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Canceled Favorites

I’ve been hearing for the last week or so about shows that are being canceled and those that are being renewed for next season, and I’m a little depressed. A bunch of shows that I decided to try (many of which I like) are being canceled.

Some of the cancellations are not surprising, like NYC 22. I’m also not that surprised that Breaking In and Bent are being canceled, although I really liked them. GCB was one of my guilty pleasures. I didn’t look forward to it every week, but when I had some extra time, I’d catch up. Some shows I won’t miss, even though I watched regularly. Unforgettable tops that list. I liked the premise of the show, but something about the main character bugs me. Maybe it’s the actress, but there have been too many times that she’s come across as an airhead. Awake is a show that I’ve watched, but I have a bunch of episodes on my DVR to catch up on. Now I’m questioning if I should bother.

There are three shows that are chopped that I will miss. Missing doesn’t surprise me. I mean, really, how long could you draw out a single kidnapping? But I watched it every week. The Finder is another show that’s a little on the weird side, but since it aired on Fridays, it gave me something to watch over the weekend. The one show that’s being canceled that I think I’ll miss the most is Alcatraz. I like everything about that show. It had unique characters with some baggage, small conflicts in the search for the weekly criminal, and the overall plot arc of how and why the 63s were in 2012.

Image taken from Amazon

I will say that I’m happy that my truly favorite shows have been renewed — Revenge, Castle, Blue Bloods, Mentalist, Criminal Minds, and Bones. I have all of the episodes of Scandal on the DVR but haven’t watched them yet. Since it too is being renewed, I think I’ll catch up. Body of Proof has also been renewed, and I’ve watched pretty regularly, but if I could trade this for Alcatraz, I would.

The list I used to double check things I heard on Twitter is here. With all of these cancellations, I certainly hope there are good shows in the works for next year, otherwise, how will I fill all of my free time?

What show are you sorry to see go?

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The Return of Old Friends (and they’re not all cops)

Ahh…now that the holidays are over, we get back to the important stuff: good TV. 🙂 Of course, many of our regular shows will pop up with new episodes (I’m looking at you, Castle). But for me, I also look forward to the  return of some favorite mid-season shows.

First up, Southland. I really thought this show had gotten canceled. It started out on network TV and was cut. Then TNT picked it up. In case you’ve never seen it, the show’s about LA cops (big surprise, right?). What makes this show unique is that it isn’t about one department or division solving a big crime each week. It follows a few detectives and a few uniformed cops. We get snippets of their personal lives, but because it’s such a big cast of characters to follow, you don’t spend a lot of time with any one character. Mostly, we get to see what being a cop does to these people. We see them doing the boring parts of the job as well as the exciting parts. While I do watch this show every week, and I look forward to its return, I can’t say I’m excited. Kind of like when an old friend is coming to visit; you’re happy to see him, but you don’t get all hot and bothered over it.

Now, Justified, on the other hand, really heats things up. The show is based on an Elmore Leonard story, so you know its roots are solid. Raylan Givens (played by the very sexy Timothy Olyphant) is a U.S. Marshall with a hot temper. He has a habit of shooting people who come up against him. Every shooting, though, turns out to be justifiable, hence the name of the show. During season 1, Raylan was transferred

back to Kentucky where he grew up. He has strong ties (not necessarily good ones) to Harlan County. The cast of characters is diverse and real, but it is Raylan who brings me back each week. He’s a damaged hero, but you don’t know that right away. He seems pretty put together on the outside, but his ex-wife pointed out, “You’re one of the angriest men I know.” And it’s true. That anger pops out and although he doesn’t turn into a raving lunatic, you see it in his eyes. Not a man I’d want to cross. Putting all that aside, the plot lines are drawn from real life. Real people trying to survive in small towns in a crappy economy — drugs, gangs, and coal mining.

The show that I am really excited about is Shameless. This is another show that we Americans stole from the Brits. I’ve only caught part of one episode of the British version, so I can’t say whether it’s any good. I am totally in love with the American version, though. I love this show for so many reasons: 1. It takes place in Chicago (who doesn’t like to see their hometown on TV?) and the producers do it right., 2. It’s about the Gallaghers, a large Irish family (you remember my post on Blue Bloods?), and 3. The family is so real, yet unique and damaged that you want to see what will happen.

William H. Macy plays Frank, the good-for-nothing drunk father. Mom took off a long time ago, leaving eldest child, Fiona in charge. Fiona is in her early twenties and she’s become mom to this group, at the expense of her own life. Lip (Philip) comes next in line. He’s a genius, but doesn’t even seriously consider furthering his education to make life better, mostly because he has no role models to look to. Ian is next. He’s ROTC and gay. He hides being gay because a white Irish boy on the south side of Chicago isn’t supposed to be that way. Debbie wants a normal family; Carl is a serial killer in training; and Liam is a biracial baby. What I love most about this family is that they’re not just dysfunctional. They are a hot stinking mess, but they have great coping skills. They make life work. Every time it looks like something will finally go their way, it seeps from their grasp (usually because of something Frank does).

This season the episodes are all supposed to take place over the summer, which should make things even more interesting. Last year it was winter in Chicago and the kids had school. Winter in Chicago is pretty yucky, but summertime is great. Plus, the episodes are going to air while it really is winter here. I can’t wait.

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What returning shows are you most looking forward to?

Family Dinner – Blue Bloods Style

One of my favorite semi-new shows is Blue Bloods. Yes, it’s another cop show, but this one focuses more on the Reagan family than the crimes themselves. The Reagans are an Irish Catholic family in New York. The whole family is cops, except for Erin, the only daughter, who is a DA. There’s so much I love about the show. The family is dominated by men, but they are good, loving men who put family first. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Tom Selleck and Donny Wahlberg star in the show.

One thing that stands out for me is that this family eats Sunday dinner together every week. Even if there’s a big case, everyone at least makes an appearance at the dinner table. It’s also about a whole lot more than just eating. When you have the whole family together, the conversation can be argumentative, hurtful, funny, or heartfelt.

Here’s a clip from a dinner scene:

An even better dinner scene is from the last episode (season 2, episode 9, “Moonlighting”). I couldn’t find a clip, but you can watch it for free on-line. The dinner scene there is wonderful because Jamie is beaten to a pulp earlier in the episode and everyone is talking about it. Then they make jokes about how he hid evidence (he swallowed it), which evolved into family stories of all of the things Jamie swallowed over the years. You learn so much about the characters from the way they interact at the family dinner.

Part of me also loves this show because I’m writing about an Irish Catholic family (set in Chicago, not cops) in my books. Although they don’t do family dinner weekly, they do commit to everyone getting together at least once a month. Often, it’s more than that. Like the Reagans, my O’Learys use the dinner table to air grievances and celebrate victories.

In real life, I’m bad at the whole family dinner thing. We do eat together, but the TV is usually on. We tend to spend our quality time in other ways. The kids like to watch TV while they eat because it gives them some downtime in between all of their activities (and there are lots). We get the same laughter and banter as the Reagans, but ours tends to happen in the car instead of at the dinner table.

How about you? Do you do big family meals on a regular basis?