Worst Editing: The Conners
I noticed issues in the editing on the reincarnation of Roseanne last year, but it wasn’t so atrociously obvious as it is on The Conners. Everything about the editing is horrible, but the most egregious are the transitions between scenes, which seem as if the directors don’t know where to end a scene, so they just stop and fade into the next. On top of that, there are several moments when it’s clear they cut something out with placement of characters. It might not be as bad if the show itself was consistent, but with sporadic hints of excellence sprinkled about a mediocre attempt at finding the magic that was once Roseanne in its prime, it just tends to highlight the problems even further.
Best Homage: NCIS: New Orleans Meets Fast and Furious
The only Fast and Furious movie to not star Vin Diesel was The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, which starred Lucas Black, who has been hunting down criminals as NCIS Agent Christopher LaSalle for 5 years. One thing we’ve never seen from the character is the ability to drive like a street racer. So it was fun (and perhaps a little silly) to suddenly see him whip around a parking structure as if he had been drifting his entire life. To cap it all off, after catching the perp he was chasing, he smiles his crooked smile and says, “I still got it.” So, was this just an homage to LaSalle’s old racing days, or does the NCIS universe somehow fit into the Fast and Furious world? Wouldn’t that be a weird twist for everyone involved.
Worst Plot Mistake: 9-1-1
No matter how good 9-1-1 is, it’s still fallable, as evidenced by the episode in which the fire and rescue first respondents head into a situation at a bank that gets them all scrutinized by the police after several thousands of dollars are found stashed away in one of their trucks. The episode itself was fun, imaginative and fit right in with the rest of the series — with one glaring exception: a major plot point that, as far as I know, could never have happened. The point of a safety deposit box is that they cannot be opened, not even by the bank, without having both sets of keys. Part of the plan to rob the bank included the bank manager (Christian Clemenson) stealing six million in diamonds from one of the safe deposit boxes. But how was he able to get into the box without the owner’s key? And how exactly did they know what was in it? You can usually look over minor things in heightened shows like 9-1-1, but this one, I just can’t, in good conscious, let slip by. You’re on notice, 9-1-1!
The season’s most noticeable trend: Social Warrior Justice
This season saw a glut of blatant social justice warriors trying to prove a point. It’s okay to bring light to a topical subject matter, so long as it feels organic and discusses the issue, as opposed to pushing it into a story or show and forcefully shoving the message down the viewer’s throat. Madam Secretary focused two episodes on the separation of children from parents at the border, saying how it’s a moral crisis against humanity no less than two dozen times over the course of an hour. Roswell, New Mexico, started its pilot episode with a character ranting over ICE agents and continuing the storyline with the opposing side looking like lunatics; The Conners dug into the illegal immigrant debate with Becky’s baby daddy being deported in the season finale; and All American and S.W.A.T. pushed the racist white cop angle. But nowhere do we get any conversation or debate for the opposite side or viewpoint. Immigrants and blacks are good; cops and whites are bad. No gray area whatsoever. What’s really dividing America? The inability to discuss topics respectfully without the opposing side being inherently evil.
Most Annoying Pattern: Suits
I’ve been a big fan of Suits since its inception, but throughout the seventh season, I started noticing a pattern. Not in the way they tend to repeat the same story structure in each episode, but in the way the writers and the score seem to have grown into a rut. Every scene tends to begin quietly, with no score and a pair of actors in a room beginning a discussion. Halfway through, the score begins to come in as the conversation becomes heated, or the two characters clash over something. The score continues to rise as the voices rise, and as the scene comes to a close with a big revelation, the score hits its final beat and fades into silence as the cycle starts all over again. I don’t know if it’s been this way since the beginning and I only started noticing it because Mike (Patrick J. Adams) left, but once you do notice it, you can’t not notice it… and it’s become a minor hindrance on an otherwise good show.
Best representation of a coma: Mr. Mercedes
When they announced that there would be a second season of Mr. Mercedes, I was excited. The first season, which followed the novel it was based on quite well, was an outstanding adaptation with some terrific acting, storytelling and pace. I wondered if they would skip the second book in the series (which doesn’t deal with Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway)) and jump right into the third. It turns out they did, which begged another question: how would they represent Brady, who’s basically in a coma the entire time as he continues his killing spree by taking control over other people’s bodies. The producers found the perfect way to represent the coma while giving Treadaway a chance to once again shine as the insane Brady. By taking us inside the psychopath’s head and using the computers in his basement to be his eyes (both of his own, and of those he psychically takes over), helped bring this story to the screen in a powerful way.
The When Are They Going To Cross-Over Award: Magnum P.I. and Hawaii Five-0
From the jump, Magnum PI was obviously setup to be included in the same universe as Hawaii Five-0. Within the first five minutes of the first episode, Magnum is already mentioning the Five-0 task force, and a couple of characters from Five-0 pop in regurlarly (such as coroner Dr. Noelani Cunha (Kimee Balmilero)), but they have yet to pull the trigger on a full-blown crossover. It’s like being in a relationship where it’s clear both parties want to go further, but neither is brave enough to take the first step. Just get it over with already; the tension is killing us!
The Did They Plan That Award: Supernatural and Legacies
Sometimes you’re never really sure if executives at a particular station plan certain narratives to coincide with other shows (and sometimes theme weeks can get super annoying), or if they end up being a mere coincidence. In the most wild case this season, right after Supernatural delivered a stunning 300th episode, literally plucking John “Big Daddy” Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) from 2003 to 2019 after Dean (Jensen Ackles) touches a pearl that grants the bearer their heart’s desire, Lizzie Saltzman (Jenny Boyd) comes face to face with a Genie (sorry, that’s Jinni (Riann Steele)) on Legacies, wherein she goes on a wishing spree to finally rid her life of Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) to dire consequences. Both episodes ended with the resetting of the timelines, and it just seemed too coincidental not to have been planned in advance. I wish I could know for sure… then again, maybe not.
The Show Must Go On Award: Garth Brooks
If God thought he could stop country superstar Garth Brooks from performing, he had another think coming. Brooks had a live concert set for December 2, 2018 at the historic Notre Day stadium and within the first few seconds of his opening song (and probably before), rain started to fall. It continued to fall (whether hard or drizzle) throughout the entire two hour event. Did that stop Brooks from giving yet another fantastic concert to his fans worldwide? Heck no! He delivered a strong performance to a crowd of over 100,000 despite the rain that got everyone, including the band and Brooks himself, drenched. This just proves that Brooks is a consummate performer; rain or shine, the show must go on!
And so, we now must close the 2018-2019 television season. Come back next year for more wonderful chaos in the world of television!