Unlike some of the other categories like movie, comic book, and even video games, picking nominees for the 2008 Comic Book/Genre Live Action TV Show of the Year isn't all that clear-cut. The WGA strike in the first half of the year and continuing declining ratings across the TV landscape made '08 a tough year for the small screen, and genre shows were particularly hit hard.
NBC's Heroes, just two years ago the Peacock Network's 'tent-pole' franchise, continues in a downward ratings spiral that claimed two executive producers and continues to confound NBC.
The CW's planned Smallville-ish take on Robin's pre-Batman life The Graysons got cancelled before it ever got started, and shows like The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Knight Rider are struggling to hold audiences after promising starts.
So while there may be no Dark Knight or Iron Man-like breakout success story in the crowd, here are some shows that delivered some good news for their networks and their viewers.
Remember, the Newsarama 2008 Showdown isn't asking you what your personal favorite show was necessarily, or solely what the highest rated show was, but taking all factors into account what show has had the best year. So with apologies and some recognition to shows such as Supernatural, Eureka, and Legend of the Seeker, here are four shows to choose from for Live Action TV Show of the Year.
Smallville hasn't found its kryptonite yet. Despite an original concept now mostly abandoned, the loss of Michael Rosenbaum and Kristen Kreuk as series regulars, and its very public advance billing as the show's eighth and final season, the series continues to deliver solid ratings for the CW, and the buzz is beginning to build for a ninth season.
While the quality of this year's new episodes have been fairly well-regarded by fans, there is also some sentiment building that you can only play out the pre-Superman-Clark-Kent-in-Metropolis era for so long. But if "legs" is a factor, Smallville is the superhero of this group.
2. True Blood
HBO's quirky (okay, strange) sex-charged Bayou vampire series by Alan Ball debuted to modest ratings in September, but not only increased its audience in course of its first season, it increased them significantly
According to the AP, True Blood's ratings grew nearly 70% between its debut and its final Season One episode, becoming the pay-cable network's highest rated series since The Sopranos and Sex and the City.
A second season has been ordered and a minor pop-culture phenomenon was born. And while the HBO-model is different from the broadcast networks', perhaps everyone in this quick-axe era needed a reminder that TV audiences can be cultivated on the fly.
The sex probably didn't hurt…
3. Battlestar Galactica
The first half of the show's fourth and final season (which aired earlier in the year) saw a ratings bounce for the SCI FI Channel, after about a season and ½ of declines. And creatively, the 10 new episodes that aired this year (along with the two-hour movie Razor) delivered some punches too, like the revelation of not one, but several Cylons hidden among the human population of the fleet.
It may not have the 'best show on TV' buzz it once had during the height of Season 2, but the remaining 10 new episodes that begin airing next month along with SCI FI ordering a season of the prequel Caprica series means the Battlestar franchise should remain viable for some time to come.
J.J. Abrams new FOX series is a 'fringe' success. It's been relatively well received by critics and fans, and delivers respectable overall ratings, despite often coming in third in its time slot overall. But the new series (along with its lead-in House) wins its slot in the all-important 18-34 (and 18-49) year old viewer demo, a huge coup in this competitive market.
<span style="font-size:9px;"> (<a href="http://www.polldaddy.com"> polls</a>)</span>