It’s that time of year again, folks. The time where we come together to say good-bye to an old year and we usher a in a new one. At TV-Tastic, it’s also the time of year where we review the Fall 2010 television lineup, tell you what was good, what sucked and everything in between and why as well as where all of these shows are going to be in the new year (if they haven’t gotten canceled already). Keep in mind that it’s only the stuff we watched for the most part so not every piece of schlock is in here. So let the games begin.
FOX – The Simpsons
We gave up on The Simpsons around 2000 because frankly, it had gotten to the point where they were abusing the social commentary satire that they were famous for and basically began preaching and not being funny. The biggest problem really was that strayed away from the old format of filling every obscure situation with a good joke. That being said, we’ve been dipping our toes back into the Simpsons water for the last couple of years and we have to say that this season is one of the funniest in a very long time. It is as brilliant and original in this its 22nd season as it was during its first ten. They’ve brought back everything that made The Simpsons great and we love it.
FOX – The Cleveland Show
We have to be honest: we don’t like The Cleveland Show. We think it’s incredibly poorly written, a poor rip-off of Family Guy and ridiculously exploits racial stereotypes with little-to-no comedic value. We’re still trying to figure out why Cleveland Brown was given his own show to begin with. The random Cleveland appearance on Family Guy was always funny but the character was never written to be a major presence even on that show so why would the producers think setting him or any secondary character up with their own series is a good idea? The only positive statement we can make about Cleveland this season is that it is slightly funnier than it was last season, but we seriously don’t know if you can call going from a 1 to a 3 on a scale of 10 an accomplishment. Anyway, apparently we’re the idiots because FOX has already renewed it for another season. Waitaminute… this is FOX we’re talking about, after all. Maybe we’re not the idiots after all.
FOX – Family Guy
We’ve been devoted fans of Family Guy since its pilot episode on Fox in 1999. Needless to say, we were heartbroken when it was canceled by the idiots at FOX in 2002, and subsequently rejoiced when it was resurrected again in 2005 (thank you, Cartoon Network). When it first came back after the hiatus, we were kind of disappointed as it just didn’t feel like the same show. The jokes weren’t as funny, weren’t as fast and more importantly, the musical numbers had all but disappeared and any true fan will tell you, the musical numbers were what made old-school Family Guy so damned good.
After a couple of seasons of kind of boring us to death (with the exception of a few standout episodes) there was something else that we picked up that was really starting to bug us: Family Guy was becoming very mean-spirited with their jokes. Now, Family Guy has never shied away from controversy and we’ve never had a problem with the shock-value material, but some of this stuff was just downright awful, alienating and again, very mean-spirited. Old-school Family Guy, as controversial as it was, was NEVER mean and it didn’t have to be because the material stood on its own. It was becoming very clear to long-time fans and objective viewers that Family Guy was resorting to these tactics because the writing frankly wasn’t that good and they knew it.
Near the end of the 2007 – 2008 season, we had decided that as much as we didn’t want to do it, we were going to remove Family Guy from DVR schedule in the Fall of 2008 if we didn’t see marked improvement.
We can honestly say now that we’re certainly glad we gave Family Guy a chance because like The Simpsons, Family Guy began to go back to what made the show great and left the mean-spiritedness behind. The show has gotten progressively better over the past two seasons (with more musical numbers to boot) and this season is one of the funniest in history.
We normally just erase shows immediately after watching them off the DVR but Family Guy has become so good again that you literally have to watch an episode at least twice to catch the jokes you missed the first time around because you were laughing so hard and so long at one joke that the next one blew right by you. THAT is what Family Guy was all about. This season’s episode, Excellence in Broadcasting guest-starring (of all people) Rush Limbaugh may be the funniest episode in the history of the series… I’m not kidding. It’s definitely up there with the greats such as Wasted Talent, Petarded and PTV. We don’t care if you love Limbaugh or hate him, if you can’t appreciate how brilliant that episode is, you should not be watching Family Guy.
Watch that full episode here.
Here is one of the funniest scenes ever done on Family Guy from the episode Baby, You Knock Me Out, again, from this season and available in its entirety here.
HBO – Boardwalk Empire
We did a review the night after the series premiere of Boardwalk Empire where we proclaimed that it was the best show on television (the review can be read here.). After watching the entire first season there is absolutely nothing I would change about my analysis of this series, it is the best show on television… period. That being said, as ana aside, there is something that I have noticed on the series for some time now that viewers really should be aware of. The show isn’t completely historically accurate. In the aggregate, yes, the overall story is true, but many of the nitty-gritty details have been dramatized… A LOT. For example: there’s a whole storyline about Warren G. Harding’s mistress who had his baby. In reality, this story of the mistress and the baby was a rumor that was never historically confirmed yet Boardwalk Empire puts it into the storyline as if it were fact. We have no problem with creative license, but there should be full disclosure especially from a fictional show that revolves around actual historical figures. Just sayin’, is all.
Showtime – Dexter
Well, Dexter has officially gone 24 on us. Allow us to explain: After four seasons of improving storylines, 24 had its masterpiece season in season 4. The problem is that there was absolutely no way the producers could ever top that season so the next three seasons seemed disappointing by comparison. This is exactly what happened with Dexter in season 5. Season 4 of Dexter with John Lithgow as “The Trinity Killer” was one of the best seasons in television history and had one the best shock-finale of any series in recent memory and that hurt season 5. The anticipation was so built-up because of season 4 that this season, although very good, was a bit of a let-down and nowhere near as satisfying as season 4. We still love the series and we can’t wait until season 6 airs but the fans need to understand that season 4 was the defining season and its never going to get any better than that.
FOX – American Dad
American Dad has been the one consistent bright spot in the FOX ‘Animation Domination’ lineup on Sunday night. The show is absolutely hilarious and every now and then they throw in an episode that completely breaks from the sitcom fare and goes into the column of “epic event.” If you’ve seen the Christmas episode from season five Rapture’s Delight, you know what we’re talking about.
Unfortunately, it seems as if American Dad is always on the list of shows to be canceled each year and this season is no different. I blame the time-slot and usually I would just say “don’t worry, it will be picked up next year,” but this year we were a little concerned because of the mid-season replacement, Bob’s Burgers looked VERY funny based on the sneak-preview we saw on the Family Guy: It’s a Trap! Blu-Ray. That being said, FOX has had a history of trying to upset the apple cart in recent years on Sunday night and it hasn’t worked. Besides the fact that none of the shows they’ve tried to knock off American Dad with have been very good, I think audiences have gotten very comfortable with American Dad and though its audience numbers haven’t been as huge as Family Guy, they’ve been consistent.
Also, now that we’ve had a chance to see Bob’s Burgers, we think it’s safe to say that it won’t be around long. Read the full review of Bob’s Burgers, here.
Next, we take a look at Mondays.