Every year, TV networks try shoving an endless parade of new television shows down our throats. Usually, these new shows follow the same formula as the shows that were popular the year before. Sometimes it works (Parks and Recreation), and sometimes it doesn’t (Day Break). More often it doesn’t, so finding a new show that works on different levels and is able to suck you in is a rare and beautiful thing, akin to your wedding day or your first child being born. This year, two new TV shows grabbed our attention and win our awards, which really aren’t awards and are empty of any sort of meaning to anyone who doesn’t read this blog. In the category of drama, the award goes to Southland!
When we first heard about Southland, we said, “A show about cops! I’m sold!” But it was in a really ironic way so you know we didn’t mean it. Still, we checked it out and were very impressed. With great performances by lead actors Ben Mackenzie, Michael Cudlitz, and Regina King, along with realistic storylines that aren’t always wrapped up at the end of the hour, we see Southland as a successor to that other great cop drama, NYPD Blue. Thankfully TNT picked up the show after NBC completely dropped the ball and canceled it two weeks before the premiere of its second season. Hopefully it’ll catch on and do much better than The Closer, because somebody needs to put Kyra Sedgwick in her place. So, on to comedy. This year, the Working Title award for best new comedy series goes to Modern Family!
Any of the buzz you’ve heard about this show, it’s all true. While characters like Michael Scott and Liz Lemon can be funny because of how over-the-top zany they sometimes are, the characters on Modern Family are funny because how familiar they are to us. While some shows (Community comes to mind) struggle to find their identity, we think Modern Family has been pretty solid right out of the gate. Ratings have been pretty good and we think this one will be an easy greenlight for a second season.
Honorable mentions this year go to no one, because these two shows are far and away the best we’ve seen. New dramas such as FlashForward and V, and new comedies like The Cleveland Show and Cougar Town are still trying to find their footing. The dramas are trying too desperately to be the next Lost while completely forgetting what makes Lost such a great show, while the comedies feel like they’re either stuck telling the same joke, or are trying to be funny by going way over the top. We’re looking at you, Cleveland Brown. Sex jokes are a scalpel, not a club.
Stay tuned for the The Year End Review: Movies, as well as our mid-season write-ups on the shows we’ve been watching.