A step in the right direction
Something good is happening in New Orleans
Few people have the knack for pleasing critics all of the time, but David Simon appears to be one of them. The creator of The Wire, one of the previous decade's most critically-acclaimed programs, returned to HBO last month with his follow-up series, Treme 87. Set in New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina, the ensemble drama is the 2009-10 season's best-reviewed new show.
Treme is not alone in receiving praise from television critics. Overall, the past television season appears to represent an improvement over the previous year in terms of show quality. The five broadcast networks combined to launch 34 major new shows in 2008-09, for an average Metascore of 51.7; during this past season, the same networks launched 38 new programs with an average score of 54.8. And the past year's highest-scoring broadcast show, Modern Family 86, was one of three new programs to surpass the Metascore of the prior season's top first-year program, the short-lived Life on Mars 74.
In a moment, we'll look at the best and worst new shows of the past season. First, we compare the overall performance across the five broadcast networks. While none of the networks consistently delivered, Fox and ABC were the best of the bunch.
Broadcast Network Quality Comparison (New Shows Only), 2009-10 Season
||Score Change vs.
The 2009-10 season's best and worst new shows
The season's best new network and cable shows
The year's best-reviewed new comedy, on network or cable, was ABC's hit Modern Family 86. The best new network drama was CBS' The Good Wife 76, while the best drama overall was HBO's Treme 87.
Among other types of programs (anything that isn't a regular, ongoing series), the Oprah Winfrey-narrated nature documentary series Life 90
was tops among several titles earning universal acclaim from critics:
On the next page, we examine the performance of each broadcast network in greater detail.