20 Questions About the 2012-2013 TV Season – Part One

With the television season drawing to a close, it is time to reflect on what we have seen. Television shows have ascended, gone belly up, or merely remained afloat. Actors have watched their stars soar, or their shows crash and burn unceremoniously. Storylines have been carried to completion, left us hanging, or destroyed any and all faith in the show. While my emotions run the gamut between uplifted and bummed out (I don’t have a wide range of emotions), the one thing I’m always left with at the end of a television season is questions.

Which is why it’s time to revive a popular enjoyable column started here last season. Basically, I’m going to ask myself a series of questions I lingered on regarding the television season. Hopefully, later installments will feature a mixture of my own questions coupled with suggestions from my more active readers. To the questions.

Can cable networks pick up all our favorite discarded network shows?
 

Happy Endings Season 3 The Ballad of Lon Sarofsky; Un-sabotagable (2)

Fans of little watched but passionately loved shows have seen a couple of dead shows revived by cable networks. Most recently, Cougar Town made a triumphant move to TBS after being cancelled by ABC. Chronically misunderstood and suffering from the same disease Scrubs did (Bill Lawrence created both), Cougar Town went unnoticed by most of the populace during its network run. The people that loved the show defended it so ardently, that it became enough of a commodity for it to be picked up by TBS. The show’s not going to enjoy a 10 season run on TBS (not enough money), but a solid run to syndication isn’t out of the question. Either way, fans of the show (myself included) get to watch a few more episodes then we would have otherwise.

Now, it seems another show is poised to join the list. ABC recently cancelled Happy Endings after 3 seasons. Fans of the show (myself included again) are disappointed but remain constantly optimistic thanks to some scuttle that USA may pick up the show. Moves like these only allow fans to dream big about the fate of their favorite cancelled series. It’s safe to assume that these two shows are part of the exception and not the rule, but it’s certainly a positive thought that underappreciated shows can find new homes when the network machine doesn’t suit them.

Is the FBI really THAT stupid?
 

Anytime a show about a criminal “mastermind” comes on the air, the show faces an important challenge: The show has to keep the criminal mastermind at work while making the law enforcement types pursuing come off as credible. It just so happens this spring showed us a couple of examples on wildly divergent ends of the spectrum.

Hannibal is a show truly centered around Hugh Dancy’s Will Graham (and he’s excellent), but there’s the obvious hang up about him working with Hannibal Lecter to solve particularly brutal crimes. Now, on its face, the premise seems like it should be ridiculous. However, the show has been really effective at showing the depths of skill/madness Will Graham possesses while giving him no reason to suspect his friendly psychiatrist is actually a cannibalistic serial killer. It’s particularly impressive when you compare it with its serial killer-based cousin on Fox.

Unlike Hannibal, The Following seemed determined to make us all fear for our safety when the FBI gets involved. There were plenty of tonal problems throughout the season, but the show’s insistence on having some of the nation’s top investigators be repeatedly moronic is just bad television. Instead of being a show with any real substance, the show just decided that hack and slash with Kevin Bacon was going to turn into a good show. It will be back for season two, but I legitimately wonder how many of its viewers will stick around again. So much of television viewing is inertia. With the show airing weekly, it seems logical to follow the story to its conclusion. Now gone from the air until next January, what will be the impetus for people to return?

Czar’s note: If you took the entire previous paragraph as me taking one final shot at The Following because I’m secretly mad at myself for choosing to review it, then you know me too well.

Is Ron Swanson a superhero?
 

Parks and Recreation Season 5 Episode 7 Leslie vs. April (12)

At this point, we have to consider right. We’ve watched the man go for after-dinner omelets after having three porterhouses, eat an entire deli tray in five minutes, knock men to the ground with a single blow, rip a sconce out of a wall, and manage to get over a few times on Leslie Knope. Seen separately, they don’t really mean much, but when you start to consider them as a whole, then maybe it’s time we look a little closer at the backstory of Ronald Ulysses Swanson.

What actor has taken their game up a notch?
 

This question can go in several different directions. You can take an actor who has gone from good to great, or one that struggled, but is now starting to find themselves. I’m going to choose the former and go with Jonathan Banks of Breaking Bad. Banks had always been used in spurts as enforcer type for Gus Fring. With Gus gone, Banks was given a ton of material to work with, and he ran with it.

Would you rather be north of The Wall or one of Tywin Lannister’s children?
 

Has to be pretty close to a toss up, right? Sure, if you’re hanging out up north, there is a chance that ice zombies could come after you in the night. However, you at least get to live your life with some sort of freedom. In addition, an ice zombie will only physically crush you once. The children of Tywin Lannister are spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically crushed seemingly daily. That said, you do have an absurd fortune to do stuff with, so at least there’s that. I think I would choose the money, and I would just pay a really awesome band to play the Westeros version of emo music anytime my Dad was giving me the business. I guess the Fresh Prince was right: Parents just don’t understand.

There you have. The 20 questions series has begun. Do you have a burning question you want me to answer, submit it in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer in subsequent postings.