The Year in Review Part One: That’s Entertainment

Yes, it is the end of the year, or nearly so. It’s time to look back on the last 11 months and ruminate about what was good, what was bad, and what was odd. Fortunately, I won’t be commenting on world events or fashion dos and don’ts. In fact, I’m pretty self-absorbed with my yearly review.

It’s got three parts, and each week I’ll post one segment. Part one is about the TV and film landscape. Part two will go more personal as I look at the state of my writing life in 2006. Finally, I’ll wrap up with probably the most personal post I’ve ever made on this blog. If that is at all intriguing to you, well, you’ll have to wait for New Year’s Day for that package.

So let’s talk film first (It’ll be short).

I got Netflix, and yet somehow I saw fewer ‘new’ films this year. I did finally see what all the fuss was about with ‘Network’ (stop booing at me, you have some film skeletons in your closet too I bet). I also branched out into watching a lot of silent films and Expressionist films…The Seventh Seal, M, The Cabinet of Dr. Calgari, Nosferatu.

As for films released this year — there were a lot of films that just didn’t scream out for me to see them in a theater for $11-14. When I did get a chance to take in a film, I was usually treated to a good one — The Departed, Inside Man, Little Miss Sunshine, United 93, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

Films which surprised me (in a good way): Cars, Casino Royale, Clerks II, Nacho Libre, World Trade Center, Slither, The Benchwarmers (I told you it surprised me — I laughed more than I thought I would), The Guardian, even Tenacious D: In the Pick of Destiny.

Movies I hated: V for Vendetta, Failure to Launch, A Prairie Home Companion (sorry Altman).

Movies I still feel mostly indifferent about: Stranger than Fiction, MI:3, X-Men3, Hostel.

Movies I was disappointed by: Snakes on a Plane, The Descent, Saw III, Lucky Number Slevin, Firewall, and The DaVinci Code.

I usually see at least 35-40 movies in a theater every year. By my count I saw only 25 this year. You might attribute that to me watching more TV (which is very true), but I have to say, only two films on this list did I actually catch on DVD after their runs (Failure to Launch and The DaVinci Code, both sucked). That tells me I lacked interest in most of the offerings.

Now, there are some films I still want very much to see — For Your Consideration, The Queen, Borat, Superman Returns, The Devil Wears Prada, Thank You for Smoking, The Good Shepherd, The Fountain, Blood Diamond, Apocalypto, and a few others — most being released right at the end of the year (attention studios: you are releasing too many films at the end of the year!!)

So, let’s talk about my obsession — I mean, area of intense study: television.

I think we all know what’s good. And I’ve mentioned (repeatedly) what was bad. But let’s talk about those shows that make up the rest of the schedule…the shows which defy all reason and are still on the air. That’s right, I’m talking about you, One Tree Hill. And you, NCIS. Where would we be without Crossing Jordan or America’s Funniest Home Videos on the schedule? They are like old friends, the mere existence of whom give us comfort when we look at the TV Guide. “The world can’t be all bad. ‘According to Jim’ is still on the air.” And with that, we change the channel, secure in the knowledge that Jim Belushi must make *someone laugh* (right?)

Okay, I kid. But, seriously…I can’t be all scripted, all the time (as much as I’d love to)…no, there are some alternative programming skeletons in my closet…

I love Dog. Not just any Dog, but Dog The Bounty Hunter. I have also been known to catch an episode of My Super Sweet Sixteen. Don’t scoff until you’ve seen that trainwreck. Hell’s Kitchen and American Idol are my idea of good quality reality show entertainment. Also a big fan of Ghost Hunters. And Cash in the Attic (on Beeb America). Proj Run? Appointment viewing, obviously, but so is Breaking Bonaduce. And you thought my eyeballs were bleeding just from all the ‘scripted’ TV I watched. Little did you know, I gobble up all this other stuff too!

And really, I can sleep at night knowing that at practically any time of day, I can find a COPS rerun. Sometimes you just need to see some K-Fed poseurs trying to outrun the fuzz to fulfill your humor quotient.

Okay, so next week I’ll bring it ’round to discussing my own personal writing journey this year. It’s been quite a year, as most of you know.

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This post was written by Shawna on December 18, 2006

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Daybreak, Show Me the Money Cancelled

Look at the bright side: Taye Diggs gets to stop living the same day over and over again AND Shatner is confined to one crazy hour a week on ‘Boston Legal’.

Daybreak is pulled effective immediately, and Show Me the Money will be replaced with episodes of ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’, sure to pull in at least twice the number of viewers of the Shat-tastic SMTM.

Link: Variety

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This post was written by Shawna on December 15, 2006

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Help Me Help You cancelled

Another one bites the dust. Sorry Ted Danson. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Watch List updated shortly…

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This post was written by Shawna on December 15, 2006

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Best. Christmas Present. EVER.

Minear. Fillion. DRIVE.

Discuss.

I think I’m in love all over again…

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This post was written by Shawna on December 15, 2006

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I have got to stop letting this stuff annoy me

From an article posted on The Hollywood Reporter:

I laugh less at Sorkin’s witty banter than I do at the thought that viewers in Peoria are futilely looking up jargon in the dictionary such as “upfront” and “demo” in an attempt to understand the dialogue.

Sigh. My parents live in Peoria, and I can assure you they know what an ‘upfront’ and a ‘demo’ is. Sheesh, what arrogance.

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This post was written by Shawna on December 11, 2006

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AFI names top ten shows of the year

AFI TV PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR-OFFICIAL SELECTIONS

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
DEXTER
ELIZABETH I
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
HEROES
THE OFFICE
SOUTH PARK
24
THE WEST WING
THE WIRE

You gotta love it — they name ‘Battlestar’ the best show of the year. I’m also thrilled to see ‘Friday Night Lights’ and ‘Heroes’ AND ‘Dexter’ make the list! I’d swap out ‘The West Wing’ for ‘Lost’, but I understand that there were a lot of people who felt the last year of ‘The West Wing’ had significantly increased in quality. I am surprised that ‘House’ didn’t make the list. Then again, if you really want to list the best shows on TV you could easily make it a ‘top 20’…

Here would be the next 10 shows I’d put on the list:

LOST
HOUSE
ROME
THE CLOSER
MONK
DR WHO
DEADWOOD
VERONICA MARS
UGLY BETTY
SCRUBS

Agree/disagree?

** interesting it included mini-series. Otherwise how to explain ‘Elizabeth I’ on there? And not ‘Rome’??

Link AFI AWARDS 2006

(by the way, I’m having blog issues as it is converting over to the ‘new’ blogger. It is taking a looooong time to convert, so I hope this even shows up)

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This post was written by Shawna on December 11, 2006

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ABC Moves Lost to 10 p.m. on Wednesday

Well isn’t this interesting. ABC has resolved their Wednesday at 10 problem — sort of. Lost will move to 10 when it returns on February 7th to avoid the AI results show, and ABC will air a block of comedies from 8-10, including the returning George Lopez and According to Jim. Knights of Prosperity and In Case of Emergency will fill the 9 PM hour on January 3rd. Here’s the new lineup:

Tuesday
8 p.m. Show Me the Money (new day) (as of 1/2)
9 p.m. Big Day
9:30 p.m. Help Me Help You
10 p.m. Boston Legal

Wednesday
8 p.m. George Lopez (return)
8:30 p.m. According to Jim (return)
9 p.m. The Knights of Prosperity (new) (premiere 1/3)
9:30 p.m. In Case of Emergency (new) (premiere 1/3)
10 p.m. Lost (new time)

Mediaweek notes (and I agree) that more changes are in store for Tuesday since the two sitcoms seem to be in trouble. No word yet on if or when Daybreak will burn unaired episodes. I’d consider it close to cancelled at this point.

Link: ABC Moves Lost to 10 p.m.; Avoids Idol Battle

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This post was written by Shawna on December 6, 2006

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30 Rock gets picked up

Late breaking news.

Link: NBC picks up ’30 Rock’ for full season

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This post was written by Shawna on December 1, 2006

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