First out of the gate is the Friends finale. Staring off with a clip show (to end all clip shows? – but that’s what they said about the first world war…) then the big finale – plus endless hours of “news” programs and the Tonight show (I’m surprised they weren’t scheduled to be on E.R. as well!) This has been the most anticipated finale since they said that the 9th season would be the last (and for those of you not paying attention – this was the tenth.) For me, this is actually the second of three good NBC programs to end this year. Back in February, and with hardly any fanfare, Ed was allowed to end – instead of just being cancelled outright. A rarity for an under performing show these days. Last year Birds of Prey was allowed to finish it’s arc, which might be a sign that the networks realize that outright cancellation is costing them viewers in the long-term. Maybe they should take their cue from pay cable and the British, and do short six or thirteen episode seasons – this way they can test a series without needing to fill out eight or nine months, and ping-ponging a program throughout the schedule until it’s died from viewer apathy.
Now next week’s finale (the third of NBC’s this year) is Frasier – which is being over shadowed by Friends. Kelsey Grammer has been playing this one role for two decades – and while the quality of the series has been a bit of a roller-coaster the past couple of years – it’s still deserves a bit more fanfare than it’s getting (not even a TV Guide cover – sheesh!) Even the ads for the finale state that it is the most honored show on television. Of course I have to hold judgment on the actual finale until next week. This past week’s episode was an interesting concept – a faux clip show. It was a good way to look at the whole eleven years in a half hour and still be original.
This May also sees another series get dusted – Angel on the WB. While I haven’t really paid attention to this series in the past, I decided to give it another go this year – especially after the end of Buffy… – and have actually been enjoying it. Then in February, it gets cancelled. I suppose that the changes alienated the hard core Angel fans, while those same changes apparently did not help to attract more viewers. True, the series was much lighter then in the past – but that is what I liked about this season. Many serious fans put down the episode where Angel becomes a puppet, and this week’s trip to Italy was similarly disapproved of. Well, maybe it’s time for it to go. Again, it’s good to know you’re going and can plan for it…
While some good shows are going away this year, the plus side is that it will certainly help to lighten my appointment viewing schedule. Fortunately for me – unfortunate for the networks – there are less and less new interesting shows each year (though the reverse can be said about DVD releases.) I suppose that I will be giving Joey a try in the fall – along with Will & Grace and E.R. (hopefully Scrubs will move back to Thursday…)