My teevee watching is all off schedule these days ... with Robin gone last week, I taped a couple of shows to watch when she got back, and now I'm gonna be out tonight and Tuesday, which means five different shows will have to be watched on delay. Which is a long-winded way of saying I just watched the Season One finale of Joan of Arcadia.
I'm not sure why I stuck with this show all season long, which isn't to say it's a bad show, but only that it's not my kind of show. I began watching it for the usual reason (Tim Goodman raved about it), plus this first teevee season of the Post-Buffy Era seemed to be lacking in the young-girl heroine department. (Actually, that's not true ... as I've noted before, in a coincidental homage to the greatness of Buffy, the various networks ended up filling the Buffyvoid with at least FOUR series about young women with supernatural-ish traits: Joan of Arcadia, Dead Like Me, Tru Calling and Wonderfalls.) Joan of Arcadia maintained a high level all year long, never got predictable, and even had a seriously oddball season finale that ended with Joan believing that all of her conversations with God were an illusion.
Still, you've got a "family-safe" show that borders on the sappy, where religion is a primary topic and God is a regular continuing characters ... you can see why I'm surprised I stuck with it. Amber Tamblyn did a terrific job, and while I prefer my young women to be tart and sassy (a la the leads in Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls), Joan was just cranky enough and just pop-culture-savvy enough to escape my ire.
One area where the show faltered ... ok, that's totally unfair, because I'm about to discuss something that is completely outside of the actual show itself ... but I enjoy reading and even at times participating in the various online communities that spring up around teevee series, and this probably says more about me than about others, but the Joan fans at Television Without Pity drove me crazy with what seemed to me to be far too much gushing about how great their fave show was. I never felt like I learned anything from them, the way I do when I read the Television Without Pity fans of 24 or Deadwood or Jon Stewart.
I guess it comes down to this: Joan of Arcadia is a show that seems to be about something bigger than everyday life ... God's a character, remember? ... and each episode had much to recommend it. But I never thought about it much after the fact. It didn't resonate with me much beyond 9:04 PM on a Friday night. Maybe it's because I didn't talk about it much ... Robin's the only "real" person I know who watches it, and she's not much for hashing out teevee shows. So JoA might have been one of the best shows of the year, but having said that, I don't have much more to add.
Season One grade: B+