It's that time again (okay, okay, past time, but still)... Josh's Choice for the Best New Show of the Season!
Before we get started here are the winners since I've been giving this award...
2006-2007- Friday Night Lights
As always we have five finalists and we will be counting down to our winner, however, there are a couple of shows that didn't make the final five that I would like to highlight quickly regardless...
A remake of one of my favorite shows (that alas like this one didn't make it past it's first season) and it recaptured the magic of the original perfectly. In the original, Jeremy Piven was the real reason I watched it, I had became a fan of his from his work on Ellen when he stole every scene that he was in. It didn't take me too long to become a huge fan of Paula Marshall either who went on to have a great arc on Sports Night and on Veronica Mars. This time I came back for the premise, which was just as exciting and original as it had been ten years earlier. Hopefully ten years from now Cupid will get its third chance and we will finally discover the mystery behind Trevor Hale. Every episode had the potential to get lost in the sentimentality and every episode hit every note just right. I wish more people had watched this show, this season or ten years ago.
This show totally would have made the final five if it didn't slow down tremendously in the final few episodes. The first six were beyond tremendous. I'd never seen a cop show where (and in the pilot episode no less) they didn't solve the crime correctly, but thought that they did. The mystery that followed from that case over the first six episodes made me believe that this was a show with terrific staying power. Unfortunately after that case was finally solved, the show didn't have a mystery as interesting ready to take its place. And far too often, the case of the week was far too predictable, especially in the last few episodes, I had the episode figured out by the first commercial break twice, not good. The show started strong, but couldn't maintain, so I'm not as disappointed that it got canceled. Regardless of its problems, however, the cast and characters were fantastic and I hope that some of these people find their way to new shows quickly.
Okay, time to get to the real stuff, are you ready?
Primarily because of Nathan Fillion, but, come on, isn't that enough? He literally carried this show into the final five by himself. Like Unusuals, the mysteries were at times a little too predictable, but Nathan Fillion was charming and funny enough for me not to care as much. The weeks when it was a good mystery, I saw how good this show could be, but the weeks where it wasn't, Fillion more then made up for it. Stana Katic is good as well as Castle's muse, but Molly Quinn blows me away as Castle's daughter and the chemistry that they had together was the best father daughter stuff from a family not named Taylor (that's a Friday Night Lights reference for those of you sadly not in the know about that tremendous show) since My So Called Life. Definitely looking forward to seeing how the show progresses in its second season.
4. LIE TO ME
A show where the cases actually had me guessing most weeks, and a show with a tremendous supporting cast that backed up a fantastic job by Tim Roth. Plus, every week I felt a little educated. I loved the cases, the science that the show employed, the acting jobs by all of the regulars and all of the guests, and I especially loved the use of video of famous people to drive home the point about whatever facial or body language trick they had just talked about. The only downside was that in the use of guest stars, sometimes it was obvious by the actor or actress who the bad guy would be. David Anders isn't playing an innocent guy. I mean, come on, he was Sark on Alias!
A show that jumped into the Final Five based on the strength of its final episodes. It was interesting in the beginning, and I wasn't going to quit on it, but it didn't get fantastic until the alternate dimension mythology started to come forth. Its unbelievable season finale put it into contention for the award pretty much single handedly. Hopefully the second season will pick up where it left off and turn this into the show it is capable of becoming and less of the X-Files wannabe that it was towards the beginning of the season.
2. LIFE ON MARS
Very nearly won Josh's Choice For Best New Show Of The Season. Life on Mars was fantastic from its beginning moments until its stunning series finale that didn't feel at all like a cheat to me, it felt natural and perfect and I didn't see it coming at all. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who didn't see it as the DVDs come out next month and I highly recommend getting lost with Sam Tyler back in the 70s. The show put a fantastic new spin on the tired cop drama (although, the original series from the BBC did it first, and I'm glad that they are finally about to be available here, my Netflix is ready to show them to me) by placing a cop with modern sensibilities in a time when such niceties weren't always recognized. It allowed for fun cases and good social commentary and the overall mystery was brilliant. I'm glad that ABC allowed the show to have a satisfying conclusion, but I really wish that the show had been allowed to take years to get there.
This show was seriously second until I saw the unaired episode Epitaph One on the BluRay. I thought for sure that Life On Mars was going to win, but I couldn't do anything but put this show first after seeing Epitaph One. It is a game changer of a finale that payed off all of the potential that this show possessed. It really isn't surprising considering that the show got better each and every week and the potential for so much deep stuff was there but in the beginning was barely touched upon. The unaired finale promised that given the time this show will not only touch on it all, but will blow your frakking minds with it! I'm so excited that this show is getting a second season and can only hope that it begins to find the audience that it deserves. Do yourself a favor and go out and buy or rent or netflix season one of this show and watch it all (including Epitaph One) and get ready for Joss Whedon to reward you like never before with season two! Wow, that sounded kind of like an advertisement, but seriously, this man has never let us down before (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Serenity, Dr. Horrible) and if given the chance, Dollhouse could actually become his greatest work.
So, Dollhouse is your winner, congratulations. It marks the third time that a show has won the award and gotten a second season (to two times where it has not, oddly it has been every other year, bad news for next years winner and for us as fans of good tv). It marks the first win by FOX (the first two were by ABC, the last two by NBC, boding well for FOX next year, then maybe CBS will join the fun?). And it marks the fourth time (out of five) that a Science Fiction show has won (well, I know what I like, what do you want from me?).
Until Next Time, what was your favorite new show of the last season and what shows are you looking forward to next year?