by pat howard

THE FRIDAY FIVE | Returning series I could take or leave

In The Friday Five on October 23, 2009 at 10:58 am

I am fiercely loyal to my TV shows, often well past the point of reason. At least, I used to be. Procedurals, spinoffs, and sitcoms seem to rule this new season, still in its infancy. But series from each of these categories have all but fallen off my radar this year.

Season Four | Sundays on Showtime
The season premiere is still languishing in my On Demand folder, unwatched. How many more seasons does this one have in it? At its high points, it’s a colorful psychological thrill ride. The corresponding valleys have on multiple occasions put me into a sleep rivaled only by Bob Ross’ Joy of Painting and the original Martha Stewart Living, both of which I once used to intentionally induce naps.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season Eleven | Wednesdays on NBC
How is Hargitay an Emmy contender, ever? Pretty much since Jerry Orbach’s exit from the original series, SVU has been the best series in the franchise. But the fact that it’ll outlive me in syndication makes it a low priority, especially since lovable wooden hand puppet Ice T has somehow become one of the show’s best actors. It can’t even compete for DVR space, up against time slot competitors Glee and Modern Family.

The Mentalist
Season Two | Thursdays on CBS
There wasn’t ever much to watch on Tuesday nights (though America has been keeping its NCIS addiction under wraps for some time). The Mentalist was a nice treat early in the week; not so now that it’s joined TV’s most crowded night. Showrunner Bruno Heller suggests snagging Red John isn’t anywhere on the horizon, which makes the weekly Columbo-cum-Psych antics entertaining but missable.

Law & Order
Season Twenty | Fridays on NBC
The current iteration of credited cast members at least doesn’t make my cereal want to come back up. But we’ve been running on fumes for awhile. Straying into characters’ personal lives (Lt. Van Buren has cancer) was once a no-no. If we’re resorting to these tactics to beat out Gunsmoke‘s longevity record, what will be the show’s legacy? I’m still waiting for Dick Wolf to launch a Law & Order channel, once the franchise leaves primetime and its current syndication agreements expire.

Season One | Thursdays on NBC
Joel McHale, rah rah rah. This is supposed to be a list of returning series, but I already feel like Community has been on forever. And I’m just not that into it. It’s on demand when I feel like catching up, and while the characters are quirky, they are allotted approximately one note each. McHale can do better, though if it were up to me, he’d be trapped in The Soup for eternity.


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