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Judge Brett Cullum's Blog

Judge Brett Cullum • Location: Houston, TX
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Television and the 2nd Year Slump
March 22nd, 2006 7:19AM

I saw a topic over at the Jury Room, and it was talking about how the current season of The Sopranos just wasn't nearly as good as previous seasons. Funny that, because I was thinking about my television shows and how they seem less spectacular this year. First off, know that I limit my television viewing to 3 shows a week. I can't stand the thought of surrendering more than 3 hours of my life every week to broadcast or cable programming, so I limit myself harshly. So I really only have insight in to the following shows:

Desperate Housewives - While watching this second season I noticed it wasn't up to the same level as the first year. At first I thought it was just me, but then I went back and rewatched Season One on DVD. Sure enough the mystery in the first season was tight and always overshadowing every event in the show. This year we have Alfre Woodard as Mrs. Applewhite, and her secret is barely given two minutes of any single episode. The problem was the show wrapped up its single greatest mystery, and now I have little reason to watch other than to catch the great acting. The cast is up for anything, but the writers seem to be flailing to find the drama. Most all of the themes were touched on in the last year, and there's nothing new that has the same hook. I'm hoping they will find a way to revitalize the series, and inject a delicious mystery to accompany the daily dramas of the housewives on Wisteria Lane.

Lost - Another show centered around a mystery, but it has the opposite problems of its sisters in suburbia. While Desperate Housewives shot themselves in the foot by answering all our questions, Lost refuses to even give us a single resolution. I recently watched the pilot with a friend who has not seen the series, and she began asking me - "What's up with the polar bear? Do you know what that monster is? Where are they?". Brilliant first season for the show, but the current one seems too cast heavy with the addition of the tail section survivors. And we still don't know any answers to any questions! They just keep piling up, and I wonder what the master plan is. Does anyone have one?

My third show I watch America's Next Top Model is as silly as ever. Tyra Banks is now overly confident with her new role as talk show host, and she tries too hard sometimes to come off as a mother/shrink to all the girls on this reality show. And where is Janice Dickinson? She made a cameo on the premiere, but Twiggy is a poor substitute in the judging room. Janice made that show what it is by being the "Simon Cowell" of the fashion world. She's missed... BADLY!

So is it just me or has the creative juices that made television of 2004-5 so striking seeming to dry up? Thank goodness for DVD where I can relive the finest moments when Lost and Desperate Housewives took the world by storm. And also I can revisit the days when Top Model had the bitchy Janice and the inept Tyra who made mystifyingly silly statements. I wonder when the next wave of cool smart new shows will hit us again. Perhaps it's like movie years, one good alternating with one bad. Whatever the case may be, I miss the inventiveness of last year.

Ever heard of a mash-up? Where they take two songs and mix them together almost on top of each other? Maybe they could do that with my three shows. A planeful of housewives goes down on to a mysterious island where a model search is under way. Hmmmm! Maybe that could help all three. We could call it Lost Housewive's Top Model. It could keep me down to one hour of television a week, and about a third of the frustration.


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