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Mixed Emotions Make Sense to the Critics

Feb 3, 2008  •  Post A Comment

With the writers strike disrupting scripted programming and sending many freshman shows into renewal limbo, critics were asked which titles they would like networks to pick up when the smoke clears.
Three one-hour dramedies—ABC’s “Pushing Daisies,” NBC’s “Chuck” and The CW’s “Reaper”—led the list.
After the success of NBC’s “The Office” and ABC’s “Ugly Betty” and “Desperate Housewives,” networks launched several shows this season that walked the line between drama and comedy. Critics have responded to the format, though audience reaction has been uneven.
“‘Daisies,’ ‘Chuck’ and ‘Reaper’ all deserve to come back,” wrote Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News editor Jeff Hidek. “Each proves how charming the dramedy format can be, and each is a bright spot on their networks’ lackluster fall seasons.”
Doug Elfman of the Chicago Sun-Times likewise endorsed “Reaper,” along with fellow freshman CW series “Aliens in America,” a show that has struggled in the network’s comedy block.
“‘Reaper’ and ‘Aliens in America’ are two of the funniest and most consistently cool shows on TV,” Mr. Elfman wrote. “They deserve to survive everything the world throws at them—a writers strike, CW ratings, tsunamis, wildfires, whatever.”
Mike Hughes picked runner-up CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” (which has received a pickup), calling it the year’s “happiest surprise.”
“From a moderately good pilot, it quickly emerged as a terrific series,” he wrote.
Neal Justin of the Minneapolis Star Tribune also picked “Big Bang,” along with ABC’s “Samantha Who,” noting, “It will be easier for comedies to rebound than for dramas with continuing storylines.”

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