Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Look Back at 2008 – Television

When I was growing up, the TV was always on. From the time I got up in the morning till the time I went to bed, sound and pictures emanated from that glowing, 20 inch screen. I knew what time it was based on what show was playing. The only exception was on the weekend. This was the olden days, before cable, VCRs and DVDs... the days of three networks, a local station, and PBS. Saturday afternoons and most of Sunday were TV wastelands, and during those times, I played records. Remember those?

Today, we have so many more options when it comes to the television. But no matter how many channels you have to choose from, there's always a time when someone in the house will say "There's nothing good on TV!"

So here's what I think about 2008:

Favorite New Series That's About to be Cancelled: Eli Stone
This series about a lawyer who has visions from God in the form of song and dance numbers (many of them from George Michael) is quirky, touching, thoughtful, and funny. The entire cast is great, but a personal favorite is Victor Garber. Any show that gives him the opportunity to display his musical chops is okay by me. Unfortunately, ABC doesn't share my enthusiasm. Although it hasn't been officially cancelled yet, things don't look good. Shoot!

Returning Series I'm Most Excited About: LOST
Thanks to the network's nasty habit of pulling a series after one or two episodes, I watch very few new ones until I'm sure they'll be around for awhile. But LOST sucked me in from episode one. A great cast, the mythology of the island, flashbacks and flash forwards (which drive my hubby NUTS), Sawyer constantly misplacing his shirt... I love it all. Can't wait to find out what's going on with our poor, tortured castaways!

The Other Returning Series I'm Excited About: 24
Poor Jack! Killers, terrorists, crazy girlfriends, an accident prone daughter, chemical warfare, an evil president, double agents... none of that was able to stop him. It took the writers' strike to keep Jack Bauer off our TV radar for a whole year! But Jack's back, and judging from the two-hour movie last month, we're in for another wild ride. Bring it on!

Reruns I'm Most Surprised That I Like: King of the Hill and That 70s Show
My son started watching these shows on one of our local stations. At first, I listened with one ear for the sake of "monitoring" but then, something strange happened. I started to laugh. I started to watch. I started to watch the clock and call out "Hey, it's time for our shows!" Even though there are some PG-13 moments, both of these shows have loving (though dysfunctional) families at the core. And they provide lots of opportunities for my son and I to talk about issues that might not come up otherwise. A fun, pleasant surprise.

Thing I'm Most Surprised to be Entertained By: Reality Shows
I used to say that I didn't like reality shows, but then I thought about some of the shows I watch: Survivor, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With The Stars. Huh, guess I do like reality shows.

I could go on and on, but I'll stop here. Thanks for playing along!