By Aaron Broder
It’s that time of year again: that special time when everyone burns through their backlog of television shows in a desperate effort to put off homework and studying. For the more discerning procrastinators, however, it might help to have an idea of what in your Hulu queue is actually worth watching. Here are a few of my superlative awards for the front half of the season.
Best Show You Need to Help Save–“Community”
“Community” has always teetered on the edge of cancellation, but now that it’s vanished from the midseason schedule for an indefinite hiatus, it’s time to rally the troops. If you’re a fan, tell your friends about it and (most importantly) keep watching. If you’re not, well, the hiatus gives you time to give “Community” a try. In the past few weeks, it’s been a documentary, explored parallel timelines and was (very briefly) an anime, and yet it manages to combine these epic, over-the-top moments with an emotional grounding that meshes surprisingly well and makes for one of the most well-written sitcoms on TV.
Biggest Surprise of the Season–“Once Upon A Time”
I probably shouldn’t like ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” but I do anyway. Instead of keeping you guessing at some elusive mystery, the solution of which is almost sure to disappoint, it gives you most everything that matters upfront and lets you care about the characters and how they’re going to get out of the mess they’re in. It’s campy, heavy-handed and doesn’t exactly revolutionize the Disney princesses, but it’s good enough to keep me watching, and at least it’s trying to mix up the format a bit harder than its NBC counterpart, “Grimm.”
Most Disappointing Cliffhanger Resolutions of the Season–“How I Met Your Mother”
Until a week or two ago, I would have picked on “Castle,” whose writers seemed to have conveniently forgotten about Beckett’s shooting, much less the fact that she knows Castle confessed his love for her. But with “Kill Shot” dramatically changing Beckett’s character in response to the former, I’m willing to give them a slight pass on the latter. Instead, I’ll have to give the award to “How I Met Your Mother” and its writers; though it’s pretty obvious that Barney’s going to end up with Robin now, I’ll be damned if they aren’t prolonging it.
Least Impressive New Show of the Season–“New Girl”
I didn’t have high expectations for “New Girl” from the start, but the show hasn’t done anything to exceed the already low expectations. They’re relying too much on Zooey Deschanel to carry…pretty much everything, actually, and she’s just unable to support the sitcom plot retreads and quirkiness that goes a step or two past adorable. Sorry, Fox; maybe next year?