Friday, December 24, 2010

2010: A Year in (Lists) Review...

Tis the season of reruns, so I should have a lot of time on my hands, right? Wrong! Tis (also) the season of reminiscing, and that is exactly what I've been doing this week...taking you down the short memory lane that was 2010!

Over on my Examiner page I spent the week looking back at some of the most memorable elements of television from this past year. It was quite a task to go back through 300+ days of television shows, actors, episodes, and moments when I hadn't been taking notes all along. Lesson learned for 2011, I'll say that! Some of the things I wanted to include, I looked up and realized actually aired at the tail end of 2009, and this isn't a calendar year project but an all-encompassing 2010 one.

In case you missed any of my round-up pieces, here they all are, with some highlights pulled out to suck you right in!

(Click on the titles for the full feature link)

Best Returning TV of 2010 - In Community's second season, which premiered in September 2010, it skyrocketed past 30 Rock to the thing we looked forward to most about Thursday night TV. They marry what we love most: laughing out-loud, pretty, quirky people, and subtle pop culture references. And let's face it: they do a pretty great homage episode, too. There is not a weak link in the cast, and there is literally nothing else like it on television right now; you can't say that about most programming today! And their bottle episode this year which was entirely in the study room? Well, if that's claustrophobia, we want to suffer from it all the time!

Best New Television Series of 2010 - There is no shortage of reboots and re-dos in this town but very few original ideas, so admittedly we weren't too sure about The CW's Nikita. Maggie Q won us over during the TCA panel to promote the show, though, and the actual pilot episode hooked us right in. In part that was due to the lead's very strong, stoic, not-so-silent rogue agent, but it was also due to Lyndsy Fonseca’s intriguing portrayal of a young double agent recruit. Instantly we wanted to know more about her, and the show gave us want we wanted swiftly and often. And let’s face it, the eye-candy (Shane West, Ashton Holmes, Devon Sawa) and Michael/Nikita flirtation help a little, too!

Best Guilty Pleasure TV of 2010 - There are a ton of police dramas on television these days. Maybe not literally, but it certainly feels like it! And in a sea of such heaviness, it's just nice to have one that's a little more fun. We don't watch Castle for the jurisdiction or to learn anything about tactical maneuvers or protocol; instead we watch for the witty banter between the lead characters, who bicker like an old married couple but always have a hint of a smile on their faces as they role their eyes, which keeps their relationships-- and our interest-- fresh. This show also is one of the rare ones that features the mystery component of the WhoDunIt? in the old-school, Sherlock Holmes-y sense. The sense of danger is never so great you can't get wrapped up without fearing your own next door neighbor. And honestly, the fact that the sixteen-year-old helps her dad solve so many crimes just makes our own sixteen-year-old self cheer in triumph!

Best Underrated TV Actors of 2010 - Perhaps because Autumn Reeser on No Ordinary Family was written as a sidekick, or perhaps because her real life pregnancy has kept her from taking part in stunts, this role has been relegated to the plucky comic relief moments. But Reeser's genuine enthusiasm and energetic presence makes even the most mundane (hello, science lab!) come alive. We chuckle out-loud at her dialogue, sometimes inappropriate but always delivered in earnest, and we find ourselves waiting for her to pop back up on screen when her scenes have ended. They say the mark of a great supporting actor is to enhance the story around the leads without pulling too much focus, but Reeser really is a leading lady trapped in a slightly lesser role (for now).

Best TV Moments of 2010 - Modern Family gives up technology - Sometimes we have moments in which the server is acting up and we can't help but scream that all we want to do is throw our laptop out the window and move to the LOST island where there is no technology. So watching the Dunphy family takes on the impossible feat of going not only without cell phones, texting, and video games, but also the internet and all modern technology in general in "Unplugged," a stand-out season two episode, was poignant and hilarious all at the same time. Little jabs at dated technology like AOL's "You've got mail" welcome, as well as corded phones getting tangled on everything in their path were chuckle-worthy. What was really top-notch, though, was oldest daughter and biggest addict Haley's creative way of coping. And of course watching Claire stand on a chair and scream "Representative" to an automated telephone service was like looking into a mirror.

Favorite Articles of 2010 - It is the CBS-TV TCA party in Beverly Hills, and hot off his Blue Bloods presentation alongside co-star Tom Selleck-- and still looking quite daper in his crisp white suit-- Wahlberg chats casually with reporters and network executives. Mid-interview, he is pulled away to take a photo with network president Nina Tassler who must be a huge fan because she keeps him in conversation for a bit. "It’s cause I’m rugged," Wahlberg jokes, when told that his cop show is the most believable of the new fall season. (August 2010)

Best TV Tweeters of 2010 - @DamonLindelof aka Damon Lindelof (LOST) - Though he doesn't entertain the 574,679 questions he inevitably gets about "The End" on a daily basis, his spirits on this social networking site are always high. He shares what television shows he is currently loving for anyone still feeling the void from his own being off-air, and he also points out references to his great work as he comes across them in other forms of pop culture. But perhaps most interesting he offers one Tweet reviews of entertainment news, events, and programs always with a snarky vibe. If he ever decides he wants to switch sides of the business, we are all in trouble. Sample Tweet: "This Eric Braeden/Neil Patrick Harris feud would be so much better if either of them could rap."

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