End of the Road: Looking at Recent Series Finales

[Out of courtesy, SPOILERS AHEAD]

Last Friday, Hart of Dixie aired its season finale. With its status being on the bubble for quite some time and renewal chances looking slim, it very much acted like a series finale. I mean, they did title the episode “Bluebell”, which is about as final as naming it “Hart of Dixie” or “Finale”, and even the actors’ tweets seemed to point towards it being the end. [For what it’s worth, I don’t think The CW knew what to do with the show because they didn’t have anything else like it on the network – sound familiar? *cough* Nikita *cough* – until now in Jane the Virgin. And the one week they got paired up, it was cute/crazy overload that I loved] It’s all rather unofficial, but the finale left me in tears because of how perfect it was for the show, and if it is indeed the end, it was a satisfying ending. I’ll miss the crazy Bluebell antics regardless. In light of everything, I thought it’d be a good time to look at some other series finales, all within the last two months and which also made me cry (the measure of a good finale obviously).

Parenthood was the little show that could over on NBC. It flew under the radar and had a loyal fan following. For 6 seasons, we watched the Braverman family as they celebrated the good times and struggled through the bad times. We cried tears of joy and sadness along with them, throughout all 103 episodes. It was a wonderful series that was well loved by the people who watched it, but was constantly on the bubble and never got the award recognition it deserved. The cast was also so incredibly talented – from Craig T. Nelson to Peter Krause, Lauren Graham to Mae Whitman, and all the other Braverman children, grandchildren, extending to all the guest stars. The series finale saw Sarah getting married to Hank, Joel and Julia adopting another child, Amber adjusting to life as a single mom and becoming partners with Crosby to run the Luncheonette, Adam becomes Headmaster of Chambers Academy, while Christina opens another school. Everything seemed great until we see that Zeek dies in his sleep, a plot point that had been written in the cards for the season. But the show ends on a happy note, as Zeek’s ashes get scattered on a baseball field and the remaining Bravermans honour his memory by playing a game there. It doesn’t end there though, as we get treated to a montage checking in on everybody at different points in the future. I truly loved that they didn’t do just a basic flashforward – seeing glimpses of their life in the future (and obviously only the happy/joyful moments) was actually a lot more satisfying.

Parks and Recreation was sort of the comedy equivalent of Parenthood, in the way that it was an underdog show on NBC and was loved by all those who watched it. The cast, led by the amazing Amy Poehler, were so incredible in this show and have been criminally unrecognized because they deserve all the awards. Now, the final season of Parks and Recreation had already taken us to 2017, so the finale took us even further into the future. The hour episode jumped forward to different times for each character. Donna doing well for herself as a real estate agent in Seattle and then putting some of her earnings towards an education non-profit with Joe. Tom unsuccessfully expanding the restaurant, and then finding yet another life as a motivation speaker/writer. Andy and April having kids. Gerry staying on as mayor of Pawnee until he dies on his 100th birthday. Ron ends up looking after the Pawnee National Park. As for Leslie and Ben? Well their government aspirations continued to grow, as the show hinted at Leslie possibly becoming POTUS (or at the very least, she gets to the White House). It really was a nice wrap up to the show; nothing too crazy or dramatic, but straight to the point future.

I’ll admit, I checked out of Glee a long time ago, sometime around season 4 (I may have stuck it out that entire season, but can’t recall any of it). I tuned into season 5 for “The Quarterback” and “100” for obvious reasons, but besides that I didn’t care for it. The show was so far off from what I had initially loved about it, that not even the music could save it (actually, a lot of the music choice kinda killed it for me). When the series finale rolled around, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch it, but everybody’s nostalgia for it pulled me in. The first episode of the two-part finale, “2009”, took us back to when the Glee Club was first formed and we saw how Rachel, Kurt, Mercedes, Tina, and Artie ended up in the Glee Club. Capped off with a re-airing of that original performance of “Don’t Stop Believin'”, it was such a heartbreaker and yes, the tears started.  The second episode, “Dreams Come True”, jumped forward to essentially show us everybody’s happy endings. In the immediate future, McKinley is turned into a performing arts school where Mr. Schuester is principal. Sam is the new teacher/coach for New Directions. Mercedes’ career skyrockets, starting with a gig as Beyonce’s opening act. When the show jumps forward to 2020, Sue is Vice President of the United States and intends on running for President. Kurt and Blaine are living a wonderful life together in New York, being an inspiration to kids. Artie and Tina are together, and his film gets into a festival. Rachel becomes a surrogate to Kurt and Blaine’s child, marries Jesse St. James, and wins a Tony. And before one last group performance featuring (almost) everyone who was ever on Glee, Sue declares that the McKinley auditorium will be renamed to honour Finn. Major tears. For a show that kind of lost itself, they certainly stuck the landing, offering a reminder of what people had initially loved about the show – that underdog spirit and the feeling that things will eventually be okay.

Not all finales end well or tug at the heart strings, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is the most successful finales should be measured by whether the show ended in a way that was right for it and acts as a cap to the series as a whole. Sometimes these shows weren’t perfect but their respective finales proved that (most of) our time spent with them weren’t a complete waste.

 

Upfronts 2014: NBC Schedule for the Fall TV Season

Though NBC’s official Upfront presentation isn’t until Monday morning, they got a head start on everyone by announcing their schedule Sunday afternoon. The network picked up 13 shows, along with previously announced event series Heroes: Reborn and A.D., Mark Burnett’s follow-up to The Bible miniseries. A brief look at the new shows and my thoughts on them (which are based purely on their descriptions).

CONSTANTINE [Drama – Fridays @ 10]: Based on the DC Comic, Constantine is con man turned supernatural detective/demon hunter, albeit reluctantly. It’s a character that has been visited once before in a movie of the same name, starring Keanu Reeves, and with Arrow doing so well, it was only a matter of time before we got some other DC characters making their way to TV.

THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA [Drama – Wednesdays @ 8]: Debra Messing bounces back from the Smash mess to star in this show as a homicide detective, who can handle the criminals she puts away but not her twin boys. Add to that? Her ex-husband is now her boss.

MARRY ME [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 9]: Casey Wilson and Ken Marino star as a couple who quickly become engaged, only to realize that being engaged is not all its cracked up to be. From David Caspe, who brought us the incredibly funny and underrated Happy Endings, and again, starring Casey Wilson (also from Happy Endings), I have incredibly high hopes for this show.

Marry Me - Season Pilot

ONE BIG HAPPY [Comedy – Midseason/TBA]: More Happy Endings people! Eliza Cuthbert and Nick Zano play a pair of best friends, Lizzy and Luke, who decide to have a baby together…though it’s in the more medical way because Lizzy’s gay. (So basically, it’s like that one storyline on Will & Grace.) But things get complicated when Luke goes off and gets married, and suddenly they’ve got a different kind of family.

ALLEGIANCE [Drama – Midseason/TBA]: Alex O’Connor (played by Gavin Stenhouse) is a CIA analyst who finds out his parents and his sister are Russian sleeper spies. Things get complicated when they are reactivated and are forced to choose where there loyalties lay – betray their country or turn their son against his. Sounds a little like FX’s The Americans except set in present day. Without a doubt, if done well, the show will be full of interesting drama.

Allegiance

A TO Z [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9:30]: Cristin Milioti (our heretofore Mother of HIMYM) jumps back quickly into another rom-com series, this one set at an online dating company. The show chronicles the “A to Z’s” of a relationship from match-up to break-up. Happy to see Milioti back so soon and though completely unrelated, I hope this show helps us HIMYM fans feel like we’re finally catching up to what “the Mother” was like. But again, the characters are completely different with one another, so just let me pretend this is some alt universe.

A to Z

AQUARIUS [Drama – Midseason/TBA]: Set in the 1960s, an undercover L.A. cop (played by David Duchovny) sets out to find Charles Manson, before the infamous murder spree occurred. It’s set as a 13-episode event series, which for these types of mystery stories is becoming the ideal, and I think works out much better than attempting to stretch it out over multiple seasons.

BAD JUDGE [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9]: Kate Walsh jumps back into TV, trading in the drama of being a doctor on Private Practice/Grey’s Anatomy, for the comedy of being a House-like judge. Things take a turn in her life when a boy who’s parents she put away in jail comes asking for her help. We’ve seen this before: wild-child with a heart of gold; it doesn’t seem particularly new but who knows, it might surprise me later.

MISSION CONTROL [Comedy – Midseason/TBA]: Krysten Ritter stars as an aerospace engineer, who leads a team of NASA scientists. The catch? It’s the 1960s and she’s the only female in a group of men. Ritter is a great talent but I’m not so sure about the premise. Granted, it is a comedy so it’s not going to be incredibly serious given the subject matter, but I’m just not sold on it.

ODYSSEY [Drama – Midseason/TBA]: A soldier (Anna Friel), a corporate lawyer (Peter Facinelli), and a political activist (Jake Robinson) find themselves drawn into the same international military conspiracy in this series that is drawing comparisons to the movie Traffic, with its intersecting storylines. Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory? Played out right and the ride could be absolutely thrilling.

Odyssey

STATE OF AFFAIRS [Drama – Mondays @ 10, starting in November]: Katherine Heigl returns to TV since leaving Grey’s Anatomy in 2010. Here she plays Charleston Tucker, a top CIA analyst who briefs the President (Alfre Woodard) on the biggest security issues of the nation and the world. It doesn’t seem incredibly compelling on the description alone but this could turn out to be a mix of Homeland and Scandal, without the crazy. I’m not a huge fan of Heigl so her starring in the show isn’t a big draw for me; we’ll see how I feel come November.

State of Affairs

UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT [Comedy – Midseason/TBA]: Tina Fey and Robert Carlock created this show starring Ellie Kemper as Kimmy, who escapes from a doomsday cult and attempts to restart her life in NYC.

MR.ROBINSON [Comedy – Midseason/TBA]: Craig Robinson is a musician, who has to readjust his life when he takes a job as a middle-school music teacher. I’m thinking School of Rock but with Robinson instead of Jack Black.

Other Notables:

  • Parenthood has been renewed for a 13-episode final season. As sad as it is for me to see it go, I think Parenthood is one of the shows that has given NBC a lot of good will because it wasn’t pulling spectacular ratings, was perpetually on the bubble, and NBC kept renewing it. Obviously, it wasn’t going to run on forever, so it is at least nice of the network to give the show a proper send-off, as opposed to abruptly cancelling it.
  • It was also announced that Parks and Recreation will be ending after this coming 7th season, which saddens me but it also makes sense. With the events of the season finale, you have a small glimpse of what’s to come in this final season and plus it’s hard to figure out what else there is for Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope career-wise. Again, the show fought the odds to last this long. Another thing of note is the fact that the show isn’t on the fall schedule and is being kept for midseason.
  • Speaking of midseason, you’ll notice that quite a number of NBC’s new shows are being saved for later on in the season. A lot of those shows seem to have a lot of potential, so to keep it until midseason is a risk, especially for NBC because in recent years, midseason hasn’t worked out all that well for the shows or the network. We’ll have to wait and see I suppose.
  • NBC’s comedy Thursday line-up seems to be done for the moment, with The Biggest Loser now anchoring the night, leading into the new comedies Bad Judge and A to Z. With CBS now doing two night of comedy on Mondays and Thursdays, NBC faced really tough competition, particularly against The Big Bang Theory on Thursdays. I suppose I understand the decision to try something different, but it feels weird to not see a complete comedy lineup on NBC Thursdays.
  • The fall schedule will see About A Boy stay on Tuesdays, but now following Marry Me, which is getting The Voice lead-in. The Blacklist will continue to air after The Voice on Monday nights until State of Affairs takes over, at which time The Blacklist will take a break and return to the schedule in February on Thursdays @ 9. Hannibal will return sometime midseason.

For more on the new shows (including trailers!) and a complete look at the fall schedule, head on over to Buzzfeed or EW.

Upfronts 2013: NBC Releases Schedule for the 2013-2014 TV Season

I want to start off by saying that I have nothing but the deepest respect for TV reporters/journalists who actually have to follow all the renewals/cancellations/pilot pick-up shenanigans that come with broadcast network Upfronts. As a TV fan following all this news and writing about here, my head is spinning trying to keep track of all the new shows the networks have ordered. But of course, I don’t have to do this, I just choose to. So to all those who make a living out of doing this, I feel you.

With that being said, Upfronts are here again and NBC is up first, releasing their schedule today, ahead of its presentation to advertisers tomorrow. It’s been a rough year for the network, starting off the season as the #1 network with the aid of the fall cycle of The Voice, to going down to 4th after February sweeps. After a nearly clean sweep of its comedies and its new dramas (save for Revolution) not delivering as they had hope, NBC is hoping its pilot pick-ups for the new season will bring them back to #1. All in all, NBC has picked up 6 comedies and 5 dramas. Below, a look at the new shows, where they land on the schedule, and my initial thoughts.

ABOUT A BOY [Comedy – Midseason]: Based on the novel and movie of the same name, this new comedy brought to us by executive producer Jason Katims and Jon Favreau follows the bond formed between a bachelor man-child and the young boy and his mother who move in next door to him. The show stars David Walton, looking to finally score a TV hit, and Minnie Driver. Katims has proven himself on dramas Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, and though this is being dubbed as a comedy, I have the sense that this will veer towards dramedy. With Katims involved, there definitely isn’t anything wrong with that.

about-a-boy1

THE FAMILY GUIDE [Comedy – Midseason]: A son (whose future self is voiced by Jason Bateman, also an executive producer on the show) recounts how his family grew closer after his parents divorce. It would certainly seem as though NBC is getting back with a more family-oriented comedy line-up. J.K. Simmons is the father whom the son idolizes for not letting his blindness hinder his ability to anything. The role of the mother who post-divorce, suddenly finds her chance at a second adolescence, was originally played by Parker Posey in the pilot, but soon after news of the show getting picked-up, Posey left the show. So now the show is looking to recast the role. For me, I think I’ll have to wait and see how it looks and feel before committing to it.

UNDATEABLE [Comedy – Midseason]: Bill Lawrence brings a new show to NBC about a guy who thinks he’s a professional when picking up girls and finds himself teaching his roommate and his friends (the “undateables”) the way to the dating world. Though I appreciate some of the other shows Bill Lawrence has done (Cougar Town, Scrubs), I’m not entirely sold on this show. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched 8 seasons of How I Met Your Mother and this just reminds me of Barney teaching Ted the ways of picking up girls.

THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9:30]: Michael J. Fox’s return as lead on this show based loosely on his life (he previously appeared as a guest star on The Good Wife). Of note, this show has already been given a full 22-episode order, so obviously there is a lot of faith in it. I mean it’s Michael J. Fox’s big return! This is a big deal and is a sign of NBC trying to revive their “Must See TV.”

SEAN SAVES THE WORLD [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9]: Another big return is that of Sean Hayes, best known as Jack from Will & Grace. His new show centers around Sean, a divorced gay dad, who suddenly finds himself trying to parent his 14-year old daughter, who has moved in full-time with him. Sean Hayes was always one of the funniest parts of Will & Grace, so I’m quite excited to see how he does as lead of his own show. Over the years, he’s been doing shows on Broadway, as well as serving as an executive producer on Grimm, so it’s nice to see him back on TV.

sean-saves-the-world1

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY [Comedy – Thursdays @ 8:30]: Mike O’Malley (here to forth known as Burt Hummel, the best TV dad ever) stars in this show about two families, one Caucasian + one Latino, who bond over their children falling in love and expecting a child. I feel like it’ll be easy for them to make jokes about culture clashes, but if they can somehow move beyond the stereotypes, there might be hope for them yet.

NIGHT SHIFT [Drama – Midseason]: A medical show that follows the doctors and nurses who work the graveyard shift at a San Antonio hospital. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know how I tend to feel about medical/law/cop shows – meaning I’m not particularly fond of them – unless you give me something else to hook me in because this is nowhere near enough to get me to watch.

THE BLACKLIST [Drama – Mondays @ 10]: James Spader stars as one of the most wanted criminals in the world, who suspiciously turns himself in and is willing to give up the names of all the people he’s ever worked with – but he’s only willing to work with a new FBI agent, who has no connection to him whatsoever. I’ve never been a fan of Spader, and while I know plot should trump cast, I think both play a part in hooking in viewers for the first time. Honestly, my first reaction to this is that it reminds me a little bit of White Collar, without the lightness of that show, mixed in with a little bit of The Following.

CRISIS [Drama – Midseason]: A conspiracy action thriller set in the world of Washington, D.C., follows a Secret Service agent who finds himself in the middle of an international crisis situation. The show’s cast includes Gillian Anderson, Dermot Mulroney, Rachael Taylor, and James Lafferty among others. Conspiracy theories AND Scully? Count me in!

IRONSIDE [Drama – Wednesdays @ 10]: Based on the 60s cop drama of the same name, Blair Underwood is the lead of this show about an acerbic police detective, who after a shooting, is now relegated to a wheelchair. He has assembled a strong team of other detectives to help him solve the most difficult of cases. On first glance, it’s almost like the cop-version of House. The strength of the storytelling, the writing, and character development will really make all the difference because the show has assembled a really good cast.

Ironside - Season Pilot

BELIEVE [Drama – Midseason]: The team at Bad Robot are back with this show that pairs up a young girl with a recently released man from prison, who is tasked with protecting her from evil forces hunting her powers. I know, I know, another season, another J.J. Abrams produced show. As with all shows, the writing is what will make or break it and I am very hopeful.

believe1

CHICAGO P.D. [Drama – Midseason]: The spin-off that one year ago, no one expected to happen. Dick Wolf successfully turned Chicago Fire into a franchise with this spin-off, focusing on the cops of Chicago. And just like that, I don’t care.

DRACULA [Drama – Fridays @ 10]: This series was actually ordered some time ago, with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers starring as the titular vampire. Dracula is prepared to destroy the Victorian society that ruined his life, until he falls for a woman who looks exactly like his long-deceased wife. It should be noted that the series is set for 10-episodes, meaning this is NBC’s attempt at cable-style/limited series events. Sure, Fridays aren’t exactly the best day to premiere a show, but with a solid lead-in in Grimm (which does go back to its Fridays @ 9 timeslot next season), we can at least look forward to a solid 2 hour Friday night.

Dracula - Season 1

Notable changes to the schedule for next season (seeing as there is a lot of movement over at NBC):

  • Parks and Recreation now anchors the Thursday night comedy block at 8 p.m.
  • Following the Thursday night comedies at 10 p.m., will be ratings underdog and critical favourite Parenthood. It certainly makes more sense to put an established show in the timeslot, as opposed to testing out a new series, where it will most likely to compete against ABC’s red-hot Scandal.
  • The Biggest Loser returns to its Tuesday at 8 slot, acting as lead-in to the second night of The Voice, with Chicago Fire following at 10.
  • Revolution shifts to Wednesdays at 8. It’ll be interesting to see how the show does in its second season without the cushion of The Voice lead-in, that it enjoyed its entire run this season.
  • Community, which surprisingly earned a 5th season, is being held off to midseason.

That is all from NBC. For complete description of all the new pilots, head on over to Deadline.com.

Upfronts 2011: NBC First to Unveil Its 2011-2012 Schedule

NBC was the first of the broadcast networks to announce their primetime schedules for the new season on Sunday. In total the network picked up 12 shows: 6 dramas and 6 comedies. As I did last year, I’ll break down all the new shows (based entirely on their descriptions) and see what’s worth watching and what’s not. Of course, this is all my opinion. So a rundown of the new shows and where they’ll fit into the schedule:

  • The Playboy Club [Drama – Mondays @ 10]: Set in the early 1960s at the, what else, Playboy Club in Chicago. This is one of the shows where I’m not entirely sure about. Some of the cast members (Amber Heard, Jenna Dewan-Tatum) gets me interested in the show, but I think I’m going to have to wait until previews come out to make a better decision.
  • Up All Night [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 8]: Obviously a comedic take on the challenges of parenthood and balancing that with a career. Most definitely will give this one a shot mainly because of the casting of Christina Applegate, Maya Rudolph and Will Arnett. With the time period, it’s clear that NBC is trying to take away some of ABC’s comedy night, which I don’t really get. I mean I thought it was a really good idea for NBC to have done their 3 hour block of comedy on Thursdays these past few months. But I’m not a network exec so what do I know?
  • Free Agents [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 8:30]: This is based on a show from the UK, which follows two PR execs on the rebound. The show certainly sounds like it has potential and again, with a cast that consists of Hank Azaria, Kathryn Hahn, and Anthony Head (Giles!), it’s worth giving a shot.
  • Whitney [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9:30]: The plum post-Office slot goes to this new comedy about a couple who are in no rush to get hitched. First of all, considering it’s about a couple, I don’t know why the name of the show is only one-half of said couple. Second…yeah, I don’t know about this one.
  • Prime Suspect [Drama – Thursdays @ 10]: Based on the UK miniseries which starred Helen Mirren, this new adaptation stars Maria Bello as a female detective trying to succeed in her male-dominated precinct. If it hasn’t been noticed from last year, I am very wary of cop shows. That being said I will give this one a shot because it is a well-known entity.
  • Grimm [Drama – Fridays @ 9]: Detective/cop show where characters from the Grimm fairy tales actually exist in our world. I’m not so sure about the whole putting a new show on Friday, but CBS managed to do well with putting Blue Bloods on Friday so why not? Although granted, Grimm doesn’t have as high profile a cast as Blue Bloods. Anyways, I think the show offers a little something different than most other shows (I mean fairytale characters are real?!) that I would definitely watch it.
  • Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea [Comedy – Midseason]: The show is based on the semi-autobiographical book of the same name by comedienne Chelsea Handler. I know of Chelsea Handler, not very familiar with her style of comedy so I don’t know how I’ll feel about the show.
  • Best Friends Forever [Comedy – Midseason]: A comedy which looks at a woman who lives with her boyfriend and also lets her newly divorced best friend move in. This could be really funny or really dumb, and I’m moreso inclined to the latter, but haven’t seen anything of it yet, so I’ll try to reserve my judgment.
  • Bent [Comedy – Midseason]: Starring Amanda Peet, the show revolves around two people who find themselves attracted to characteristics which they would normally hate. This could be funny if the writing’s solid.
  • Smash [Drama – Midseason]: SO excited for this. I am all up for more music on my TV screen. The show revolves around a group of people who are trying to create a Broadway musical. It stars Debra Messing (welcome back to our TV screens Grace Adler!) and Katharine McPhee. I also expect to see a lot of my favourite dancers.
  • Awake [Drama – Midseason]: Another show I’m quite excited for. Jason Isaacs (aka Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter series) stars in this drama-thriller about a detective who finds himself living two realities after a car accident. This could get trippy-weird like Inception or Fringe, but I am such a fan of things that plays with my mind.
  • The Firm [Drama – Midseason]: Based on the novel and movie of the same name. There is no cast yet, and it supposedly takes place 10 years after the events of the book/movie. I want to say I’ll give this a shot depending on who gets cast in it, but to be honest it’s another law-type show, so I’ll more than likely skip it whenever it actually gets to air.

Other notable points in the schedule:

  • Chuck, which was renewed last week for a 5th and final season, is moving to Fridays @ 8. I normally would be worried about a show on Fridays, but considering it’s the last season, the ratings can’t possibly get any worse (right?). And anyways, from my point of view, if FOX decides to keep Fringe on Fridays @ 9, that’s great news because I’ll get to watch my two favourie shows back to back. Perfect.
  • 30 Rock will come back in the midseason.
  • Parks & Recreation moves back to its old time slot of Thursdays @ 8:30.
  • Parenthood renewed and is staying put on Tuesdays @ 10.
  • The Sing-Off will be back in the fall in the 8-10 block on Mondays. I’m assuming that the show’s going to be looking for a new judge since Nicole Scherzinger is going to be hosting The X-Factor. Come midseason, The Sing-Off will be replaced in its timeslot by a second season of The Voice.
  • As noted in a previous blog, Law & Order Los Angeles, Outsourced, The Event, Perfect Couples, Chase, and The Cape have all been officially cancelled.

And with that, we get a glimpse of what TV next season will look like…at least with NBC. I gotta say though, with Smash and Awake both being set for midseason, I’m more excited for winter than fall. Next up: FOX.

Random TV Watching Thoughts #7

I’ve blogged on many occasions about my TV watching habits, but for some reason, I’ve been really thinking about it the past week. It started while I was watching Hawaii Five-0 on Monday. The episode’s promos highlighted the fact that Vanessa Manillo and Nick Lachey were guest starring. They showed up somewhere in the beginning, when the case of the week was being set up and sort of disappeared. Then about halfway through the hour, it just popped into my head: “I bet Nick Lachey’s the bad guy.” Turns out I was right – again (when Kevin Sorbo guest starred in an episode earlier in the season, I knew straight up he was the bad guy). First of all, I totally blame my professor from my Music in Film class for making me notice all the stuff that happens at the beginning of TV shows and movies now. But back to the point, despite its complete and utter predictability, I still like watching Hawaii Five-0.

How is that possible? Why would anyone want to watch something (especially a crime show) where you can easily guess who the villain is, 5 minutes into the episode? My justification for Five-0 is that its got an extremely likeable cast, who have great chemistry together. Thinking about it now, I’m really watching the show to see this cast interact with one another – they look like they’re having a good time. Plus the show itself, doesn’t really take itself too seriously; it can be cheesy and fun, but also serious in getting the bad guys and giving us some action.

On the other hand, also on Monday was Gossip Girl. I expressed my feelings about it at the beginning of the season, wherein I pretty much watch this show out of habit. This past episode made me think numerous times: “Why am I watching this? I. AM. SO. BORED.” I should’ve given up on this show already, but no matter what they do, there’s always one thing/plotline that keeps me hanging. Currently, it’s the Blair and Dan relationship/friendship storyline. It’s the ONLY interesting thing going on in that show right now. The Bass Industries business deal storyline? BORING. Serena and her former teacher storyline? BORING. And Nate has NO storyline! He’s lucky if he even gets to say 2 lines in an episode.

Something else I realized this week: I haven’t been watching Parenthood. Don’t get me wrong, the show is amazing. The cast is awesome and the writing is great. There are not a lot of shows like this anymore. While I do want to watch the show, I guess the past few weeks, I haven’t felt motivated to watch. I appreciate how real and grounded the show is, but at the same time, when your life’s sort of a downer, you want to watch something that will distract you (hence the watching of something like 5-0).

Then there are times when I think about shows that have been on the air for a while, and despite still loving these shows, I kind of hope they end this season simply because its run its course. Does that make me a bad fan? By shows I love but think they should end, I mean One Tree Hill and The Office. With OTH, there were times over the years where they might have been cancelled and the writers gave a pseudo-ending just in case. They would come back for another season and the writers would do something to re-energize the series, whether it be a time-jump or introducing new characters. As of late, I feel as though everybody’s happy now and they’re just grasping for new storylines each episode. The last thing I want is for OTH to end on a bad note. Let’s not drag anything out and just finalize the show. Speaking of grasping for new storylines, The Office is sort of the same way. It’s just not the same anymore. Writing’s not that sharp anymore; there’s little things in every episode that’s funny but it’s not the same. And knowing that Steve Carell is leaving near the end of the season, it just feels like it’s time.

So what’s the gist of all this? For me personally, TV acts as a distraction for me from my dismal/boring life. Because of that, I like TV that, well, keeps my interest. The writing doesn’t always have to be great, but the show has to be entertaining on some level (a la Hawaii Five-0). A show can be incredibly well-written, but if its depictions of real life are almost too real, it doesn’t serve as great distraction (unfortunately like Parenthood). Sometimes despite being a fan of a show, you kinda hope it’ll end on a good note and not drag things out just for the sake keeping the show on the air.