There are some shows that come out fully formed right out of the gate. And then there are those that take a little time to find themselves. Parks and Recreation may have had a somewhat rocky first season, but when it found its voice in its second season, there was no stopping it from becoming the best comedy on television.
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Leonard Nimoy is gone. Spock has finally left this planet and beamed up to cosmic places unknown. He wasn’t the first of the original Star Trek cast to leave us. DeForest Kelly earned that sad distinction back in 1999. Then everyone’s favorite fake Scotsman, James Doohan, followed suit in 2005. So we’ve been prepared for another intergalactic parting, especially when you consider the rest of the cast—William Shatner (age 83), George Takei (77), Nichelle Nichols (82), and Walter Koenig (78)—are all in the twilight of their years.
Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s American Horror Story made its debut during the midst of the post-Twilight craze of serialized-supernatural dramas (True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, etc.). The program was a startling in its change of tone to those who followed Murphy, fresh off the success of Glee at the time. The series was conceived as a highly-serialized anthology that would essentially reset its setting, cast, and focus each season.
In case you somehow missed it, Jon Stewart has announced that sometime in 2015, he will leave The Daily Show, the trademark faux-news comedy program he commandeered from Craig Kilborn and transformed into a cultural powerhouse whose format is often imitated but truly, never bettered. “Did I die?” Stewart asked on the 11 February broadcast the day after his announcement, stunned at the outpouring of sadness on social media regarding his decision. Indeed, reading tale after tale of writers and young Americans who became politically active or went out and pursued degrees because of what Stewart has done is nothing short of incredible.
Filling in the same timeslot as Stephen Colbert is no easy task, although Larry Wilmore, an accomplished TV veteran who gained notoriety in recent years as The Daily Show‘s “Senior Black Correspondent”, doesn’t seem like he’s nervous one bit. Although it was obvious from the onset that Wilmore was more interested in using the Daily Show‘s format for his building blocks instead of the more personality-driven Colbert Report, it seems that there would be no way for him to shake off the undue scrutiny of creating a new show of this kind.
This has proven to be the case, since Wilmore cannot avoid the shadow cast by John Oliver’s monstrous success with HBO’s Last Week Tonight, which expanded Stewart’s trademark “desk monologue” format out into probing, long-form discussions that never once talked down to their audience, using humor and research to educate and inform while never going as far as to cross the partisan divide. From this, it’s easy to see that Stewart’s acolytes have adapted his formula to fit their own needs. Up to this point, all of them were succeeding.
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