Television

Say what? These TV shows are still on the air?

Chuck Barney
Contra Costa Times (MCT)

It happens every fall. The new TV season arrives and we gaze with anticipation at the schedule only to discover that a favorite show is missing in action. ("Life" apparently doesn't have any). On the other hand, some shows inexplicably keep going and going and going. (Call it the "According to Jim" effect).

Here are five series that we just can't believe are not dead yet.

"Scrubs" (ABC)

This wacky medical series looked like a sure goner when NBC canceled it. But after resurfacing on ABC and shooting what was thought to be a series finale, it refuses to flatline. ABC has plans to return to Sacred Heart for a ninth season, even though Zach Braff and Sarah Chalke will appear in only six episodes and the Janitor (Neil Flynn) has left the building. Is it time to issue a "Do Not Resuscitate" (DNR) order?

"'Til Death" (Fox)

Rumor has it that people actually watch this shrill domestic sitcom starring Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher, but our valiant search party has yet to locate them. Multiple cast changes and schedule moves have failed to boost the show's anemic ratings. Fox even yanked it off the air at one point last year. Still, it just won't go away as it returns for Season 4 this week. 'Til death, indeed.

"One Tree Hill" (The CW)

As originally conceived, this teen drama revolved around two basketball-playing half brothers. But after Season 6, one of them (Chad Michael Murray) was kicked to the curb to save on production costs. Another main protagonist (Hilarie Burton) was also axed. Clearly, this is no longer the show fans signed up for. Last season's finale felt like a series finale, and perhaps it should have been.

"Law & Order" (NBC)

Creator Dick Wolf boasts that, at 20 seasons, his crime series has matched "Gunsmoke" as TV's longest-running drama. But toss in an asterisk. Ratings for "L&O" have declined for years, and the show likely would have been canceled on another network. "Gunsmoke," however, remained a Top 15 sharpshooter deep into its run. Besides, with "L&O: SVU" having eclipsed the mother ship, hasn't the case load reached a breaking point?

"American Dad" (Fox)

With the addition of "The Cleveland Show" this fall, maniacal Seth MacFarlane now controls three pieces of Fox's Sunday night animation block. Someone, please, make it stop! Unlike MacFarlane's "Family Guy," this mind-numbing show about a CIA agent and his family has never become a pop cultural darling. But yet, here it is — at 80 episodes and counting. Is it time to 'toon out?

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

12 Essential Performances from New Orleans' Piano "Professors"

New Orleans music is renowned for its piano players. Here's a dozen jams from great Crescent City keyboardists, past and present, and a little something extra.

Music

Jess Williamson Reimagines the Occult As Source Power on 'Sorceress'

Folk singer-songwriter, Jess Williamson wants listeners to know magic is not found in tarot cards or mass-produced smudge sticks. Rather, transformative power is deeply personal, thereby locating Sorceress as an indelible conveyor of strength and wisdom.

By the Book

Flight and Return: Kendra Atleework's Memoir, 'Miracle Country'

Although inconsistent as a memoir, Miracle Country is a breathtaking environmental history. Atleework is a shrewd observer and her writing is a gratifying contribution to the desert-literature genre.

Music

Mark Olson and Ingunn Ringvold Celebrate New Album With Performance Video (premiere)

Mark Olson (The Jayhawks) and Ingunn Ringvold share a 20-minute performance video that highlights their new album, Magdalen Accepts the Invitation. "This was an opportunity to perform the new songs and pretend in a way that we were still going on tour because we had been so looking forward to that."

Music

David Grubbs and Taku Unami Collaborate on the Downright Riveting 'Comet Meta'

Comet Meta is a brilliant record full of compositions and moments worthy of their own accord, but what's really enticing is that it's not only by David Grubbs but of him. It's perhaps the most emotive, dream-like, and accomplished piece of Grubbsian experimental post-rock.

Music

On Their 2003 Self-Titled Album, Buzzcocks Donned a Harder Sound and Wore it With Style and Taste

Buzzcocks, the band's fourth album since their return to touring in 1989, changed their sound but retained what made them great in the first place

Reading Pandemics

Chaucer's Plague Tales

In 18 months, the "Great Pestilence" of 1348-49 killed half of England's population, and by 1351 half the population of the world. Chaucer's plague tales reveal the conservative edges of an astonishingly innovative medieval poet.

Music

Country's Jaime Wyatt Gets in Touch With Herself on 'Neon Cross'

Neon Cross is country artist Jaime Wyatt's way of getting in touch with all the emotions she's been going through. But more specifically, it's about accepting both the past and the present and moving on with pride.

Music

Counterbalance 17: Public Enemy - 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back'

Hip-hop makes its debut on the Big List with Public Enemy’s meaty, beaty manifesto, and all the jealous punks can’t stop the dunk. Counterbalance’s Klinger and Mendelsohn give it a listen.

Music

Sondre Lerche and the Art of Radical Sincerity

"It feels strange to say it", says Norwegian pop artist Sondre Lerche about his ninth studio album, "but this is the perfect time for Patience. I wanted this to be something meaningful in the middle of all that's going on."

Books

How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.

Film

From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.