There really is no excuse to be missing out on good television this year.
Before I even get into the plethora of incredible programs that will be airing in 2010, I should point out that HDTVs are selling for ridiculously low prices right now. I bought this baby on sale last November for $700 (post-tax), and I ain’t exactly rich. You can easily find good HDTVs for $400-500 right now, you practically trip over one deal on your way to the next. And if you don’t need 120+Hz (if you don’t watch a lot of sports, you really don’t need 120+Hz) TVs, you might even find a good one at $300-350. Point is, if you don’t have an HDTV, you really just don’t care about TV. Which is perfectly fine. Prioritize, you know. But I’m saying, if you really are attached to your TV, there’s really no excuse to not have gone HD by now.
That rant considered, it’s also a great time for TV because there has been a considerable boom of great programming lately, often from places we least expect. Hell, even DirecTV’s 101 Channel – accessible to all of six Americans – has dibs on ‘Friday Night Lights’. There are a lot of great shows on, and there’s a great show for everyone out there.
Hit the jump to see what I’ve got my eye on for 2010.
Feb. 2 – Lost (ABC, season six)
I’ll admit, I’m one of those viewers that was loyal for the first two seasons and then quit halfway into season three. I really need to re-do the whole ‘Lost’ thing (easier said than done), but I fully realize that everyone admitted season three was a mistake and went on producing the kind of quality episodes/story we expect from the series. The final season of ABC’s hit show kicks off on February 2, and it will probably be the television event of our generation. Which is to say, at least enough people will watch it live to stop Jay Leno from swallowing it whole.
Mar. 2 – Parenthood (NBC)
I’m at least sold on the cast and crew. Any time Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are executive producers, it’s a big deal. Throw in talent from ‘Friday Night Lights’, ‘Arrested Development’ and ‘The West Wing’ as writers and directors, and you’re assured that the only things that could screw up the series would be bad performances or poor ratings. I can’t speak to the ratings, but the cast returns Craig T. Nelson (‘Coach’) to primetime television, with Lauren Graham (‘Gilmore Girls’…no homo), Peter Krause (‘Six Feet Under’), Mae Whitman (‘Arrested Development’) and Dax Shepard (‘Let’s Go to Prison’). Wouldn’t look for any problems there, and I’ve always thought that Shepard has some Will Arnett-style comedy breakout potential (maybe from the fact he starred opposite Arnett in ‘Let’s Go to Prison’), so yeah, this show has some serious potential.
Mar. 14 – The Pacific (HBO)
‘Lost’ might cap a generation, but ‘The Pacific’ is probably going to be the TV event of 2010. The 10-episode mini-series will be produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, who famously produced ‘Band of Brothers’, and primarily written by Bruce McKenna, was one of the main writers for ‘Band of Brothers’. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to figure out that HBO is aiming (extremely high) for another ‘Band of Brothers’, but they seem to have all the pieces in place, including another where-have-I-seen-that-guy-before cast that features former child star Joseph Mazzello (‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Simon Birch’) and recent television fixture James Badge Dale (’24’, ‘The Black Donnellys’). I really don’t foresee any way that this series fails.
Mar. 16 – Justified (FX)
This is a show that probably shouldn’t work, but absolutely will. I mean, look at the trailer, it’s ridiculous! But it co-stars two guys who have absolutely torn up TV recently. Timothy Olyphant (‘Deadwood’, ‘Damages’) plays a marshal with a 19th-century lawman’s mentality. Walton Goggins (‘The Shield’) stars alongside. Goggins put in, unquestionably, one of the best performances ever in the history of television as Shane in the final season of ‘The Shield’. In other words, I’m a fan of Olyphant for sure, but I’d see any show that features Goggins. I still can’t shake those final episodes of ‘The Shield’…
Mar. 21 – Breaking Bad (AMC, season three)
Alright, so I was pissed about the second season finale. Series creator Vince Gilligan out-thought himself there. That said, I’ll still definitely be tuned in because it’s one of the best shows television has to offer. Bryan Cranston is great as Walt, but we’ve learned over the course of two seasons that Aaron Paul can match him with Jesse. Paul’s performance in season two was consistently excellent. The Obama-mocking stunt in Times Square definitely has me stoked, but not as much as the potential of the third season after some of the episodes from the second season stuck with me so strongly. ‘Peekaboo’ (S2E6) is probably one of the greatest pure episodes of television ever produced, even if it makes you feel like there is no hope for the human race.
April ? – Treme (HBO)
Whenever David Simon (‘The Wire’, ‘Generation Kill’) is attached to a project, that’s basically all you have to know. It will be great. Adding Rob Brown (‘The Express’), Elvis Costello (duh), John Goodman (duhx2), Melissa Leo (‘Homicide: Life on the Streets’, ‘Frozen River’), Steve Zahn (‘Saving Silverman’ lol) and ‘Wire’ staples Clarke Peters and Wendell Pierce is just icing on the cake. This post-Katrina New Orleans tale will take us through the city’s recovery via fictional characters inspired by real characters. In other words, like ‘The Wire’ told us the story of Baltimore through characters influenced by real people, ‘Treme’ will tell us the story of New Orleans. And hopefully get all the Emmys that ‘The Wire’ shamefully never touched.
June ? – True Blood (HBO, season three)
Yeah, you know you like it. ‘True Blood’ is the most consistently entertaining show on television. I mean, it’s absolute popcorn, there is no cultural value to be ascertained from watching the show. But I’ll be damned if every episode doesn’t end on a cliffhanger that leaves me eager to catch the next one. Plus the characters are just awesome, minus Sookie and Bill. Which is kinda funny when you think about it. No one likes the main characters anymore. If they just killed them off and did random shit with Andy and Jason, I think everyone would be happy. Since they won’t, though, we’ll just enjoy this amazing trash while it’s still airing.
Still holding out for: ‘Eastbound and Down’ season two, ‘Party Down’ season two (2011 for both?)
So that’s my (brief) guide to what you should get geeked for in terms of TV this year. It really should be a great year. So go out, buy that damn LED HDTV already and get your DVR set.