Well, the 2008-2009 TV season is pretty much over with (I think there's still a few more shows still going on, but I don't really watch 'em; but the Big Leaguers are over with, like Lost and Grey's Anatomy, both of which I skippo), so I figured I'll just do a little write-up on my thoughts, which will most likely get expounded upon in a thorough review once the DVD sets are available. There are some shows that I missed that I'm quite excited to watch, such as the new show Fringe on FOX, and both seasons of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and perhaps Volume 4 of Heroes' fourth season, "Fugitives."
ANYWAY, onto the goodies...
24 (Fox) - Season 7 - Picking up the pieces from the not-so-stellar season 6, 24 came back to tele screens in January after a year-and-a-half absence, and although it's not the best (an award that will seemingly never budge from season 5), it was quite damn awesome. Jack versus a longtime friend, the torture debate which I initially wasn't all systems a-go about but ended up warming to, a siege on a major political building, and an enormous conspiracy spanning all of Washington. Yes, vintage 24, and well done. The sad part, though, is that there's a few episodes scattered between the really damn good episodes that do nothing to further the plot. Like, really nothing (here's me looking at hours 19-22). But for the most part, the good outweighs the bad. There were, of course, some lame plot lines and not-fully-explained character motivations, but I'm cool with that. My only real disappointment is that the conspiracy aspect of the story wasn't carried throughout the entire season, which would have made it really uber-great. Jack vs. Everybody. How can you tell me you're not salivating over that idea? I just picked up the Season 7 set for my birthday, so once I re-watch them and listen to the commentaries and view the special features, I'll chum out a review, but until then - 24 is still good for a show that comes up with hundreds of twists and turns each 24-order season. Don't give up on it.
Battlestar Galactica (Sci-Fi Channel) - Season 4 - The last batch of episodes leading up to the cataclysmic series finale, there were revelations, there was frustration, there was drama, and there was excitement. Revelations pertaining to explanations about the Cylons and the 2000-year nuked earth the Galactica crew landed on in the mid-season finale; frustration in the seemingly filler material, or at least ideas/concepts that were dragged way past their welcome; excitement in the last episode, "Daybreak, Part 2" which has a 30-minute space battle that rivals and may even surpass cinematic space wars; and drama, in the two-part episodes "The Oath" and "Blood on the Scales" - if you haven't seen those episodes, I won't ruin it for you, but they are truly awesome. Battlestar Galactica has been an awesome show, and it's a little sad to see it leave, but it ended on a high-note. Sure, there were some inconsistencies and unsatisfactory answers, but overall, it truly is can't miss television.
Chuck (NBC) - Season 2 - When the first season aired on NBC, I didn't dig it. Then I bought the season one box set, consisting of 13 episodes, and watched all of them within two days (counting work hours). I was addicted to Chuck, and sorta still am (Yippie for its third season renewal!!!). Although its sophomore season has moments of true awesomeness, particularly the last three episodes, there are plenty of 'filler' material with those 'Bad Guy of the Week' plots that helped propel Smallville into eight seasons (more below). Point is, the writing may not have been as sublime as its freshman season, but our main principal leads - Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, and Adam Baldwin - make every second they're onscreen a goldmine. So, no, I don't consider it a wasted 22 episodes. It was Awesome (get it? *chuckles*).
Kyle XY (ABC) - Season 3 - My new favorite show didn't exactly end on a high note, sad to say. Sure, there were some huge high-points, notably the first and last episode. The new season opened with a spectacular conclusion to season 2's prom cliffhanger and promised a lot of juicy Kyle tidbits to be revealed later in the truncated 10 episode season run. Instead, the show spent eight episodes fully indulging themselves in teen angst - the relationship between Kyle and Amanda, the will they won't they? with Kyle and Jessi, the "frienemies" battle with Lori and Hilary, and the list continues. As with many of these serialized shows, perhaps it's best watching them on DVD as watching them week-by-week became a nuisance with the lack of any solid answers. Kyle suffered the Clark Kent factor (more on that later) in that he just became too side-tracked by other things to fully take charge, and that's unfortunate. However, the series finale nearly makes up for the entire season, with some satisfying Kyle character development [but a season-finale "cliffhanger" that is just sadly pathetic and uninspired] but it's a little too late. Basically, it's still a good show, but its last season wasted too much time in the teen world and went away from the sci-fi aspect that made it unique. But hell, I'll still pick up the box set just to complete the collection.
Reaper (The CW) - Season 2 - Similar to Chuck, Reaper had a stellar freshman season, but its sophomore season felt far too filler-y. Granted, Reaper is the type of show that works better with nonstop DVD viewing (which will be released 09 June, and you can sure as hell expect me to pick up that beauty), so my opinion might change, but I simply didn't dig the storylines, nor the characters as much the second time around. Sam, the dude who has his soul owned by the Devil (still played mischievously and brilliantly by Ray Wise), doesn't seem to have progressed at all since the Pilot. And that's the rub, none of the characters with the exception of possibly Andi (Sam's girlfriend) show any development. Sock and Ben are pretty much the same, even with the addition of love interests for both of 'em (side note: Ben gets an awesome demon girlfriend that is SO Anya from Buffy, it's like going back in time!). And, as per usual, the really good stuff happens in the last few episodes of the season, making all the other 100% filler material (including a half-brother for Sam, and the build-up of Sam's true father given very little fare) sorta worth it. Due to piss-poor ratings (though probably still better than Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles on FOX), the show will most likely get canceled, and that's a shame, because it's fun, quirky, nicely written, and has three leads that make every moment of screentime great.
Smallville (The CW) - Season 8 - Yep, it's still on the air. Somehow. Apparently it takes eight plus years to tell the origin story of Clark Kent becoming Superman. This wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact the show takes a few steps forward with Clark accepting his destiny, only for him to pussy out by the season finale or get side-tracked by some hot tail and become a whiny wimp for another season; it's aggravating. And if there was any season that should have shown progress for Clark, it would have been this: a new person taking over the reigns of LuthorCorp in the absence of Lex Luthor, the continued formation of the Justice League, employment at the Daily Planet, and a mysterious paramedic who has a Doomy-beast inside him. Season 8 started off strong, and was even pretty decent towards the middle [strange Lana arc notwithstanding, but I can't complain too bad with more Kristen Kruek screentime], but it ended on a not-so-outstanding note. But despite my lack of enthusiasm for the show now, I'll still check back in sporadically for season 9, just to see where's the show's heading, which it itself doesn't really seem to know...
Supernatural (The CW) - Season 4 - The crown program of the 2008-2009 season, Supernatural is the show to beat; perfect writing, phenomenal actors and phenomenal guest stars and even phenomenal extras, season 4 of Supernatural is at its best. I honestly could go on and on about how wonderful this show is. Of course, I'm a little biased because it features everything in a program that I love - monsters, supernatural entities, good versus evil, kick-assery, and witty dialog; it's difficult to make me not like an episode. Sure, there were a few too many episodes that seemed like the writers were stalling for the really good stuff, but the great thing about Supernatural is that even those episodes are top-notch awesomeness. Basically, if you're not watching Supernatural, that is unwise. Season 4 is it's best as the Apocalypse is just right around the corner, and the only people able to maybe stop it is Sam and Dean...with the "help" of some Angels, sent by the Lord Himself. Yeppers, SP gets into religious territory, but frak, I've never seen it this well handled.
The Shield (FX) - Season 7 - Oh my god. That's almost all one can say about the show. O. M. G. The Shield was never fearful of going to the darkest reaches of mankind's abilities, and no other season perfectly encapsulates this than its final season. I hardly want to talk about it because the beauty of this final season is that everything that happens in ever episode relates to past events, particularly a shocking death in the finale of the very first episode. This final season is absolutely, 100% brilliant, and although it's a shame this fantastic show will no longer be on the air, it ended in a satisfying way and I can't wait to have an two-day all-day marathon of the show from the beginning to end, and see how all the pieces fit together, and watch the development of this human tragedy that not even this Shakespeare bloke could have written. The Shield is, quite simply, a masterpiece.
Left on my TV quota: Dexter (Season 3), Fringe (Season 1), The Big Bang Theory (Seasons 1 & 2), Rescue Me (Season 5), Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Seasons 1 & 2), Dollhouse (Season 1), Heroes (Season 3), and Lost (Seasons 1-5).
Verdict on the 2008-2009 season: Pretty damn good. The Shield and Supernatural are truly the masters of the season, with the final batch of Battlestar Galactica episodes right up there. Another plus is that a long-standing show that had a faulty sixth season regained its feet for season 7 (24), so that's pretty much great. There were, of course, some dissapointments in Chuck, Kyle XY, and Smallville, but there were so many good episodes scattered throughout their respective seasons that it almost cancels out the bad...just almost. But whatev, I enjoyed my time this year, and there's plenty of television goodness awaiting me in a few months! (here's looking at you Chuck and Supernatural)