Now that the television season has officially ended, here are the highs & lows of the 2011-2012 season.
The Vampire Diaries wins everything this season.
High: The Vampire Diaries proves that you don’t ever have to have a slump returning for season 3 with fresh ideas, the same quick plotting and awesomeness all around. The season finale blew my mind and proved that the writers are in complete control of their narrative and writing the show on their own terms.
Low: Despite the presence of Sarah Michelle Gellar Ringer never really seemed to get off the ground, hampered by terrible green-screen effects, slow action and terribly oblivious characters. It is a blessing that it was cancelled. Continue reading →
Ah, the CW. It’s sort of the also-ran network, isn’t it? Of course it is also home to my favorite show on TV (The Vampire Diaries) and the former home of my guiltiest pleasure (One Tree Hill). The CW fits a niche and it usually does it pretty well. It also ends up making loads of scheduling changes every year because the shows that it goes with tend to be a bit flash in the pan-y. However, I think they’re making some positive moves for next season.
#1 Killing off Gossip Girl is a total blessing. The show hasn’t really been good since the kids graduated from high school 2 years ago and lately, it feels like all of the actors are just barely going through the motions of pretending to be other characters. Plus, Penn Badgley is clearly rebelling against the confines of being on network television by growing his hair into an unruly, ugly mop.
#2 The Wednesday block of Arrow and Supernatural could earn The CW some male eyeballs and that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. I think the network’s bread and butter is definitely females between 18-34, but I think it’s good of them to branch out a bit. I have sort of given up on Supernatural this season (the whole Leviathan thing was just confusing and annoying) but the Arrow trailer looks promising so I’ll give it a shot.
#3 Ummm, I don’t really have a third thing. I’m glad the net kept Hart of Dixie because I think it’s adorable and harmless and might eventually settle into being this generation’s Gilmore Girls. But really, as long as the CW doesn’t get rid of The Vampire Diaries before it’s time, the net and I are all good.
Four or five years ago I got a nasty cold that kept me in bed for a week which just so happened to coincide with the delivery of the first disc of One Tree Hill from my Netflix account. I don’t know where I was when OTH premiered, but I never watched the show before then – The O.C. probably had something to do with it. You will never hear me claim that One Tree Hill is a “good” show. For the most part the writing was stilted, the acting a bit wooden from time to time, the plots ridiculous and every single scene was practically drowned out by the undercurrent of indie music. However, in watching the series finale last night, I made a few observations that have given me a sort of appreciation for it.
– It was addictive. That first week, I watched basically the entire first and second seasons back-to-back – I couldn’t stop. One episode after another went down like candy. This was before Instant Netflix, so I even walked myself over to my local Blockbuster and rented the discs I didn’t have. I was hooked immediately on this little story about two half brothers who played basketball. I didn’t even like basketball. Or Chad Michael Murray (he of the very questionable hair choices and ever-present squint). But for some reason, I just couldn’t stop until I’d seen all the episodes. I recently had some time on my hands and decided to go back and watch the school shooting episode and it sucked me in all over again (no joke – I literally cannot stop watching). Continue reading →
Nathan (James Lafferty) and Haley (Bethany Joy Galeotti) in happier times.
One Tree Hill has always been the soapiest of shows and it’s not easy to give it storytelling credit because it’s so all over the place, but when I was watching last night, I was struck by the fact that there have been a lot of long term relationships and, especially lately, very little breaking up and getting back together. Yes, at the beginning of the series there seemed to be a lot of mixing and matching of couples and Lucas certainly got around, but from the very first season, Haley and Nathan have been together and, except for one minor diversion in the form of Chris Keller in season two and three, they haven’t separated. That’s actually really unusual, especially on a teen show.
Haley searches for a missing Nathan.
Don’t get me wrong. One Tree Hill is nothing if not completely over the top and unrealistic, but by keeping Haley and Nathan together the writers have kept a grounding force around. And without that history, the current storyline of Nathan being kidnapped by Ukranian thugs because he tried to take their best basketball player would mean nothing. Sure Haley and Nathan have had their trials and tribulations (I mean, he almost drowned on their wedding day, she got hit by a car while pregnant because of his gambling debts, it was really never ending), but very rarely were those things caused by a third party trying to get in between them (ok, maybe not rarely, but it always seemed like the third party was more of a misunderstanding than an actual threat to their relationship). I don’t know, I feel like One Tree Hill gets dumped on a lot and this morning, I felt like giving them credit for not always taking the easy road to conflict by constantly splitting couples up and bringing them back together.
Honestly, my heart started beating a little faster at the news that Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars) is going to be back on TV this fall. [EW]
My relief that One Tree Hill is going to be over is tempered by my disappointment that Chad Michael Murray will be returning sans Hilarie Burton. Apparently she wasn’t “invited back”. Ummm, right. Or else, she just had better things to do. [TVLine]
Oh Judy Greer. I adore you. I think you are one of the funniest women on the planet. Why must you be on a show that I REALLY don’t want to watch? [Vulture]
Here’s a list of 13 “stars” I won’t be watching dance this fall. [TVLine]
Despite being crazier than crazy, the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards hit an all time ratings high. [Deadline]
Entertainment Weekly has a slideshow of the new crop of Amazing Race contestants. I can already tell you that my favorite team are twins Liz and Marie Canavan because Marie answered the current occupation question with “soul searching” and that is awesome. [EW]
Wow, The CW’s actual fall schedule looks NOTHING like the schedule I made up for them yesterday. They are holding the shortened 9th season of One Tree Hill until mid-season (as well as two new reality shows which I could care less about) and have basically moved all of their old shows into new time slots to help bolster the new shows.
Look, I’m a total sucker for all the shows The CW puts out so I will no doubt be watching almost their entire schedule (H8R sounds stupid and I have pretty low hopes for The Secret Circle – don’t know how much I really want to add another supernatural teen drama to my roster) but nothing is particularly thrilling to me here. Monday night will have both Josh Schwartz dramas, I think 90210 and Ringer are a terrible match even if it puts Sarah Michelle Gellar back on her old Buffy The Vampire Slayer night, two reality shows on Wednesday seems super boring, as does matching both of the supernatural teen dramas (which also happen to both be created by Kevin Williamson). I just feel like their schedule doesn’t have enough variety in it. Like maybe it’s going to start feeling like we’re watching two hours of the same show instead of two distinct shows. I think that is less likely to happen on Mondays and Tuesdays because the shows that are paired do seem to be quite different (especially 90210 and Ringer) but still. I think it would be nice to see The CW develop some lighter fare next year – maybe a couple of comedies (although that hasn’t worked very well for them in the past) or a out of the box dramedy like Gilmore Girls. For me, the schedule feels a little stale and it really shouldn’t with 4 new shows added.
One Tree Hill (The CW) – This show is going to become expert at season finales. They’ve done at least 3 so far, trying to wrap up their stories without knowing if they are going to get renewed for the following season. I kind of can’t fault the writers for wanting to give us a happy ending. Though OTH did eventually win a 9th season renewal, they ended this season like they started the first: a boy wearing a grey Scott Motors hoodie bouncing a basketball along a bridge. Very poetic (if a little overly obvious). It’s almost too bad that this isn’t the end. I just don’t know what they’re going to do when the series finally comes to a close. It’s not like there’s a whole lot of pressure for them to top themselves, but at the same time, after 3 or 4 season finales that resemble series finales, it’s almost like a movie that has 3 too many endings. You just want to be put out of your misery. I’m not surprised OTH got renewed, it is one of the backbones of The CW’s schedule, but I feel that the show has run its course (as well as many others’ courses) and it’s just time to stop. Give someone else a chance to be nuts. Continue reading →
The CW sort of gets a bad rap in network land. It hasn’t been around for very long, is the bastard child of the failed WB and UPN networks, and caters almost exclusively to teens (I say “almost” because my mom watches America’s Next Top Model and I am far from a teenager). But it has The Vampire Diaries which is one of the best shows on TV period (seriously. It is awesome). The CW gave early renewals to The Vampire Diaries, 90210, Gossip Girl, America’s Next Top Model and Supernatural, and announced today that Nikita will be getting a second season and One Tree Hill will be sticking around for its 9th (Can someone please put that show out of its misery!?!?). They only program 5 nights a week for 2 hours so technically that leaves three slots left (well, sort of 3 1/2 since ANTM goes on a long hiatus between the fall and spring cycles). And what do we have here? THREE (and a half) new pick ups: Sarah Michelle Gellar’s drama Ringer (which CBS so generously gave to The CW), Josh Schwartz’s medical dramedy Hart of Dixie starring Rachel Bilson and Secret Circle form The Vampire Diaries‘ executive producer Kevin Williamson, as well as the reality show H8ER (which has something to do with D-list celebs trying to convince people not to hate them. I don’t know. It sounds stupid). All three dramas sound like they could have promise, but we really won’t know until they premiere. In sad (ish) news, Hellcats has been canceled.
No schedule has been announced yet, so I’m going to play backseat programmer and give The CW my two cents:
Mondays should stay as they are right now, 90210 at 8pm and Gossip Girl at 9pm. That combo seems to work and why mess with it. Tuesdays should have One Tree Hill in its 8pm slot (it really should stay where it is. It’s like the grandfather over there and deserves to keep its seat at the table just for surviving) with Hart of Dixie in the 9pm slot. I think they could make semi-good companions. They both have a southern setting and likable leads (although hopefully none of OTH’s crazy rubs off on Dixie). In my dream world Wednesdays would be all about women kicking ass and taking names and should therefore start with Nikita at 8pm followed by Ringer at 9pm. This will not happen for several reasons: #1 Nikita is not a strong enough lead-in for a new show (even one starring Gellar), #2 ANTM is The CW’s most successful franchise and it would be silly of them to not use that juice to support their riskiest pick up, #3 Two shows back to back about strong women might be a little much and could cause the audience to tire of seeing women kick ass. If that’s the case and ANTM stays on Wednesday at 8pm then I would put the Ringer at 9pm and hold Nikita until mid-season to give the writers time to work out some of the kinks of the first season. Thursdays will (at least that’s what the rumor mill is saying) pair The Vampire Diaries and Secret Circle (which is about a teenager who discovers she’s a witch) because they’re both supernatural teen series and Kevin Williamson shows and what a great way to give the network a potentially strong Thursday (although I do reserve the right to change my opinion once Secret Circle is released. It could be awful). And then Fridays will belong to H8ER at 8pm and Supernatural at 9pm (Supernatural is far too dark to show in the “family” hour). This is probably The CW’s weakest night, but Supernatural is pretty solid for them and Friday nights are weak for everyone.
I can handle the ridiculous of Quinn's spray tan (Shantel VanSanten). I cannot, however, handle the overuse of music.
I know it’s a little silly to be complaining about anything on a show as crap-tastic as One Tree Hill, but things have gotten out of control and I don’t know how much longer I can take it. I have a soft spot in my heart for the zany citizens of Tree Hill, N.C., and I definitely let logic fall by the wayside in favor of 16-year-olds getting married and a kid right out of high school running a multi-million dollar fashion empire. But lately, their music department has become too much. I don’t think there was a single moment of last night’s episode that wasn’t underscored by some sort of unknown indie song. Even Jamie’s voice-over recitation of “Kasey at Bat” had music underneath it. Why? WHY? It is oppressive, claustrophobic, and just plain annoying. I’ve always appreciated that OTH named all of its episodes after songs and I love being introduced to new musicians, but I will never understand this show’s fear of silence. Silence is often more powerful than any score (rock song or instrumental) and I think OTH’s overuse of music really squeezes all emotion out of the scenes. However, it does make it easier to watch with the musical director telling me how I should be feeling about every story line with music cues.
The new iteration of 90210 has always been a pretty good guilty pleasure and that’s only grown this season. After a pretty typical premiere season, and a bumpy and altogether boring second season, it seems that the writers have started to really ramp up the cheese factor and are having a good time this season. From Annie’s cousin/single-white-female style stalker to Adrianna’s ridiculous foray into reality television and paparazzi stardom, this season has definitely not been short on wild parties, crazy supporting characters and silly antics. It has, however, been somewhat short on actual emotional depth. Not that I expect emotional depth from 90210, but we can’t all survive on crazy alone (unless you’re on One Tree Hill. Then you eat crazy for breakfast, lunch and dinner and you like it). One of the “big things” that happened this season has been Teddy coming out as gay and watching a show like 90210 deal with that has actually been really interesting. The show has handled his coming out in a fairly nuanced manner, considering that it is also dealing with psycho cousins and best friends fighting over the same guy. Continue reading →