2007 Reviews

Band of Brothers
Battlestar Galactica – 3
Brothers & Sisters – 1
Bones – 1
Caroline in the City – 1
Criminal Minds – 1, 2
CSI – 6,
CSI NY – 3
Deadwood – 1,2,3
Doctor Who – DT 2
Due South – 1,2
Friday Night Lights – 1
Grey’s Anatomy – 3
Heroes – 1
Hotel Babylon – 1
House – 3
Hustle – 1, 2, 3
Long Way Round
Long Way Down
NCIS – 4
Party of Five – 1
Primeval – 1
Sports Night – 1, 2
Stargate Atlantis – 3
Stargate SG1 – 10
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip – 1
The State Within
Top Gear – 9, 10
Torchwood – 1
Veronica Mars – 3
Weeds – 1

As usual, some of these I watched half of in 2006, but for most of those in exchange I’ve watched half of the subsequent season as well. It’s possible that I’ve actually seen entire seasons of some of those thanks to the Writers’ Strike possibly halving the length of US seasons.

I’m not counting re-watches of recent shows as I haven’t really tracked them. They include West Wing (4,5,6 and 7), Angel (2), most of Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Heroes, old episodes of Top Gear. I’ve also watched the first half of Lost season 3 but gave up, a few episodes of Without a Trace which was desperately dull and the few episodes of Drive that actually aired before the inevitable cancellation

By the Numbers
(Large number of hours of viewing which I’m not calculating ‘cos it scares me)

  • 39 seasons
  • 30 different series
  • 20 2007 seasons
  • 19 dvd box sets purchased (plus a few others of older shows that don’t make that list)
  • 19 series which will have new episodes in 2008 (writers strike allowing)
  • 9 British Series
  • 7 scifi shows
  • 6 crime solving shows (should Hustle be counted? it’s not exactly about ‘solving’ the crimes)
  • 4 Canadian shows (counting 2 Stargates, Due South and Battlestar)
  • 4 ~miniseries – Band of Brothers, State Within and 2x Long Way Somewhere
  • 3 documentaries (if you count Top Gear)

New Kids on the Block
Brothers and Sisters is a bit of a guilty pleasure, from the same genre of drama/comedy as Desperate Housewives and I love it.
Friday Night Lights sounds awful on paper, a show about high school football in Texas, but thanks to an amazing cast and a creative and fluid style it’s been a hit with the critics and a hot contender for my show of the year.
Heroes – the sort of show cynical me would never expect to last more than 6 episodes, let alone be a popular success. Smart, exciting, creative and fascinating.
Studio 60 – huge potential, moments of brilliance, not as bad as many made out, but apparently fatally flawed nevertheless.

How Did I Miss This?
Criminal Minds is an interesting addition to the many many procedural shows out there. A level of intelligence that is lacking in the newer CSIs.
Deadwood – I only arrived at the party after it had finished, but it was a very interesting and enjoyable series to watch, although I felt the third season got a little over complicated.
British TV doesn’t suck! From the slickness of Hustle, the polish of Hotel Babylon and the charm of Doctor Who through to the silly fun of Primeval and hilarity of Top Gear I watched more British TV last year than I did in the last 5 years combined!
Sports Night – to compensate for Sorkin’s disappointing new series, I finally hunted out one of his older ones which has all the sparks that would later develop into the genius of the West Wing.

Shark Jumping for Beginners
There’s a few shows that are showing alarming signs of heading south. Grey’s Anatomy and House both had some ill-advised subplots (Tritter and the relationship-that-shall-not-be-named). Battlestar’s 3rd season is remembered for its moments of genius, but had some stunningly mediocre filler scenes and episodes.
I gave up on Lost when I lost faith that the writers had the foggiest idea what they were doing. I intended to finish off season 3 until they killed off my favourite character and I couldn’t be bothered. I’ve half given up on Boston Legal as well, not for any particular reason, just because I’m not engaged enough to bother downloading or buying it.

Gone, but not forgotten
Stargate SG1 petered out of existence with the tedious Ori plot being left to resolve in a tv movie, the last season was looking a little tired by the end, but I’ll miss it all the same.
Veronica Mars was a cult favourite, but that was about it. I loved the cast and the dialogue, but the plots were pretty mediocre a lot of the time, particularly by season 3. I’m not that disappointed that I won’t be seeing the Veronica in the FBI spinoff as losing the supporting cast would have been a shame, but it’s frustrating the show was cancelled before being given a chance to reinvent itself (cf The West Wing).

Nostalgia Ain’t What it Used to Be
I was probably the only person at my school not to watch Party of Five, watching it now I can see that I probably would have liked it at the time, hopefully appreciating the fine acting and production, now however it’s too painfully 90s and melodramatic. On the flip side, Due South was another much talked about show at school and that has aged surprisingly well, at least the first season has, the second is a little ropey.

Nice Idea But…
Torchwood – oh dear. As my review said “messy, cheesy, hole-ridden, painful show that was unsuitable for kids, unappealing to adults and just completely wrong”. Hopefully the second season will be better.
Weeds is popular in the US and wins awards, but the plot of an ex-rich widow selling marijuana made me feel rather uncomfortable and unwilling to watch more than one season.

And the awards go to…
Best actor – Matthew Perry for Studio 60, totally un-Chandler, perfect delivery of Sorkin dialogue and a great chemistry with Bradley Whitford. Ian McShane in Deadwood was a close runner up, and I never thought I’d be nominating Lovejoy for anything.
Best supporting actor – the entire cast of Band of Brothers, TR Knight for the hugable George in Grey’s Anatomy, Masi Oka for the equally hugable but slightly scary at times Hiro in Heroes, Michael Weatherly does a great job as SA DiNozzo in NCIS as well.

Best actress – Sally Field edges out co-star Callista Flockhart on Brothers and Sisters. Mary Louise Parker is wonderful in the otherwise mediocre Weeds, but to be honest, there wasn’t much competition for this award. There’s a definite shortage of strong female led shows.
Best supporting actress – Robin Weigert as Calamity Jane in Deadwood, a bizarre character played perfectly. Chandra Wilson for the brilliant Dr Bailey on Grey’s Anatomy, 11 year old Lacey Chabert was amazing in Party of Five.

Best relationships – a three way tie, Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton as husband and wife in Friday Night Lights, Kristen Bell and Enrico Colantoni as father and daughter in Veronica Mars and Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford as dysfunctional partners in Studio 60. Close runners up – the guys from Top Gear and Casey and Dan on Sports Night.

“I only get 3 lines an episode but I really nail them” actors – Timothy Busfield as Cal in Studio 60, Wallace Langham and AJ Buckley as lab rats in CSI and CSI NY respectively. Tina Majorino for Mac in Veronica Mars. Robert Sean Leonard’s Wilson has been reduced to this category recently which is a real shame.

“Yay! They’re Back on TV” – David Boreanaz in Bones and Rob Lowe on Brothers and Sisters

Best show – Heroes season 1 edges past Battlestar Galactica and Friday Night Lights. It never put a foot wrong and was fascinating and fun from the first scene of the series to the last. I was honestly beginning to despair that a quirky genre show could succeed both critically and in the ratings.

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