So everybody’s talking about Game of Thrones, which will air its final episode tonight. Everyone except me, that is, because I stopped watching it during season three (for reasons that would take an entirely separate post to explain). I am aware of most of the highlights from blog reviews and conversations at work, but I won’t be among the millions of people tuning in tonight.
Instead, I’ve been thinking about two other television shows, one that just ended a few days ago, and the other that will take its final bow before the end of the summer. I’m going to miss them both, but luckily there are other shows to ease the pain. What’s been taking up the TV portion of my brain? Well…
The Big Bang Theory
Why I’ll Miss It
I’ve always been a fan of a good sitcom (so much so that sitcom style has become part of my inner monologue), and I especially enjoy shows focused on groups of friends, since my friend groups have been a central feature of my entire adult life. Other personal favorite shows include Friends and How I Met Your Mother (except for the ending, which I try to forget).
The Big Bang Theory had everything I liked in other shows, and more. Although I’m not a science person, I always have been proud to be a geek, and so a lot of the conversations and humor among the show’s characters really resonated. I could relate to the difficulties in navigating social waters, the fun of regular gatherings for takeout in someone’s living room, and the excitement of the weekly trip to the comic book store.
Over twelve years, the characters grew and changed, and the cast expanded. Since the show runners never decided to just coast on the formula, there were always newer developments to keep me interested. Since I’m around the same age as the characters, a lot of people in my life were going through the same kinds of changes that were addressed in the show: marriage, children, home ownership, career changes, maturing in specific ways, etc.
Over the years, the show has been something I’ve looked forward to watching, and frequently discussed with friends and coworkers. This week’s finale was a perfect way to say goodbye…even though I didn’t want to.
Why It’s Going to Be Ok
At least I still have Young Sheldon. I was a little dubious before this show premiered, afraid it would just be the same kinds of humor and situations with a slightly different premise. It turned out to be something very different, and in some ways something that is actually better. I know quite a few people who weren’t huge fans of The Big Bang Theory, but have fallen in love with the prequel series.
As an adult, Sheldon Cooper was always portrayed as brash, demanding, and stubbornly insistent that the world needs to change to suit him. Instead of putting all of that into a younger character, Young Sheldon instead gives us a child who is trying to learn to navigate the world, who struggles with the fact that his intellect is so far ahead of his age and understanding. The humor is more subtle and the gags are interspersed with a lot more character development and some deeper issues. Add a really strong cast, and you have a great show that I’m really glad is continuing.
Why I’ll Miss It
I love zombie stories. Movies, books, comic books…it’s a genre I’ve been into for a very long time (see this post where I broke down why I’d be an asset in the zombie apocalypse). I read the DC Vertigo series during its original run (2010-2012), and really enjoyed both the idea of a zombie protagonist and the execution of the storyline. When I heard about the possibility of a TV series (this was in 2013, I think), I was cautiously excited. When I heard that Rob Thomas (best known, of course, for Veronica Mars, but also the mind behind several other short-lived but very good series and a few books that deserved more attention than they received), I got really excited.
The show took the basic premise of the comics and turned it into something new, and I was hooked from the first episode. If you haven’t seen the show, it began as a police procedural, pairing a homicide detective with a zombie medical examiner (who is able to see some of murder victims’ memories after eating their brains). Right from the start, the show was fun, clever, and engrossing, combining a case of the week style with an overarching metaplot related to larger zombie issues.
This is another show that didn’t just stick to the formula. With each season, circumstances changed, the stakes got higher, the world expanded, and the show evolved. While the focus has always remained on the core characters, there’s been a consistent introduction of new themes and issues that help keep the viewers invested. With the final season currently underway, I’m just as excited for each new episode as I was for the premiere, and I’m already dreading the final credits.
(By the way, if you’ve missed out on iZombie, you can catch up on Netflix and watch the current season through the CW.)
Why It’s Going to Be Ok
First of all, Rob Thomas has been very clear that the reason the show is ending after five seasons is because that will be the end of the story he wanted to tell. I totally respect that. We’ve all experienced TV shows, books, and movie franchises that keep going because they’re popular, not because there’s a quality story that still needs telling. I hate to see something I enjoy go downhill because it goes on too long, and as much as I wish there was more to the story, I’m glad it’s getting the right ending.
Second, the end of iZombie left Thomas free to return to Veronica Mars, where he does have more of a story to tell.
I loved the original show (2004-2007), and was crushed when it was cancelled. I love that Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell kept the faith and brought us a movie in 2014. I love that Thomas continued the story in two novels. Clearly, I’m a fan…and I’m thrilled that Thomas has more to tell us, and that this summer Veronica’s back.
Are you a fan of any of these shows? What are your “must sees” (past or present)? Let’s discuss!