Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Decade According to an Idiot Box Addict

One decade ago I was a mere ten year old who found joy in the simple heart and humor of after school television. “Full House” and “Boy Meets World” were staples in my pre-adolescent stage. Seventh heaven was still considered not only acceptable but a must watch for school discussion. Life was different, very different.

Then, around 2004, life changed. Grudgingly and most reluctantly, I let my Dad talk me into watching a teen drama about a girl who solved mysteries. I did not realize then that I had just become a slave to the idiot box. More after the jump.

“Veronica Mars” had me instantly hooked. The search for Lily Kane’s murderer kept me on the edge of my seat through the final episode of the first season. Logan Echolls, the misunderstood and winner of most in need of therapy “obligatory psychotic jackass,” completely won my heart. Veronica herself, the edgy, street-smart, too good for everyone else yet still somewhat vulnerable, outcast of Neptune High School was instantly a winner in my book. Rob Thomas’ witty and masterful dialogue created a world written in such a delicious way that I wanted to devour it immediately (and have done numerous times on DVD since). “Veronica Mars” and the mysteries and scandals surrounding Neptune provided my first true television obsession, and definitely not my last.

Over the past month or so the many lists of the best shows of the decade infiltrated my twitter feed and took over the blogosphere, providing many hours of much appreciated procrastination throughout finals. But when it came to writing my own lists, I didn’t really believe I was quite qualified. Over the past several years I have educated myself as best possible (with the help of my Dad’s unmatched DVD collection) on the television of the decade that I missed throughout the early teenage years. I have tried to catch up on the shows that I was too young to understand or care about when they originally aired.

I caught up on the Joss Whedon’s masterpieces of “Buffy” and “Firefly.” I marathon watched the addictive work of J.J. Abrams in “Alias.” “Wonderfalls,” gave me a little bit of the Bryan Fuller world I was missing upon the cancellation of “Pushing Daisies.” After school television changed from the hours spent with Cory, Sean, and Mr. Feeny to twenty-four hours spent alongside Jack Bauer and Chloe. Damon Lindelhof and Carleton Cuse took obsession to a whole new level upon my discovery of the mythology-entangled stories of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. The numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42, would never be the same again. “Mad Men” taught me what true dramatic television had the potential to become with smart dialogue and characters we love despite their many faults. Action, comedy, and romance were all wrapped into one with Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak’s creation of “Chuck;” it was as if they knew my life had been incomplete without Chuck, Sarah, Casey, and the Buy More, even though I had been unaware.

The list is clearly quite long, and I plan for it to continue its growth. I know I still have several Picasso sized wholes in that education, “Battlestar Gallactica,” “The West Wing,” and “The Wire” to name a few. Hell if I care. I’m ready to take on anything you send through my brand new blu-ray DVD player.

The talent and brilliance that erupted in television throughout the years between 2000 and 2010, presented a new stage of this incredible medium. In a New York Magazine Article, Emily Nussbaum speaks about how this was a decade in which television transformed into an art form and I could not agree more. The shows that are broadcasted on that idiot box in living rooms across the country are no longer solely mindless entertainment. Don’t get me wrong; I am aware that there is an unsettling amount of reality television that gets worse by the day (“Conveyor Belt of Love?” “Jersey Shore?”). But if you look for the good stuff, it can be brilliant. I can’t help but believe that the thought provoking and entertaining masterpieces of this decade can and will be matched and exceeded over the next decade. With the dominance of Internet encroaching upon television networks, there is no doubt that the business of television will change.

However, politics aside, I am looking forward to another decade of brilliant work on one of the most influential mediums of art. Here’s to a new decade and a new era of television. May the Tivo gods smile down on us and grant us many more years of side-aching-laughter comedy, finger-nail-biting action, swoon-inducing romance, and jaw-dropping drama. Happy New Year!

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CT, The Idiot Box Awards

With finals taking over my life I seem to have fallen quite behind on updating the blog. However, here is my final column of the year, the one, the only, Idiot Box Awards. I award what I have deemed Fall's best shows. Assuming I finish all my work in a timely fashion I have quite the To Do List of writing for the blog including but not limited to: Nice/Naughty Lists for 2009, the Decade's Best, TV New Years Resolutions, and oh so much more. But, for now, enjoy the last Campus Times column of the year by clicking through the links.

Click here to read the column online.
Or click here to read the PDF version. (Scroll to page 15)

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