‘Tis the TV Season: Gutbusters, Gangsters and Genre

They’re fat. So am I. Fuck it.

By Matt Springer
October 22, 2004

It is here, and it is good.

The 2004 TV season is fully upon us, with only the classic holdout Fox still to unleash its hordes of new programming and returning series upon an unsuspecting populace. All the other networks have trotted out their slates to us dweebs in Viewerland, and I must say, this is one of the best new TV seasons I can remember. I’m into a slew of new shows: Veronica Mars, Lost, Desperate Housewives, Boston Legal. And there are shows I haven’t seen that I have heard so many good things about I just like them secondhandily, like Kevin Hill and life as we know it. As if to say to all the reality show addicts, “Scripted still RULEZ,” the schedule is packed to the bursting with good to great hour-long dramas…and surprise surprise, some of them aren’t even cop shows!

Which means it’s time to start bitching!

I was gonna write about how great ABC’s fall slate is, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, using my esteemed colleague Sarah Kuhn’s ‘Tis the TV Season piece as my inspiration, here’s six things I think would have made the 2004 TV season even better.

One great, shining new sitcom. And I’m not saying that just because I’m currently busting my ass to break into sitcom writing and have to suffer the indignity of this once-noble TV format (and all its high-paying, cushy jobs) going through a horrific lean period. I’m saying it because the sitcom IS a noble TV format, and TV always needs a few great ones. We have some good ones now, don’t get me wrong, but the new crop of shows has brought us only Joeyas a standout half-hour, and while it’s a funny enough show, it doesn’t have “legend” written all over it yet.

Angel. It may seem a bit too typically geeky to bitch about missing a recently-canceled show, but it’s easy to do when it’s clear the WB has their heads so far up their asses they think they live in a dank cave smelling vaguely of shit. Their schedule is boring to the max, all their solid shows are aging quickly, and they’ve replaced a brilliant Whedon creation with…a McG OC knockoff??? Thanks, assholes. Go eat your own fecal matter.

Less reality. I’m a reality show junkie to the extreme, and even I think it’s getting out of hand. I’m encouraged by the bevy of new scripted shows, and by the fact that many of them are good and a few of them are kicking ass in the ratings. But scripted TV still has some ground to gain on the reality glut. Plus, reality was a lot more fun when there were fewer shows and they were actually all pretty GOOD. What’s this about fat people losing weight while I watch? Who needs that crap? I can’t lose my own weight; is it supposed to make me feel good to see others be more motivated than I WHILST I SIT ON MY FAT ASS EATING BROWNIES ON THE COUCH?

The Sopranos. Again, random fanboy raving, but I’d love to add the spine-tingling anticipation of a new Sopranos season to the adrenaline buzz of the great new shows on the airwaves right now. Sure, I’d have to Tivo Boston Legal, but Shatner can wait.

Genre, genre, genre! We are in a sad place when it comes to genre shows on TV, my fellow geeks. It’s a pretty barren wasteland, unless you’re really satisfied just watching your DS9 DVDs every evening and forgetting broadcast television even exists. Our biggest hope is Lost, as it has enough style and genre hooks to maybe convince the networks that it’s a good time to get back in the genre business. But right now, we got no Whedon, no Farscape, yet more shitty Trek, and a pile of decent and recently canceled shows lying dead at our feet. I pray to Zod for our future.

Okay…I only have five, not six. Truth is, there’s not much else we need from a TV season; ’04 seems to have it all. For TV junkies, it’s good times, good times. So join me in leaving the goddamned computer and watching some TV instead! After all, last Tuesday’s episode of Veronica Mars just ain’t gonna watch itself.