Year in Review: TV Series

Open Forum Radio’s “OTY Show” is now available and while we all run down our favorites from the year, in this final installment, I’ll go into more depth about the highs and lows of this year’s TV shows.

The Best:

“Justified” – While the US Marshals have gotten a lot of air-time on cable series, FX made a series with the spirit of the marshals of the “Old West”. Timothy Olyphant is a quick-draw law-man that is transferred back to his hometown in rural Kentucky which is over-run with crime. Olyphant’s character quickly gets caught up in all the drama that plagues his old life, including his father, ex-wife, first love and former best friend turned gang leader. After putting a round into his former friend’s chest and then in jail, he finds God, but no one knows if it’s a plow or a true enlightenment. The series has been renewed for a new season set to be released this February and “Justified” falls right in line with some of the best that FX has to offer. One thing I don’t want is for the creators to overdo and draw the series out. The source material was based off of a short story and as long as the writers don’t draw it out, “Justified” will be in good hands.

“Archer” – As an unabashed fan of “Frisky Dingo” from Adult Swim / Cartoon Network, “Archer” is made in a similar style, from the creators of “FD”. The comedy is sharp, witty, clever and high for all intended purposes; if you’re not paying attention to that episode, you’re not going to enjoy it. This is exactly the style that is always satisfying simply because the comedy is timeless to specifically what’s happening in that episode. There is enough of an ongoing story line but it doesn’t intrude or dominate any single episode. Since there won’t be a third season (deservingly too) for “Frisky Dingo”, this is literally the next best thing. “Archer” is another FX product and is set to return at the end of January.

“Lost” – Not since my days in college have I gone through an entire series as quickly as “Lost”. This is the biggest show that I missed from the beginning and with the help of Netflix was able to plow through every season. I started out and didn’t miss a step, but after two seasons, needed a break, took it and then powered through the rest of the series. “Lost” is one of the best TV series I’ve ever seen and I can now cherish every episode in the series. There are particular favorites that I have though along with my favorite characters and I’m glad I can say it after going through the entire series: I was never a fan of Benjamin Linus, I enjoyed his character, how the writers played him out, but if I’m backing one character, I always backed Sawyer. While my initial knee-jerk reaction to the finale wasn’t what I had wanted, I respect it and I know it was done right in every regard. Every thing was closed. Every question was answered and I’m at peace with the ending.

“Dexter” – Since I don’t subscribe (stupidly) to Showtime, I miss out on one of the best shows of the past few years. This year I was able to catch up to this year’s season however I have not been able to see it. Season 5 picks up immediately after the events of season 4 and I’m excited to see what happens. The folks at Showtime were kind enough to put the first episode in the “Dexter Podcast” and I’m excited as to where they’re going with the show. There are so many different directions, but I have an feeling as to where they’re going to take the characters.

The Worst:

Considering time is at a premium, I’m glad I didn’t waste too much time on bad TV this year. There is one that comes to mind and that was “Rescue Me”. This FX original series started out years ago and was just as raunchy, better written and had more compelling and real characters than “The Sopranos”; the problem is that the show when so far off the rails and away from reality that it became unwatchable. “Rescue Me” was gritty, real and dark; but at some point around season 4 the show took a turn for the worse and it literally became a circus every episode. The “Wow!” factor was gone and the story became paper thin. While getting over a spell of bronchitis, I was able to catch up and prep for the final season this year and it really needed to be put out to pasture. I caught the premiere of the season, but it didn’t hook me and spent my time with other and better shows.

“True Blood”: This is a paid TV soap opera and I’m glad I bailed on it when I did. I caught up to season 3 and caught several episodes however it’s slow pace and dumb relationship drama isn’t enough to keep me interested. Sure it’s much more adult, raunchy and violent than any broadcast soap opera, but “True Blood” for all intended is exactly that, except with a price tag.

Catch Up:

As if time wasn’t already short, there’s a few shows I still want to catch up on even though it appears to be pretty fruitless, those include: finishing “Stargate: Atlantis” and starting “Stargate: Universe”; catching up on “Psych”, starting “In Plain Sight”, “Burn Notice” and “Dr. Who”. It’s a tall order and I know that this won’t all get done in 2011, but I’ll be sure to pick and choose the good stuff. Right now as I’m thinking that the USA series should be main focus because I know the quality and standard they set on an ongoing basis.