Looking back: miscellaneous

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Another season come and gone, and I’ve been taking a look at some of the peaks and valleys of this memorable year for television.  This will be the final post along these lines, featuring four shows that didn’t quite fit into categories like sci-fi or NBC comedies (although this does contain an ex-NBC comedy).  Reviews coming up after the jump.

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Scrubs

The eighth season of Scrubs was supposed to be the final season featuring Zach Braff as a series regular, and potentially the final season ever.  Indeed, the finale was written as a series finale.  But the focus on JD leaving Sacred Heart meant that it wouldn’t feel too awkward when most of the other characters returned should a subsequent season be made.  And a subsequent season will indeed be made, although at press time there’s no word on who would be the main character, and only a little bit is known of who will be returning.  Still, how was the eight season of Scrubs on its own?  Well, pretty fantastic.  The show declined drastically in its sixth and seventh seasons, but creator Bill Lawrence and his writing staff were able to make a spectacular recovery with one of its funniest seasons ever.  Now here’s hoping it can stay this funny (even with Bill Lawrence working on a new series instead) next year.

8.8/10

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Chuck

I’ve been somewhat outspoken about my deep, deep love for Chuck, which has the distinction of being my favorite show on TV this season.  The first season of Chuck was very good, a little inconsistent, but an overall funny show with endearing characters.  It was cut short from the writer’s strike, and NBC opted to wait until this past fall to bring it back for year two.  And it seems that during their time off, the Chuck writers were able to figure out everything about their show that worked and that didn’t work, and amend it accordingly, finding a way to make what worked work even better.  When Chuck returned, it was shocking to see just how improved this show was.  It was by far the most consistent vessel of entertainment this season, without a single weak episode, a constant stream of magical adventure, excellent humor, incredible characters, and on occasion great drama.  I enjoyed nothing more from fall to spring, and I imagine you would have too if you were one of the few who watched it.

9.6/10

TV LOOKOUT

How I Met Your Mother

The fourth season of How I Met Your Mother was by far the series’ most successful in terms of ratings.  For the second and third seasons, there was a lot of concern over whether the show would come back the following year due to its mediocre numbers.  Luckily, CBS stuck with it, and its confidence paid off enormously, as this year there was no question over the show’s future.  As far as the actual quality of the show, well, HIMYM’s only great season is the second, and this one followed a similar pattern as last year.  It started with a string of episodes that were not up to par before picking up dramatically.  That said, the first part of this season was much better (and shorter) than the corresponding part from last season.  While episodes were uneven, they were more consistently funny.  And the show improved about the time they wrapped up the Stella arc, which turned out to be a stinker, so the majority of this season was fairly enjoyable.  (With a few duds here and there.)  Unfortunately, it only had one episode (“The Naked Man”) on par with season three’s “Ten Sessions,” “The Bracket,” or especially “How I Met Everyone Else,” but there were more good episodes than last season, plus it didn’t peter out a bit at the end like last year.  Overall, I’m satisfied, although I’m tired of the way they’re playing out the whole mother thing.  They either need to stop dragging their feet (which the finale would suggest they’re doing, although interviews suggest otherwise), or just ignore it until the end of the series.  Either option would be acceptable, but as we saw with the misbegotten Stella arc, the more they tease us the worse we are for it.

7.0/10

Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights

After the bungled second year, which was cut short by the writer’s strike (right as the season was really starting to improve), Friday Night Lights miraculously returned for a thirteen-episode season thanks to a deal cut with NBC and Direct TV that allowed episodes to air exclusively on Direct TV in the fall before being repeated on NBC earlier this year.  The show had a lot to come back from after last season (which was by no means bad, but after the terrific first season, how could most fans not be extremely disappointed?), and I’m glad to say that it did.  The characters were no longer lost in their own tiresome adventures and the writers wisely decided to move football back into the foreground.  Some say that the mark of a great Friday Night Lights episode is how often it makes your spine tingle (if you watch the show, you’ll know what I mean), and if that’s the case, this season soared.  Nearly everything involved in Smash and Jason Street’s respective sendoffs was brilliant, and every other story had its fair share of transcendent moments.  I am really pleased with this year, and I’m excited that it got picked up for not one, but two more seasons, as the finale set up a number of great possibilities for where the show can go.

8.1/10

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