When you're a misanthropic divorced guy uninterested in remarriage or children, you watch a lot of television and read a lot of books. For those interested in learning more about the latter, I direct you to my 2011 'year in review' (http://scarylawyerguy.blogspot.com/2011/12/2011-year-in-review-books-i-read.html) and the random book reviews I have published during 2012 (or just wait until December, when the 2012 edition comes out). For those who want to know what programs I blankly stare at in my downtime (aside from Mad Men), herewith is my 2011-12 TV year in review:
Once Upon A Time: I watched it for the LOST mythology …sweeeeear. Seriously, I did. I had no fucking clue who half the "fairy tale" characters were, lost the thread of that world even as the "real" world of Storybrooke bored me to tears, and yet, I watched it, because the show runners were writers on LOST, Jennifer Morrison tended to wear tight clothing and I'm obviously a sucker for "central mystery/serial" dramas that go nowhere. And boy howdy did OUAT not disappoint on that front (spoiler alert) - after a season of trying to bring the beings of Storybrooke into a state of "awareness" that they were in fact people who came from a fairy tale world where people wore weird clothes and a décolletage flashing Queen basically ran the show, said awareness occurred and all was good, for all of 2 minutes, until the guy with the bad teeth basically triggered a new spell so we could do the same thing all over again in Season 2. Thanks.
Don't Trust The Bitch In Apartment 23: Speaking of tight clothing …. I'd watch Krysten Ritter read the phone book and have been a fan since she played Jesse's girlfriend on Breaking Bad. I want to like this show because I like assertive and sassy women, but I usually half watch* it (* = one eye on Twitter, one eye on TV) because the plot lines are not that interesting. James VanDerBeek is supposed to be subversive because he's playing himself and the roommate that gets tormented by the aforementioned "bitch" did nothing for me. I know, it was a mid-season program and maybe with a full season (or even 13 episode?) run, the writers will have better character development, but it felt kind of one note to me.
Breaking Bad: Next to Mad Men, my favorite show on TV and due its own blogpost as Season 5 gets underway next month. Stay tuned.
The Killing: I wanted to like this show. In fact, I liked most of the first season and even kind of dug the season finale swerve of Holder being in cahoots with the people who set up Councilman Richmond, but Season 2 has been disappointing to the point that I just want them to get the mystery solved so I can bail. Seriously, solve the fucking case. I did think taking poor Darren's manhood away was … ahem .. a low blow.
Person of Interest: See, I told you I am a sucker for LOST knock offs (this one had the former "Benjamin Linus" as a character). Watched two episodes, hated it and turned it off. Kinda wished I'd done the same thing with OUAT.
Alcatraz: No, really, I TOLD YOU I am a sucker for LOST knock offs (this one had the former "Hugo Hurley" as a character). I did a long form blog on Alcatraz before it got canceled and can't say I'm sorry to see it go. The show had an interesting premise, but the acting was horrible, the "big secret" was ridiculous and everyone but me hated the female lead (who was killed in the season finale). Farewell, Alcatraz.
House, M.D.: On the other hand, for 8 seasons, I loved loved loved House, in all his bitter-jaded- pill popping-suffering no fools-driving-a-car-through-Cuddy's-window glory. While the show's creative peak was Season 4, any House episode was more entertaining than most anything else on television. Things I liked about the final season: the two new fellows, the story arc for Chase (SPOILER ALERT: he ends up taking over the Diagnostics Department), the episode where House pays a kid to pretend to be Wilson's kid. Things I did not like about the final season: any scene with Foreman in it - HATED that character all 8 seasons, Wilson's out of nowhere terminal cancer diagnosis, Taub's general weenie-ness.
New Girl: Yes, I know, it was the twee, emo-friendly hit of the season, but after a few fits and starts (where I debated jumping ship), I think the show found the right balance of quirky and clever, at least most of the time. It has a Community feel with an indie vibe and a little more potty humor. I'm not gushing over this one, but it is definitely an every week viewing for me.
Best Friends Forever: Loved this show but it got canceled after 4 episodes. Probably too clever and subtle for the overlords at Comcast-NBC, but the writing was fresh and the characters were interesting. Hate to see little shows like this not make it.
Community: Speaking of little shows, this one DID make it through 3 sometimes challenging seasons of choppy scheduling, but I've been with it from day one, when it was a fairly straight forward Friends-esque show that was going to revolve around the sexual tension between Jeff and Britta to what it evolved into, a pop culture dropping trip-fest that had a unique vision thanks to its creator, Dan Harmon. Harmon's departure, 13 episode pick up and slot move to the Bermuda Triangle of broadcasting (a/k/a Friday night), does not bode well for Season 4, but the Season 3 finale provided satisfying closure even if next season ends up feeling like an afterthought.
Free Agents: This one lasted 3 episodes (?) and apparently Hank Azaria's divorced guy gets laid a lot more than this divorced guy, so fuck him. Also, the female lead had a drinking problem. I could have just stayed married if I wanted to deal with a sloppy drunk.
Smash: <Bowing my head in shame>. Yes, I watched the train wreck, No, I could not turn away. Why, I do not know. Among the least believable plot lines were the 40something bartender who fucked Anjelica Huston (who appeared to be mummified), that Dev would turn down the sweet sweet love of his Hindi co-worker for weeks on end but hop in the sack with Ivy without a second thought, that a tall B cup would even be considered to play Marilyn Monroe, and that there could be a more sissified husband than Debra Messing's cuckolded pussy boy. I've read that the cast has been pruned for Season 2, including the execrable assistant Hollis, the aforementioned husband and the guy who Messing fucked around with. Good riddance, but I don't think I'll be getting back on the bus. Sorry, I have to retain some measure of my TV viewing dignity.
Whitney: As a Howard Stern fan, I was aware of the comic stylings of Whitney Cummings before she broke big with her eponymous show (and 2 Broke Girls). So I was all ready to ignore the shove-it-down-your-throat promotion and like this show and I fucking hated it. The early episodes I saw were just not funny and the relationship with the live-in boyfriend was totally unbelievable. The supporting cast was predictable and the plot lines felt recycled from comedies of yore. I have no idea if the show got any better as the season wore on, but I won't be rejoining it, regardless.
Burn Notice: Sorry, Michael, Fiona and Sam, I'm breaking up with you. Five seasons was enough. I'm out.
Fairly Legal: What started as cheeky, escapist TV with a plucky heroine who was likable (Season 1) morphed into a self-serious borefest (Season 2). The addition of the "smarmy" male love interest for Kate was subtraction by addition and less Leo and more of the bitchy step mom were also negatives. But more importantly, the show turned Kate into a self-righteous do gooder trying to save/help every little guy she encountered. You're a mediator, Kate, not Mother Fucking Theresa. Stopped watching midway through Season 2.