Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Who has an alumium pole?

Instead of a year-end Worst Of list, Matt and I have always done a Festivus list in which we rattle off the people and shows who disappointed us in the previous year. So, for example, no point putting Paris Hilton on the list, as I have nothing but bad expectations for her, but I can complain about E! president Ted Harbert for renewing "The Simple Life" and continuing her unfortunate time in the spotlight.

I'm obviously going to have a lot to say about "Studio 60," and HBO nickel-and-diming "Deadwood" to death, and "The Nine" for going in the tank so quickly, but I wanted to take some outside input this year. Who or what would you put on your own TV Festivus list for The Airing of the Grievances?


Joel said...

NBC and its shoddy treatment of "Kidnapped" should be on the list. It's a quality drama that never got a chance due to the network's bad scheduling. And then it jerked the show and what fans it had around by saying it'll wrap up the show in 13 Saturday episodes, then yanking it altogether after two Saturday showings.

The network really should have just made it a limited series and aired it over the summer. It would have gotten much better ratings there.

K J Gillenwater said...

I know a lot of people don't like "Day Break," but I am finding it to be an enjoyable watch during a usually slow period filled with reruns. Plus, one reason I started watching it, is that the ads said the mystery would be wrapped up in 13 episodes. A short-run series during the "Lost" break was a smart idea.

But now I hear it might be kicked from the schedule. What the hell? It's a filler program! It's ending in 13 weeks! How stupid of them to even consider taking it off the schedule. It's not like they were looking for this show to go beyond the 13 episodes, right?

What is going on this season with shows being yanked so quickly? Like their back-up programming is any better...Primetime Live? An extra dose of 20/20? ARGH!

Anonymous said...

Then there's the huge dissapointment that Lost has been this season. There are literally dozens of plot lines discarded to see Sawyer smirk in the rain. I havn't given up on it yet, but I'm close.

I don't know if Tourgasm counts, as I've never liked Dane Cook, but, christ, if there ever was a show meant as an example of something that just isn't funny - well, that would be Studio 60 - but Tourgasm is bad. Especially since it's just a rip-off of "The Comedians of Comedy". Except with bad dick jokes, instead of good ones.

Anonymous said...

Ditto the early yanking (if it is indeed dead) of The Nine. Everyone complains how the networks copy each other to death, then they yank a show with decent ratings that's different from the toher stuff out there.

Boo also to them for not recognizing what they have with the Internet - burning off shows there would be good, but something they never seem to do, and they could also use it to preview new shows and build buzz, to show this weeks ep of every show they do (not just certain ones) and to avoid anger over TiVo timing issues (this means you, CBS Sunday nights!)

Boo to the cancelling of Arrested Development.

And, of course, a huge BOOHISS to CBS's choice of Criminal Minds isntead of HIMYM, but that dead horse has been beaten ad nauseum.

Anonymous said...

My Name Is Earl. Used to be funny and interesting, now it's declining with every episode.


Anonymous said...

I definitely have to agree with everyone complaining about the treatment of serialized dramas (Kidnapped, Vanished, Daybreak). I guess being able to watch the conclusions online is better than never being able to see them, but the fact that the networks can't even commit for 13 weeks is pretty sad. And how many reality shows have been able to air their conclusions simply because they were "short run?"

Also major grievance w/ the CW for renewing 7th Heaven (WHY???) and cancelling Everwood. The Everwood cancellation is particularly egregious when you realize they're airing a Top Model rerun every Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Could not agree with more with the poster who mentioned "Tourgasm." Blech. Even the title was dumb and gross. And I know you didn't like it, but I was a huge fan of "Lucky Louie." Beyond the dreary set, it was hilarious, and I loved its depiction of marriage and parenthood. A big boo to HBO for not renewing it, especially since it just got better as the season continued.

Also, "Studio 60" is terrible and pretentious, and a huge money suck to NBC. And "Kidnapped" was terrific, and now -- just gone.

Anonymous said...

Battlestar Galactica is hardly a terrible show, but after coming out of the gates roaring, it has put out a long string of episodes where the best of them could be considered no better than mediocre. This is a show that should be one of the best on TV, but it has gone into Rescue Me territory, dancing on the cusp of being just better than average.

Rescue Me, by the way, is another one that belongs on my list.

Anonymous said...

How FOX mistreated the OC in its best season in 3 yrs!

Anonymous said...

The cancellation of Everwood still pains me. Not even the demise of its replacement Runway could temper my frustration with the CW's decision to axe my favorite show.

Anonymous said...

It seems like forever ago, but it was in 2006: I'm disappointed in the American people for letting Arrested Development die. It's also a shame Showtime couldn't put together a fourth season; it's about the only thing that would've gotten me to subscribe to Showtime.

The conclusion to the Veronica Mars Season 2 arc disappointed me, but only relative to the high standards of the first 40 or so episodes. Season 3 is still finding itself; VM worked better in the high-school setting.

Family Guy and the Simpsons are coasting more than ever.

Speaking of Family Guy, Dave Chapelle's cries of racism and mistreatments don't play very well when Comedy Central was yanking episodes and scenes of South Park from the air. Just admit you freaked out under the pressure and threw away tens of millions of dollars for nothing.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of South Park, how about pulling reruns of the Tom Cruise episode when MI:3 was coming out?

Matty said...

Rob Thomas for changing the Veronica Mars theme song. Where the original song used to get me really excited for the episode, the new one gets me depressed. It's been a struggle to keep up the show's high standards with limited money/screen time for Wallace, Mac, etc, but the big disappointment is the theme song.

And I think My Name Is Earl has gotten better this season. I love that they've brought a bit more of Earl's dark side to the fore. It makes him more interesting, realistic (relatively), and funny.

JD said...

I will probably never get over the decision to stop "Deadwood" after three seasons. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Forcing Heroes' Zach back into the closet. WTF?

Anonymous said...

The whole "Rescue Me" fiasco this summer; both for what they did and how they reacted when they found out, gee, people weren't so happy about it. Although what actually drove me away for good was when Sheila drugged Tommy - it's just too messed up to deal with anymore.

Nip/Tuck, which I was just never able to get into this year and have also given up on.

L&O SVU, for giving a good actress like Connie Nielsen such absolute crap stories to do as a fill-in. How's she going to screw up this week?

(Now this one's nitpicky) ER, for screwing up their own backstory by having Dr. Weaver explain her coming out in a way that wasn't at all like I remember it. And for claiming she was 30 at the time. (Although they did almost make up for it when Pratt said she had good taste in women. "Of course I do.")

Anonymous said...

Deadwood, for sure.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Family Guy, Dave Chapelle's cries of racism and mistreatments don't play very well when Comedy Central was yanking episodes and scenes of South Park from the air.

Color me confused. What do Dave Chappelle's "cries of racism" and Comedy Central's shenanigans with the _South Park_ schedule have to do with each other? Why doesn't the one play very well in conjunction with the other?

Anonymous said...

In his Esquire interview, Chappelle complained about network interference, and said it was because of his skin color, and that Comedy Central would never interfere with white shows or force white show runners to have lengthy meetings with the suits to discuss individual jokes. The press dutifully repeated all of these complaints without comment, even as, simultaneously, Comedy Central was pulling two South Park episodes in response to Catholic and Scientologist complaints and pre-emptively censoring a joke in a third.

Anonymous said...

Ted - Thanks for explaining; I appreciate it. I'm dense today for some reason.

BF said...

Boo to Arrested's demise.

Boo to Comedy Central's censoring of the South Park "Cartoon Wars" episodes.

Boo to Izzy's miraculous re-instatement on Grey's Anatomy.

Boo to Howie Mandell, Bob Saget, William Shatner, and Penn Jillette.

Boo to The Amazing Race Hippies.

Boo to the Emmys giving the shaft to Forest Whitaker, Edie Falco, and Jason Lee.

Cinemania said...

What'd the hippies ever do to you, BF? Huzzah to the hippies! Take that!

Deadwood. The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Mapeel said...

Deadwood. It cannot be said enough times.

Anonymous said...

Boo to the cancelation of Lucky Louie.

A partial boo to Studio 60, as while I do love the show, I still pray and hope it can get to the level that The West Wing was during the Sorkin reign.

Boo to Rescue Me, as it finally gave in to mediocrity.

Boo to Family Guy for relying purely on pop-culture references for laughs.

Boo to networks, both regular and cable for embracing the idea of split seasons. Why rave about Entourage having an extra long season when we are subjected to a lengthy mid-season hiatus?

* I would give a boo to the cancelation of Deadwood, but it all depends on how Milch's new show turns out (I have heard good things though).

** FOX is actually doing good by The O.C., it's more that the ratings have just been god awful.

*** Yanking low performing shows can be understood, even if they are originals. If a rerun of Grey's Anatomy can get better ratings, what's the point?

Anonymous said...

I'm fed up with horribly produced teasers and trailers for future episodes. It seems like 2006 was a year when the network would purposely ruin the next week's episode by not keeping things under wraps. Obviously NBC is the #1 offender, but even HBO dropped the ball a lot this year (I'm thinking of a specific instance in Entourage where the last line of the episode was teased the previous week).

SJ said...

Agreed on the boos to Rescue Me. I still love the show, and season 3 had some great moments, but the whole season just felt "off". If Tommy loses someone in his family again I'll lose it.

Can't lament the fact enough that both Arrested Development and Deadwood are cancelled.

HUGE boo to the Emmys (as always). It was a mistake to overlook Edie Falco, who probably had her best season yet, but she has won twice already so it's forgivable. But I cannot forgive the fact that Forest Whitaker wasn't even nominated...his performance was phenomenal. Plus, no wins for Steve Carrell and no nods for BSG.

I SERIOUSLY hope Ian McShane wins an Emmy next actor on TV.

Anonymous said...

EVERWOOD, the demise of. I guess it was a bad year for the 'woods. I never saw Deadwood, so I can't speak for it. However I did see Everwood, and it was a beautifully done show.

Shark. This show is so bad. I love James Woods and I'm glad that this show is getting him through the death of his brother, but it is a tired premise. At best, this show deserves a Friday night showing.

The Nine. I really wanted to like you, really I did. Alas, you took the worst parts of Lost and turned it into a series. And you focused on the flashbacks instead of the actual event.

CBS. You give prime slots on the best night of the week to shows like Shark. You bathe in mediocrity and rejoice in the sameness of your shows. You barely take risks, and when you do, you can't stand behind them unless they're complete successes.

Anonymous said...

After looking at the list of Golden Globe nominees this morning and not seeing "The Wire" anywhere, I think I have my grievance to air with the Hollywood Foreign Press.

I mean why honor any of the amazing, nuanced, truely dramatic performances by the actors in "The Wire" when you have Patrick Dempsey smiling wistfully at an emaciated doctor?

Anonymous said...

I'll second anonymous above. To quote the Bunk: "Where's the love? Where's the motherfucking love?"

Anonymous said...

Lorne Michaels. A real disappointment, with his "SNL" cast this year. Probably the weakest cast in a decade, with only one true star (Amy Poehler) and one guy who should've broken out by now (Fred Armisen).

The talent quotient has been dwindling for years, since the last playoff-caliber starting lineup of Will Ferrell, Cheri Oteri, Molly Shannon, Chris Kattan and Ana Gasteyer. Tina Fey is sorely missed from Update (though I'm happy she's ready for prime time). But the new freshmen... Sudeikis? Wiig? Samberg? The guy who does Pacino? Week in, week out, they're a soggy bowl of cereal. What became of Lorne's legendary eye for casting? (I won't mention the writing.)

More cowbell, bitch!

Taleena said...

Disappointed in networks, but that is nothing new. I burnt out my mad at networks when Firefly was yanked, idiots.

Disappointed in Lost and BSG, strong shows turning into crep before my eyes.

If they do yank the end of Daybreak for no good reason I will be unhappy. It's not a bad show and is just right for filler. Just likable enough to keep you watching not so great I'll miss it.

I wait in expectation of Dresden Files and will be enjoying Netflix more frequently than usual.

JD said...

"I would give a boo to the cancelation of Deadwood, but it all depends on how Milch's new show turns out (I have heard good things though)."

My prediction: "John from Cincinnati" will have a terrific first season (which I won't be watching, by the way), and two good seasons following before Milch's attention span is exhausted. He will also be drained by his work methods. Some shiny bauble will distract him and he'll be off on another tangent.

Anonymous said...

"My prediction: "John from Cincinnati" will have a terrific first season (which I won't be watching, by the way), and two good seasons following before Milch's attention span is exhausted. He will also be drained by his work methods. Some shiny bauble will distract him and he'll be off on another tangent."

That's my impression of Milch. He strikes me as a very talented but hyperactive flake, someone who needs a tough, smart producer to keep him focused on the job at hand and make him finish what he started. Maybe HBO coddled him too much. I'm not generally in favor of networks constraining the talent, but in a few rare cases, maybe they need to crack the whip.

Blankity-Blank said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Blankity-Blank said...

I'm most disappointed in seemingly everyone in America for celebrating the most horrendously stupid, unoriginal and awkwardly dialogued show in years: Heroes.

Thanks everyone.

Anonymous said...

"My prediction: "John from Cincinnati" will have a terrific first season (which I won't be watching, by the way), and two good seasons following before Milch's attention span is exhausted. He will also be drained by his work methods. Some shiny bauble will distract him and he'll be off on another tangent."

Sigh, while it kills me to say so, you're most probably right. HBO can also see that, as they know the chances of him having enough 'energy' to finish up "Deadwood" while working on "John". Well, that and his shows tend to be on the expensive side to make, and this is not the same HBO we were seeing five years ago.

I really would have expected him to fight tooth and nail to get a final season of Deadwood, and in that regard, I think a bit too much blame is landing on HBO. I mean, would it have killed him to wait a year longer to pitch the idea?

Alan Sepinwall said...

I don't think HBO is getting enough blame, frankly. My sense is that "John in Cincinatti" is a cover for HBO wanting to pull the plug on a very expensive show that, due to a shared foreign rights deal with Paramount, was never going to be that profitable.

I do believe Milch pitched them on "John," but I also believe he never would have chosen "John" over "Deadwood" if he believed the former would eliminate the latter.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think HBO is getting enough blame, frankly. My sense is that "John in Cincinatti" is a cover for HBO wanting to pull the plug on a very expensive show that, due to a shared foreign rights deal with Paramount, was never going to be that profitable."

If that's the case (and you're in a better position to know about these things than I am), then I owe David Milch an apology.

Anonymous said...

My grievance is with the Hollywood Foreign Press Assoc. (and every other organization that gives out awards).


Whew. That felt good to get that off my chest, thanks! I understand that Battlestar Galactica is a "cult" show with a small audience and so gets ignored by most of the mainstream press (as does Veronica Mars), but Kristen Bell and Mary McDonnel do such great work (among other actors on their respective shows) and it bugs me that they are continually overlooked in favor of MUCH less talented actors on "buzz" shows. Seriously, is there anyone out there who really believes Evangeline Lilly and Ellen Pompeo are better actresses than Kristen Bell or Mary McDonnell? It's absurd. TV has more to offer than just the "big four" and HBO.

JD said...

"I don't think HBO is getting enough blame, frankly"

Oh, I blame HBO for "Deadwood's" untimely demise just as much as I blame Milch.

TL said...

My grievance is with the Hollywood Foreign Press Assoc.....

The HFPA only cares about getting to have their pictures taken with the beautiful, famous people they nominate for awards, ergo, only beautiful, famous people get nominated for awards. Deserve's got nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Great post, BF, although I love cheesy game shows, and can't comment on GA.

Boo to the hippies, or more specifically, boo to the producers of TAR for rigging the game for them to win. Both times they finished last, it coincidentally turned into a "non-elimination" leg. They were supposedly stripped of their belongings for finishing last in 90-degree Australia, but suddenly had parkas and winter hats in the very next leg in Alaska. To top it off, the producers added a geography challenge that the frat boys couldn't have solved in 10 years at the end, but then eliminated the difficult challenge to let the heroin chic boys win the following season.

Boo also to Law & Order and its various spinoffs/ripoffs for taking so much time on the schedule.

And on a side note, I thought Lucky Louie was awful. Bad writing, bad acting, just stupid.

Anonymous said...

One: NBC's terrible treatment of Kidnapped. I have to agree with joel. Airing it as a limited series would've been a great idea. It had a great cast, strong writing and was miles better than some of the crap that premiered this season.
Two: Everwood. I will never forgive the CW for renewing Seventh Heaven and cancelling Everwood.
Three: Gilmore Girls. I hope ASP comes back to put the show out of its misery. Even Lauren Graham looks like she'd rather be somewhere else.
Four: Prison Break. TPTB seem to forget that they're working with a very limited setup that can only be drawn out so long. At most, the show should last three seasons (and I think two is pushing it), but it looks like they're going to try for more. Bad idea.
Five: Lost, Veronica Mars, BSG...need I say more? Okay, I will. All three shows need to focus and return to their strengths. No more "Others," no more mysteries that make no sense, no more...well, I don't know, but BSG is mighty lame this season.

Anonymous said...

- That Kristen Bell continues to get accolades and nominations (obviously not from the biggies -- although she's still a far cry better (even phoning it in) than Pompeo and Lilly) despite phoning in one and half season's worth of performances while Jason Dohring knocks it out of the park week in and week out and gets practically no recognition. He is, hands down, THE best actor of his age range on television today and all but a few online blogs and critics ignore his enormous talent and dedication.

Dionne said...

Fox for cancelling "Arrested Development".

ABC for not giving "The Nine" more of a chance.

Rob Thomas for making "Veronica Mars" about a relationship that I could not care less about instead of the mysteries.

Anonymous said...

Re: J Doh

Seriously? Jason Dohring's portrayal of Logan in S3 of Veronica Mars has been incredibly disappointing to me. I adored him in S1 and S2, but he's been perpetually weepy and whipped and incredibly mumbly. Mumbling ≠ acting!

- Caitlin

Anonymous said...

Joss Whedon for not coming back to television; where he belongs, soon enough.

The CW for firing the Palladinos and causing a huge decline in the quality of the dialog in Gilmore Girls.

The loss of Arrested Development, Firefly, Deadwood and Angell all cancelled before their time.

Studio 60 for sucking

Jericho for being plodding and predictable when the potential for great SciFi was so high.

Anonymous said...

NBC not only for its rotten treatment of Kidnapped, but for putting the remaining eps online via its crappy online player where the video is so dark I can hardly make out what's happening. Guess I'll be renting it when it comes out on DVD. I say boo unto you, NBC!

Sara Anne said...

Losing 'Deadwood' cannot be said enough times...and the lack of general recogontion about how excellent 'The Wire' is.

Anonymous said...

ITA with sara anne. How do we get "The Wire" some awards, anyway? Maybe we can get a fund going and get the show a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame :-)