Thursday, May 31, 2012

What to Watch: Summer Edition: So You Think You Can Dance

Since I had so much fun with the TV theme for the A to Z Challenge, and had opportunity to dissect different shows for my TV writing gig on (which sadly, is ending as the site is closing), I thought I'd kick off a fun blog series on what to watch.

Summer is a great time to catch up on everything time didn't allow to see first hand over the regular season, whether by clearing out the DVR, watching reruns, Hulu, or Netflix. So many options exist! But as TV watching has changed, the networks have too, and they now offer more variety during the off season. Here's one of my favorites -- it doesn't require huge commitment (you can miss an episode) and it's genuinely fun and even inspiring:

For those who haven't seen this show, you might be thinking: I don't watch reality TV! I hardly do either, with few exceptions. What sets So You Think You Can Dance apart is it features people with real talent! What distinguishes it from many of the other competition shows is that it doesn't spend a great deal of time on humiliating dance wannabes who lack the skill to make the cut. Occasionally, yes, you'll see a misguided klutz whose mother insisted she was good enough for Broadway, but the judges dish criticism without tearing them to shreds (unlike American Idol and America's Got Talent). Mostly what you see is incredibly hardworking performers who turn out some pretty amazing dancing.

The second reason I like this show is a contestant can make into the competition based on tap dancing skills, but each week they're expected to perform a different dance style, which could be modern, hip-hop, ballet, ballroom, etc. Some of the best moments are when a street performing break-dancer nails a tango. Or when a performance is so dramatic, it brings tears to your eyes. I'm not much of a crier, but this show sometimes...

Image source:
The judges, while knowledgeable, can frequently be annoying, so that's the one downside. The first season I watched, I fast forwarded through every Mary Murphy response. She's just so loud and orange. Now I can either tune her out or I occasionally mute her. There's usually a guest judge, who can range from Lady Gaga, to legendary choreographer Debbie Allen to Mitchell from Modern Family.

So You Think You Can Dance airs on FOX Wednesdays.

Do you watch? Or, do you have a different favorite reality competition show?


  1. I really despise reality TV, but So You Think You Can Dance (and The Sing Off) feels different. I think the fact that it features people with amazing talent and yet doesn't feel catty or lame is what draws me in. It blows my mind that contestants enter with a certain dancing skill set and are able to learn new types of dance in a very small amount of time. Just awesome! :)

  2. I loved So You Think when it was on in the UK, I miss it!

  3. I love, love, love this show. It's not all about celebrity. It's about dancing. I find myself thinking I can dance, which might be the show's only downfall. ;-)

  4. I hear so many good things about this show, I have still yet to watch it.

  5. SYTYCD is one of my ABSOLUTE favorite shows!!! I couldn't wait for it to air last week and I'm so excited to see who will end up in the top 20 this year.

    This is one of my all-time favorite episodes from two years ago:

    Alex and Twitch

    To see a ballet dancer do hip-hop - and with one of the best hip-hop dancers at that? A-mazing. And to watch people who have found what they're really good at, get even better? So, so, cool.

    Another summer favorite for me? True Blood. Love me some Eric Northman. Yum. :)

    Great post, Stephanie!

  6. I *love* SYTYCD. I went to a School of the Arts for high school and watched lots of dancing, but it has been sorely lacking in my life since then. This show instills a real appreciation for dance as art, and also for the amount of WORK dancers have to put in! Plus, a lot of the choreography is pretty incredible. Love love love.

  7. This sounds like a great series series to watch.


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