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Monday, Aug 1, 2011
There was both good and bad news for the so-called geek and nerd audience, as Fringe survived its move to Friday night, but they were left with no Space Opera with the cancellation of Caprica and Stargate Universe.

High Point Number 6: Fringe Survives the Friday Night Death Slot


For the past three years Fringe has delivered some of the most interesting sci-fi on TV. So fans of the show learned late in 2010 that the series was being moved to Friday night, into what has become known more and more as The Death Slot (a designation so widely used that it has its own Wikipedia article).


For the past two decades Friday night on Fox TV has been the place where shows go to die. The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr., Brimstone, Dark Angel, Firefly, Tru Calling,Wonderfalls, M.A.N.T.I.S., Sliders, and Dollhouse were all cancelled after failing to attract a significant audience on Friday night. More disturbingly, Fox has had a tendency to shift shows it intends to cancel into the slot, including such shows nearing their end as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Malcolm in the Middle, and The Bernie Mac Show.


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Friday, Jul 29, 2011
In Season Four of Gossip Girl, the series featured both one of the healthiest and one the most abusive relationships between a man and a woman on television.

High Point Number 7: Dan and Blair on Gossip Girl


My favorite moment in the entire 2010-2011 television season came in the final seconds of the Gossip Girl episode “While You Were Not Sleeping”. Blair Waldorf has been driving herself to the limits of physical endurance throughout the episode, getting virtually no sleep, skipping meals, undertaking two or three difficult tasks at the same time, all in order to move her life to a new place where she would impress and win back her demon lover Chuck Bass. But unable to keep up the pace, she implodes and gets fired from her internship.


For solace, she goes not to the Upper Eastside where she lives, but to the apartment of her old enemy but new friend Dan Humphrey in Brooklyn, where they talk, order pizza, and watch The Philadelphia Story. The Blair we see here is unlike the Blair we’ve see the previous three years. Instead of being mean, tense, driven, and more than a little bitchy, she is relaxed, smiling, content, and very much at home with herself. The magic moment comes in the very last second: Dan and Blair, both asleep, her head resting on his shoulder.


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Thursday, Jul 28, 2011
The Onion News Network didn't break any new ground, but it treaded over old ground so deftly to make the format seem completely fresh. Portlandia was another matter entirely.

High Point Number 8: IFC’s Two Great Comedies


I really had no intention to watch either of the two IFC original series Portlandia and Onion News Network. I loved the Onion newspaper and the videos they put on their website, but I didn’t imagine that it would translate well to regular cable TV. Things began to change when I saw a link to a long excerpt for Portlandia on the Internet. When I learned from watching the clip Carrie Brownstein, best known before now as the co-guitarist/singer/songwriter of the legendary band Sleater-Kinney (and let me confess right here that for me Sleater-Kinney was a band that could do no wrong… until they decided to go on permanent hiatus) was, along with Saturday Night Live vet Fred Armisen, going to headline the show, I knew I had to give it a view. And since Onion News Network followed, I decided to give it a shot, as well.


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Wednesday, Jul 27, 2011
PopMatters continues its 10-day countdown of some of the high and lowpoints of the 2010 to 2011 TV season. This time up... the superlative BBC drama Being Human and the oh-so-sad, watered down SyFy version of the show.

Highpoint Number 9: Mitchell’s Arc in Season Three of the BBC series Being Human


After two spectacular seasons, the only question was whether Being Human—the critically acclaimed BBC series about a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost who live together—would continue the standard of brilliance it had already laid down. The great news is that it did. Although Annie and George’s (and his girlfriend Nina’s) stories continued to new and interesting places, Season Three was dominated to a degree previously unknown by the story of the vampire Mitchell (Aidan Turner).


In the first two seasons he had been merely the most compelling character on an overall superb show, but even while splitting the overall narrative, his story reached fever pitch this year. Season Two ended with Mitchell driven to commit unspeakable horrors, horrors so terrible that one had to ask whether he had gone beyond the pale. Had he crossed the point beyond which there was no redemption?


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Monday, Jul 25, 2011
Today, PopMatters kicks off a 10-day countdown of some of the high and lowpoints of the 2010 to 2011 television season beginning with the superlative Mad Men and the sad on-going strength of reality shows.

With the Emmy Nominations having been announced for the July 2010 to July 2011 television year, another season is officially concluded. Thanks to a sudden rush of outstanding end-of-the-year shows, what once looked like it was going to be a mediocre to average television season unexpectedly became strong.


Although the Emmys will announce the 2011 winners at its annual show on 18 September, I want to take some time to look back on some of the high and lowpoints of the past season. Beyond doubt this is not exhaustive although it’s certainly a personal list; these were some of the things that either most delighted or most upset me as a television viewer this year. 


For each day for the next two weeks I am going to reflect back on one major highpoint and one major lowpoint of the 2010-2011 television year. And since everyone loves a countdown, let’s start with Number 10:


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