This critic's wish list for a better TV Christmas
We all know this is a busy time for you – what with figuring what size lump of coal to leave for Joe Lieberman and returning all the Tiger Woods memorabilia people decided they didn’t want.
But I’ve got a few requests on behalf of the entire TV industry. If you could find a way to make these little things happen, we would have such an amazing new year in television. And you might save a little cash on coal in 2010.
Cut Jay Leno back to three days a week…or less – Assuming his ratings don’t spike at Christmas when everything else is in reruns or holiday specials, Leno is about to sink quality free TV, sending viewers to cable and soaking up the network’s 10 p.m. timeslots. Why not encourage NBC to cut him back to days when his show is most popular or does the least damage – say Monday Wednesday and Fridays -- get Law & Order: SVU back to 10 p.m. and find some scripted shows worth watching.
Flash forward to a fix for Flash Forward – ABC’s sci fi drama started so promisingly with a whiz-bang episode featuring almost everyone on earth passing out and having a vision of the future. But it has since sunk, mired in cheesy dialogue (too many characters tell you when something important just happened to make sure you understand it) and too many episodes where the core story doesn’t advance. Now on a break until March, perhaps the show could benefit from a stronger vision for its own future.
Give Glee’s Jane Lynch a Golden Globe, SAG award, Emmy gold and anything else she wants – The, ahem, lynchpin of Fox’s infectious dramedy about the world’s wildest glee club deserves every award in the book. Her ruthless cheerleader coach/villain Sue Sylvester turns out to have a disabled sister she loves, a heart broken by a cheating boyfriend and a past as a centerfold model. Let’s see Emmy magnet Tina Fey try something like that.
Do not give a reality show to the Salahis, the Heenes or another Gosselin – The moment a fame-seeking nutcase actually scores a TV series from a dangerous publicity stunt, the floodgates will open. Child services and the Secret Service may never recover.
Help Jon Gosselin strike a blow for every reality TV pawn – Yes, the Jon and Kate Plus 8 star is a conscienceless worm who blames everyone else for his bad choices. But if he manages to weasel out of the contract TLC made him sign when he was stuck with eight kids and Kate, then reality TV “stars” everywhere can escape the indentured servitude networks require. Free Gosselin!
Keep Hulu.com from charging for access – How else will I catch up with shows I’m too busy to watch live and don’t care enough about to record on my DVR?
Give journalists a break - and a new revenue stream or two -- 2009 was not the best year for journalists. There were 68 of us killed this year, the most ever (just under half from one massacre in the Philippines). Additionally, 15,000 of us lost jobs this year, thanks mostly to the hobbled economy and disintegrating advertising model. And something like 142 newspaper stopped publishing in 2009, also a modern milestone.