TV Midterm Report Card

by Alan Rapp on December 27, 2005

in Uncategorized

As shows pause for the holiday hiatus we take a look at what we’ve seen so far on the tube this year and pass judgment on the impressive and disastrous programs we’ve seen so far this year while totally ignoring anything that could be remotely referred to as “reality tv.”

TV Mid-Season Grades
N/A

As shows pause for the holiday hiatus we take a look at what we’ve seen so far on the tube this year and pass judgment on the impressive and disastrous programs we’ve seen so far this year while totally ignoring anything that could be remotely refered to as “reality tv.”

Veronica Mars

The sophomore season of last year’s cult hit gives a little more focus on relationships and Veronica trying to be “normal” which have held back the show that was last year’s most pleasant surprise.  The first season focused on the murder of Lily Kane which was solved in the final episode.  The show is also missing the Veronica / Wallace friendship.  Without that big mystery the show has introduced several small ones, none of which are as interesting or as emotionally compelling – such as Meg’s coma, pregnancy and death, did Logan really commit murder, and who is responsible for the bus crash?  Nice guest stars from the ‘verse as Charisma Carpenter, Alyson Hannigan, and even Josh Whedon himself show up in Neptune.
Midseason Grade: B

Smallville

We got the Fortress of Solitude, mention of Zod, and James Marsters guest turn as Braniac.  Too bad so much was squandered.  The Brainiac storyline was a waste as Marsters played a professor who the audience knew was an alien but no character did for weeks.  His evil turn was handled with the delicacy of a bull on angel dust.  And don’t even get me started on the vampire episode, ugh!  Aside from the Fortress of Solitude and the very interesting casting of the voice of Jor-El (and the reunion of the original Duke boys, Ye-hah!) the season has been miserable.  Hopefully this year Lex will finally take his dark turn (enough teasing already!). 
Midseason Grade: D

Family Guy

As always the show is a mix of good moments and WTF was that?  This year has seen Peter be declared legally retarded, Lois finds her long lost brother who she let’s out of the mental institution not realizing tendency to kill large men, Peter starts his own religion based on the Fonz (hey, I’ve heard of religions based on worse ideas), and the FCC steps by to censor all of Peter’s good ol’ American fun.  Funny cut scenes including my favorite where Stewie travels across country and gives Will Ferrell his due for Bewitched.
Midseason Grade: B-

How I Met Your Mother

I haven’t seen as much of this as I would like, but I think it’s got a chance.  A talented cast (Neal Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Josh Radnor, Jason Segel and Cobi Smulders) and some good writing should spell some success if the show can stay on air long enough to find itself and hit its stride.  I like the cast’s chemistry and of all the twenty-something Friends knockoffs this one might be the best (hard to be worse than Joey).
Midseason Grade: INCOMPLETE

CSI

Am I the only one that thinks these forensic shows have run their course?  CSI:Crime Scene Inestigation, CSI:Miami, and CSI:NY still do well in the ratings, but the shows have become little more than gore-fests with either clever or stupid criminals and not much mystery.  Also a focus on relationships and hidden dark secrets trying to broaden the characters’ lives.  Doesn’t help.  If you’ve seen a season of one of these shows you’ve seen them all.
Midseason Grade: D

The West Wing

The influx of talent from last year (Jimmy Smits, Alan Alda, etc.) started to change the show and finally bring it out of its post-Sorkin funk that it had been languishing in since its creator left.  John Wells never find the right notes with Bartlett and crew, but has found his own voice and story with the election run of Smits and Alda’s characters.  No longer the shadow of its former self, but still not sure what it wants to be.  Some questions to be answered: is it possible to drag out this election cycle any longer? and what does the death of John Spencer mean for the show’s storyline?
Midseason Grade: C

Well that’s it for now tune back in next week and check out our preview of this year’s mid-season replacements that includes one or two promising shows (hey, Buffy started out as a mid-season replacement and that turned out pretty well).

Previous post:

Next post: