So You Think You Can Dance: renewed but tired

So You Think You Can Dance has been renewed, Nigel Lythgoe announced during the finale last night, which also featured a routine during which he and judge Mary Murphy danced to “Let’s Get it On.” The Fox dance competition’s return for an 11th season follows a somewhat surprising December renewal last year, following a less-than-strong 2012 season.

While I remain impressed by the dancers’ and choreographers’ skills–never mind their insane schedule and strong production values for the package in which their talents are presented–I have lost interest.

I barely watched this summer, in part because two hours a week felt like too much for too little payoff. That same-episode elimination format has its strengths and weaknesses, but I think it’s too long, especially for a show that really doesn’t have a strong narrative arc.

There are really amazing dances, yes, but it’s just that over and over and over again, once the audition rounds conclude. And because those follow the well-worn rut established by American Idol, it all feels far more familiar than it should for a series that finds incredible talent every season.

So You Think You Can Dance doesn’t need gimmicks or artificial drama (ahem, clip package below). Does it need new judges? New choreographers? Fewer all-stars? More than just big group numbers and two-person dances? All of the above? Overall, what it needs is more of a sense of surprise and consequence.

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.