Regardless of whether you think that we’re still in the Golden Age of Television, the modern 12-month scheduling cycle means that any one time can be feast or famine. This winter was certainly a case of the latter. The last few episodes of The Walking Dead finally showed some signs of (after)life, but mostly it was an endless series of people sitting around a farm talking. We should be heading toward the Luck finale with a sense of anticipation and hope for the future, but its cancellation has obviously put that down. Eastbound and Down had a few surprising and surprisingly good episodes, but it’s a minor show at best.
But, as the weather warms up, so do the television offerings.
Can Don Draper Survive Becoming Uncool?
While The Dilemma and I disagreed about the overall quality of Season Four (and whether dramas can keep it up past four seasons in general), the long wait for the return of Don Draper has whet the appetite of even this cynic. After 16 months, I’m ready for some good ole sexual harassment, dry martinis, and Roger Sterling quips.
It remains to be seen whether the long layoff has caused the show to be able to revitalize itself at a time when it should be becoming stale. By all Internet indications, the new season begins in 1967, about a year and a half after the end of Season Four. On a micro level, the big question is whether Don actually went through with the inevitably disastrous decision to marry his secretary rather than Dr. Faye; on a macro level, it’s how does Don deal with “The Sixties”. Don has always been an impressively complex character, but much of his appeal has been the Cool that oozes through his pickled pores. However, he’s a man of the old school… he isn’t one of the Baby Boomers that so fetishizes the show, he’s one of their parents. From all previous indications (such as his disdain for Beatniks and Muhammad Ali), Hippies, Feminists and Black Panthers aren’t going to be in his wheelhouse. Even his choice in fiances shows somebody who has passed the tipping point into decadent middle age, not somebody interested in growing and learning. Which would obviously be death for a man who has made his bones (and had all his scandals overlooked) by having his finger on the pulse of the consumer. Will Mad Men have the guts to chronicle the decline of Don Draper… and will the audience put up with it?
Is Game Of Thrones Now The Best Show On TV (Not Named Homeland)?
I barely made it through one Lord of the Rings movie, wanting to escape more with every passing second. That’s to say, I fucking hate fantasy. So, why do I love Game of Thrones so, so much?
Whatever the reason the show has gotten past my hatred of the genre, I found the first season completely compelling. The snake-bitten Stark family, the etherial pale Targaryen bride, those crazy go-go Dothrakis, the slimy Lannisters (especially wee Tyrion)… I just couldn’t get enough. Add to that the fact that they killed off the character they’d set up to be the series lead nine episodes in, and it’s fair to say I can’t wait for Season Two. I can’t believe it, but I actually want to know who wins that darn Throne (unlike who got that stupid fucking Ring).
Can Armando Iannucci Make Swearing Compelling With An American Accent?
Except for Game of Thrones, it hasn’t been a great stretch for HBO. Boardwalk Empire and Luck are/were watchable enough, but not exactly earth-shattering. And their comedies… good god. When Enlightened is the one you renew, you’re in some serious trouble.
So, the new series Veep, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and created by the man who brought us The Thick Of It/In The Loop, comes at a good time for them. Iannucci’s take on British politics is the best thing to come from the BBC since The Office, and he dipped his toe into the U.S. system with the hilarious In The Loop. But it remains to be seen whether he can adapt his sensibility (and swearing) to a story set entirely across the pond. At the very least, I’m guessing it’s better than How To Make It In America.
Is This The End For Community And Parks & Recreation?
They’re the two best comedies on television. They get pathetic ratings. They’re on a network seemingly run by retarded monkeys. Neither has been renewed for next year.
Community has five episodes left and Parks & Rec has four, and I for one am just going to enjoy them, thankful that we’ve even gotten this far. My guess is Parks gets picked up and Community doesn’t… and then we get to watch the Internet explode.