December 27, 2010

Top 5 TV Surprises of 2010

So, I was supposed to put this post together last week, but you know how it is with holiday travels. Last week, I put together five TV shows or stories that were kind of a let-down, but I also wanted to share five shows/stories that were pleasant surprises:

5. So You Think You Can Dance and The Sing-Off
One of the in things to do over the last couple of years is to bad-mouth reality TV and complain how it is the downfall of modern society and is killing scripted programs. While I usually don't care for most reality shows, I have to admit I got hooked on FOX's So You Think You Can Dance and NBC's The Sing-Off. Normally, I would never waste time of these kind of programs, but Glee (of course) made me realize that watching people sing, dance, and reach for their dreams can be entertaining. I originally started watching SYTYCD thanks to Harry Shum, Jr. and Heather Morris, but I was quickly enamored with Season 7 Champion Lauren Froderman. I kept reading that the last installment of Dance was not as good as prior seasons, but we still got some good routines, and I enjoyed it for what it was. On NBC, the winter hiatus was used to bring back The Sing-Off, and it's short episode order (five total) made for quick, escapist fun. While I don't see myself becoming a regular reality TV watcher anytime soon, these kind of fun and artistic based shows were good ways to unwind and kill some time.

4. The CW: The Vampire Diaries, Nikita, and Supernatural
By all conventional thinking, I am not a part of The CW's target demographic because I'm not a teenage girl, but somehow it has become my go-to network thanks to The Vampire Diaries, Nikita, and Supernatural. I refused to give in to the wussified vampire craze that The CW tapped into, but watching Buffy and Angel changed my mind, so I gave TVD a shot. The latter part of Season 1 and the start of Season 2 of The Vampire Diaries were some of the best episodes of television on any network, and I couldn't help but get sucked in. Shows like Chuck and Alias whet my espionage appetite, and it was clear that Undercovers and Covert Affairs were not going to be adequate enough, but thankfully The CW gave us Nikita. Sure it's not perfect, but it has the right mix of mythology, action, and beautiful women. Lastly, Supernatural was one of those shows that I've been meaning to catch-up on since watching Angel since they share common characteristics, and I was able to burn through the first five seasons in a few weeks. While, SPN has gotten a little long in the tooth, it's still more entertaining than most shows on right now.

3. Chuck's Fourth Season Renewal
Television can be a cruel business, but I've always known that it was just that: a business. With that thinking in mind, I was totally prepared for Season 3 of Chuck to be its last. I even put some time and thought into why I figured NBC would pull the plug on the show. To say that I was surprised that Chuck was brought back for another season would be an understatement because I truly thought it was a goner. Somehow it was able to survive the Chuckpocalypse, dwindling viewers, and horrible ratings to become the little show that could. There are some out there who figured that NBC saw that Chuck had a small, but loyal audience that would stick by the show, so why throw a new series under the House/CBS Comedy train. It's hard to argue with that logic, but I'm not sure if it can be used again since Season 4's numbers have dropped as well. Once again, I find myself prepping for Chuck's demise, but thankfully I've been wrong before.

2. The Walking Dead
I can admit it, I'm behind on my AMC shows because I've yet to watch Mad Men or Breaking Bad, and I had zero interest in Rubicon. The cable network's brand of slow-burning dramas just didn't match up with my usual TV watching tastes, so I was a little surprised that they were putting on a zombie apocalypse program based on a comic book. The Walking Dead stuck out on AMC's line-up, which is probably why it was the channel's most watched show, so I had to check it out. The first season's six-episode order made it easy to keep up with, but it wasn't long enough to really delve into the story, and I agreed with Alan Sepinwall that it felt more like a prologue of a story rather than a chapter. That being said, I was drawn in by the show's characters and post-apocalyptic world, and it very well could be the next Lost if it plays its cards right.

1. Cougar Town
2009-2010 was a good year for rookie comedies as ABC, FOX, and NBC all launched shows that gained critical acclaim and loyal fanbases. While ABC's Modern Family and FOX's Glee became the breakout hits, NBC's Community and ABC's Cougar Town were quickly eclipsed but all came back for a second season. Out of the four shows, I only watched Glee, but I did catch-up on Modern Family over the summer and got why it was so successful. With the two second-year phenoms on different nights, unlike last fall, I was able to watch both shows live, and I found myself keeping my TV on ABC after Modern Family. I soon realized that Cougar Town was making me laugh more than its lead-in. The reason why I was so surprised was because I never understood the appeal of Cougar Town, and I felt a little letdown by Bill Lawrence. What I didn't know was that the show morphed into a brand new show during Season 1, and what I was now watching was no longer  the ill-titled mess that started off during fall 2009. I can't say that Cougar Town's my new favorite show, but it has won me over in spite of Jules, and it has somehow been able to avoid the sophomore slump that Modern Family, Glee, and Community have had to endure.

So there you have it; the top five shows/stories that were nice little surprises during 2010. I'd have to say that TV-wise, 2010 had more ups than downs, and let's hope the same can be said about 2011.


Kristal said...

Completely agree on all counts! Supernatural is quickly climbing my list of TV Catch Up. Everyone who's watched it seems to love it!

Marcos said...

Supernatural is definitely worth checking out, but there are some elements that start to wear thin (especially during S6).

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