Year in Review: Rachel's Surprises/Disappointments

Rachel's Top 5 Surprises

Drop Dead Diva

On paper, this legal-themed Lifetime Television original series sounded like a mess. Vapid model Deb gets into a car accident; her mind is transferred into the body of Jane - an intelligent lawyer - who is decidedly more full-figured. While this show definitely requires some suspension of disbelief - like - though it's Deb's mind in Jane's body, Deb has also absorbed Jane's legal knowledge (though not any other prior memories) as well as some of her personality traits, while simultaneously retaining some of her own. Again, you'd think this premise would seem silly (not to mention hard to follow), but Drop Dead Diva totally made it work. Even the legal aspect of the show - the cases - have proven to be entertaining and unique as opposed to just filler. Jane/Deb quickly learns that knowledge from both women prove helpful in the legal field - and we are shown that both women may have more to offer than what initially appeared to be the case. If not executed properly this show might have come off as preachy and trite, but somewhat surprisingly, it ended up being one of the most enjoyable treats of this summer on TV.

Dollhouse and Chuck - Renewals of low-rated fan-favorites

I know that in the end TV networks don't do anything if they don't ultimately believe that there's a profit in it for them...but the rose-colored glasses, glass half-full side of me would instead like to chalk it up the unexpected 11th hour renewals of Dollhouse and Chuck this past May to generosity from the networks due to the immense fan support that both of these series received. Of course, a few months later Fox canceled back to that money theory...but these final 13 episodes have shaped up to be so utterly satisfying that I am still quite thankful. Chuck has yet to air on NBC since it's surprise renewal; here's to hoping it becomes a giant hit!

Better Off Ted and Parks & Recreation - Most Improved Sophomores

After watching the short first seasons of both of these comedies, I had written them both off as "good, but not great" and "will watch when nothing else is on, but not appointment TV". However, both of these shows came back from their summer hiatuses and completely excelled. I think that both Parks and Ted are among the funniest comedies currently airing on television. Both shows have demonstrated sharp writing and great workplace humor.

Modern Family lives up to the Hype

Before this Fall TV season started, every TV critic and their mother was proclaiming "Modern Family" to be the best thing since sliced bread. Honestly, it's an awful lot of pressure on a show to debut with this much hype. It's only option is to live up to the hype...or more likely, underperform. Luckily for Modern Family, the comedy has done the former.

Glee has become a pop culture phenomenon

I adored Glee since its pilot, but frankly, was convinced that it was too offbeat to emerge into any sort of mainstream hit. Low and behold - 4 months later and all of my friends are asking me if I own the "Glee soundtrack". While the show does not generate ratings of American Idol proportions for FOX, it has been growing in popularity and really has turned into a phenomenon of sorts - probably mostly due to its infectious soundtrack (and general incorporation of music). People are downloading the Glee soundtracks like wow on iTunes and upon hearing that it won't be back until April seem thisclose to starting some form of a riot!

Rachel's Top 5 Disappointments

Death of Privileged

This CW show was so charming and sweet; it was a breath of fresh air. Of course, The CW was convinced they could do better, so they ditched it in favor of new series The Beautiful Life and Melrose Place (2009). Joke's on them though, as Privileged actually performed better in the ratings than both of these new series (and as you well know, TBL's performance was so appalling that it was canceled after just 2 episodes). Melrose Place may still be chugging along, but I'd be pretty surprised if it survived beyond this single season.

Kyle XY's Cliffhanger Finale

This one was the worst. As one Reeler put it at the time, the Kyle XY ending was "one of the most F-ed up series finales I have ever seen". After devoting 3 seasons to a show, there is nothing more infuriating than the series ending on an unresolved cliffhanger (and one that seemed cheap at that). For the record, I blame The Secret Life of The American Teenager. Kyle XY was regarded as an ABC Family hit until that crap premiered...


Here we have a show which had promising pilot and an entirely unique premise - but week in and week out has fallen short of my expectations. I have now watched 10 episodes of FF - and somehow have not grown any real attachment to any of the characters. And, not only has the show failed in its character development (and Joseph Fiennes...not cutting it as a lead for me here), but even more disappointing...has gone nowhere with its plot. Each episode is an infuriating feedback loop consisting of the cast seeing something occurring in their flashforward that motivates their present actions. Thus, the show avoids explaining why anything is ever actually happening. It's happening merely because someone has seen it happen already. Is that the best you've got, FlashForward writers?


It's hard to believe a show that was once so incredibly good has managed to become so horrendously awful. To me, there is not a better example of a show that has become a shell of its former self. Once one of the most original and engaging series on television, Nip/Tuck in its later years - and especially the episodes that aired during 2009 - has turned into a joke. Practically every new person that Christian or Sean meets tries to kill them. Every male character on the show has slept with Kimber (not to mention that she was married and has a child with Matt and now may be getting married to Christian, Matt's biological father). Speaking of Matt, he's in jail now - for robbing convenience stores as a mime. It's SO BAD, guys. Thank god this show will soon be ending!

Scrubs: Med School

We probably can't say we didn't see this one coming, but the attempted Scrubs: New Class/Med School/Rebirth/Unnecessary Extension has been...not a failure of epic proportions, but not exactly a success either. The new interns just can't hold a candle to the original cast, and the plotlines all do really seem just a bit too recycled. If you didn't watch Scrubs back in the early days, you might be slightly more inclined to find the new episodes entertaining, but for those who's all very "been there, done that". Scrubs was a great show - but like many others - it did not realize that it was time for it to end.

What have been your biggest surprises and disappointments of 2009?


Default avatar cat
Jan 1, 2010 12:22PM EST

i think you mean "former" in your review for modern family... "latter" means the second of the two, which would mean Modern Family had not lived up to the hype, yet the title of the paragraph is "Modern Family Lives Up To The Hype"

Jan 1, 2010 12:29PM EST

And also, it's Joseph Fiennes in FF, NOT Ralph...

Default avatar cat
Jan 2, 2010 1:32AM EST

Yeah- the word should be "former" :-) BTW, I agree with rachel on Scrubs.. This used to be a GREAT show and now has become mediocre.

Jan 2, 2010 1:49AM EST

I agree that the way Kyle XY ended was just horrible. It was good, and to have it end with a cliffhanger? Not right.And yes, nip/tuck has gone from great to disaster.
Lets just hope Dollhouse has a chance to produce a fantastic ending

Default avatar cat
Jan 2, 2010 2:32AM EST

Ralph Fiennes is not in FlashForward.

Default avatar cat
Jan 2, 2010 9:09AM EST

Thanks Rachel, always love reading your posts as they always direct me to cool stuff to watch, keep it up please :D

Jan 2, 2010 1:30PM EST

i realy like flashforward and true scrubs isnt as good as it used to be but i think this season is definitely better than the last few

Jan 2, 2010 4:08PM EST

Spot on with regard to FlashForward and Modern Family but I think the new season of Scrubs should be given more credit. It's pretty funny once you get over your loyalty to Carla, Elliot etc. The new characters have all got something different and what I've seen so far has been interesting...

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RachelL Editor
Jan 2, 2010 8:37PM EST

Thanks guys. Corrections made.

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Jan 2, 2010 8:57PM EST

I agree with Fittwood. Look at scrubs:med school like it's a new show. Bill Lawrence ended scrubs, and ABC still picked it up for a 9th season... If you can view it as a whole new show that sometimes has characters from scrubs, it's actually a fun show. Yesterday's episode was funny, and had that touch of Bill Lawrence magic that I love!

Jan 3, 2010 1:53PM EST

i agree with u!for me a litle dissapointment is grey's anatomy.i am the biggest fan of grey,but the whole mearge thing is not so great...and i hate the fact that they killed george...i mean they could've send him to the army it wasn't necessary to hit him with the buss,and now cristina is no longer cristina is like a clone of meredith(a bad one)and alex is every weeck with a baby in his hands....i understand that they have to evolve but not like that....shonda rhymes should do something fast or the show will lose a lot....sorry about my english

Jan 7, 2010 8:28PM EST

I agree with Fittwood and Firefly..Scrubs isn't so bad...i miss all the old characters..but once you get used to the idea that it is a new show...then tho show ges conclusion...i wouldn't say it's a failure.This is probably gonna be a better season than last years

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