God, just in the last few days I've felt more energized to do this job than I have in a while. Been writing up S2 of BSG, watching Scrubs, Lost, Damages... I mean, damn. However I felt about TV in September, when it was such a chore to trudge through those pilots, I don't feel that way (ask me in two weeks, when I'll probably be losing my mind with all that'll be going on then). I'd much rather feel charged up about an interesting misfire like Tara than be watching just about any new show the networks have come up lately....I'm right in with Mo on this. "Damages," a show I didn't really enjoy when it debuted, and about which I still have ambivalent feelings this year (the first two new episodes were really starting to hook me in before they did something that continually drove me nuts last season) is still a lot more intriguing to me than most of what I was writing about back in September. I still only like parts of "Big Love" (primarily the stuff with the wives, and not anything to do with the compound or with Bill's business), but I feel passionately about those parts I like.
And those are just the shows I'm not over the moon about. Coming up over the next few weeks are a whole host of goodness, from "Scrubs" to "Flight of the Conchords" to "Lost" to "Battlestar Galactica" to (for those of you without DirecTV) "Friday Night Lights." (Ellen Gray has a nice rundown of all the January premieres.)
Despite all the shows I praised in my recent columns on the best shows and best episodes, 2008 was in many ways a rotten year for television. It started off in the middle of the writers strike, and even though a lot of shows were back on the air by April, we got fewer episodes of most series, while others (like "Conchords" and "Big Love") stayed off the air altogether. And the lack of anything really pulse-quickening in the fall premieres didn't help the business shake off the year-long strike hangover. And two of the best shows -- "The Shield" and "The Wire" -- were brilliant in part because they were ending.
But looking at all these returns and debuts over a short period of time has me pumped up for the new year. Now, some of the upcoming stuff will be ending, too ("BSG," possibly "FNL," definitely the current incarnation of "Scrubs," if not the series as a whole), but as I said in my review of the "The Wire" series finale, I remain an optimist that other great things will rise up to replace the ones we're losing.
When you get paid to watch TV, it would be obnoxious to say your job isn't fun, but I have to say that the last few weeks of 2008 -- and what they mean for the early part of 2009 -- have been the most fun I've had doing this job in quite a while.
Happy New Year, everybody. Stay safe and, as I used to joke every December in elementary school (in a joke that never, ever got old, no matter what the other kids from Hilldale School tell you), see you next year. Click here to read the full post