First, some thoughts I was having the other day. Television received the well-placed ire of the educated for some time. At best, it was a guilty pleasure people used to unwind in small doses, as well as the most convenient way to watch sports. At worst, it was a time sucking hole into which people through their hopes of a better life. The chance of seeing a well told story on tv was so slim for most of its history. There were certainly flashes of brilliance, like Seinfeld and The West Wing. There were shows that were too good to stay on the air, like Arrested Development and Firefly. And there was HBO, which has always been head and shoulders above anything else as far as original programming is concerned. Yet, for the last decade or so, things have been changing. People are trying to create truly great content for television, to the point that now television has become an artistically viable medium. What the what?
This point was really hammered home for me when I realized that so many legitimate and well respected actors are moving to television, and not just television, but network television. Television used to be an elephant graveyard, where once great -or at least, once popular- talents went to die. Gena Davis and Christian Slater tried to make the network tv thing work towards the end, and when even that didn’t work it was clear they were finished forever. Then the talent pool started improving, with Alec Baldwin heading to 30 Rock. He hadn’t had a hit movie in some time, so it was certainly in his best interest to become a big fish in the small network pond, but the man is a fantastic comedic actor, and he is one of the few parts that 30 Rock simply wouldn’t work without. His success there seems to have at least something to do with more actors making the move to the small screen.
Still, Ken Jeong heading to Community as a permanent cast member right around the time his star was rising its fastest? Zooey Deschanel taking her own sitcom? Will Ferrell volunteering to do a short stint on The Office? Maria Bello doing a procedural cop show? Christina Ricci joining Pan Am? Amber Heard on The Playboy Club? Adam Scott joining the cast of Parks and Rec right around the time in his career that most actors are leaving TV behind to seem more legitimate? Something is different. Actors would always head over to TV for a guest appearance to win an Emmy or two, show up on Law & Order or Friends for an ep. to collect some awards and acclaim and move on, but now actors are attaching to shows permanently. TV doesn’t have the stigma it once had.
Anyway, I’m not going anywhere with that. I should, but my brain isn’t working too well these days.
I just figured I would share that before heading into the five shows I’m most excited to see back this fall.
It’s possibly my favorite comedy on television. I can’t wait to see what sorts of homages and references this season brings! We already got Abed calling their fake version of Doctor Who the greatest show he’s ever seen. Also, taking an already amazing show and adding John Goodman and Omar (I really hope they have him whistle “A Hunting We Will Go/The Farmer in the Dell” at some point this season) from The Wire. Ummm, yes please.
2. Parks and Rec
A show that just keeps getting better as it ages. Just the first few minutes of Ron Swanson in this year’s season opener was funnier than most shows are in their entire existence. On with season four!
3. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
So far, Fat Mac has been just as hilarious as I’d hoped he would be. The first episode was better than any from last year, as was episode dos. Looks like Sunny is back up to their old standard. Hallelujah.
4. 30 Rock
Another season that’s sure to have me Lizzing (laughing till I whiz) and Jacking (jumping up and down in excitement until I yack) all year.
I know, I know. I just can’t help myself, I’m in love with the cast and characters of this show.