Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Great TV returns....we are saved at last.

Evening campers, the good Dr is back. After seeing the excellent post about the sublime 'Mad Men' by my good fellow Brapscallion, the creative juices are now flowing. I'm absolutely smitten by the current run of TV shows airing stateside, and i want to give you wonderful people an insight into what's happening at the moment and the episodes to look out for in these excellent programmes.
After an almost torturous season break the big hitters are all back and each one is knocking it out of the ballpark. All the shows are currently hitting their highest ratings so far this season and if we take a look at some of winners of this year's Golden Globes you can start to see the pedigree of comic talent that's on display here.

1. The Office

135 episodes in, 25 Golden Globe wins & 89 nominations later this show has REALLY come into it's own. 5 years have passed since its premiere, 5 years since the inevitable 'it's not as good as the Gervais version.' The 'American' Office has evolved into an altogether different beast. This may be Steve Carell's last season but i can guarantee he's gonna go out with a bang. Will Michael finally end up with Holly and who will fill his shoes as the new manager of Dunder-Mifflin-Sabre (Scranton.)
This past week old school-hardcore office fans were rewarded with a meeting of the Jedi masters of awkward conversation, the long awaited 'David Brent meets Michael Scott' scene. This 3 minute blink and you'll miss it cameo was short and sweet, but it was a nice hand off and Gervais looked completely in place in the American version. Speaking of cameo's my wife would kill me if didn't mention Deadwood's own Timothy Olyphant, suited and booted playing rival salesman Danny Cordray in a rib-tickling two episode arc.
I will be genuinely gutted and may shed a tear or two when Carrell leaves before the end of the season, but we do have 1 major factor in the Office to hold on to. A 5 episode arc which features non other than Mr Will Ferrell. Boy Howdy...all good things come to those who wait.

2. 30 Rock

Tiny fey's comedy monster keeps on rolling, with 45 Golden Globe wins & 111 nominations under its belt since first airing in 2006 it's NOT for stopping. Having had several celebrity cameos in its past seasons the one that leaves the mark is Matt Damon, playing Liz Lemon's male equivalent and love interest Carol. Now Carol the pilot hasn't been in it too much so far but there's still time for a reunion of epic nerdiness and social awkwardness. This season has also seen the introduction of Liz and Jack's new parent company 'Kabletown' along with its VERY friendly boss Hank Cooper. The last episode in particular saw Jack really struggle with his bosses new 'hands-on' approach as a desperate Jack steals Kenneth's creative ideas and passes them off as his own. The highlight of the show so far sees Jack trying to put together a benefit for a disaster that hasn't happened yet codenamed 'Operation Righteous Cowboy Lightning'
Perfect !

3. Parks and Recreation

This is new to alot of people in this wee country of ours as its not yet aired on Comedy Central over here. It's a real shame too, as the premiere of the 3rd season has landed and its a CORKER. The series follows the ambitions of perennially upbeat mid-level bureaucrat Leslie Knope, on her quest to better the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. As deputy director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department, her sense of enthusiasm is rarely shared by her unmotivated colleagues. By the creators of the US Office, its fly on the wall docu-style is a tried and tested formula but works well in this little town mockumentary. Season highlights so far have included the Ron Swanson Pyramid of greatness, Rob Lowe's government admin Chris Traeger's fight with his perfect body and its bout of first illness in 40 years and of course the playboy life with Tom Haverford played by Aziz Ansari. The show is really picking up speed now and has found it's feet after the launch of its 3rd season since 2009, the P + R's crew are currently hitting their highest ratings for the show so far and have won 5 Emmys to date. I heartily recommended the purchase of this superb creation. Seasons 1 and 2 are available now.

4. Community

Also one of current favourites (and another one ignored by the U.K) the show is based around a smarmy lawyer whose education is deemed void by the bar, and is forced to attend a local community college with an extremely eclectic staff and student body. The series heavily uses pop culture references often parodying film and television cliches and tropes. The best of this season's community comes when its 'specials' air, the Christmas, Halloween and most recently the Dungeons and Dragons episode. These HAVE to be seen to be believed, 'Abed's uncontrollable Christmas' is a stop motion animated episode top to bottom, while 'Epidemiology' sees the college run amok as a Zombie virus spreads thick and fast. The previous season saw an episode called 'Modern Warfare' air and received the shows highest ratings ever; its one to watch as, well how can i explain it, Call of Duty meets 28 days later meets unconventional uses of paint balling. Its a classic. The latest show 'Advanced Dungeons and Dragon's' stands comfortably alongside these other brilliant programmes, its a must see.
Oh it also has Chevy Chase in it as the study groups resident old man Pierce Hawthorne a bigoted moist-towelette tycoon who has been married seven times. Like the other shows in this list this is classically warm in that American way. These are great TV shows, very funny to watch but all share a common theme, a fantastic core of friendly family/group type characters that gel and stick with you. A must for the best programmes.

Other shows that warrant a mention since the season break are - Modern Family and How I Met Your Mother. These haven't aired much so far this year and have had several breaks in their run. This year we'll no doubt see the second Seasons of the mighty 'Boardwalk Empire' and 'The Walking Dead' air in Q4. But that's another post for another day.
I really hope you guys get the time to invest in these shows; I'll be honest I'm quite picky and fickle when it comes to TV, but these have nailed it since day 1.

Look after yourselves, and each other (wink)
Dr Lucian Sanchez

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