Top 5 Dramas of 2011
We are well into January of 2012 and I am finally getting around to posting the last of the top lists of last year. There were several dramas that were good last year, but most of them were new shows. There are five returning shows that deserve our attention.
1. Friday Night Lights – When one thinks about quality family programs, they don't immediately think of a show that revolves around football. This show is/was so well written that one can even forget that that is the focus of the show. Instead, the main focus is on the characters and the families. Coach Eric and Tami Taylor are the most real couple that I have ever seen portrayed on TV. They are a couple that you root for and when season five ended on NBC last summer I was very satisfied with their ending. Because they knew this was the last season, they wrote an ending that wrapped up many characters' storylines and others were sent forth towards a new chapter in their story. I loved the last shot of the Riggins brothers and how they showed what happened to the Coach. Texas Forever, indeed.
2. Chuck – Chuck is a show that started watching during the writers' strike a few years ago (as I did Grey's Anatomy) and I absolutely have been a fan ever since. It is fun, adventurous, geeky and fabulous. Zachary Levi is a dream as the lead character and the supporting cast is incredible as well. Last season's wrap-up saw Chuck and Sarah get married (after a few complications) and last Fall as they entered their final season we saw them begin to think about life together not as spies. Every season the show has had a wrap-up at the end just in case they didn't get renewed and each season the fan support has made all the difference. The beginning of their final season has had some bumps, but things did eventually even out. Their last episodes of the year were the best (so far) of the season. I can't wait to see how the final episodes play out at the end of January.
3. Parenthood – Oh how I wish I were a part of the Braverman family. I love every character on this show. The adult children have great chemistry with each other and are heartwarming as they maneuver through their family and personal struggles and the actual children are great as well. Each character has grown so much in the seasons they've been on and although each can have their moments of annoyance, they are very lovable. They have shown with the character of Max a very accurate portrayal of a child with Asperger's disease. The family had very touching scenes as his parents explained to him what it meant to have his disease when he heard them say it out loud by accident. His father, Adam, lost his job after having conflicts with his new, younger boss, and struggled with unemployment for a bit until deciding to go into business with his brother Crosby. He also found a positive pregnancy test and wondered if it belonged to his now sexually-active teenage daughter, but was delightful to find out it was his wife's. Baby Nora was born this season. This season saw his daughter Haddie starting college. We also saw Sarah's teenage daughter graduate high school, but have a very unsure future when she didn't get into college. These are just a few examples of the rich and real storylines that the family encounters. It is a great family show and I challenge anyone to not wish they were part of it after seeing an episode or more.
4. One Life to Live – Some may wonder why I have a soap opera on the list when their are so many quality primetime dramas. It's actually very simple – it is a FABULOUS soap opera. It is actually the BEST soap opera and even that wasn't enough to keep it on the air. It came down to money, ratings and executives who thought it was better to save money then to invest more into a quality show on the air for 43 years.
I have watched soap operas since I was 14 years old. I fell first for All My Children during Noah and Julia's fairytale wedding (a soap which also went off the air in September), added in General Hospital the next year during the Brenda and Jax on the run storyline, and finally added Port Charles the following year since it was just starting out and had ties to GH (which was also canceled several years later). Around that time, my dad got me hooked also on Days of Our Lives. Since those early days, I have stayed watching only DOOL – AMC and OLTL are now off the air and GH became unwatchable to me a year and a half ago.
I started watching OLTL in 2009 and was hooked right away. I was immediately gripped by the characters, their families and the great use of history. The head writer and director are MASTERS at great story telling and only one storyline in those few years irritated me. The best thing about those execs, though, is that they listened to the fans and cut their losses with that storyline and characters involved. As I write this in January of 2012, the final episode of OLTL has already aired and the last few weeks were AMAZING. It was an amazing ride and I'm so glad I got to experience a small part of it. I have friends online who have watched all 43 years and are heartbroken that it is gone and I don't blame them at all. They have helped me better understand some parts of the history when it was re-played or mentioned on air and although I didn't have the history with the show they did, I also feel a great loss. There are now only FOUR soaps on the air – that is very wrong.
5. Castle – While we're on the topic of OLTL, did you know Nathan Fillion, star of Castle, started on the soap? He played Joey Buchanan and got to have an on-screen relationship with the fabulous Dorian Lord, played by the fabulous Robin Strasser. Fillion is very proud of his soap roots, so much so that he appeared on The View OLTL finale special and did an entire episode of his show about the genre last season. Castle makes this list for many reasons. It is fun, the characters are written well, and although you may not remember the case each week, you know how the characters have grown through the process of solving the case. Last season saw Kate Beckett getting the answers she desired about what really happened to her mother (and having it lead to a person she trusted most) but at a cost in the heart-stopping finale. This season started moments after those fateful shots were fired and although we knew she would make it, we wondered if she would act on what Castle told her as she was lying on the ground. It took a very interesting twist and we still wait to see how their relationship will continue to grow and mature. Will they ever get together we wonder. They had a great mid-season finale episode this season that caused Beckett and Castle to depend on each other in order not to be eaten by a tiger (seriously – I couldn't make that up!) Castle's portrayal as a father and son is realistic and we enjoy seeing his interactions with his daughter and mother. I'm not a fan of procedurals, but I am a fan of Castle.
Again, these are only my opinion and you can feel free to agree or disagree. I welcome your comments.