my eyes and I went spinning back to the beautiful days of early GSR) Also an adorable "Don't patronize me, Mathlete," after his noise of approval for her mental calculations. And maybe a "Want to test your big bang theory?" that just sounded like a blatant come-on.

-Greg and Morgan interaction at the site of explosion. Upon finding a beer can tab - "I'll buy you a beer when we're done, how about that? Unless you and Hodges and Mrs. Hodges have plans."

-Sara referencing her mom's mental illness/not-happy ending. I will even deal with a Russell scene for that.

-Sara not taking kindly to being lied to. I fell for the kindly old guy's story too. It was such a nice Good Samaritan story, sigh.

12x22, "Homecoming" - finale
Again, narratively disappointing (racecars, now politics? who pitched these sweeps ideas?), but a whole lot of amazing character stuff happening. I was only paying minimal attention, though -- a gripping storyline this was not -- so I might have missed some things along the way.

-I did my best to block out all the confusing mob plot stuff surrounding Warrick's death, but I remembered enough for a chill to shoot down my spine when they brought up Keenan's name. Nick's coiled live wire attitude, on the verge of snapping throughout the whole episode, was a beautiful thing to behold. It is nice to see how deep that loss cut and how easy it is to bring the wound to the surface. TV Line already assured me Nick is coming back, so that...undercut the drama of his quitting a little bit. But I still really liked that the remnants of the Original Gang were there to witness and protest it. Nick/Sara/Greg is the best subsection of the team, period.

-Peri Gilpin seems way young as the choice for Russell's wife, particularly if they're going to spring him having a grandkid on us, but otherwise she is fabulous. It's hard to match the spectacular canon they have painted for Mrs. Russell with reality -- I was really picturing someone quite different -- but the character herself exceeds my expectations. She should just be in all the episodes. LOVE HER. And all the interaction with their granddaughter was really cute, in spite of my best efforts to hate Grandpa at all times.

-More bemusing Morgan/Hodges/Obnoxious Parents group dating. I really don't see why at least one of them hasn't demanded out of these stupid outings already, but I will allow them as long as it allows the kids to gripe. I am choosing to remain calm and take Hodges' Italian girlfriend as a tool to lower my suspicious hostility levels.

-On Ecklie being shot: WHOA. Not expecting that. Nice to see him instinctively shielding Morgan, though.

-THAT'S the Big Secret of Finn's Complicated History with Russell? She swiped a glass at an event for DNA and was quasi-fired over it? I am unclear why you couldn't just say that the first time you brought it up. I'm also not clear why that's a fireable offense unless she did a bunch of paperwork-fudging and lying to cover her tracks (if there was, that should have been explained more clearly), but I really don't understand why that was something we had to build up to.

Now I know why I couldn't remember anything about this episode until I jogged my memory with reviews -- it was an incredibly annoying, obnoxious true cliffhanger, just like Grey's where we spent the whole time setting it up and then walked away right when it started to get interesting. We can put this one in the lockbox of "shows I won't bother thinking about until previews start airing in September."

In conclusion: As much as I hated Ted Danson('s character) without relent, this still ended up being a reasonably strong season, all things considered. Maybe even more noteworthy than the latter half of season 9. That said, I'm also not sure if there were any I would admit to the list of Best Episodes Of The Series.

Finally, because this is fun and I haven't been doing it for most of my shows, my top 3 5 episodes: (still debating whether or not I want to rank the entire season)

Top Episodes
1. Malice in Wonderland (I don't know! It was the only one I actually watched twice because I liked it so much.)
2. CSI Down
3. Willows in the Wind (I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry these two are not my #1 and 2, but...after #1, I have injury/fave character/shipper-goggles priorities)
4. Ms. Willows Regrets
5. Tressed To Kill

Season loser: Zippered, maybe, for boredom? A lot qualified as mediocre, but after quickly skimming through my reviews, nothing stands out as being especially awful.

---
3. And finally, let's have some extremely belated Upfronts Talk!


Note: any times listed will be Central, because I continue to not quite believe that anyone would actually put a TV show on at 10:00 PM, when Late Night officially begins and people with jobs to commute to start getting ready for bed. That is madness.

A Last Few Words On Renewals/Cancellations
* I still haven't seen the end of CSI: NY's season, and I've told probably everybody here in their comment sections (and also my own), but I am still peeved that this got renewed and CSI: Miami didn't. Miami, at this point, is the better show. It just is. NY can rise higher out of the depths of suckiness, but that is only 10% of the time at best and does not justify full seasons. Meanwhile, Calleigh just adopted a pair of adorable ragamuffins and they left the door open to capitalize on Eric/Calleigh again. This is rude. It's also just mean to keep putting a gun to NY's head and telling it to plan for the end, then force it to do the same thing again next year. At the rate it's going, they will have no spectacular series finale ideas left and we'll be left with something cheap and unsatisfying when it happens for real.

The worst part, though, is that Miami wrapped so early and it's like the cast didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. The show got a fair conclusion for its decade-long run, but I feel like the cast got shortchanged, like there was a possibility of cancellation but not a real strong sense of doom that would make you really treat it like the end times.

[Edit: WAIT. WAIT. I just realized why I was so dreading the inevitable cancellation of one leg on the triangle -- no more CSI Showdown!! I mean, I can still play with two, but New York would only win like twice a season. It just won't be the same. =/]

* On bright side, that means there are still three fighters left for Longest-Running Series From 2004-2005, with The Office. All of which I watch! So that is a little exciting.

* I am amazed at just how low Awake's ratings dropped by the end. It was pulling CW numbers (and not good ones) with a .9 demo rating for the finale, I think. Talk about your no-brainer cancellation.

* Thank god Rob and A Gifted Man are gone. You were worrying me there, CBS. Still annoyed on principle at you for clocking Unforgettable over NY, though. One of these shows is not like the other, quality wise.

* I don't understand how Don't Trust The B In Apartment 23 got renewed. My only exposure to it has been one commercial and some gifsets on Tumblr, but what the latter all have in common is offending me in so many different ways all at once that I'm wondering if it's possible to simultaneously throw up, turn inside out, curdle one's blood, and have your head explode.

* Somehow, "Whitney" is still worse. Greatest injustice in TV history, this renewal.

* Surprised but not at all displeased to see SVU picked up again. More Amarro?? Yes, please.

Schedule Change Notes
* I'm so happy Private Practice is moving to Tuesdays at 9 for good. Tuesday is always such a dead zone, and without Glee it will be 10x worse. Speaking of Glee moving to Thursdays -- I'm happy if it gets it a ratings boost, but mostly super depressed because it is the highlight of my week and I loved that it a) made my unlucky day better, and b) served as a pick-me-up because it was so wonderful not having to wait for the end of the week for something so great. Sure, I still have my overload of 5 awesome Monday shows, but it's not the same.

* Great that Gossip Girl moved to 8:00 on Mondays, a/k/a A Dead Zone. Not happy that 2 Broke Girls moved there too, splitting up my 7:00 hour dream team. I hate when only half of a 1-hour comedy block is watchable.

* Raising Hope is now in timeslot competition with NCIS. Hah! Yeah, now we're definitely never going back to the former. This is one of those eternal grudges, apparently.

* It's not the fact that Community has been moved to Friday so much as the fact that it has managed to clash with CSI: NY. (and I still need to know what idiot thinks a crime show belongs at 7). I wish I could just cut ties with the latter, but I can't, so waiting until Saturday for the former is. On bright side, I only make shows wait when they're so good that I need to pause them and rewind at will. Sometimes it actually works out better for me if I get to save a good show without feeling guilty for not utilizing the airwaves properly.

* A quick glance at the grid shows that I am officially signed up for 15 regular shows next year (at least some of them are comedies?) prior to making any new commitments. Awesome. It's like nothing this year even got canceled.  -.- (one year, one year, I will reach a point where things die en masse and are not immediately replaced with new prospects. Broadcast television, why you gotta be so unfailingly amazing? Seriously don't understand how people have time for the crap on cable, especially the ones where you have to deal with swearing and/or nudity/other uncomfortable scenes. FYI, saying you like either of those things will get you a temporary banning.)

Thoughts On New Stuff
(as evaluated from This Handy Guide)

Officially, the shows I have lost include CSI: Miami, House, Terra Nova, and (sort of) the barely-countable GCB. How can we fill their stalls? I don't know, but there is a lot of promise. Eventually.

* Animal Practice looks like it will be nothing short of excruciating -- horrible lead! bunch of unattractive supporting cast! zero funny moments in the trailer! THAT HIDEOUS MONKEY, MY PERSONAL NEMESIS IN SHOW BUSINESS -- but I am going to watch it anyway because I have been asking for years to have a TV show about a veterinarian and I can't afford to turn up my nose. Are there live pets on your show? Then I will watch it. To my great joy, they also just signed my beloved Joanna Garcia, so thank god there will be one bearable human.

* Elementary still looks stupid. Lucy Liu cannot save this -- especially not if it's going to turn into some giant wankfest (or worse: rhetoric) about themes of sexuality -- because their Sherlock is one of the most boring actors ever to act, and frankly I don't get everyone's sudden obsession with Sherlock as it is. Maybe because I can't stand Benedict Cumberbatch's face, either. Is there some evidence that Sherlock was meant to be a deeply unattractive man?

* Emily Owens, MD: I badly want to see Mamie Gummer back in doctor's attire, but that didn't work out so well for me when it came to Rachelle Lefevre in A Gifted Man, so it'll depend on ratings and how sucky the show vehicle is for whether I give it a chance.

* There are so many other shows in the competition ring now that I no longer think I'm in danger of falling for The Carrie Diaries, unless it has some sort of magically delicious cast and an irresistible marketing campaign. (these seem unlikely)

* I am not going anywhere near The New Normal -- it's like it had some kind of competition with Modern Family to see whose title could trigger my knee-jerk anger faster -- but that doesn't mean I won't wait impatiently for Tumblr to make Kurt/Blaine/Rachel-or-Quinn gifsets out of its lines. Hopefully my dash won't be filled with actual show gifsets, because those are some unfortunate-looking dudes at the center of it.

* I might watch the Matthew Perry sitcom (Go On?) if it has timeslot convenience. He makes everything better.

* I also might watch the Mindy Kaling sitcom (..."The Mindy Project"? Really? You know, I'm pretty sure that was just a placeholder you were supposed to turn into an actual title) out of loyalty to her adorable face, even as I rock and sob and mourn her absence on The Office. Depends how the show shakes out. I didn't get a great deal of feelings out of the trailer.

[edit: awesome! These two are pairing up across networks to create an artificial comedy block hour -- on Tuesdays, no less -- with no competition from any returning shows. Definitely giving them a shot.]

* The best of all the comedies looks to be Malibu Country, because REBA MCENTIRE. THE END. But also Sara Rue. I am optimistic about its ability to make me love it on its own merit and not just drown my sorrows in Reba reruns.

* Revolution sounded amazing on paper, and then I held my breath to click on the trailer and HOLY CRAP, MAYBE YOU CAN BE MY NEW FAVORITE SHOW THIS YEAR. Here's hoping that they don't screw it up with excessive sci-fi or some such nonsense, because I am so ridiculously on board for a One Second After kind of world with lawlessness and nomadic adventures and Abandoned Ruins everywhere and random militias on horseback. Not least because then I can throw every single one of my fandoms into this world and it will just be glorious mayhem all over my brain.

[edit: of course it is competing against Castle. Of course it is. Doesn't anybody want that big, lovely-looking and totally empty slot at 9 on Thursdays?]

* I am also super intrigued by Nashville. I'm sorry, did you just say Connie Britton + Hayden Panettiere + Eric Close plus Jonathan Jackson all in the same sentence? It's apparently getting a November start, so it might be a Once Upon A Time sort of casualty where I don't have room to test drive it at that point, but...damn, that was a promising concept and a gold star cast with the first name alone. By the time I finished adding all the other names my eyes had turned into gold stars.

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