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What I'd like to see on TV in 2010: A critic's New Year wish-list

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Happy new year! And in no particular order, here’s what I’d love to see on TV this year.

• Dexter Morgan nears a breakdown after last season’s events on Dexter, but quickly rebuilds his psyche to become a guilt-free, even more dedicated Dark Passenger-bearer, intent on offing awful, irredeemable souls. Oh, and sister Deb gets fed up with the police force, resigns, and becomes the toughest private eye you’ve ever seen on TV.

• A great final season of Lost that will leave us not scratching our heads, Sopranos-style, but smacking our foreheads and exclaiming, “Of course! How brilliant!”

• Replacement named for Simon Cowell after the next run of American Idol: Ben Folds.

• Caprica proves to be as engrossing as Battlestar Galactica.

• HBO commits to its adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones.

• A nightly network news show that features 30% national news, 30% foreign news, and 30% original reporting every night. Every night. The other 10% they can waste on some smiley, feel-good, sign-off feature. ABC? CBS? NBC? Any of you?

• A “Save Better Off Ted” campaign. In fact, I’ll start one myself. (Thanks for this idea, Michael Slezak!)

• Joss Whedon announces a new series on Showtime starring Felicia Day, Olivia Williams, Nathan Fillion (sorry, this means Castle gets cancelled — admit it, you like it mainly beacuse of Fillion, not for the “stories,” don’t you?), and some worthy, non-Whedon rep players such as, oh, say, Carla Gugino and Jonny Lee Miller. The plot? Anything Joss wants that’s both R-rated and doesn’t involve the word “doll.”

• New episodes of Burn Notice that have the swagger and energy of its first season.

• David Milch’s new project Last of the Ninth turns out to be the best new crime show since The Shield.

• Fringe changes time period, bears down hard on its mythology, blows more minds and uses this year to position itself as the show Lost fans will watch after Lost wraps up magnificently.

• Kyle Chandler with an Emmy Award for Friday Night Lights.

• Big ditto for Connie Britton. (I echo the sentiments of my colleague Mighty Michael Ausiello.)

• No damn CBS sporting event that runs overtime and pushes The Amazing Race later.

• In fact, no TV series running over its appointed time-length, thus no DVR chop-offs.

• An Emmy nomination for underrated Criminal Minds‘ Paget Brewster.

• Every episode of Mad Men‘s new season maintains the brisk pace of its screwball-comedy-fast third-season finale.

What would you like to see on TV in 2010?

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