The WB's, Cable and Left Out Fall 2005-2006 Television Season:
What Worked and What Sucked
by Justine Manzano
For the last few weeks, I have spent my time bitching, moaning, and celebrating the past television season in all it’s glory, ups and downs. This week, I wrap up this four week long series with a look at The WB, some cable stations and a couple of shows I didn’t have space for in the previous installments.
So, buckle your safety belts and enjoy…next week I revert to being a reviewer again.
DISCLAIMER: There are, of course, some shows that I haven’t seen that I am sure rocked…but I didn’t see them, so I can’t say anything about them. This article is only about my experience with TV this season. If I missed something, and you want it added to the G-POP annals, send us your article at firstname.lastname@example.org and let your word be heard.
Supernatural (WB): One of the gems of the 2005 fall season, Supernatural stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padelecki star as brothers, Dean and Sam Winchester, who were raised as demon hunters by their father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who also had a brilliant turn as Denny in Grey’s Anatomy this season) after their mother is brutally murdered by a demon over Sam’s crib. When Daddy Winchester goes missing, Dean finds the rebellious Sam in school, where he has decided he wants nothing to do with the demon hunting business. Dean persuades him to join the hunt, and that’s when things get interesting. The demons may be cheesy sometimes and the ideas may be pretty run-of-the-mill, but the chemistry between the family hits home and the main demon is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. It’s fun and frightening and worth a shot to anyone who loves intelligent horror. Also, the season finale left us breathless, as all three Winchesters found themselves at death’s door. This one should survive the move to its new network, The CW, quite well. Can’t wait for Season 2. I hope the father’s not dead…I already suffered through his death once on Grey’s! *sniffle*
Related (WB): I was iffy on whether or not I should start watching Related at the beginning of this season. To me, for some reason, it came off as another bad television soap opera in the vein of Seventh Heaven. But on the day it aired, I felt compelled to check it out. Created by those geniuses behind Friends and Sex and the City, this dramedy stars Jennifer Esposito, Kiele Sanchez, Lizzy Caplan, and Laura Breckenridge as four ridiculously close sisters at different stages of their lives, trying to help each other get by. One is pregnant, one just got dumped from a long term relationship, one just lost her job and the other just changed her major in college. From the hilarious to the tear-jerking, this series had me from the very first episode. Also, the season finale had me begging for more and pissed off at Jennifer Esposito’s character. Damn her…Warning: This show will have you comparing yourself, your sisters and your best friends to characters in this show. I haven’t done that since Friends.
Battlestar Galactica (Sci-Fi): This was yet another show I had purposely avoided and felt stupid about it later. Battlestar Galactica had begun its television run shortly after the end of my favorite series, Farscape, and rumor had it that Galactica had eaten up all of my shows funds. I couldn’t watch the very reason my show was now dead! So, I avoided this show like the plague. And then, two interesting things happened. A commercial for the series aired, discussing a new world order—born through a baby, half human, half Cylon. I had heard things about this series before. I understood that, created by humans, the artificial intelligence known as the Cylons nearly wiped out the human race and that Galactica and the smaller ships it protects hold the only living humans left in the world. The concept of a baby uniting the two races immediately intrigued me—so when the series recap aired on Sci-Fi, I couldn’t help it. This show has edgier plot lines and does just what you don’t expect most of the time—the season finale flashed forward a year into the future—halfway through the episode. This series is a blast with a frighteningly realistic story and gritty heroes and villains. It may not be better than Farscape, but if this is what replaced my show, at least it wasn’t a waste.
Dancing With the Stars (ABC): Why didn’t I know about this show when it first showed up? Was I hiding under a rock? I mean I heard about it, but I mostly considered it background noise. And then, one Saturday morning, bored to tears, I caught the entire first season being re-aired on ABC Family. I was hooked. When Season 2 came out, I had to see. There were good things and bad things. Some of the dancers were amazing. Some were just terrible. Despite my dislike for reality television’s voting systems, and how people judge only based on popularity (which is what saved Master P for weeks) and not on talent, the show ended the right way, with Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke taking the trophy. Now if only we didn’t have to endure so many Master P dances on the way there…
Wanted (TNT): What happens when you put one member from every crime hunting group ever—FBI, ATF, CIA, PD, US Marshals…you get the picture—and make them a team, bent on catching the worst of the worst, America’s Top 100 Most Wanted criminals? You get Wanted, a brilliantly gritty and angry look at crime in California and what one man (Gary Cole) and his brilliant group of detectives from every vein of law enforcement plan to do to keep the streets safe. To me, it was strange that The Closer (whose commercials seemed to be riddled with silly lines and whose stories never really interested me much) survived and this show didn’t. Filled with a great cast, most notably Ryan Hurst and Lee Tergesen, the series rocked. If there was anything bad about it, it was the whiny home life of the series lead, Conrad Rose, which supplied the only boring moments in the series. But, as far as the procedural stuff—very interesting. It’s a shame we’ll never get to know if rat Tommy (Benjamin Benitez) would be successful in taking down the highly violent group…although considering the fact that there’s no more episodes, I guess he was.
Conviction (NBC): Why bring on a show in the mid-season that you know you’re not going to bring back? Why torture us by making us fall in love with the characters, only to give it a pseudo-ending and send it packing? It’s torture, and one of a surprising design this time around as this born-cancelled show was from Law & Order producing Dick Wolf. Spun off from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, this series followed Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot (Stephanie March) back to the ADA’s office, where she is helping to instruct less experienced attornies in the art of prosecuting. This series was great, and featured several interesting story lines and great character interaction. It was very much as good as any Law & Order on television. So, why cancel it in favor of keeping an old, stale show on the air? The world may never know.
Smallville (WB): I can’t even put words to my dislike of this show, nor can I explain why I keep watching it. To better understand the goings on behind this, read the following two columns written by my husband, Ismael Manzano, and spawned by multiple discussions on the topic: Why Smallville Would Be Better Without Clark and Smallville: Why Am I Still Watching This?
Stargate SG-1 (Sci-Fi): I want to say that I don’t know why I am still watching this, but I can’t. I know exactly what my motivations were for getting myself involved with a show I have never been able to stand this year, in its 9th year on television, and I know my reasons for sticking with it, regardless of how it has gotten dumber and dumber. The reason: Ben Browder and Claudia Black. Both stars of the aforementioned Farscape, they joined the cast this season and I love them so much, I followed them. But the problem is that the show is still crap. Despite its brand new look and story line, the characters don’t care about each other and that makes me not care about them. Never mind the fact that every episode ends the same way—with Sam (Amanda Tapping) pulling a MacGuyver and having the perfect device to fix everything in the nick of time.
Well, that’s the entire fall season of last year for you. So, what do you think? Let’s here is at our message board. All you have to do is sign up to give us your view. Now, we’re months away from starting a new season. Some of the shows discussed here will die. Some will get better and better. And some shows will premiere and rock and some will die before they even hit the floor running. But that’s what we’re here for—to rip the shit out of them. This is Justine Manzano, signing off and hoping you have the ability to watch anything on television without critiquing—here’s to television. It’s a beautiful thing—even when it sucks. Enjoy!