It's almost 2012, and I for one am really looking forward to some wild off-road RV-driving with John Cusack as we try to outrun the apocalypse. You're probably asking yourself, "What's the point of making New Year's resolutions if the world is just going to end?" That's a great question. I like where your head is at. But if you listen closely to the trailer for Roland Emmerich's Teen Choice Award-nominated film 2012, you'll notice that the world isn't supposed to end until December of 2012, meaning we've still got 12 more months to account for, so let's make them count.
Personally, I don't believe in making New Year's resolutions for myself, because obviously if there was a way for me to be more awesome, I'd already be doing it. I do, however, believe in making resolutions for other people, because while I don't enjoy evaluating my own life choices, I do take pleasure in judging other people's. And you know who needs the most help in paving a new path for the new year? Television. Don't get me wrong -- 2011 was a pretty good year for TV, especially considering it was our first year without Lost (sniff, sniff). 2011 gave us the best season of Parks & Recreation to date, a somewhat miraculous fourth season of Fringe, and Eric and Sookie finally hooked up on True Blood, so all in all, not too shabby. But I think we can all agree, there's certainly room for improvement. So listen up, TV, and resolve yourself to be better than you think you are.
1. Stop making new singing and talent competitions. The country is officially tapped out of young pop stars waiting to be discovered and adorable children who dance in unison to Usher songs. And while you're at it, give The Voice a less tacky set. It's hard to remember that it's actually a good show when there's a giant hand making a peace sign and holding a microphone on either side of the stage.
2. Take some risks. Instead of churning out the same formulaic, acronym-ridden procedural shows and medical dramas like you do every season (I'm talking to you, CBS), how about you give us something fresh and new? Then actually give it time to find its audience instead of moving it around in the schedule and then canceling it after three weeks. There are some promising upcoming shows like J.J. Abrams' Alcatraz, and Awake (if it ever gets an air date). I hope they're as good as I want them to be.
3. No more Kardashians. Please. I'm begging you.
4. Stop trying to make "Men" happen. It's not going to happen. Just because Two and a Half Men is (incomprehensibly) a ratings hit does not mean that every show with "men" in the title will be one too. See: How to be a Gentleman (canceled), Man Up! (canceled), Last Man Standing (a fitting title, since it is the last man standing of the aforementioned "man" shows of the Fall 2011 TV season). Let's be done now.
5. Rethink your ratings system. I know we've been saying this for years, so isn't it about time to do away with the outdated Nielsen ratings and maybe try to take into account the many different ways people now watch TV? These days we have DVR, Hulu, iTunes... I can even watch 30 Rock on an airplane! (True story.) So why haven't we found a way to form a better analysis of TV ratings?
6. Help NBC get their act together. I think it might be time to call in the big guns on this one. That's right, I'm talking about addiction specialist and certified Handsomest Doctor Alive, Dr. Drew Pinsky of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Dr. Drew and the experts from Hoarders should band together and stage an intervention with NBC to help get them on the 12-step path to not being a total failure. Step one: put Community back on the air.
7. Stop trying to find the next Mad Men, or Lost, or Friends. I don't want to watch a show trying to be something I've already seen. I want to watch the show that's the next thing that other shows try to be.
Well, that pretty much covers the first section of the first chapter of the first volume of my opus of suggestions on how to improve television. Stay tuned for the next section, which includes ideas like an entire channel that only shows clips of Ryan Gosling shirtless, and a TV series about evil holiday inflatables that come to life at night. Until then, make sure your fallout shelter is well-stocked with all the essential DVDs you'll need to survive an apocalypse.