The TV List 12.01.12: Top 10 Most Anticipated Shows of Spring
Welcome back to The TV List – I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I got to head home to Austin, Texas and eat good food with family and friends and play with my dogs, so it was a good break from struggling to get my foot in the door of the tight-knit, closed-off TV industry in Hollywood, California. But now I’m back, and to keep my writing muscle toned, I have a column today that embodies what the end of the year should be all about – looking to the future (and the holidays, but I’ll save that for another week).
This week’s topic is about the top 10 shows I’m looking forward to in the spring (we’ll go by scholastic terms and call that January to late May). There are a lot of great shows returning, so I’m dying to see where they go next.
Can’t find a preview of the show, so here’s some of Jim Jefferies’ stand-up comedy! (NSFW)
I put this down not knowing very much about it, but it’s a comedy by a comedian, to air on FX – something that has a good track record. Louie is a bona fide success story (although I’m not comparing Jim Jefferies to Louis C.K. at all – they have very different styles), but more importantly, I watch every narrative show on FX besides Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management and Unsupervised (although seeing that it’s by David Hornsby a.k.a. Rickety Cricket on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, I’m going to check it out). Legit is a show about a guy TRYING to go legit in life but failing – almost reminiscent in concept to one of the best comedies of all-time, the Canadian classic Trailer Park Boys.
Mr. D (CBC)size=6>
Speaking of Canadian comedies, Mr. D is a little hidden gem I found starring Gerry Dee – a well-known comedian from up North. The first season last year quickly got comfortable with itself and everything clicked. It’s about a delusional school teacher who finds himself a lot cooler than he really is, and the kids don’t buy it. He also uses past mediocrity at sports to justify being the school’s women’s basketball coach – which he’s also not very good at. Playing the principal is Jonathan Torrens, a familiar face from Trailer Park Boys as wannabe rapper J-Roc. If you can find Mr. D, it’s great for a laugh so I highly recommend it – season 2 is supposed to start airing in January.
House of Lies (Showtime)size=6>
I think this show polarized many viewers because they expected comedy and got a lot more drama than they wanted. It’s also doesn’t represent women well, but the story is what hooked me. Marty Kaan’s arc of his career and personal life falling apart around him was captivating, largely due to Don Cheadle’s extraordinary performance. It’s also one of the best-shot comedies I’ve seen in some time, so aesthetically and directorially I’m a huge fan of the show. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m personally excited for the show’s return in January.
30 Rock/The Office (NBC)size=6>
I’m cheating a little bit here, because I’m trying to do shows that aren’t full-year seasons and thus already into their seasons. However, these are two of NBC’s modern classics and will forever be remembered and – most notably – are coming to an end. 30 Rock finishes in January while The Office has a full season and finishes presumably in May. Parks & Recreation can also be lumped in with these two because it’s arguably the funniest of the three shows and is always on the fence about renewal, and I don’t think this season will be any different – but I’m only doing 30 Rock and The Office because they’ve officially announced their endings. After seven years, 30 Rock will be finishing its run as a show with one of the wackiest mixes of characters in TV history while The Office revolutionized the American sitcom genre with the (now-tired) documentary style (it also had one of the best modern romance stories with Jim and Pam). These shows will be missed, but I won’t deny that it’s their time to go.
The behind-the-scenes drama of Community will hopefully fade back into appreciation of the show when it comes back. Between fighting for a new season every year, the firing of the show’s creator Dan Harmon, and the recent announcement of Chevy Chase’s departure from the show, there’s no wonder that this program is associated with turmoil. However, I have come to love the characters and the world of this show, as I’ve been watching every week since early in its first season. It took a while to win me over, but as soon as they did the Goodfellas parody with their chicken fingers episode, I was hooked. This show has perfected the art of parody, homage, and imitation which is a large part of why season 2 of the series is what I consider to be one of funniest seasons of any comedy in history. That being said, the show can definitely be a little pretentious, although the strong characters usually dispel that feeling for me. It also has arguably the funniest supporting character on TV in Dean Pelton, hilariously portrayed by Jim Rash. I fully expect season 4 to be the show’s last given all the turmoil. The real shame of it all, is that all I wanted from the onset were four full-length seasons, because that’s what logically mimics the collegiate track. We got four seasons, but the final is abbreviated and without the showrunner who started it all. It’s sad, but as a diehard fan of the show, I’ll take what I can get.
Game of Thrones (HBO)size=6>
Has there ever been a more ambitiously cinematic show in the history of TV? I don’t know if there’s any show out there that looks better than HBO’s adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire”, Game of Thrones. This show absolutely fascinates me with the gigantic scale in which it does everything. The world for the show is huge and very distinct, but what really impresses me is the multitude of well-developed characters. There are so many sides vying for power, and we know everything about all of them to where it’s very hard to paint who’s good and who’s bad (although there are obvious exceptions to this rule). There were a lot of great stories set in motion in the first two seasons, so I’m champing at the bit to see where the show goes from there, but I don’t want to read the books until after the full series has concluded.
I just went through Justified over the summer and fell in love with it – something that was an uphill battle for the show because of my general apathy for all things country. Raylan Givens is one of my favorite characters on TV though, and it’s his badass attitude that propels him into being “one man against crime” in his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky. This show started with one of the coolest intro scenes to a series/character, and it rarely stops going from there. The character foil for Raylan, Boyd Crowder, is also one of the wildest antagonist I’ve seen, but he’s magnetic – as a viewer, you hope for his well-being and longevity because you don’t want him off your screen anytime soon. I don’t know what season 4 has in store for us, because I avoid trailers and spoilers at all costs (I didn’t even watch the video I attached above), but I know that I’m absolutely pumped to get my first chance at watching this show as it airs every week. If it’s anything like season 3, we’re in for a treat.
Much like Justified, BBC’s Luther is a show I haven’t actually been watching all that long, and the next one will be the first I’ve gotten to watch as it airs. There isn’t an official release date set for this spectacular cop show, but the show’s Wikipedia page states that season 3 will begin in late 2012 or early 2013, so I feel that’s enough to place it on this list. The series stars Idris Elba (Stringer Bell from The Wire) as a cop who’s constantly fighting the “corrupt” label because he goes off-book to do what’s right. The premise is nothing new but the delivery and execution are nothing short of spectacular. The character is probably one of my favorite leads in a show and I’m constantly reminded of Dexter with Elba’s charisma. There have been rumors that Elba may get the opportunity to play the next James Bond (despite Craig being signed on for more). If this show is anything to go off of, Elba as Bond would be incredible.
Archer is hands down the funniest show on television. The density of jokes is unrivaled – almost every single line has something in it that can make you laugh. The men behind the show – Adam Reed and Matt Thompson – created Sealab 2021 and Frisky Dingo before going on to make this comedic masterpiece. I may sound like I’m overselling the show, but it’s just that impressive to me. The timing and the dialogue is perfect, the cast members are all distinctly hilarious, and the only thing I dislike about the show is that we only get thirteen episodes a year. Having just completed watching all the James Bond movies, I feel like I’ll gain an even deeper appreciation of this spy parody show when it returns early next year.
Arrested Development (Netflix)size=6>
While I’m most anticipating this show more than any other this spring, I have extreme reservations about the quality. The episode format (from what I understand) will follow individual characters instead of giving us that full family dynamic that we all came to know at love. I also think that this show is burdened by expectations that it can’t possibly live up to. It’s a lot like Futurama in that sense, even though I personally love the newer seasons of that show as much as the originals. But I still can’t help but feel a nostalgic longing for the Bluth family, and I trust in the show because of just how well done it really was in its original run. The attention to detail and the smallest of callbacks were brilliant, arguably unrivaled – I just hope that the writers and producers know what they have to bring to the table to make their fans happy (I’m a little more forgiving than the general viewing public).
And that’s that. Please join me again next week – I’m cranking through sketch shows, and really only have Peep Show and Monty Python’s Flying Circus to make an incredibly well-informed all-time top ten list on the genre. It likely won’t happen until early 2013, but know that my list-making process is very objective on most topics (unless “favorite” is in the title). Until then, take care!
Shows of which I have seen every episode (including shows still on the air):
Da Ali G Show; American Dad!; American Horror Story; Andy Barker, P.I.; Andy Richter Controls the Universe; Angry Boys; Aqua Teen Hunger Force (including name changes); Archer; Arrested Development; The Batman; Batman Beyond; Batman: The Animated Series; Beast Wars; Better Off Ted; The Big Bang Theory; Big Bite; Black Mirror; Bob’s Burgers; The Boondocks; Bored to Death; Boss; Breaking Bad; Brickleberry; Bunk; Burning Love; Childrens Hospital; China, IL; Clerks: The Animated Series; The Cleveland Show; Clone High; Comedy Bang! Bang!; Community; Conan (on TBS); The Critic; Curb Your Enthusiasm; Delocated; Dexter; The Drunk & On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour; Eagleheart; Eastbound & Down; Ed; Entourage; Episodes; Family Guy; Firefly; Flight of the Conchords; Franklin & Bash; Freaks & Geeks; Friends; Frisky Dingo; Futurama; Game of Thrones; Go On; Happy Endings; Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law; Homeland; House of Lies; How I Met Your Mother; Human Giant; Hung; The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret; The IT Crowd; It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia; Jackass; Jon Benjamin Has a Van; Justified; Key & Peele; Kid Notorious; The King of Queens; The League; Louie; Lucky Louie; Luther; The Middle; The Mitchell & Webb Situation; Modern Family; Monk; Mr. D; Mr. Show with Bob & David; My Name Is Earl; NTSF:SD:SUV::; The Office (UK); The Office (US); Parks & Recreation; Party Down, Portlandia; Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings; Scrubs; Sealab 2021; Seinfeld; Sherlock; The Simpsons; Sons of Tucson; South Park; Spiderman: The Animated Series; Sports Show with Norm MacDonald; Star Wars: Clone Wars; The State; Summer Heights High; Superjail!; Tenacious D; That ‘80s Show; Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!; Titus; Tosh.0; Trailer Park Boys; Twin Peaks; Ugly Americans; Undeclared; Up All Night; Upright Citizens Brigade; The Venture Bros.; Viva La Bam; The Walking Dead; We Can Be Heroes; The Whitest Kids U’ Know; Wildboyz; Wilfred; Workaholics; 30 Rock
Shows I’m currently watching:
Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes; Cheers; Chuck; Dinosaurs; Mad Men; Malcolm in the Middle; Manimal; The Mighty Boosh; Monty Python’s Flying Circus; Most Extreme Elimination Challenge; The Powerpuff Girls; Psych; Rescue Me; Robot Chicken; Samurai Jack; Shameless (US); Sons of Anarchy; That ‘70s Show; Tiny Toon Adventures; Trigger Happy TV; The Wire
Shows on my radar, but haven’t yet started
All in the Family; American Gothic; Animaniacs; Battlestar Galactica; Becker; Boardwalk Empire; Boston Legal; Boston Public; Boy Meets World; Californication; Castle; Chappelle’s Show; Covert Affairs; Criminal Minds; Dallas; Death Note; Doogie Howser, M.D.; Downton Abbey; Dr. Who; The Drew Carey Show; Everybody Loves Raymond; Farscape; Frasier; The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; Fringe; Gargoyles; Girls; The Good Wife; Greg the Bunny; Happy Days; Haven; Home Improvement; Home Movies; Homicide: Life on the Streets; House; In Living Color; The Jeffersons; Just Shoot Me!; The Kids in the Hall; King of the Hill; Legit; Lie to Me; The Life & Times of Tim; Lost; M*A*S*H; Metalocalypse; NewsRadio; Northern Exposure; Oz; Peep Show; Person of Interest; Pinky & The Brain; The PJs; Reaper; Reno 911!; Roots; The Shield; Six Feet Under; The Sopranos; Spin City; Sports Night; Stella; Suits; Taxi; That Mitchell & Webb Look; The Tick; The Twilight Zone; Unsupervised; Weeds; The West Wing; White Collar; Will & Grace; The X-Files; 24; 3rd Rock from the Sun; 8 Simple Rules
Thanks again for reading – feel free to voice your agreements or disagreements below!