Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The hits, misses and "who cares" of 2011 - vol. 2

Here you go, loyal readers--the second volume of this week's feature on the hits, misses and, of course, the "who cares" of this past year.

Hit: Modern Family (ABC.) This smart comedy is the best sitcom on network television and, unlike most shows, is picking up momentum in season three.

Miss: The Playboy Club (NBC.) Eddie Cibrian did his best poor man's Don Draper but where this show failed was with the implausible story line. Unlike Pan Am, this period piece failed.

Who cares: Charlie Sheen. Why even devote another line of copy to this "story?"

Hit: Justified (FX.) If you didn't watch season two of this FX drama, you missed terrific acting and writing plus the Emmy performance of Margo Martindale as Mags Bennett. Timothy Olyphant stars as Raylan Givens, a Federal Marshall who goes back home to Kentucky and the various crime activities which take place in Harlan County. The new season of Justified starts on January 17.

Miss: James Franco's host role on the Oscars was painful to watch. Anne Hathaway, as co-host, tried her best but Franco's performance as Oscar emcee was not only a puzzling pick but a sad reality--he was horrible.

Who cares: The X Factor (FOX.) This much-hyped reality show, the brainchild of Simon Cowell, was much adieu about little and failed to eclipse the standard of Cowell's former show, American Idol.

Hit: Finale, Friday Night Lights (NBC.) Few shows in recent TV history have combined the ensemble cast excellence, taut writing, and real life drama of Friday Night Lights. Unfortunately, the critically acclaimed FNL failed to build critical audience mass given little help from NBC in how the drama was yanked around on the network's schedule. The emotional final episode, while sad given the show's end, was poignant and fulfilling. "Clear eyes, full hearts...can't lose!"

Miss: Lights Out (FX.) You say you've never heard of this show? Don't fret--few did as it lasted only one season. The drama, starring Stacey Keach and Holt McCallany in the lead role as "Lights" Leary, was gripping in its account of a retired heavyweight champion who struggled with life outside the ring.

Who cares: It/they starts with a “K” and ends with an “N.” Can we all make a pact to not buy any of their products or watch any of their reality TV shows this year?

Hit: The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach. My favorite novel of 2011 follows the exploits of Henry Skrimshander, a baseball fielding savant, and his peeps at fictional Westish College.

Miss: Steve Jobs, as in "we will miss you, Steve Jobs." Jobs' impact on our lives has been well documented--it will be interesting to see how his legacy continues to play out at Apple.

Who cares: Justin Bieber has the hair and, apparently, the voice but watching him move from adolescence to adulthood is just plain creepy. Why do so many young stars find it necessary to leap from pre-teen to 30 in their behavior?

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