Maybe it’s because we’ve become accustomed to running fictional people’s lives by means of videogames like “The Sims.” Maybe it’s because the Internet has brought us into contact with other viewers who share — and therefore feed — our obsession with our favorite shows. Whatever the reason, today’s TV superfans have plenty of opinions about the shows they follow.
The entertainment press has ballooned over the past decade or so, keeping viewers informed about time-slot changes, network branding strategies, and behind-the-scenes machinations. Networks encourage viewers to pick their appointment TV shows by making pilots available online or on DVD, or by sending extended promos to YouTube.com or fan sites. If some of us turn into TV junkies, it’s because industry pushers addicted us.
The unfortunate truth is that, no matter how perfectly plotlines and character pairings work out in our fevered discussions — or, God forbid, — TV producers don’t take our advice. Knowing this, though, may not prevent us from making our own wish lists for the shows on which we’ve gotten hooked. There are a lot of things I’d like to see from shows returning this fall, even if I know by now not to expect them.
‘C.S.I.’Heading into its seventh season, presents quite a challenge: is there a subculture of freaks or perverts that hasn't yet exploited for a titillating storyline? Enough with the plushies, adult babies, dwarves and werewolves; a few more crimes that don’t seem to have been inspired by a flip through Bizarre magazine would be nice.
The sixth-season finale left us with the suggestion that Sara (Jorja Fox) and Grissom (William Petersen) might finally resolve their alleged sexual tension. However, given that they have no chemistry — she comes off less as having the hots for Grissom than wanting to be the ultimate teacher’s pet — split these two and hook up the pair of investigators we spent all last season waiting for: Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) and Warrick (Gary Dourdan)! Failing that, we’ll settle for Nick (George Eads) and Greg (Eric Szmanda).
‘Desperate Housewives’Some of us might say that our very fondest wish for the third season of “Desperate Housewives” is that there wouldn’t be one. And apparently Hollywood agrees, given the relatively few trifling its second season racked up.
Reportedly, series creator Marc Cherry will be much more involved this year, so if you were in thrall of such first-season storylines as “Lynette (Felicity Huffman) gets addicted to Ritalin” and “Susan (Teri Hatcher) falls down,” you’re in luck! With Cherry back in the saddle, maybe the show can finally settle on a consistent tone: Either it’s a drama grounded in such real-life questions as how a woman handles a husband’s infidelity or an ill-behaved child, or it’s an over-the-top campy soap opera in which a developmentally delayed murderer lives in a basement dungeon.
If that’s too much to hope for, how about some scenes featuring more than two Housewives at a time?
Trying to guess what the new season of “Gilmore Girls” will hold is sort of a daunting task, given that its creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, will no longer be involved, leaving as its new showrunner , who reportedly left his wife a few years back and wrote a filthy play about his obsession with Heidi Klum. However, if the rumors are true, and series stars Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel are itching for the show to end, perhaps Rosenthal is the perfect person to kill it.
If that’s not Rosenthal’s aim, Job One should be to return the titular girls to singlehood. Logan (Matt Czuchry) turned Rory into a vapid trophy wife, and Luke (Scott Patterson) reacted to hooking up with Lorelai by seemingly becoming intractably annoyed by everything about her. The show is supposed to be a light-hearted comedy, not a mirthless slog through pretend people’s love problems. Give the Gilmores a break from men in which to spend more time teasing Lorelai’s parents (Edward Herrmann and Kelly Bishop) and doing more silly girl things; wouldn’t we all have loved to see them celebrate Rory’s birthday in Atlantic City instead of just hearing about it?
Here’s what must not happen on the next season of 28 more episodes in which Derek (Patrick Dempsey) pretends he doesn’t hate his wife, Addison (Kate Walsh). It doesn’t even matter so much whether he gets back together with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) after their season-finale quickie: he just needs to put an end to his and Addison’s mutual misery.
Once that’s happened, given that the cast is down one doc after the departure of Katherine Heigl’s Izzie, maybe Mark (Eric Dane) can sign on at Seattle Grace and irritate Derek on a regular basis. For Derek to give up Addison, not actually want her back, but still have to work with her and the man with whom she cuckolded him … well, it would give Dempsey a more psychologically complex character to work with.
Oh, and Burke (Isaiah Washington) should dump Cristina (Sandra Oh). Why does he put up with her crap?
‘House’Okay, obviously “House” doesn’t really need any help; it’s doing just fine by its millions of cultishly devoted fans. But like “C.S.I.,” “House” became a little too dependent in its second season on a few go-to plots: a patient’s mysterious illness was contracted as a result of illicit sex; a person from House's past is disappointed in the man House (Hugh Laurie) has become; to gut-punch the audience into really paying attention, you can always make House the patient.
Fans don’t seem to be complaining that the show’s plots are too formulaic, though, so how about doing more with the characters? Give the solid supporting cast — Omar Epps, Jesse Spencer, Jennifer Morrison, and especially Lisa Edelstein — a few more dimensions beyond “black guy,” “rich kid,” “lovelorn wuss,” and “baby-craving fortysomething,” respectively. Also, Hugh Laurie has a rich background in comedy (if you haven’t seen “Blackadder,” you should): letting House be funny more often would help distract viewers from his virulent misanthropy.
‘Lost’How do you make suggestions about a show in which literally anything could happen? Very carefully?
Producers of have promised fans that the show will be a lot more action-oriented in its third season than its second, which is a good thing. Too often, Season 2 episodes were backstory filler — you don’t have to give us a whole episode about Sun (Yunjin Kim)’s possible betrothal to a hotel heir; we already know she ended up with someone else — which, if you just tuned in for the last five minutes, would tell you everything you really needed to know about the show’s larger mythology. Now that we’ve had two seasons to get used to the idea that everyone who’s on the island ended up there for a specific reason, tell us more about what’s happening on the island now: give us more information about the Hanso Foundation and what The Others are trying to do. As for the backstory: keep filling it in, but ease up on Jack (Matthew Fox) and Kate (Evangeline Lilly), who just aren’t as compelling as the producers seem to think. More Locke (Terry O’Quinn)!
‘Veronica Mars’I realize I’m in the minority on this one, but I don’t like Logan (Jason Dohring) and Veronica (Kristen Bell) together. Yeah, he saved her life, but he also strung along an impressionable girl to get at her father and produced “Bumfights” videos; the producers haven’t redeemed him to me yet. I’d like Logan and Veronica to break up — maybe not at first, but if they end up at different colleges, it could always just not quite work out. It happens to freshmen all the time.
Speaking of college, Veronica should go to Stanford. Getting out of Neptune is all she’s wanted since we’ve known the character, and though it seldom happens that TV students attend college away from their hometowns, “Gilmore Girls” found a way to make it work. “Veronica Mars” is sufficiently well-crafted that we should trust its producers not to accede to TV cliché for a failure of imagination.
Tara Ariano co-created and co-edits Fametracker.com and TelevisionWithoutPity.com.