The 10 Biggest TV Stories of 2012
NBC and zombies rise, 'Homeland' crashes the Emmys, Zucker returns and more
'Girls,' 'Smash' and 'The Newsroom' make this the Year of the Backlash
What goes up inevitably must come down in Hollywood, and few new shows flew higher, faster, and then crashed harder among many viewers, than HBO's "Girls" and "The Newsroom" and NBC's "Smash." "Girls" arrived surfing a wave of critical adoration, prompting some viewers who tuned in to wonder what the big deal was, while driving others to attack the show, and creator/star Lena Dunham, for various failings: I hate all the characters! It's not funny enough! Nepotism, man! "Smash" came with impressive auspices (Spielberg! Zadan! Meron! McPhee?), but quickly popularized the term "hate-watching" as many critics and viewers realized they were continuing to watch only to make fun of the silly plot twists, dull love triangles and other creative miscalculations. And "The Newsroom" was not only Aaron Sorkin's return to television after winning the Oscar for "The Social Network," but him writing about a subject (cable news) that couldn't have seemed more in his wheelhouse. Yet the show quickly became a critical pinata for the way it characterized its female characters, for its clumsier romantic comedy moments, and for the way that many viewers who agreed with Sorkin's opinions about modern politics and TV news still were uncomfortable with the deck-stacking nature of his arguments. All three shows had their supporters (both of us had "Girls" in our year-end Top 10s), and all will be back in 2013, though "Smash" will return with a new showrunner after creator Theresa Rebeck was forced out.
Photo Credit: NBC