Monday, January 9, 2012

12 Most Anticipated Television Events of 2012

Cross-posted on

We’ve discussed the big guns 2012 will be rolling out in cinemas, but the silver screen isn’t the only arena fans are itching to jump in to. Expect 2012 to also be a fantastic year for television, as we see the return of some of the greatest shows the small screen has to offer, as well as the launch of some major new programming. 

1) The Long Awaited Return of Mad Men (beware spoilers)
I CAN’T TAKE IT ANY LONGER. Season 4, in my opinion the best season of Mad Men yet, turned just about everything on its head, a move that’s become somewhat of a tradition atMad Men, pressing the reboot button with every season. Who knows where Season 5 could possibly take us, but when we last left Don Draper and friends, our charming main character had just proposed to his secretary, the free spirited Megan. Can this work out even close to well for anyone involved? Anyone’s gotta be better than Ice Queen Betty, right? It’s been way too long since one of the best shows on television has actually BEEN on television and its return is one of the absolute most anticipated television events of 2012.
2) Game of Thrones Season 2
Can this be a close second? Game of Thrones season one took the EVERYTHING by storm with its groundbreaking guts, commitment to big budget genre and faithfulness to its material. It broke every rule in the book and did so with a beautiful gusto. Season two sees the introduction of a myriad of new characters, including one played by Rose Leslie formerlyDownton Abbey‘s Gwen, and the second book is supposedly so good that even old school fans of the book have been advising me to watch, not read, because seeing these events unfold for the first time on screen will be an unbelievable treat. Will I be wearing my Daenerys end of season one Halloween costume to the premiere party I’m throwing? You bet. Don’t worry though, it’s primarily a nude colored bodysuit. I’m not crazy.
3) Chris Meloni joining True Blood
Bringing some true class to the table, Veteran Purveyor of Awesome, Christopher Meloni, is joining True Blood for season 5. Season 4 graced us with sure to be an Emmy nominated performance by Fiona Shaw, so a gap had to be filled as far as brilliant guest star was concerned. Meloni, who will be playing “an ancient, powerful vampire who holds the fate of Bill and Eric in his hands,” more than fits the bill.
4) Downton Abbey Season 2 Comes to America, Season 3 Airs In Britain In The Fall
I obviously downloaded Downton Abbey Season 2 from across the pond as it aired, but LISTEN, it’s okay, calm down SOPA, I’m gonna buy the Blu-ray anyway AND watch it on American television anyway, so I repeat, everyone calm down. The Emmy winner for Best Mini Series that has since become a full fledged television series, is long form Jane Austen meets old timey British soap and it’s my favorite. Season 2 goes to some very dark, dramatic, pulpy places, which has turned off some viewers, but I’ve loved every moment. This is truly the best ensemble on television, and I encourage you to pick up season one, watch season two (and the christmas special!) and buckle up for season three come the fall. Mary and Matthew forevers.
5) Alcatraz
There has been lots of behind the scenes turmoil as far as this new offering from JJ Abrams and Elizabeth Sarnow (who has since left the show) is concerned, which has made the genre community start to worry, but I’ll be damned if I don’t give this new science fiction program a shot. This story about presumed dead Alcatraz prisoners reappearing in present day, having not aged one bit, stars newcomer Sarah Jones and everyone’s favorite magical island castaway , Jorge Garcia. I’m still hoping for the best, but won’t be surprised if it ends up falling just short of the mark.
6) Smash
Let’s be honest. Glee isn’t quite working out the way we hoped. They cut back on the number of songs per episode, which was always my favorite element of the show, and frankly, have ceased to make much narrative sense since season one ended, if it even made it to then. But I still love musicals, I still love song and dance, and oh yeah, I LOVE JACK DAVENPORT. Smash, from executive producer Steven Spielberg, looks like a show I will be obsessed with, but never admit to obsessing over. Since it’s about putting on a fictional Broadway musical (about Marilyn Monroe yet!), expect lots of fun New York locations and impressive theater related cameos. Oh and actual quality singing by professionals, none of this auto-tune crap. If you’re still “pshhhing”, it’s created by Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright Theresa Rebeck, who also co-produced and wrote NYPD Blue and wrote forDream On.Yes, she also wrote the story (just the story, not the horrific screenplay!) of Halle Berry’s disastrous Catwoman, but hey, the exception that proves the talented rule, okay?
7) The River
The found footage horror-mystery that has been described as Lost meets Paranormal Activity (and created by Oren Pell, the man behind the Paranormal trilogy) that made a splash at Comic-Con by screening its pilot and handing out fun mini branded flashlights, makes its debut on ABC this February. Bruce Greenwood plays an explorer who vanishes under mysterious circumstances. Six months later his family sets out to find him, fully funded by the explorer’s former producer, in exchange for them filming the whole expedition. They are assisted by a collection of supporting characters including the lovely Eloise Mumford, from the short lived Fox series Lone Star, who I’m thrilled to have back on my television set. Fingers crossed the eight episodes ordered by the network stick the landing with audiences.
8) (Formerly the House of Lies slot...but the pilot aired before posting so...) COUGAR TOWN IS COUGAR TOWNY!
I totally forgot Cougar Town was coming back because it's been so long and my whole self is so saddened by the lack of Penny Can, Big Joe (RIP), Big Carl and The Larmy that my mind simply blocked it out so I wouldn't be upset every day. If you're not yet convinced that Cougar Town rules, need I remind you about last season's Community/Cougar Town crossover? Come on, if Abed loves it, you KNOW it's good. The show brazenly makes fun of its title every single week in the opening credits, and has really found its grove as a slightly absurdist show about a bunch of friends who drink a lot of wine. Sometimes while wearing snuggies. Season 3 will see a guest star in Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke as Bobby's recurring love interest and newcomer Briga Heelan as someone Grayson got pregnant years earlier. ABC may have cut the episode order down to 15 from 22, but this show has a rabid and loyal following who know that each of those 15 episodes will be hilarious. GET IT TOGETHER, ABC. 
9) Awake
Perhaps my most anticipated new show of the mid-season, the show (known as REM when the pilot scripts were making the rounds) has gotten rave reviews over its season premiere, drawing positive Inception parallels when it comes to the subject of dreams versus reality, and it stars Jason Isaacs as a man torn between two worlds, one where his wife survives a horrific accident, one in which it’s his son that survives. But which is real? Also starring Laura Allen, Brooke English’s son who took Leo away from Greenelee on All My Children, and Jack Shephard’s son, Dylan Minnette. (This is how my brain works and I like it just fine.)
10) 30 Rock is Back!
30 Rock is one of those magical shows that is so good, I always doubt how good it is. I promise this makes sense. I always think to myself, there’s no way the show can STILL be funny. But it always is. Sure, there are off episodes and off storylines, every show has those, but ultimately, 30 Rock always brings the funny and it’ll be so nice to have Liz Lemon back in my life, making me feel a-ok about how much I love eating sandwiches and making noises instead of saying words.
11) Community Finishes up Season 3 and returns in the fall with Season 4
12) Chuck and Desperate Housewives Come to an End
I have never seen an episode of Desperate Housewives. The fact that it is ending means nothing to me, but it was once a mega sensation, so its series finale is definitely worth a mention. The series finale *I* will be glued to the television for is none other than that of ChuckChuck lost me a little bit last season with the constant stream of EVERYONE’S A SPY! combined with EVERYONE’S A FAMOUS GUEST STAR! But this season has be right back on board and I’m loving every moment. I’m actually getting nostalgic for my deep obsession with the show and specifically Zach Levi that I felt during seasons one and two. I’m sad that it’s ending, but thrilled beyond belief that they squeezed five seasons out of NBC and are getting to finish the story they began. Jan 27, “Chuck vs. the Goodbye.”, I’m so there.

Honorable Mention: Paul Rudd comes to Parks and Recreation. Hat Tip: @oscar


Steve G. said...

My random thoughts to your TV thoughts!

- To be honest, Smash looks like a rip-off of Fame to me, except didn't they try to revive that a few years ago and it didn't work? The previews for it don't make me want to tune-in, and I'm a Glee viewer.

- I've resigned myself to the fact that Community is getting canceled. NBC is stupid, so I imagine they will cancel it even though they don't really have anything promising to replace it with. Why not keep something with at least a little critical acclaim and a chance for growth as opposed to a second season of Whitney?

- I'm not sure if Alcatraz will be any good, but the premise is enough to get me to try it. (Then again, I thought the same thing about Flash Forward, then avoided it once the early reviews on it were just so-so.)