austin nichols

REVIEW: 2010-2011 Television Season

I have always watched a crap-ton of tv, but this year seemed particularly heavy. I had at least two shows per day Monday thru Thursday and I discovered the brilliance of British television. It’s been a busy television season and on the whole, I’m satisfied with the finales we got.

Shows That Premiered This  Season…

After watching the pilot episode, I stuck with only four shows this year: Being Human, Shameless, Happy Endings and The Walking Dead. I always bitch about how much I hate American remakes of British tv shows…and yet two of them made the list. However, unlike Skins, these remakes are actually good. People have been listing Happy Endings on their comedy Emmy wishlists, and while I think that is a wee bit of a stretch, this show surprised me. Any sitcom revolving around a group of friends is immediately likened to, well, Friends. I found the overall premise of Happy Endings to be relatively weak, but the show definitely improved over the course of its short season.

FAVORITE NEW SHOW: Being Human, hands down. The show just gives such a fresh spin on the whole vamp-werewolf dynamic and it totally holds its own against the U.K. counterpart. Although, it’s official, I can’t stand the Josh/George character aka the werewolf in either version.

Discovered shows already on air…

This year, I discovered so many wonderful programs that are already on air. I love this, because then I have oodles of episodes to watch without an annoying hiatus. Thanks to blogs and mostly Tumblr, I had heard only high praises for the British shows, Misfits and Skins. Misfits is by far one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen and I kind of have a crush on Robert Sheehan. I also randomly stumbled upon The Big Bang Theory bloopers on YouTube and even those made me crack up, which gave me the incentive to blindly purchase the dvds. And it’s amazing. I am making it my mission to attend a taping before I leave LA.

While I am still making my way through Parks and Recreation & 30 Rock, I have to say, I love NBC’s Thursday night comedy line-up. I know I am so late to The Office party, it’s not even funny. Within a course of 4 days, I watched every single episode on Hulu. What can I say? It was a boring finals week. And unlike other fans, I don’t think the show has necessarily lost its mojo, I for one, loved season 6. I caught the last few episodes of season 7 on air and while I do agree that it will be a different program, I think the show has potential to be great without Michael Scott / Steve Carell. One of my roomies always sang the praises of Chuck, so I gave that a try, too. It’s a great dramedy and I kind of have a crush on Zachary Levi, too.

FAVORITE NEW SHOW ALREADY ON AIR: This is such a tough decision because I love each and every one of the programs shown above. But it has to be Community. If Glee gets an Emmy nod and Community doesn’t, there’s officially no justice in the world. Even Community‘s “weaker” episodes are better than most shows’ best. And it’s two-parter paintball season finale was damn near flawless. Community‘s comedic style is exactly my cup of tea and I am officially the biggest Jeff & Annie fan ever. I would normally find a relationship between a 20-year-old girl and a guy who is nearly 40 to be disgusting, but they are absolutely adorbs. And to think I only discovered this gem because it was on sale at Target…I have so much love for Target.

Returning shows…

FAVORITE RETURNING SHOW / BEST OVERALL SEASON: This was really not a tough call, as a lot of these shows had lackluster seasons, The Vampire Diaries. Now, I am not one of those crazy TVD fans who stakes out polls on Entertainment Weekly until TVD reigns supreme, but this season was very strong overall. I am such a fan of Tyler & Caroline and I cannot wait to see where the writers take this storyline. We finally saw some progression in the Stefan / Elena / Damon triangle and Jeremy finally got some lovin’ and a relationship I approve of. No sophomore slump here.

ONE TREE HILL: Much like Glee becoming the Kurt Show at times, One Tree Hill morphed into the Brooke & Julian Show. And I love Brooke and Julian, but it was overkill with the babies. If the network would have let Mark Schwahn & crew do the abortion storyline intended for Brooke in season 4, it would have added another dimension to the fact that she is unable to have children. It just seemed too easy to have Brooke get magically pregnant, with twins no less. I love me some Stephen Colletti, but I think the fact that he is now a series regular says enough. We all know that One Tree Hill should have ended after season 6, if not season 4. Although OTH never racked up high numbers, as a long-time fan, it’s horrible to see how its fallen not only in ratings but in quality.

LIGHTS OUT: I won’t divulge too much because it hasn’t aired on NBC yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed the finale. It was the perfect end to a nearly-perfect show. Can we get some Emmy love, pwease?

I generally enjoyed 90210‘s season 3. I think the first half of the season why stronger, but it overall was exponentially better than Gossip Girl. The only thing I really liked about Glee season 2 was the return of Fuinn and we all know how that ended. As for Grey’s, hopefully this season will be its last and it can go out on a high note. It’s already losing its magic, I don’t buy any article that claims Grey’s is having a comeback. Just limit the Calzona, give Alex a substantial love interest, bring back Addison and reunite Mark & Lexie and you’ll be back on track.

So what’s going to be my summer obsession? Well, So You Think You Can Dance, obvi, but I also started watching Six Feet Under today and I’m loving it so far. I am also planning to spend this summer checking out Fringe, Parenthood, Modern Family and The Good Wife.  All I can say is, thank God for Netflix.

Five Times When OTH Jumped the Shark

As a once avid fan of One Tree Hill, it pains me to say that the show has truly overstayed its welcome. If I had it my way, the show would have ended at season four and went out on a high note. Granted, seasons five and six weren’t necessarily god-awful, but I think OTH fans can agree that the show lost much of its spark. One Tree Hill has garnered some of the lowest ratings of all major networks and has been used as a punch line for its immortality. There are obviously more, but here are my top five times when OTH jumped the shark…

5. 1940s flashback (6.11 We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)

This episode had no point, unless you count letting CMM write an episode. And it was bad. Really bad. The only way the episode could have been salvaged was to let Peyton actually die at the end. But of course, it was only just a dream. Rats.

4. Kevin Federline guest stars (season 5)

Why, Mark Schwahn, why?! There are countless other talented, bad ass rock stars who could have made a guest appearance. Britney’s hard core ex, K Fed, should not be included amongst them.

3. Deb & Skills / Dan & Rachel (season 5-6)

The older Scotts got some action with their sons’ classmates, Skills & Rachel. Deb & Skills were somewhat tolerable, but Dan & Rachel were disgusting. Sure, it made for some good laughs, but seeing Dan kissing Rachel is something I want to permanently erase from my memory.

2. Nanny Carrie & Psycho Katie (seasons 5-7)

Exactly how many demented psychopaths live in Tree Hill?! Apparently each canon couple on OTH needs a psycho-subplot: Peyton & Lucas had Psycho Derek; Nathan & Haley had Nanny Carrie; Brooke & Julian had the guy who kidnapped Sam and robbed Brooke; Clay & Quinn had Psycho Katie. I was fine with the Psycho Derek story line, more because it freaked me out more than anything. Nanny Carrie got a little ridiculous but the addition of Katie is just too much.

1. Dog Eats Dan’s New Heart (6.18 Searching for a Former Clarity)

Dan is smugly chilling in the hospital waiting room for his heart transplant. The guy with the heart trips over the dog’s leash and the ticker goes flying. And then the whole room watches in horror as the dog slurps down the core of the human body. The first time I saw this I laughed. Then I felt horrible. Then I felt disgusted. Finally I settled on feeling immense pity for the writers who put together that crap. If this isn’t a ‘jump the shark’ moment, I don’t know what is.

FALL TV WISHLIST: One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill : Season 8, September 14 @ 7 – The CW


There are so many things I would like to see happen in One Tree Hill’s eighth season.  However, I have learned over the years that Mark Schwahn and Co. and I do not see eye to eye when it comes to this series. I have a feeling that OTH will continue its downward slide to Television That Sucks. It really pains me to see how bad this show has become.  If I had my way, the show would have ended at the end of season four. I haven’t really been “wowed” by an episode of OTH since then.

I sincerely hope this is the final season of OTH and this is coming from a long-time fan of the series. Unless the writers can magically get Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton to return, the show needs to cut its losses and call it quits. I can already imagine a lackluster series finale and it’s a shame. The writers have proved to us that they are better than this.

Since I have such low expectations for this season, I really don’t have a lot of requests:

  • The show cannot afford to lose any more of the original cast members. If Haley leaves, the show just needs to end there. Without Haley, we lose the heart of the show. Without Haley, we have no Naley.
  • Get rid of the excess characters, which include the following: Clay, Quinn, Grubbs, British Chick, Psycho Katie, Mouth/Skill’s girlfriend and Alex. I have learned to deal with Mouth and Skills as permanent cast members, but that’s as much as I can handle. I would rather see the main characters of Nathan, Haley and Brooke get good storylines than see the whole cast get run-of-the-mill material.
  • Earth to Mark Schwahn: For four wonderful seasons you created a solid drama series that not only had quality acting and writing but heart. So few shows today have heart and you lost it.

So long, One Tree Hill, it was nice knowing you. But if things don’t drastically improve, if might be time for us to make our separate ways.

Top 10 Episodes of One Tree Hill

[EDITED March 17, 2012]
I will be the first to admit that One Tree Hill has overstayed its welcome by at least 2-3 seasons. The show was in its prime through seasons 3-4, and even though 5-6 had a completely different feel, it was still pretty quality television. Save for a few storylines, seasons 7-8 were a total bore for me. Season nine, however, I am thoroughly enjoying. What’s more, Chris Keller is off my bitch-list. Miracles do come true.

Even though OTH has jumped the shark many times and has somewhat become the laughing stock of television, I will be the first to defend this show to the death. And in honor of some of its best moments, I give you my favorite episodes of One Tree Hill:

10. I and Love and You, Season Seven
Sometimes we fall short of the people we were meant to be. Sometimes people do things they’re ashamed of. And usually after the guilt sets in, we make things worse. My son Nathan Scott is a good man, but sometimes people do funny things in the face of pressure and desperation, and the truth, well, the truth is an absolute. And the truth can set you free.

9. Life Is Short, Season Five
Sometimes when you’re young, you think nothing can hurt you. It’s like being invincible. Your whole life is ahead of you and you have plans. Big plans.But as you get older you realize it’s not always that easy. It’s not until the end of your life that you realize how the plans you made were simply plans.  Because at the end when you’re looking back instead of forward, you want to believe you made the most of what life gave you. You want to believe you’re leaving something good behind. You want it all to have mattered. 

8. The Show Must Go On, Season Three
Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds. It is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken. Love alters not with time’s brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom. 

7. Are You True?, Season One
To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

6. A Multitude of Casualties, Season Three
I wanted you to FIGHT FOR ME. I wanted you to say there’s no else you want to be with and that you would rather be alone than without me. I wanted the Lucas Scott from the beach that night telling the world that he’s the one for me. 

5. With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept, Season Three
Does this darkness have a name? This cruelty, this hatred, how did it find us? Did it steal into our lives or did we seek it out and embrace it? What happened to us? That we now send our children into the world like we send young men into war, hoping for their safe return. But knowing that some will be lost along the way. When did we lose our way?  Consumed by the shadows, swallowed whole by the darkness. Does this darkness have a name? Is it your name?

4. How a Resurrection Really Feels, Season Three
There are 82 letters in here, and they’re all addressed to you. I wrote them all this summer. One a day, but I never sent them ‘cause I was afraid. I was afraid of getting my heart broken again, like before. Because you hurt me so bad and I was afraid to be vulnerable. And I was afraid of you and the way that you make me feel. And I know that doesn’t matter now after what I did, but I just thought that you should know. This was how I spent my summer Luke, wanting you. 

3. Some You Give Away, Season Four
You know, say what you will about the ravages of sports in this corporate age where overpaid athletes expect prima donna treatment, but there’s still something som unifying about sporting in it’s purest form, when athletes rise above themselves and touch greatness, and in doing so remind us all that we all have greatness inside of us. 

2. Over the Hills and Far Away, Season Three
Before we end the night I just want to say a few words about Nathan and Haley. I told them once, not too long ago to be happy because someday they’d make us all believe in true love. And, they do. In a few days they’re going to renew that love for all of us to see. But, in a way we see it every day. One rainy day Nathan Scott proposed to Haley James and the rest is a fairy tale.

1. The Tide That Left and Never Came Back
George Bernard Shaw once said, “There are two tragedies in life: one is to lose your heart’s desire, the other is to gain it.”  Clearly Shaw had his heart broken once or twice.

As far as I’m concerned, Shaw was a punk.  Because you know what? Tragedies happen. What are you going to do?  Give up? Quit? No. When your heart breaks, you have to fight like hell to make sure you’re still alive. Because you are and that pain you feel is life. The confusion and fear is there to remind you that somewhere out there is something better, and that something is worth fighting for. 

This year I got everything I ever wanted and everything I wished for. But in a way, I lost even more. 

As we strain to grasp the things we desire, the things we think will make our lives better: money, popularity, fame. We ignore what truly matters, the simple things like friendship, family, love. The things we probably already had. 

So, yes, losing your heart’s desire is tragic. But gaining your heart’s desire is all you can hope for. This year, I wished for love; to immerse myself in someone else and to wake a heart long afraid to feel.  My wish was granted. And if having that is tragic, then give me tragedy, because I wouldn’t give it back for the world.