The Long National Nightmare That Was Charlie Sheen’s Two and a Half Men Exit
It was almost one year ago that the head of CBS expressed “a high level of concern” over the hard-partying antics of its top-rated sitcom’s front man. A lot of words were then written as the Sheen sitch spiraled entirely out of control in the weeks following, ultimately leading to his ouster from the series. We wish not to add to that pile of prose much further, so let’s just say: “Don’t let it happen again.”
The Office‘s Delayed Executive Decision
Ed Helms and James Spader have held down the fort fine in the immediate wake of Steve Carell’s Season 7 send-off, but we cannot wait for the terrific Catherine Tate (Doctor Who) to join the mix as onetime office boss candidate Nellie Bertram. And yet… we’re still waiting?
The Doctor Is (Abruptly) Out
When House‘s titular diagnostician drove his sedan into Cuddy’s house in the Season 7 finale, it was crazy-slash-criminal, yes, but surely it’d fuel some explosive and emotional aftermath and scenes between the former lovers. Alas, we are still waiting to witness that, and can only hope that 2012 brings us one final and sure-to-be-deliciously awkward “Huddy” encounter.
ABC Soaps Clumsily Scrubbed
First there were rumors of a double-elimination from ABC’s daytime lineup; those were denied. Weeks later, ABC formally announced that both All My Children and One Life to Live were being scrubbed, but with enough lead time to plan fitting finales. Then, “white knight” Prospect Park offered the promise of ra escue from the ashes, so series finales were rejiggered as “Tune in tomorrow… online!” cliffhangers. But now that Prospect Park bailed on their plan, fans of both soaps will miss out on proper closure. Hopefully, even with Katie Couric’s daytime talker looming, General Hospital will manage a healthy 2012.
The Housewives‘ Buzz-Free Farewell Tour
Even though Desperate Housewives had the benefit of knowing in advance that this was its final season, and has promoted it heavily as such, it’s mustered about as much buzz as Brothers & Sisters‘ own-yet-unplanned grand finale. There’s still time for the Wisteria Lane gang to get the office watercooler bubbling yet again before the ABC sudser signs off in May.
The Killing Kills the Fun for Other Cable Drama Finales
We get it — nobody knows who killed Rosie Larsen. (Yet.) And that’s frustrating. But the true victim of The Killing may be every cable drama climax that has aired since then, seeing as they are now subject to heightened scrutiny. Fall a little bit short with your finale? “Har, you pulled a Killing!” is now the lazy retort. Few season-enders are entirely perfect; let’s stop pretending like they all had been prior to June 19.
Smallville Barely Suits Up
For 10 years, viewers wondered, again and again, “Will Tom Welling ever wear the Superman suit? And will Clark ever fly?” The answers, as delivered by the series finale, were YES and YES… though not quite together. Yes, we spied an itty bitty CGI’d Superman battle Apokolips, and the very final scene showed Welling unarguably sporting the “S” on his chest, but we never quite were treated to seeing the series star clad in the full costume, in flying mode. Call it a super-nitpick.
Teen moms who crack the whip with their tiara-wearing toddler kids in between exhuming themselves from hoarded piles of extremely collected coupons…. This isn’t “guilty pleasure TV,” it’s TV at someone else’s expense. And yet renewals and spin-offs proliferate. Those who endorse the exploitation (by producers and pageant parents) by lending such shows their eyeballs are as culpable as the mom lambasting 5-year-old Sallie Sue for blowing off Pilates.
Stumbling on the Runway
Simply said, Season 9 was pretty lackluster and at times, frankly, felt like it would never end. But you can’t fault a long-running reality show for failing to “make it work” now and again.
There were so many ways that ABC could have done this reboot right… and yet they got it entirely wrong. The casting of the Angels was largely off (seriously, pause for a minute to consider this alternate heavenly trinity), they went too green with their Demographically Desirable Bosley, and the tone was far too serious. Simply said, there was no joy being felt — or as Cheryl Ladd, one of the original series’ Angels put it for TVLine: “Not enough heart, too many explosions.”
The Endless Miracle Day
Too many new faces, too little Captain Jack/Gwen twosome time and a way-too-big plot resulted in a welcome, yes, yet grim and slogging Torchwood mission.
Community‘s MIA Status
Seriously, NBC? We’re still in Dean-ial.
Cougar Town‘s MIA Status
Seriously, ABC? Still?! There’ll be no corking this whine.
Chuck‘s First Last Episodes
Gotta confess, we were flashing on a pretty grim swan song as we screened the first two episodes of this fifth and final season. Fiddle around with the Intersect all you want, but don’t go making us hate (hard) on our favorite spy’s bestie. Fortunately, the introduction of Carrie-Ann Moss’ Verbanski, followed by a run of solid episodes including, most recently, the crowd-pleasing “Chuck vs. The Santa Suit,” turned our frowns upside-down and stopped us from shearing a certain someone’s frosted tips with a rusty razor.
Good Wife‘s Bad Time Slot
The good news is that the acclaimed CBS drama has missed nary a dramatic beat this season. The sad news is that Sunday NFL overruns made it one slippery running back to tackle, even via DVR. (Has CSI: Miami ever been saved to so many playlists?) Returning to good news: There’s only a couple such time-shifts left, then Alicia & Co. can regain their momentum.
Top Chef Loses Its Flavor
This reality competition promised “bigger and better” when it high-tailed it to Texas for Season 9, but the only things big are the egos, and the only thing better is… well, nothing. The cycle began with three American Idol-eqsue weeks of (boring) auditions, which resulted in a group of lackluster — and largely unlikeable — cheftestants. Even the traditionally fun and clever Quickfires and Elimination Challenges have fallen victim to reality TV’s overly-staged formula.
90210‘s Skimpy Storytelling
As one TVLine staffer succinctly put it: “There was so much buzz about the new showrunners and fresh stories to tell in college, but it’s turned into the ‘How little can we dress AnnaLynne McCord in?’ and ‘How many new characters can we not service?’ show.”
The Dexter Game-Changer That Didn’t
As easy as it would be to single out the contrived, cartoonish central serial killer mystery as the biggest disappointment of Dexter’s sixth season, the reality is the biggest bummer came in the final seconds of the finale when Deb at long last caught a glimpse of her brother’s Dark Passenger. The years-in-the-making-moment should’ve packed as big a punch as Rita’s death, but instead it landed with a spectacularly predictable thud. That the turning point got bundled into the ill-conceived Deb-has-romantic-feelings-for-Dex subplot only added insult to injury.
Supernatural‘s Seven-Season Itch
We hate to say it because we’ve been loyal fans from the start, but between the promising season opener and moving fall finale, there’s been a lot of meh. The brotherly angst and trust issues feel repetitive, and the meta we once enjoyed so much got downright uncomfortable (more laughing-at-you than laughing-with-you) with “Season 7, Time for a Wedding!” (That said, February’s “French Mistake” stands as one of the show’s best, funniest and mega-meta hours.)
Whitney‘s Lack of Crass
There have been worse stand-up comics turns actors, but Whitney Cummings oddly all but abandoned her raucous, sexy and sassy stage persona in making the leap to TV. Maybe the fictional Whit’s brassy BFF Roxanne is intended to be her on-screen surrogate, but we were expecting different when word first broke of the at-times caustic celebrity roast regular scoring an eponymous sitcom.
The Chicago Code. Men of a Certain Age. Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Eureka. United States of Tara. Brothers & Sisters. The Event. Lie to Me. The Nine Lives of Chloe King. V.