Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I don't know Butchie instead

Since things are slow, TV-wise, let me offer up a couple of morning links:
  • James Poniewozik offered up a new category of year-end list: The Cincy Awards, which go to shows that aimed high but couldn't quite hit the target (at least not on a regular basis), named in honor of David Milch's memorably weird (and occasionally moving) "Deadwood" follow-up, "John From Cincinnati." (You can read all my old posts on that show here.) James explains the concept in more detail here, then makes his picks for this year's Cincy winners here. I don't disagree with any of the entries on the list, and to it I'd add "Nurse Jackie" and perhaps "Glee" and "Fringe." Feel free to discuss the shows you think should be on such a list for 2009, and also defend any selections James and/or I made that you think are unfair.
  • As I mentioned a few days ago, I briefly toyed with the idea of making my Best Reality Shows of the '00s list into a list of the best reality seasons before changing my mind. But Adam Bonin, whom I consulted at that stage of the list-making process, went ahead and did his own reality seasons list, which you can feel free to peruse at your leisure.

18 comments:

srpad said...

Alan,

I was disappointed we didn't get your annual Festivus "airing of grievances" list either in the paper or online today? TV was perfect this year? :-)

Blue said...

I think The Unusuals deserves a Cincy, a show with a lot of promise that wasn't really given a fair shot.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I don't think the idea of the Cincy is about whether the show failed commercially, Blue, but whether it didn't work artistically.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I was disappointed we didn't get your annual Festivus "airing of grievances" list either in the paper or online today? TV was perfect this year? :-)

No. But between holiday deadlines, me being off last week, and the fact that most of the feature section this week has been devoted to Best of the Decade packages from me (TV), Jay Lustig (music) and Stephen Whitty (movies), there wasn't time or space for it.

Paul Outlaw said...

Cincies to True Blood, Community, FlashForward and Weeds.

rcobeen said...

Second on Community. I don't find the characters interesting, and the timing is always off. I can hear the talent in the writing and see the care put into the show, but it never gels into a funny show.

Chris said...

I'm very disappointed with Fringe. I feel like they've developed a really cool mythology surrounding the parallel universes and all the strange happenings (The Pattern) and the end of last season really promised more in that vein. This season, we've gotten a few things, but just like the title of the one episode, all the mythology stuff has been "momentum delayed". They've gone back down the procedural path that just isn't as interesting. I understand the whole premise behind the show is to make a procedural with some underlying mythology stuff, but that just makes it a show of half-measures. Either the episodes are too procedural and thus the mythology-lovers are pissed. Or the show is too mythology-driven and the (I think mostly hypothetical)casual fans who only watch episodes here and there are lost.

Hyde said...

I think Dollhouse belongs at the top of the Cincys list, being a show where the problems were obvious and the potential (realized at least half the time) was likewise obvious. Of course, it might have ended up as a ratings failure anyway.

BigTed said...

I'd give a Cincy to everything I thought I was supposed to like, but which ended up sitting on my DVR because it didn't actually seem all that entertaining. That includes "Flash Forward," "The Prisoner," "Alice," and the non-Seinfeldian episodes of "Curb Your Enthusiasm." (But the fact that I now avidly watch "Dollhouse" episodes right away speaks to the fact that it's surpassed its former Cincy status.)

Also, as infuriating as "John From Cincinnati" was, I'd still watch it if it came back on the air again.

Anonymous said...

Gee whiz, TV critics. It's okay to say that "Dollhouse" was really bad. Whedon can fail; you need not soften the blow by bestowing upon it a Cincy.

Chalmers said...

My Cincy goes to Ken Burns' National Parks maxi-series.

I know his style has now drifted toward self-parody for many, but he can tell stories well through pictures. A 6-hour documentary with a lot of HD beauty shots would have held my interest.

Supplement that with unique tidbits about the parks and some eloquent first-hand descriptions and you've got something. Most of us know the names of a few parks just as we know the names of a few major Civil War battles. Distinguishing them and bringing them to life should have been old-hat.

Instead, it was a 12-hour slog detailing political and bureaucratic wrangling.

Oaktown Girl said...

I was such a Deadwood fan that I slogged through every episode of Cinci, even though had it been someone other than the maker of Deadwood at the helm, I would have checked out long before the season finale. I liked many of the characters, but not what the script was doing with them most of the time. It was pretty frustrating.

And what really pissed me off was the final episode. We were promised answers to all (or at least some) of the mysteries, and as far as I could tell, we got absolutely none. At that point I felt I'd really been burned on all that time spent.

Oaktown Girl said...

Oh - almost forgot to add:
In summation, I think "Cinci" is a damn fine title for an award for high concept/low delivery shows. (Or high concept/near miss, to be more generous). Fu*k yeah.

Craig Ranapia said...

Did Poniewozik leave out FlashForward because it was too easy a shot, or because the (to me inexplicable) renewal takes it out of the "failure" category?

Anonymous said...

Another vote for FlashForward. I think the concept was a bit too ambitious to ever be successful, frankly, with too many consequences that could not adequately be explored. As a result, the show always seemed contrived and strained belief. It reminded me of The 4400, which I think did something similar with better results. It's unfortunate, because FlashForward has a great cast and an intriquing concept. Everyone I know who started watching it has dropped it now, except me...

Paul Outlaw said...

@ Anonymous:

I'm still watching it too. In fact, of my four Cincy nominees (True Blood, Community, FlashForward and Weeds), the only one I've given up on is Community.

trrish said...

I gotta say, I don't think JFC was a failure or a near miss. I really wish he didn't name the award after it. JFC was made for someone like me. I didn't find it infuriating - I got it, I loved it, I wanted another season, at least. I am still quoting it! If there were more people like me, JFC would be a cult DVD series - much like "Freaks and Geeks" is now. For all I know, maybe it is?

Thants said...

trrish: I'm right there with you. I thought JFC was great.

And, I'm baffled by the people who don't like Community. That's just crazy.