Pick one dramatic television series that is in the pantheon of all-time great shows and ask yourself which one of them had their reputation staked to the finale of Season 2.
Here’s a little help: none of them.
And that’s what’s so troubling going into the Season 2 finale of Showtime's Homeland. Last season’s most taut, audacious new offering topped many Year End lists and ended up dominating the Emmys for that effort this year. But Season 2 has been quite a different story. In a column I wrote nearly a month ago on the troubling red flags of this series, my chief worry was in the DNA of the executive producers, who oversaw 24 and were at the helm when that went from great to not very good to laughable at lightning speed.
On Wednesday, I wrote about the cruelest cuts and the seasonal trimming of old shows as you add new ones -- and then the additional piano-wiring of new shows that you momentarily liked suddenly turning sour. It’s kind of a here-we-are-now-entertain-us thing with the stark addendum of “or we’ll kill you.”
If you prefer less violent terms: “delete you from my DVR.”
It’s that time, people. (Quietly slips black hood over head.) Every new television season brings more and more shows to prance in front of your eyes or sit like little presents on your DVR. But even the most devoted television viewer has limits. There is a capacity to what can be watched. There are time issues -- because time is the most precious commodity in the lives of most viewers. So every year, it’s necessary to swing the ax and get rid of the dead wood.
This column contains spoilers about Breaking Bad and Mad Men.
If you’re online at all, perusing television sites or participating vociferously on Twitter, nitpicking the beautiful elements of truly great series, then you are part of a phenomenon that few people saw coming.
You are the people who make the pursuit of brilliance more daunting than it already is.
It would be wrong to say that Jimmy Kimmel’s moment has arrived. That happened when ABC trusted him to host his own late-night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, in the first place. It happened again when millions of people woke up to his talents when then-girlfriend Sarah Silverman’s song, “I’m F---ing Matt Damon,” went viral and Kimmel’s retort, “I’m F---ing Ben Affleck,” topped it.
As the Television Critics Association press tour winds down -- Friday is the last day -- one mostly exciting but partly troublesome theme has been unavoidable.
There’s a lot of original scripted content looking to get noticed. And the vast volume of it, growing aggressively the past few years, is making it harder for cable channels to stand out and find an audience.
Not every network or cable channel that comes before the nation’s television critics and writers ends up having the day go swell. We are an odd collection of interests, capable of nitpicking the life out of you or simply demanding that you not forget your failures, which we had to endure. And plenty more people in the room aren’t even a part of the Television Critics Association, so God knows what they’ll say.
For its part, Fox had a day to remember on Monday.
These are good times for PBS. On Saturday night, the public broadcaster had a rousing session at the Television Critics Association summer press tour by letting the Downton Abbey cast -- with new addition Shirley MacLaine -- riff on questions offered up by critics who devoured the responses in what was one of the most entertaining panels so far.
What a clever little plan Emmy voters had. They are in a no-win situation because one of the ongoing stories every year involves “snubs” – meaning, hey idiots, you got it wrong again -- so in a diabolically weird move, they opted for the shotgun approach.
Welcome to The Fab Five version of The Power Rankings!, for the week ending June 10. We're getting to that uncomfortable and awkward point of this year-round season where there's still a handful of truly great series out there but not enough to make a very long list. On the one hand, that makes it easier to separate brilliance from enjoyable mediocrity. On the other, it begins to look a little like giving out awards to five really nice kids who participate in a sack race.
This is a Spoiled Bastard. It contains spoilers. That’s the point. If you haven’t watched the episode, please come back when you have.
There are two moments in the fifth-season finale of Mad Men that seem particularly important and yet don’t call attention to themselves as many others have done this season (and many others did in the finale as well).