The Year in Television Review for 2006

First, Hello to everyone arriving from Problogger. I’m participating in the Problogger Group Writing Project – Reviews and Predictions, and that’s what prompted me to write this post. Hope you enjoy it!

It is the end of 2006, and time to look back at all the significant events in the past year. You know, the things that had real impact: Wheeling and dealing, money, fame, glamor, lies, deceit… No, I’m not talking about Congress. I’m talking about television during that past year. Let’s take a quick look back at some of things that happened:


The big show in January was “24”, which returned for yet another very bad day for Jack Bauer. There he was, minding his own business, off in the middle of no where when all kinds of crazy things started happening. Ex-President Palmer was able to stop a bullet, completely unassisted! Unfortunately, he did it with his chest, so that didn’t work out very well. That event set off a whole slew of events that had Jack shooting thighs everywhere while trying to track down deadly gas canisters of death.

The start of “24” started the popular live blogging of the show on Dave Barry’s blog, where many people live blog the show. I started doing that too by posting summaries of the “24” shows on Dave’s blog. I keep them archived on my own blog, if you’re interested. (Yes, I’m the “Steve” they’re referring to).

The other big show that started in January was “American Idol”, a show where they get a LOT of people who are under the mistaken impression that they can sing and put them in front of TV cameras. Ever so often one gets loose, and that’s when things like Kevin Federline happen. Anyway, this goes on for several weeks until everyone can’t stand it anymore, and then they start the actual show where they have to impress three judges, Larry, Moe and Curly. Ha! Just kidding! It’s Randy, Paula and Curly.

This was also the month where someone decided that putting Jesus in a car with a priest would be good idea, and didn’t talk to anyone else about this before it actually made it to air. They called the show “The Book of Daniel” after briefly considering “Savior by the Bell”. This show ended pretty quickly.


The biggest event of the year! Millions of dollars spent on amazing entertainment! People glued to their television sets! I speak, of course, of the series of commercials they show during a football game. This year, Pittsburgh played Seattle. Some guys that were probably much older than you are, and are still able to sing and play much better than you’ll ever be able to, were featured during half time. I speak of course, of Lenny and Squiggy. No….just kidding! I meant Laverne and Shirley. Ok, I’ll stop that now. I’m speaking of The Rolling Stones. Yes, I know there’s a magazine called “Rolling Stone”. There also happens to be a band with that name…. Geesh… Kids these days…. Oh, and Pittsburgh won – the football game, not the commercials.

Another biggest event of the year! A bunch of athletes from all over the world get together every four years and try and keep from freezing while doing various sports events: Yes, it’s the Olympics. This year it was held in Italy, the land that gave us Leonardo DaVinci, the DaVinci Code, and countless DaVinci Code commercials. Wait…those last two were Dan Brown and Hollywood’s fault…Sorry, Italy!

Anyway, Italy threw a giant party and invited the whole world to participate, and most of the world did. Germany was the big winner this year with 29 medals, with the United States in second place with 25 medals, and Canada in third place with 24 medals. There was a controversy when Norway protested saying that Canada got so many medals just because that’s where cold weather was invented. After Canada pointed out that Norway was a pretty cold place too and that it probably made up the world Fjord just to watch people try and say it, the protest was dropped.


No! Say it ain’t so! On “24”, Edgar Styles the computer guy who worked with Chloe had a really bad day, and dies after getting a whiff of the toxic gas that Jack was trying to find. Now, it’s pretty bad that Jack wasn’t been able to find those things by this time, but it had to be a lot worse to have the bad guys come into the place where you work and do something like that. I’m sure Edgar would have agreed.

Over in HBO-land, Tony Soprano got shot by Uncle Junior. Later he was found by Aunt Senior and Nephew “The Third”…. Nah, later on he was found because they couldn’t just do anyway with main characters like that. What show do they think this is, “Lost”?


Katie Couric let the public know that she was leaving the “Today” show, and was going to host the CBS Evening News because of the CBS Evening New’s stellar reputation amongst the 90 and older crowd whose televisions are stuck waiting for reruns of “Murder She Wrote”. Dan Rather thought he could boost his career by changing his name to “Dannie”.

Tom Cruise went bananas on The Oprah Winfrey Show and attacked a couch by jumping up and down on it.


Back on “24”, Martha Logan was able to use her extensive espionage knowledge to get President Logan to implicate himself in all of the goings on of the day. As his reward for a job well done, Jack got an all-expense paid trip to China until next season rolls around.

“American Idol”, which had been running for what seemed like months (only because it had been months), finally got around to announcing a winner: Taylor Hicks. Afterwards, Taylor announced, “Wooo!” and “Soul Patrol!” (We’re still looking for an interpreter so we can find out what he meant by that). In another highlight, we won’t see Simon until next January.

“The Office” season ended on with Jim confessing his affection for Pam, leaving everyone hanging about what was going to happen. On the flip side of that, Dwight and Angela are a couple too, and all I can say is “yikes”.

Other shows that ended were:

“Alias”, a show where the bad guys never really wised up and started looking for a model using a variety of disguises.

“The West Wing”, a show about what the world would be like if Martin Sheen was President.

“That 70’s Show”, a show where they made a bunch of young actors suffer through the same fashion and hair style trends of the 70s.


Dan Rather finally leaves CBS News, after they search the building and find him under the anchor desk. While being escorted to his car, Dan blames it all on a vast conspiracy. Bob Schieffer takes over and soon blamed this career move on a vast conspiracy too.

In more news broadcast reshuffling, Charlie Gibson left “Good Morning America” – AGAIN, this time to do the evening news. Charlie left GMA the first time several years before, but returned after ABC realized that having an empty couch on screen every morning would only attract Tom Cruise, and nobody wanted that.


Some new shows for the fall season were announced. Among the highlights from NBC were “Studio 60” and “30 Rock”. The first is a show with a number in its name and is about life for people working on a show similar to “Saturday Night Live”. The second is a show with a number in its name and is about life for people working on a show similar to “Saturday Night Live”. Both on NBC. Fox quickly announced that they’ve had “24” for a lot longer, and that it didn’t need an extra noun in the title to make it special.


A summer of reality shows are finally ending, and new season’s shows are finally starting, notably “Prison Break”. You would think that a guy with a bunch of tattoos all over his arms, chest and back would have been easy to find, and there you’d be wrong. The show had many scenes of people driving around in California pretending they’re really in rural America, but the “Fat Burger” billboards keep giving it away.

“Prison Break” spent a lot of time not showing the President of the United States, because the actress who played her last year left the show. They also replaced John Billingsley who played Terrance Steadman the supposedly dead guy during the first season, with John Perry for the second season. This was after Billingsley replaced David Lively, who, besides having a great name for a guy playing a dead character, was the actor who played the dead Terrance Steadman in the car.


The Fall TV season was in full swing now, with some really terrific shows, “The Office”, “My Name is Earl”, and ”Heroes”. “Heroes” is a show where people find out they have abilities they didn’t know they had. It’s almost completely the opposite of “American Idol”, where people think they have powers that they don’t have.

Characters on “Heroes” include:

A girl who has tremendous thresholds for pain, including being a cheerleader.

A Japanese office worker whose eyes have the power to teleport him around through space and time, as long as he closes them really tightly.

A congressional candidate that won’t be earning any frequent flyer miles.

A struggling painter that can paint the future, but hasn’t figured out how to paint any future lottery tickets.

A male nurse that can absorb other people’s powers when he’s near them, but who didn’t quite figure that out for most of the season.

Survivor started, this time with four teams, broken up on by the Survivor staff into different ethnic groups. This was opposed to all the other Survivor shows, where people just did this themselves. Anyway, this turned out to be much ado about nothing and the focus of the show turned to questions liked “Is there anything Ozzie can’t do?”

Katie Couric started hosting the “CBS Evening News”. Most of America was surprised by this, saying “I thought that happened months ago?”

Rosie O’Donnell started on “The View”, after Star Jones left “The View” several months earlier. Meredith Vieira from “The View” started on “Today”. America hopes this is the last of “The View” they hear about for a while.


“Lost” started up again, and gave the answer to the burning question “Does every actor that gets into driving problems end up getting booted from the show?” (Answer: “Yes”). John Locke, Mr. Eko, and Desmond turned out to be alive (at least for a while), while Jack, Sawyer and Kate were all kept in a variety of cages. Two new plane crash survivors were introduced after hiding from everyone else for the last two seasons.

Shows started getting cancelled, including “Smith”, a show about some bad guys that pretend they’re not bad guys while breaking the law. And, yes, the show was about as interesting as I described it.


Lost took a midseason break, vowing to return with even more questions next January. Mr. Eko found out that smoking is bad for you. The mini-season ends with Jack performing surgery on Ben (the guy who called himself Henry Gale last season), holding Ben hostage after making a cut that puts him into jeopardy, and telling Sawyer and Kate to make a “run for it”. Unfortunately for Sawyer and Kate, that would be a “swim for it”, since it turns out there are TWO islands, not just one. The other island has also been hiding for the last two seasons.

“Prison Break” ends the fall season with everyone nearly everyone either dead or back in jail. Several of the actors plead for their characters to be among the dead, but are turned down.

“The Nine” gets canceled after episode “The Ten”.

“Vanished” vanished.

The second (yes, two) dancing show, “Dancing with the Stars” ends. (The first was “So You Think You Can Dance And You Were Completely Wrong”). The winner was Emmitt Smith, who beat Mario Lopez. America asked why they’re watching TV shows where ex-football players are beating ex-“Saved by the Bell” stars, and Fox immediately announced “When Ex-Football Players Attack Saved by the Bell Stars”.


Survivor ended with a tribal council in which we find out two of the Survivors can’t make fire with a flint, and then take another half an hour to make fire with matches. I think that makes both of them pretty happy there were other people on the island to do that sort of thing.

Among the TV highlights of December:

Charlie Brown still ended up having a great Christmas.

The original Grinch cartoon was still better than “The Grinch” movie.

Rudolph still had a shiny nose. You could even say it glowed.

Those were the highlights of Television in 2006. Let’s hope things get better in 2007.