Another year has gone by and at this time of year, “Top 10” lists abound. Well, I do not profess to be a professional television critic, and so my lists are purely reflective of the shows that I have watched and loved over the 2012 season. In TV land, many new shows make it to air each year, but sadly many don’t survive. But for those shows that have and continue to be regular staples in our homes, we welcome you and look forward to many more seasons of goodness.
And so, here are some of my favorites for 2012. If you are interested in reading through some of my past TV reviews, you can find all the links to them on this site under “TV Reviews“.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@valshopaholic) and leave a comment below to share with me your favorites!
Favorite New Shows
Matthew Perry was always my favorite “friend” on the sitcom that made him famous and in the years since, he has made it clear he can master drama as well as comedy (remember his appearances in The West Wing and, more recently, The Good Wife?). Now Perry is back in the comedy world (does anyone remember Mr. Sunshine? Anyone?), playing radio sportscaster, Ryan King, who joins a community therapy group after the sudden death of his wife. The premise may be a little predictable – from Ryan’s original dismissal of group therapy as being ridiculous and full of crazy people to his growing fondness of those crazy people – but who doesn’t need a little bit of cray-cray in their lives to make them feel more “normal”? As with any story involving a death, I have to confess, the show brings the occasional tear to my eye as Ryan moves from denial to grief. The supporting cast is funny and quirky without being annoying, which makes a whole world of difference when it comes to whether a comedy works or not. I, for one, am glad that NBC have decided that the show will, indeed, go on.
As an avid fan of The West Wing, I was excited by the return of Aaron Sorkin to the small screen (after his award-winning effort on the big screen with The Social Network in 2011). Sorkin spent a couple of years researching life behind the making of news programs. With the trademark Sorkinesque rapid-fire dialog, we are introduced to Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), a respected TV anchor and editor of News Night as he suffers a very public breakdown. The Newsroom uses real-life news events of the past year as a backdrop to the stories covered on air by Will and his team, led by former flame, Mackenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) as his producer and Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) as his boss. Throughout the season, we have seen Will face death threats, get high and confront politicians as election time neared. The supporting cast is well deserving of every award just for being able to keep up with Sorkin’s dialog, with a special shout-out to Olivia Munn who shows off her Japanese language skills brilliantly. It is exactly the dose of intelligent news reporting television audiences have been waiting for.
Every year I tell people I don’t like making a fuss over my birthday. But then as my birthday draws nearer, I start to get a little more excited and I start telling everyone within earshot that my birthday is coming up. Since my birthday is on the last day of the month, it always feels like such a long wait from when September comes to when it is actually “the big day”.
For the past couple of years, my birthday has been a bittersweet time of year. I spent my birthday in 2010 flying halfway across the world to be by my grandmother’s bedside as she laid in a hospital bed, and since she passed away four weeks later, my birthday has been a constant reminder of those last days I got to spend with her. But that emotional period also serves as a reminder of how blessed I am and how far my friends are prepared to go to make me happy. (You can catch up on my birthday posts for 2010 and 2011).
September 2012 got off to a wonderful start. First, I got a new contract, thus keeping alive my much-coveted dream of a trip back to the US (which I last visited in 1998). Then came the presents. The first completely knocked me off my feet with amazement because of the sheer unexpectedness of it.
I openly admit I have a massive crush on the writers of TV show White Collar. Everyone who follows me on Twitter or is a Facebook friend regularly see me post undeniably over-the-top comments about how in awe I am of them. So, imagine my surprise when I got a notice in my letterbox to pick up a parcel from the post office, which contained an autographed copy of the script from one of my favourite episodes of the show (it was the season 2 mid-season finale “Point Blank”)! It was signed by the entire staff in the White Collar writers room!!!
Halfway through my birthday month and I have got the best gifts already. First off, I got a new job (yay!) which means I can finally start planning the vacation I had been coveting for the past two years (double yay!). Secondly, a week ago, I received a most fantastic surprise birthday present from my fellow blogger/writer-wannabe/conspiracy theorist, Ceil, who had apparently been planning this surprise for three months (more on that another time).
The latest “gift” required a 4.30am alarm this morning, and an international phone call to join in a press chat with none other than my favourite TV showrunner, Jeff Eastin – creator and executive producer of WHITE COLLAR. How many people can say they have talked to their favourite writer whilst in bed? OK now I know I’m going too far with this and I don’t want to find my next gift in the form of a restraining order.
So, a word of warning, this piece of writing is the result of lack of sleep and over-excitement from this morning so I apologise in advance that there will be grammatical errors, possibly incomplete sentences and may not make complete sense (I have voices in my head arguing about White Collar conspiracy theories).
Armed with my long list of questions and being a little smarter this time around (my first press call was with the funny, talented and generous actor, Willie Garson), I managed to score myself second in line for the call. Being a bundle of nerves and trying to keep my brain and my mouth in sync at 5.30 in the morning proved more difficult than I expected. Maybe it’s time to use “English is my second language” as an excuse…
When I first started watching GLEE nearly three years ago, it was totally out of curiosity. I have always liked Jane Lynch in every role she’s played, whether it be comedy or drama, and her portrayal of Sue Sylvester was hilarious. I liked the music and was excited that it introduced a whole new generation of viewers to old classics that I had grown up with. Mind you, I know I don’t exactly fit into their target demographics but I was interested in it enough to keep tuning in every week.
These days, I still watch GLEE, usually while cooking or eating dinner, and mostly to see what they do with their roster of talented guest stars, and yes, they do rely heavily on bringing in the big guns to push up the ratings – and perhaps to attract audiences like me who would otherwise have no interest in most of the regular cast.
Before the seven-week hiatus, we saw David Karofsky (Max Adler) – former football hero/chief school bully/closeted homosexual in love with Kurt (Chris Colfer) – attempting to commit suicide after becoming a victim of bullying himself. I would have liked to have seen this storyline develop more but all we got was a brief discussion amongst the teachers about how they could have prevented this and the school principal effectively saying it’s not their fault or responsibility. The kids had a little group discussion amongst themselves, too, but where was the school counselling?
Dear Mr Eastin,
Though we have never met, I feel like I have known you forever, so I’m going to dispense with the pleasantries and just call you Jeff, if I may.
Well, Jeff, I know your birthday is fast approaching (no, I am not being creepy stalkerish, it’s public information for those who already have one finger on the phone to the police), and unfortunately I am not able to give you a present as awesome as the “FBI Profile” file that a group of us gave you last year. So I hope this open letter will suffice.
Now, as you know, I am a big fan of yours. There may be a small dissident group who think genuine fans are sycophants and like to diss other fans for their support – but thankfully that is just a minority. Your show, WHITE COLLAR has got me addicted to the point of unparalleled obsession.
I have lost sleep because of you and your crazy cliffhangers. Because of you, I discovered the world of fan-fiction and it re-ignited a passion for writing that I had not experienced since high school. Because of you, I have also discovered the world of slash-fiction…let’s not go there…I can’t write it but, boy, do I admire the talented people who do!
So now let’s move on to the season 3 finale, “Judgement Day”. Let’s start with the spelling. We here in the commonwealth spell it with an “e” in the middle but what’s a letter here and there between friends, right?
I know you love leaving clues and hints for fans to find, so let’s take a look at the bread crumb trail you left for us that led to where we are now.