The start of Summer means the return of my Five Questions series, where I reflect on the most recent seasons of some favorite shows and chat about their challenges for the future. Today, I'm kicking this year's series off with some questions for Grey's Anatomy.
- Who's coming back? That, of course, is the biggie, given that in the season finale, both Izzie and George looked like they might be taking the elevator to the Great Beyond. If the producers actually manage to keep the revelation a secret until the Fall in this age of spoilers — not to mention just everyday casting news — I'll be impressed; my current theory is that Izzie lives and George dies, but that's pure speculation. But they aren't the only two whose fates are up in the air: I'm not sure that Jessica Capshaw (Arizona) or Kevin McKidd (Owen) have contracts yet for next year, and even Chandra Wilson recently said she was still waiting on her own offer to return.
- Are Meredith and Derek solid? Sure, they're "married" — if a Post-It counts as marriage, anyway. I was impressed with the way both of them, and especially Meredith, grew up this season; they seemed like real, true adults! It was a pleasant change to see Meredith stop moping and whining and start respecting herself and her relationship, but let's face it: This is Grey's Anatomy, and relationship drama's got to come from somewhere. Will they make it through another year? Or will some new force come along to try and tear them apart?
For my other three big questions, just read more.
- Which other relationships will last? Relatively speaking for Grey's, this wasn't a season with a lot of partner-swapping. The drama came mostly from within the relationships — how would Owen's PTSD affect Cristina? Could Lexie and Mark survive their differences in age and experience? Would Callie and Arizona be able to work through their myriad issues? For a show with so much sleeping around, I'm all for seeing some stable relationships — but can all of them be sustained? Or will we need some breakups to keep things fresh?
- What will become of Bailey? She's one of my favorite characters (and Chandra Wilson one of my favorite actresses), and yet, I'm not sure the show knows quite what to do with her right now. The story with her pursuing a fellowship in pediatrics, only to end up turning it down because she's leaving her husband, was poignant — but now what? I love Bailey; I don't want to see her turn into a bitter general surgeon who's angry about all the possibilities passing her by.
- Can the show hold onto its buzz? After five years, there are signs that Grey's is losing some of its mojo. Since peaking in season three, the show's ratings have dropped steadily every year. (The show's still one of the top-rated series on network TV, though; everything is losing ratings these days.) The unevenness of recent seasons hasn't helped: with lackluster runs of episodes here and there, some viewers have definitely left the show behind. Will Grey's try to boost its appeal with small, character-driven story arcs? Or will it bust out the blockbuster "events" — train crashes, ferry wrecks, main characters dying — to bring new viewers in?
Photo copyright 2009 ABC, Inc.