A review of last night's "The Office" Christmas episode - featuring the welcome return of Amy Ryan as Holly - coming up just as soon as I go to a picnic run by the comptroller's wife...
Amy Ryan returns for a memorable Dunder-Mifflin holiday party
A stop-motion animation tour de force for Abed and company
'Terriers' has plenty of fantastic company in the one-and-done club
The day he announced the cancellation of the fantastic but low-rated private eye drama "Terriers" after a single season, FX president John Landgraf said, frankly, "This isn't the first good show we've had to cancel, and it won't be the last."
Great shows get canceled all the time, often as quickly as "Terriers" was - if not sooner. (This is, after all, the same season in which the best new broadcast network series, FOX's "Lone Star," lasted all of two episodes.) And though the cancellation of "Terriers" is a sad thing for fans of quality TV, it also means the show gets to join some pretty august company: great series that only lasted a single season. And in some ways, those shows can wind up better-remembered than ones that lasted longer. While it's terrible to fall for a one-and-done show, there's also something to be said for leaving the audience wanting more. Most TV shows will ultimately give you a bad season, or multiple bad seasons - it's the nature of a business that usually demands keeping shows on the air past the point where everyone has stopped caring - but the one-and-dones lived fast, died young and left good-looking DVD corpses.
The "Terriers" cancellation is still too close for me to have perspective on where it might rank on any list of my favorite one-and-dones, though I wouldn't be shocked if it wound up sitting in second place behind a show I have a hard time imagining ever losing the top spot.
The following list spans the time I've been working as a professional TV critic, starting with the 1996-97 TV season, which means no "My So-Called Life," "Police Squad!" or anything earlier, and I decided to limit it to 10. Your own lists will vary, whether including shows I just didn't like ("Wonderfalls") or ones I liked but not more than these ("Action!").
A very fun episode with a somewhat surprising elimination
Lennie James is back for an episode that feels very much like a throwback to season one
Jules tries to help Bobby get his mojo back, while Laurie and Travis get a little too close
A slightly uneven but very funny outing for the three clans
Was "The Office" one of the five best-written comedies of 2010?
A lot of unhappy endings to season three
For the final time this season (and with a boutique show like this one, you never know if a given season will be the last one), we're going to review all four episodes of "In Treatment" in one post. My thoughts on the finales coming up just as soon as I'm voted off the island...
First six episodes as strong a stretch as the show has had
A few weeks back, when NBC announced a mid-season schedule that placed "Parks and Recreation" on Thursdays at 9:30 after "The Office," I wrote that it was a wise decision because out of all the comedies on the network's schedule, "Parks and Rec" is the one that's the closest spiritual match to "The Office," and the one with the best chance of succeeding that show should the ratings dip post-Steve Carell.
At the time, I mentioned that I had seen a few of this season's new episodes, and that they were terrific. Well, now NBC has sent the season's first six episodes - the ones that were shot last spring, before Amy Poehler went on maternity leave, back when everyone assumed the show would be on the fall schedule - to critics, and I can say that they're terrific, as strong a six-episode stretch as the show had at any point in its fantastic second season. I'll have a much longer review close to the January 20 premiere date, but to whet your appetites, after the jump I'll have a few random observations about these six, as spoiler-minimal as I can be while actually saying things (but if you want to know nothing about storylines/guests/etc., don't click through):