Cancelled! :(

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Well apparently USA has cancelled both The Dead Zone and The 4400, two of it's flagship summer shows (and the reason why I started watching Burn Notice & Psych) now. Without giving either show a chance to wrap up.

It's not been officially announced yet, but inside sources are talking about it. So, well I'm pretty bummed out. The 4400's latest season was fantastic and while TDZ struggled in it's 6th Season, it ended on an incredible note that promised excitement next season.

I could take an announcement saying "Next season will be their last." As they'd then get a chance to deliver high octane episodes that finished up their big story arcs. But this just sucks hard as it's an incredibly lousy time to do this, it's going to be like watching Carnivale or John Doe now. You just end unsatisfied because the story hasn't ended.

I probably won't be posting until the 6th/7th of January as all the good TV has pretty much wrapped up due to the WGA strike and Christmas. But Season 5 of The Wire premieres on the 6th so I'll review every single episode in a spoiler-tastic orgasm of love. At least they are getting a decent final season to finish up.

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Dexter - Season 2 (Major Spoilers) & Heroes S2

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Right, well the final two episodes of Dexter were leaked across the internet and the sites I go to started to get so choked with potential spoilers that I decided to watch them and avoid having the experience spoiled.

If you want to avoid any spoilers walk away now....

Ok well what to say? This season was nothing short of amazing, it was tense and heartbreaking to watch. There were so many things that could have happened, once Lila started to act up it was inevitable that she'd kill a major cast member - the only question was who. For a while Angel Batista was looking like the likely target, then there was the worry of Rita or even Debs who Lila had shown distaste for.
In the end it turned out to be Sgt. Doakes, who is one of my favourite characters in the show. I appreciate that he wasn't slaughtered like a criminal and the moments where Dexter and Doakes talked openly were some of the best in the series. Losing Doakes almost hurt as much asa part of The Shield that I'm not going to talk about here to avoid spoilers. If you watch The Shield you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

I'm not feeling too good so I won't go into it in much more detail right now, but suffice to say Dexter was the best show this fall season and in 2007. It spanked the hell out of everything else in the Fall section.

Heroes Season 2.
Oh man I'm glad the WGA strike cut Heroes short, the writers need to get their act together and figure out what they're doing. Removing Sylar's powers, dumping in extra characters. Adding a "Get out of Death free" card and having Peter continue to do dumb stuff when he has powers that are better for the situation (most notable, him pulling the door open to the vault. When he could have walked through it. Peter isn't too bright, let's be honest. How he qualified as a nurse is beyond me, he's a freaking idiot.

But, the final couple of episodes did a lot to redeem the series. Returning Sylar to full strength was an excellent move, the entire Adam/Hiro arc was the best character interaction this show has ever had and the ending scenes were superb.

Of course, I can't help but feel that what they've tried to do is reset to start. Nathan is dead - again (he flanged his way past death in a wtf moment this season) - but immortality juice (aka Claire and Suresh's blood cocktail) is a total dodge on that if needed. Sylar is back with his powers, Noah is back with the Company.
I'm hoping the gap during the protest allows them to sit down and work out exactly what they're doing. Then write a decent plot that doesn't have big holes and jilted dialog. Because I really want to like Heroes a lot, but right now I just watch it for the scenes with Syla

Oh and hooray that bad Irish accent woman is lost in an alternate future! Begone!

Correct calls:
Dexter killing Lila - It was obvious from the moment she started acting up that she was a borderline personality. Her fate was sealed the moment she turned that gas tap and lit that stove.
Sylar killing Alejandro but not Maya - I'm interested to see if Sylar took Alejandro's ability (it would be prudent of him if he did) and also to see if he has Candice's (as he took it when 'sick'). If he has Candice's ability then he's going to be a major power for the rest to face.
Bennett not dying - I think a lot of people saw this one coming.

Incorrect calls:
Elle (Kirsten Bell) dying - I didn't want to see this happen, but her character seemed too one dimensional to keep. It seems now they're aiming at the redemption curve for her. So I think she'll have a reasonable shelf life.
Doakes surviving - This was made more in the vain hope that he would survive, I had no idea how he would. I'm gutted it happened as Eric King was incredible as Doakes.
Rita - I thought that Julie would be leaving Dexter this season, I'm very glad she didn't.
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Top Shows of 2007

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I know some might feel this is a little early, but as the WGA strike has demolished most of the fall season I feel like posting my top show seasons right now.

I'm going to post them in categories rather than just a list, then I'll try and go with an overall top ten. Everything will be posted in reverse order for my amusement.

Top Drama of 2007
(The season must have started in 2007, so anything carrying on from 2006 Fall is disallowed)

4. Boston Legal - Season 4
Ah, Boston Legal. A shining example of brilliance adrift in a sea of mediocre 'reality TV/phone voting shows'. I've gushed over this show several times before, I'm not mindlessly in thrall to it, the switching up of characters does grate at me. But season 4's selection of characters has been brilliant. Shatner and Spader are still the main reason to watch, but Christian Clemenson is a close third.
3. The Shield - Season 6
Season 6 of The Shield was intense and a white knuckle ride from start to finish. While it was little shorter than I hoped it would be, it was originally intended to be the last season. So I'll forgive it as it means one more year of Vic Mackey. The Shield is quality from start to finish, I'm both looking forward to and dreading season 7.
2. House - Season 4
House has successfully shaken things up and kept the format interesting by the competition and I'm really twisting my arm by letting it get into second place. But it just pips The Shield and I can't really put my finger on why. I think most of all it's because I'm seriously impressed that the show was willing to switch up House's diagnostic team and manage to do it in a way that was both enthralling and natural feeling.
1. Dexter - Season 2
Wow, just. Wow. Last year's best show has once again taken the top slot without even pausing to breathe. We're two episodes from the end and things are set to become even tenser before we're through. Last year put the viewer right through the wringer emotionally and this season is attempting to up the ante.

Next year I'll be interested to see if Dexter can do it again, because it'll be facing the final season of both The Wire and The Shield. 2008 will be a massive year for fans of good drama.

Best Comedy
6. Scrubs - Season 7
I'm slightly astounded that I'm listing this here. I really thought that Scrubs was going to be tired and out of jokes by this stage, but it's not. It's still managing to deliver that bittersweet mix of wacky comedy and serious messages with ease. It isn't as fresh as the first few seasons, but short of some serious character shake ups no show can reinvent itself.
5. My Name is Earl - Season 3
Or can it? My Name is Earl has indeed attempted to reinvent itself, which was a bold move after only two seasons. Dropping the subject of 'Earl's List' this season has focused on his time spent in prison for confessing to a crime he did not commit. While the core concept hasn't changed as Earl continues to perform good deeds, the fresh location has resulted in new characters joining the older ones. My one complaint is there doesn't seem to be enough of Nadine Velazquez as Catalina this year.
4. Family Guy - Season 6/7 (I always lose track of the seasons here)
Family Guy has had a very short run before it's hiatus due to the WGA strike. So it's mostly made it in on the basis of the Star Wars homage 'Blue Harvest' and the two parter Stewie kills Lois/Lois kills Stewie. The cameo from Stan Smith and Bullock in particular was brilliant.
3. 30 Rock - Season 2
I watched the first season of this show in 2007 as well, but I'm disallowing it and just basing this off the second season. 30 Rock contains sublime comedy and the second season has been just as good as the first one. Jerry Seinfeld's episode 'Sein-vision' was such an amazing opener to the season and I always look forward to this show.
2. Curb Your Enthusiasm - Season 6
I almost missed the release of Curb Season 6. Despite the fair hiatus the show was back on top form. Cheryl Hines was achingly beautiful and put upon in this season, but the real stars were 'The Blacks' and the season finale was brilliantly hilarious. The show is always such quality and it's astounding to think that they are mostly improvised lines.
1. The Office - Season 4
It's a staggering testament to the power of this show that the fourth season that they're taking my top spot with less than a dozen episodes AND they're on hiatus right now. The show is still just brilliant and is holding up exceedingly with it's longer length episodes.

Best Newcomers
2007 has been a lean year for good new shows :(
2. Burn Notice - USA
Burn Notice was a fantastic breath of fresh air in the summer months that don't often bring interesting new shows. Following a similar format to Life with 'Case of the week' plus metaplot it delivered witty and exciting episodes from start to finish. Bruce Campbell was nothing short of amazing as Sam Axe.
1. Life - Wednesdays - NBC
While Life has only had 9 episodes - 8 of which I've seen so far - it has consistently impressed me with its quality scripting and acting tied into a solid 'crime of the week' format that has a strong and compelling metaplot tying everything together. Damian Lewis manages to portray a very interesting, complex and compelling character who you can't help but like.

Best DVD Shows
These shows are based on the best of the DVDs I've purchased over 2007. In order for me to have even purchased them in the first place they must have been priced for a reasonable amount. So each one of these represents acceptable bang for the buck.

5. Dead Like Me - Season 2
I love DLM, so I was very happy to finally purchase it on DVD. It was every bit as good as I remember and had some rather excellent episodes as well. I'm hoping the straight to DVD movie remains on form as Ellen Muth needs to be on my big screen more often.
4. Arrested Development - Season 3
Arrested Development is the single best American Comedy show in, well this millenium. It's deep, very funny, clever and highly rewarding. Also it's one of those shows which has provided material for you to catch on later showings, in fact it's the best show for doing this I've ever seen. Every rewatching reveals something new. Add to this David Cross demonstrating why he is one of the funniest men in television (with almost entirely improvised lines) and you have one hell of a show. The final season is no exception.
3. Seinfeld - Multiple Seasons
Seinfeld has some of the best extras in any DVD, I can't stress that enough. Between the Sein-Imations, Notes about Nothing (two of the best extra's ever) and Commentary these DVDs have some of the best extras ever stocked ontop of a fantastic show.
2. Six Feet Under - The Complete Series
I wept uncontrollably when watching the finale. It's the only time in the past 7 years I've cried without control, I was even able to hold most of it back for my Grandmother's funeral. The end of the series was the most bittersweet and heartwrenching television I've ever seen.
1. Futurama - Bender's Big Score
I semi reviewed this here so I won't go into it again, suffice to say just thinking about it has me wanting to watch it all again. The Hypnotoad extra is genius brilliant as well. All hail the Hypnotoad!
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Pushing Daisies

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Official Website
TV.Com's page

Well, what to say? Pushing Daisies is the latest offering from Bryan Fuller, creator of Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls. I love Dead Like Me, so I felt I should give Bryan's newest creation a decent shot. Of course I am aware that Bryan walked out on DLM after 5 episodes, so a lot of the stuff I love about DLM isn't his work.

Regardless, I read a little about the show and liked enough of it to give it a go. I'm really trying to find a second decent new show this Fall season, Life is the only one that's stuck so far.

Unfortunately I have an immediate problem with Pushing Daisies (PD) - the Narrator, Jim Dale. His delivery is just way off, I found myself immediately disliking him and then fondly hoping he wouldn't appear outside of the pilot. He does. There's something so grating and annoying about every single line of narration, I'm not sure if it's Jim Dale's voice or the exceedingly annoying X is Y years, Z Months, M Days, WTFF Hours and WHOCARES? Seconds old bit that set me immediately against the narrator. I want something really unpleasant to happen to him (the narrator, not Jim) and normally I like shows with narration. I find it very traditional story telling and cool.

Visually Pushing Daisies is the definition of whimsical, everything is idealised, stylised in a rather mom and pop 1950s retro feel and completely clean - even the dead people! It's like the whole world has been put through a CGI cleaner upper. This makes the show feel like a fairy tale, which is somewhat endearing. But it's the premise of the show that initially drew me; Ned (the main character) has the ability to touch a dead person and bring them back to life, he touches them again, they stay dead forever. Additionally, if he doesn't touch them again within 60 seconds something else dies, them's the price you pays.
That seems like a very cool idea for a show, with plenty of potential for solving murders and the like. It certainly results in some very cool visuals:

How cool is that?

But the most interesting murder so far - Chuck (Ned's Childhood sweetheart) is solved in the pilot episode and you end up with 'murder of the week' minus an ongoing metaplot. I'm not happy with a series of unlinked episodes, that's exceedingly 1980s. The only ongoing thing is Chuck is still alive, in love with Ned and they can't touch each other cause she'll die. *eyeroll*

The cast is adequete and likeable (apart from the narration) but they all feel soulless and artificial. It might be the fault of the lighting/look of the show that does this, but they remind me of a bunch of dolls in a house. All perfect and neat.

I could go on further, but right now this show has not impressed me that much. It's just failed to have any substance and as such is a nice idea, pretty productions and (rarely) funny lines mixed together into something that comes out very humdrum. I will watch a bit more to try and change my mind, but when a show this new has me thinking "This show needs a shake up" it's in trouble and will probably depart from my viewing. Going the way of the polished turds "Lost" and "24".
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