As the 2017-2018 television season comes to a close, I thought it would be fun to hand out some awards (named after my favorite dog Pilgrim) on what has been an interesting season to say the least. In this current golden age of television, viewing has certainly become a year-round affair. However there is something special about the traditional season with a May finish line and networks competing for ratings that will set ad rates for next year. Also network television is not nearly as dead as I previously thought, but with some of the cancellations (and ill-advised renewals) it certainly isn’t for lack of trying.
A couple of notes. These awards are not going to be your typical Hollywood bullshit. I’m not a professional entertainment reporter, nor am I going to try to be one. I don’t have a rules committee, and don’t give a fuck about uniformity. Also, these are based on shows I watch. Not shows I should watch, or shows everyone is watching. But I have pretty good taste, so you should pay attention. I apologize for nothing.
The Flirty Freshman That Caught My Eye
The Gifted (FOX): I’m a sucker for comic book shows, and I have a particular love for the X-men universe. But I was nervous about whether or not this show could deliver. It’s premise is based on some convoluted and obscure mythos that could be difficult to translate to the screen. It’s fronted by Amy Acker (who I’ve been in love with since Angel and Alias), and Stephen Moyer (Vampire Bill was True Blood) so I knew FOX was making a serious run. It did a great job of combining elements of the X-men mythos, Easter eggs for geeks like me and some deep character development that created a compelling and engaging story. And in a year where FOX used its chainsaw in a way that would make Leatherface smile, I was happy to see it make the cut and get a second season.
The I Wouldn’t Watch This Revival With a Fucking Gun to My Balls
Roseanne (ABC): Whoever greenlit this piece of shit idea needs to be shot. Roseanne is one of the most annoying characters on television and a bigot in real life. None of this is helped by the fact that her voice sounds like nails on a chalkboard being serenaded to by a feral cat in heat. Oh, and lets not forget the fact that at the end of the first go around with the show Dan is fucking dead! They teach you in creative writing 101 that you don’t do dream sequences….Do people not remember how pissed off the world was at the end of the ninth season of Dallas? How ABC renewed this trash and cancelled a show hitting its stride like Designated Survivor is truly beyond me.
*Author’s Note: Since the time this was originally published (by less than 24 hours), ABC pulled the plug on Roseanne calling her recent bigoted rants on Twitter “repugnant.” I am letting my award stand unedited, but I applaud ABC for making the right decision.
The Cancelling This Show Makes Me Want to Firebomb Hollywood
Lucifer (FOX): I’m not alone in my intense hatred of FOX for cancelling this show. Although it deviated substantially from the comics (based on my admittedly limited exposure) the series was fun and engaging with enough teeth for some deep story and character arcs. The chemistry among the entire cast has been palpable and organic over all three seasons, a feat not easily accomplished. And although FOX truly limits itself by only providing two hours of prime time content before starting the local news an hour early each night (a cheap ploy to save money), the CW has the same format, and they managed to not sacrifice any quality content because of the constraint. It was obvious by the massive cliffhanger fans were left with that the writers were also blindsided. This move makes FOX look inept, and left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
The I Want the Time I Spent Watching This Back
The X-Files (FOX): This show needs to seriously just stop. It is fucking with the end of my childhood and one of my favorite shows. To be fair, the original run of this show should have ended with season 7, the last two seasons were painful to watch. But nostalgia won the day again, and despite last year’s “limited television event” getting picked up for an undeserved second (or eleventh, depending on how you keep score) season and against my better judgement I tuned in. And holy fuck was it bad. I’m not even sure I know what the show was trying to do. I’m not sure what I actually watched it was such convoluted garbage. The chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson was non-existent. It was seriously worse than the second X-Files movie, and I didn’t think that was possible. It only took FOX six hours to ruin my childhood. The only person capable of doing that faster is Michael Bay.
The How In All that is Holy Did This Get Renewed
SHIELD (ABC): I’ve seen some dumb shit get renewed, but this show’s death rattle was a season long complete with gurgling and gagging and gasping for a final breath. It was almost as convoluted as the X-Files. It had time jumps and aliens, which would be fine for a comic book show, but there was no real rhyme or reason to the order. And the plot this year was in no way a progression of the story, it had no foundation. None. And they killed off a ton of characters in the show, and essentially left it with nowhere to go. I was fine with that. I was fine with watching it die. Watching it try to revive itself into a twitchy animated corpse next season is gonna be painful. My only guess is that ABC has next to nothing to fill all its time slots, there is no other reason this show should stay on the air.
The That Series Finale Made Me Want a Cigarette After
Once Upon A Time (ABC): Let me be clear, this season of ONCE was terrible and should not have been made. The idea to do an entire reset of the show and bringing back nearly none of the original cast members was ill-advised. It should have ended a season ago in , and just taken a handful of episodes to wrap everything up. Actually, there was so much fluff and filler last year they could have just cut that and ended it proper. But they didn’t, and as with a number of shows I watched solely to finish. That being said, the final two episodes of the season were intensely gratifying to those of us who watched from the beginning. And given that the show creators, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, came out of the LOST writers’ room it was no surprise that they went for the emotionally satisfying ending where everyone got their happy ending, especially the fans.
The Networks with Execs Who Should Be Taken Out Behind the Woodshed
FOX puts out some pretty good content. They brought us The Gifted and The Orville this year and had Lucifer, Gotham, Exorcist and Bob’s Burgers on the slate as well. And then they toy with my emotions. Ratings for The Exorcist were terrible, so I wasn’t shocked when the cancelled it. I had hoped that the lower expectations of a Friday night slot could keep it. But as you can see from above I was shocked and pissed about Lucifer. I cannot stand it when network brass doesn’t give writers an opportunity to create a satisfying ending for fans. That’s just shitting all over your customers. If that wasn’t enough, the are postponing the next seasons of Gotham and Orville until 2019, and God only knows what they are going to put in those time slots between now and then.
SyFy continues to kick me in the junk and I foolishly keep coming back for more. First, the cancelled Expanse which was the best show on their network, and the only reason it didn’t tie with Lucifer for the Firebombing Hollywood Award is that Amazon, in its brilliance, decided to pick up the rights and give it a fourth season. The network has a bad habit of doing this, axing good shows (Expanse, Dark Matter, Defiance, Dominion) and keeping absolute shit (Krypton, Channel Zero) on the air. And in the case of Krypton, they allowed a show with potential to approach a tired and overdone Superman concept from a unique angle. And then they massively fucked it up, and renewed it. The sad thing is that I will keep given them a chance, painting my junk like a bullseye and waiting for them to strap on the steel towed boots again.
It’s 3AM and I.m not awake enough to do any real work, so I clicked on READER on my WordPress website to see what it was, having ignored it for a year. Following its recommendation, I scrolled through pages of teasers and wound up here, on your site.
So, here’s my input:
1. I never “watch tv.” Ever. But I do bingewatch television series on DVDs that are recommended to me by friends. Too many truly fine shows to discuss, but I recently stumbled over ASCENSION and was surprised to find a reasonably intelligent science-fiction series—plus I loved Tricia Helfer as the not-so-bad bad guy!
2. I started collecting Marvel comics in 1964, when they were the anti-DC option, DC being bland and predictable. Ten years later and Marvel had passed DC in sales and pretty much went on to become just another company publishing the charmless comics that Americans have been buying for decades now.
Seeing the movies that have been made from comics has been mostly a HUGELY disappointing experience for me, because I go hoping that each movie will capture a wee bit of the essence that was the Marvel that I knew 50 years ago. Except for the first few Spiderman movies with Tobey Maguire, none have even come close. (But I really liked Jennifer Garner as ELEKTRA, a movie that no one seems to discuss.)
3. I, too, fell in love with Amy Acker—but on PERSON OF INTEREST, a fun and interesting series where she pretty much stole every scene they allowed her to steal. And the show’s stars, Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson, didn’t seem to mind.
So, based on your review above, I just looked up THE GIFTED on my library website and it’s not available yet, so I’ve added it to my Wanna See list.
4. How anyone sat through 5 minutes of Roseanne Barr stumps me. But if you haven’t seen the original ALL IN THE FAMILY series from 40 years ago, there were viewers who thought the misogynist, racist, homophobe (and incredibly stupid) Archie Bunker was the hero, the “good guy”!
Ah, now it’s time to go back to bed.
Keep on writing . . .
I’m so glad you found the site and took the time to leave me such a well thought and engaging comment!
I thought Ascension was great, and although very Science Fiction it also did a great job of combining elements of mystery and thriller to create a fully formed narrative. And I agree about Tricia Helfer. I enjoyed her in BSG and most recently thought she had a great 2 season character arc on Lucifer.
Also if you like really good science fiction, I highly recommend The Expanse. SyFy did a good job with the adaptation, and the books have been incredible so far.
I was late to the comic books party, having only dabbled as a kid. Although I’ve always enjoyed X-Men, I truly fell in love with them because of a podcast I found called “Jay and Miles Xplain the Xmen” that goes chronologically (for the most part) through the various titles in the universe, which is convoluted to say the least. We are just now hitting the 90s. From there I have found some greats like Preacher and Sandman that push some envelopes. And I always love finding new mediums of content to enjoy.
I agree with you about most of the movies being underwhelming, but I will admit that I find the DC Comic shows airing on CW to be interesting and gritty (Flash and Arrow).
I never gave Person of Interest a real chance. I’m not a fan of CBS as it seems most of their lineup is comprised of police procedurals that can’t hold my interest. That being said the show does also have Michael Emerson, and he was amazing as Benjamin Linus in LOST, so I may have to revisit my position on that.
I hope you enjoy THE GIFTED, it has some really riveting moral conflict laced throughout the season.
I avoided All in the Family even when I was trying to watch some of the notable TV from before my time, and I have heard enough comedic bits about Archie to know I am wise in that decision. I wince at unchecked bigotry in real life, and it is much worse when coupled with a laugh track.
I also took a peek and became a follower of “Rationations Out of Thin Air” and I really dig the title and the concept. I enjoyed the writing style and the story about the Eagle and the Fox, and making fun of Fox News is always a winner in my book. I look forward to continue to read more.
Stay well my friend!
Good hearing from you!
I only mentioned Archie Bunker to bring up the fact that white, allegedly Christian, rightwing bigotry has been with us fro a long time. It’s not something that Trump caused. He’s a symptom.
Decades ago, long before Al Gore secured the passage of the High Performance Computing and Communications Act in 1991, getting information about what folks outside the US thought about folks inside the US was not an easy task. I still remember the first time I read a British writer noting that the inability to recognize irony seemed to be an American trait, especially among the conservatives.
So it was that millions of righties watched AL IN THE FAMILY and thought Archie smart and Michael an idiot, getting neither the irony nor the sarcasm. Trump seems at times cut from the same cloth as Archie, and he’s getting the same response from the righties.
Saw the first season of THE EXPANSE and have decided to wait until it runs its course and then get all the seasons and bingewatch!
Glad you got over to my main site. If you read something, please leave a comment.
Keep on keepin’ on!
PS: Have you considered adding an option to your comments section so readers can tick a FOLLOW box and receive email notices from your site alerting them to your responses to their comments . . .
I am JUST old enough to remember the world without the internet, I came of age during the dial up era with a state of the art Packard Bell computer with built in 14.4 modem for years I didn’t know there were websites outside of aol.com.
Bigotry has been around since the beginning of time and just keeps cycling through all forms of creative content. If it wasn’t Archie Bunker, it would have been someone else. Because we are a nation of idiots, even if they are in the minority, they are loud and proud. And Trump is a product of that as much as Reagan was.
As a lifelong liberal, and former political consultant, I will still never understand it. Here in Missouri our asshat (now former) Governor just had to resign amid so many scandals you would need an excel spreadsheet to keep up with them all.
There is a line from Fahrenheit 451 “We did this to ourselves, we asked for this,” that essentially applies to our current climate. The problem with liberals is that we spend so much time proving we are the smartest people in the room, the fact that we want to do good gets lost in that message. I’m hoping 2018 gives us an opportunity to reverse that.
And we still don’t get irony, it’s too subtle for our brash culture. Half of us confuse it with coincidence, the other half with sarcasm.
Your approach to The Expanse is a good one. One thing I love about all the streaming services now is the ability to binge. The ability to get lost in someone else’s world from start to finish, as we do with books. My next SyFy binge will probably be Lost in Space. I’ve heard that it’s good, and my mother and I used to watch the reruns when I was a kid. It’s one of my fondest memories with her (she passed about 6 years back) so it will have some nostalgia benefit as well.
I didn’t know you could create that setting regarding comments notifications. I will definitely do that. I’m still learning my way around WP (and am going to upgrade the plan soon). In fact, outside of a couple friends of mine you are the first to comment, and the first I have replied to. Thanks for the tip!
And I definitely plan to keep dropping comments in on our site shortly.
Stay well my friend!
“We did this to ourselves, we asked for this!” should be our new American motto—except the people who actually did do this by voting for Rep*blicans over and over don’t get that this is there motto. As someone once famous once said, “So it goes.”
Regarding your comments section: you’ll need to do that with a plugin. Are you using Jetpack?
I’ve always been a big Vonnegut fan (So it goes) and fear that most dystopic lit is just prophecy in disguise. The problem with most Rs is that they don’t see that they are voting against their own interest.
I don’t have jetpack yet, I’ll need to upgrade the site (which is on my list of things to do) so that I can install it. Sorry for my delayed response, I spent my week putting my shoulder into a podcast that is set to launch (actually it’s already up on itunes and google play, with stitcher and spotify next) and am going to start promoting.
I am still alive—howzabout you?
Been doing too many things at once and forget things. Of course, getting old isn’t helping.
Anti-dystopic literature recommendation: ECOTOPIA by Ernst Callenbach.
I’d love to do a podcast. How went yours?
We are in a 10-day heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest: 90+ every day. Things here aren’t built for that kind of heat …
yada yoda blah blah blah.
PS” You should add a plugin that allows people to tick a box and be notified by email of responses to their comments. It’s easy …