Monday, May 05, 2008

TV Post-Strike

I love television. Obviously, as close to %90 of my posts mention TV in some fashion. I love television and I especially love scripted dramas and was especially sad when the strike hit and it was goodbye Grey's, Gossip, and (Family) Guy (I tried for a catchy three-part alliteration just then but couldn't think of a third G-beginning show. Anyone?) At first, the TV void in my life was miserable, but as I became busy with work and maintaining a social calendar (which is work in itself when you are as busy and popular as I. That's a joke BTdubs) the lack of new programming didn't even register on my radar. At one point I recall wondering how I would ever find the time to fit in all my shows, even with DVR.

Well, it's May my friends. And besides today being Cinco de Mayo (yay, go eat at one of those taco trucks or something), it's May Sweeps time, my favorite time of the year for my favorite televisions shows--they pull out all the stops to suck in us viewers and make millions and gazillions of dollars of advertising. (So much for sticking it to the man.) Thing is, since the return of all this Must-see TV, I've noticed a big change that in my opinion has little to do with May sweeps.

Ever since my favorite shows have come back on the air I've noticed the quality of episodes has, across the board, been better. Story lines are more interesting, plot development is smoother and quicker, and everything just seems to have a little extra enthusiasm. Personally, I feel that we can credit the strike for this improvement in episodic television. All those writers had several weeks off to really think about their shows and I think this has only helped the quality.

For example, prior to the strike I was getting bored with Brothers & Sisters. It seemed to lack the freshness and acerbic wit of the first season. Post-strike and wham bam thank you ma'am, Bros & Hos (as I like to call it when I am feeling sassy, which apparently I do right now) has returned with gay marriage proposals, companies going under, and my favorite subplot yet--having feelings for your sister from another father, who turns out has a different father but is it still not weird and creepy when a brother has feelings for a temporary sister, now a former sister? Wooh. That's a lot. But that whole lot is good TV and it has me watching.

Then there is Grey's Anatomy. The first episode out of the gate was fun, acknowledging the passing of time but again moving along some story lines that needed movement, aka Meredith and Derek. And sure, Kate Walsh's return to Grey's last week was a bit of a ratings stunt (and a smart one because she really improves that show about %1000 percent and I really think they should just keep her there or figure out some sort of recurring role because obviously ABC has noticed the fan base she seems to pull in, hence the mediocre Grey's spin-off Private Practice, already getting ad time for its fall return) but that episode of Grey's was one of the best this season, perfectly establishing future plot lines while smoothing over upsetting ones of the past (such as that miserable pairing known as Gizzie). I am even starting to like Katherine Heigl.

However, my two favorite improvements in scripted TV this post-strike spring are in one show that was already fantastic and another that was working on it. First off, 30 Rock, the best show you aren't watching. The episode that aired on May 24 was sheer genius, with Liz Lemon going corporate and a perfectly executed Will Arnett/Alec Baldwin stand off. This is a show you people need to watch, because it seems to be stronger now than ever. In fact, I am going to include a clip below so you know what you are missing.

Lastly, I would like to point out the improvements in Gossip Girl. Sure this show is ridiculously far-fetched and often has plot lines that make no sense or couldn't possibly be based in any sense of reality, but it's just so... salacious. It's only gotten better since its post-strike return with new plot lines, characters, and of course--new romances.

Oh yes, there is also Lost, which in my opinion has been incredible from the start and never had any issues anyways (despite what all those naysaying critics had to say during the third season)--I don't think the strike was a necessary infuse of creativity for this staple. Lost operates on another level, but I had to mention it's brilliance... just because.

Anyway, I've certainly found a way to incorporate my favorite television shows into my busy life and have been pleasantly surprised with their improvements. I was sad to discover last night that the season finale of Bros & Hos is next Sunday and I know there are limited episodes remaining of the others I enjoy too, but until hiatus, we've got these remaining morsels of goodness to relish, and it sure does feel great.

And as promised, a few clips from 30 Rock. Actually, I am posting an entire episode (courtesy Hulu, as usual). Watch it.

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