Year in Review: Kendra's Top 5 Surprises & Disappointments of 2009 - Featured

Kendra's Top 5 Surprises


House

I was planning on being disappointed with House this fall since I thought the great Dr. House going to a mental hospital was a sure sign the show was destroyed. It was set up at the end of last season as if either House was insane and wouldn't be able to practice medicine anymore, or House had a chance of getting better as long as he got off the drugs, but then he'd be in so much pain he wouldn't be able to practice medicine. Yet somehow, it all worked out, though they rushed through House's institution stay in one long premiere episode. But besides that, I think the effect that character development for House has had on the show has actually made for one of the best seasons so far, leading me to be downright shocked House could not only pull off this craziness but make it great!


Breaking Bad

The big Breaking Bad health developments of this year, much like those of House, made me originally prepare myself for a big disappointment in yet another of my favorite shows. But then, pleasant and shocking surprise, Walt's cancer actually improving (when the show's tension was entirely based on him quickly dying and trying to provide for his family after his death with drug money), was not destroyed by his improved health. Instead, this bold plot twist ended up being one of the most fascinating plot developments I've ever seen on a show.


Mad Men

While Mad Men is always full of surprises, it pulled off one of the biggest and most exciting surprises of all with its huge and shocking Season 3 finale! While there have been huge changes on Mad Men over its few fantastic seasons, there were always a few solid points of the story we could count on: Don would be a big wig genius advertiser at a big company, and Don and Betty would stay together - miserable and forever cheating - but together. Then the Season 3 finale came along and turned all that on its head in one hour. Don and his fellow solid original crew started their own company out of a hotel room, and Don and Betty separated. While the blow of the business change was softened by the thrill of knowing we'll get to watch them build a booming company, but the blow of Don and Betty splitting up was harsh as we painfully watched them tell their kids as if we were ssitting right there with them breaking the kids' hearts.


Vampire Diaries

It was clear when The CW jumped on the vampire trend train with this new vampire show this year that it would be a hit with the CW teen audience, but I expected it to be a lot more cheesy (okay, to me that means more Twilight-like, sorry fans). But while I planned to watch it but not need to watch it, I found myself drawn in from week to week needing to see that Damon cause trouble and see just how disastrous his latest trouble had been! It still has that teen drama and vampire hype silliness to it now and then, but overall I've been surprised by how addictive this new show is, whether I want it to be or not!


Make It or Break It

This is another teen show I planned to watch but not love. Since I disliked ABC Family's recent new teen series, The Secret Life of The American Teenager because it was just too cheesy, lesson-focused, and bad acting-driven, I expected MIOBI to not be all that different. I was instead surprised to be immediately hooked! Beyond basic element of watching some great (half stunt) gymnastics, this show did a wonderful job of building a solid cast not only good at somewhat non-cheesily becoming friends, but good at creating some serious drama within the group in a way that continues to show those friendships growing and changing instead of just girls being bitchy to each other. It's hard to find a group that can portray such real emotions to close friendships and pull off the excitement of competition, and this cast definitely does it.


Kendra's Top 5 Disappointments


Trauma

With all the epic promos and enormous hype for Trauma this fall, it was clear NBC was gunning for Trauma to be their next ER. But, just as I feared from watching all the promos and noted in my NBC Fall Preview, this show was far too focused on creating epic accident scenes, and not focused on creating strong and interesting characters. ER was all about the perfect mix of medical drama and personal drama for the doctors and nurses, and Trauma missed matching up on that mark by far.


Cougar Town

I was excited to watch Cougar Town this fall since it looked like a really fun new comedy, and not only was it great to get Courteney Cox Arquette back into comedy, but it seemed she was going to be the perfect actress to make Cougar Town cute and charming instead of the possible over-cheesiness a show with the premise of a 40-year-old woman back on the prowl had the potential to be. But alas, while Courteney Cox and the rest of the cast are pretty cute, the show overall is just plain not funny or clever. The characters and plotlines are all thinner than that white swimsuit Courteney's character wore to show off just how darn hilarious being a single, hot, yet awkwardly disastrous 40-year-old mom can be. Tragic.


Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl goes to college. If that doesn't sound like the title of a straight-to-DVD movie, I don't know what does. That sense of a hole-filled plot, poor quality storylines, and awful character development you get from a movie that didn't even deserve to hit the big screens is exactly what this season of Gossip Girl has been like. It's hard to make it work on a show when the characters have to move from all being at the same high school to going off to college, but it shouldn't have been so hard on Gossip Girl when they all could easily have gone to New York colleges and gotten together all the time. There was no need for all the extra complications they've created which have only become those thin and disconnected storylines we would hope to avoid on our favorite juicy teen drama.


The Cleveland Show

I was skeptical when Cleveland got a Family Guy spin-off since he's not the most thrilling of characters, but Cleveland not being an interesting character ended up being the least of our worries when it came to The Cleveland Show. As my fellow SideReel editor Dom says, Seth MacFarlane's American Dad! gets the second rate Family Guy jokes, then Cleveland Show gets the third rate FG jokes, but I wouldn't even give that many props to the Cleveland Show jokes. Sorry, Seth, this one needs to go. And yes, I know, it's been renewed for eternity, but I'll keep hoping there's some way this one can get nixed sooner rather than later.


Battlestar Galactica

For some, the BSG series finale was the TV letdown of the decade. Sound dramatic? I'd say not really as long as you keep the word 'TV' in front of 'letdown of the decade' there and recall that this was also one of the most epic shows of the decade, one of the most nail-biting and thrilling shows of this past year, and one of the weirdest show endings imaginable. Yes, we expected the characters wouldn't all live happily ever after on the BSG ship, but having them find Earth and it all to end in weird religious experiences, unnecessary and bizarre deaths, and then leaving us with the knowledge it was just all going to happen again? Well that's not just disappointing, that's exhausting and for some fans, as if the enter epic journey was entirely pointless.


Comments

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Dec 31, 2009 4:35PM EST

Sadly, I have to agree on Battlestar Galactica. I thought it was a wonderful show, definitely one of my favorites, but the way it ended seemed forced; it was as if they didn't really didn't have an ending in mind for a while and just kinda came up with the idea one morning over coffee and everybody said "sure, why not?"
The show and its fans deserved more than a predictable and rather poor ending to an otherwise epic show. I've told so many people to watch the show, but to be sure to pay more attention to the journey, rather than the ending. Perhaps this is one of the MANY messages the show was trying to convey via the messy ending. I don't know. I just wish they'd been a little lighter on the messages, a little heavier on the good.

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Dec 31, 2009 4:39PM EST

And the Cleveland Show isn't really disappointing, it's more that it's exactly as bad as you feared it would be. The formula of dad with a crazy character trait + a less awkward but still strange mom + kids + talking animal buddy has been done to death by this guy and it simply isn't funny beyond the original show.

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Jan 1, 2010 12:34AM EST

I actually kinda liked the way Battlestar ended, and I think they were trying to tell us the old adage "If you don't learn from the past you're doomed to repeat it." At least that's what I took from it. The Cleveland Show just seems like the black family guy with a sluttier daughter. Gossip Girl goes to college sounds like a 70's porno, and I never watch it anyway. And Kendra my disappointment is that you didn't mention Pushing Daisies, well hate to use the pun, actually I'm changing my I'm going to love the pun, but Pushing their own Daisies, and being cut way too early. And yes I know I should be over it, but it helped me thru some hard times I had this year.

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Jan 1, 2010 12:35AM EST

or was it at the end of last fall?

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Jan 1, 2010 1:59AM EST

I agree about House, it was a great season.
Vampire Diaries started off slow to me, but ended up being a must watch.
I disagree with Trauma, I think it's an excellent show & I'm hoping it will get another chance.
I also watch Cougar Town & Gossip Girl, they're alright but definitely two shows I can live without.

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Jan 3, 2010 4:06AM EST

i have to disagree re: Trauma! i love that show! it's always taking unexpected turns, it's never slow... in my opinion it's an excellent replacement for ER. ER was getting pretty old... it fell apart around season 7 and to me never really recovered.

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Jan 3, 2010 9:56AM EST

While I agree with you on some of the others, I would definitely have to say I disagree 100% about Vampire Diary's. I didn't even like the books all that much but to be honest I just don't think that any of this mess holds true to any the vampire myths I've researched and I love vampires. I'm a big fan. Don't like twilight (Yes the fact that it is in lowercase letter shows just how much respect I have for the books as well as the movies) because of sparkly vampires.
While I respect the wanting to make it seem cooler somehow or wanting to change something that has become a norm, I just don't think it worked in this case. I'm sorry but I find it kind of hard to believe that a hundred year old vampire even though stuck in a teenage body, would still have I guess the same teenage reactions and things to everything.
I personally just don't buy into any of it. I think that it's just too full of teenage drama and though technically I'm still a teenager myself (19) I just don't find it attractive and it annoys me as a vampire fan. I'm sorry but this one trend that just needs to get gone...

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Jan 3, 2010 2:05PM EST

I agree 100% on BSG. TV disappointment of the decade, easily. There were sooo many questions left unanswered(other than by "god did it") The science was sparce, and the mythology messed up, but I expected more about the characters and the social drama that set this show apart. Every decision in the series was treated as a real world dilemma, except the last one! Settling on Earth and sending all your technology into the sun? No dissent? That and ascension of starbuck made the finale hard to swallow.
I also agree that Damon/Ian make Vampire Diaries addicting. I was so surprised that this latest vampire entry was more than the ripoff I expected. It might even be a bit buffyesque- time will tell.

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Jan 3, 2010 7:18PM EST

i totally agree with you on House and Gossip Girl.
The season premiere of House made me concerned because it really wasn't all that awesome, but the rest of the season so far has been pretty great!
And Gossip Girl seems to be so repetitive lately, its getting boring and they've seem to run out of ideas.
Vampire Diaries and Make It Or Break It were pretty good. I got way more than I expected out of Vamp. Diaries. MIOBI was better than i expected but I Think it could be so much more awesome than what they've done so far.
The only thing we can do is wait and see!

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Jan 4, 2010 10:20AM EST

I am in full agreement with the Gossip Girl scenario, it seems washed down now without any real drama, but I don't agree with you on Cougar Town actually. Sometimes plain could be good, at least compared to other comedies that try to hard and come out flat with the humor, I find Cougar Town smooth and it gives me an excuse to appreciate Courtney Cox in a comedy role again.
The only complaint I would find with Cougar Town was that the characters seem to be getting comfortable with each other too soon into the plot. Grayson played by Josh Hopkins should have maintained his 'selfish' nature for a little while longer. It was more interesting when Jules was getting on his nerves as opposed to now where he's becoming part of the family.
Non the less, I still love Cougar Town, oh and I look forward to Make it or Break it.

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