Monday, June 1, 2009

LOOK AT THE SIRENS ON THE COP CARS/LOOK AT THE POP STARS: We're kicking off a series of roundtable posts summing up the recently concluded TV season, which as you know always starts in September and gradually builds toward a hatch implosion and a thirteen-year-old struggling to keep from dropping the over-heavy Scripps trophy on some CEO's foot. Today's topic, to start us off, is the year in unscripted television:

Adam: We had two nice, but not compelling seasons of The Amazing Race this year, and it's good that they've almost wholly abandoned the wacky eating challenges and emphasis on physical challenges. Still, it'd be nice to have a season that filled its cast looking not for compelling personal narratives but instead for solid, creative, competitive racers. I also have to note that thanks to my wife, I did not miss a single episode of Rock of Love 3: Skanks on a Bus, and hated myself for enjoying it every time.

Bob: Assuming that unscripted programming includes sports, I'd like to note that I found the Celtics-Bulls NBA playoff series from about a month ago immensely entertaining. Four of the seven games were decided in overtime, which shattered the old record of two OT games in a single series. Game 6, which Chicago won, was a triple-OT classic that was incredibly exciting. Only one of the first six games was decided by more than three points. There were so many great plays during this series that they have all blurred together. Ray Allen was clutch. So was Derrick Rose. A compilation of the top ten plays of the series is here.

Matt: I watch a lot less unscripted programming than many around here--not watching Idol or America's. Next. Top. Model. goes a long way to that. That said, the biggest moment of unscripted television of the season has to be Jason Mesnick's douchebaggery at the end of The Bachelor, which generated far more discussion than such a show ought to--even though I do not watch the show, I'm familiar with it. Another moment of note comes from the world of sports, and technically, is in the post-season, and that's LeBron James' visible tears as Cleveland again choked it away on Saturday night. Just painful. As for my favorite brief moment of unscripted programming? That's an easy call. It involves Anderson Cooper, Michael Phelps, and a swimming pool. Take a look.

Kim: Most notable for me in the world of reality programming is the surprising fact that all modeling shows have evaporated from my schedule. After consistently watching Tyra for years and even adding in Make Me a Supermodel last season, both shows festered on my DVR this year before I finally deleted them, unwatched. More modeling, less personal struggling, please.

Isaac: Like Kim, the thing I noticed the most looking back on this season's reality is how much I've dropped. I got bored with the sameness (and in some cases Tyraness) of ANTM, TAR, and RW/RR Challenge and turfed them; I couldn't remember if there even was a Runway this past year; I put Survivor into "if I get around to it" DVR limbo (though I always did eventually get around to it), and I found talking about Idol more fun than watching it. I will say that Survivor continues to offer depressing evidence that the human condition is never to mature beyond middle school, as evidenced by the fact that you can have a unanimous winner even though the winner and the runner-up did materially everything exactly the same, the only difference between them being one's winning smile and the other's nerdy glasses.

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