30 Rock ending hit me harder than I ever imagined. It took until the second-to-last episode to really have it sink in that we were near the end of one of the most improbable shows to air on TV for seven seasons. Its ratings were never that strong. During its middle seasons, several critics who originally championed the show thought its characters were becoming too cartoonish, and many people didn’t get the humor. Despite all this, the show went on, even getting the critics back on its side. It ended in the way Tina Fey wanted it to creatively.
There is one movie in my life that has messed me up beyond all others, and it is The Deliberate Stanger, a 1986 two-part television miniseries about serial killer Ted Bundy. At the time it first aired, I was just about to graduate high school—about the same age as many of Ted Bundy’s victims—and lived in the Pacific Northwest, which meant hearing about serial killers all the time because we seem to breed them here. Everybody I knew watched this miniseries, and we were all totally creeped out by it. (Nobody seems to make very many good miniseries anymore. Which is unfortunate; it’s a good way to tell a longer story. The last one I really enjoyed was Storm of the Century, and I am looking forward to Bag of Bones coming out in December.)
AMC has proven over the last three or four years that they have the most provocative shows on television. They have controlled the Emmy wins in the drama category, letting the Big Four know that they can hold their own on the battlefield too. This is all due to their two big shows, Mad Men and Breaking Bad, the latter of which is currently my favorite show on television. Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston of Malcolm in the Middle fame and Aaron Paul, as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, respectively. Bryan Cranston has won three straight Emmys (all three years the show has aired) for Best Actor in a Drama, while Aaron Paul finally won the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Emmy this past year.
Judd Apatow had been the show runner for a couple of television shows before Freaks and Geeks, but most that are familiar with his work will agree that this was his true masterpiece. Set in Detroit in the 1980’s, the show follows Lindsay and Sam Weir as they attempt to survive the reality of high school. What Freaks and Geeks offers that other teen shows like Dawson’s Creek don’t is a look at the other side of high school as the tag line says so eloquently, “What high school was like for the rest of us.” You get to see high school from the side of the “Freaks” (a.k.a. the druggies and burnouts) and the “Geeks,” which as some of you may know, will give you a completely different look at high school. As a side note, this show is basically the flagship for “Before They Were Famous.” It is almost inconceivable to look at the actors (and even some of the guest actors, including Ben Foster and a very young Shia LaBeouf) starring in this show and see where they went after this.
Although it’s been well over a year now, it’s still hard to believe that we are living in a world without Michael Jackson. He was the star of stars, a pop icon that only comes once in a lifetime. The music and dance moves he showcased were a revelation that has continued to influence the artists of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Ask any dancer who one of their biggest idols are, and it would be safe to assume that the majority of them would say Michael. In 1983, Michael was already a musical superstar with the Jackson 5, but he would cement his legend with a music video that was more than just a music video, it was also a short horror film. That short film, of course, was Thriller.