Writers in Hollywood returned to work today, ending a three and a half month strike that pretty much brought the television industry to a halt, replacing everything interesting about TV with reality shows where people take lie detector tests in front of their friends and families. But that’s all over now, and soon we will all get to bask in the glory of new stories to keep us entertained. Mostly. Unfortunately, it’s not as if everything is suddenly back to normal. I did a little checking on the three shows I can’t live without to find out how they would recover.

Battlestar Galactica, it appears, will come out relatively unscathed. They had already completed fourteen of the twenty episodes for their final season. There had been some concern that, if the strike continued, they would never film the end of the story. It seems that won’t be an issue now. However, there is a good chance that the second half of the season will be delayed, airing either in the fall or, worst case scenario, in the spring of 2009. Of course, SciFi had threatened to do this anyway, just for the advertising revenue, so it’s not like anything has changed. The important thing is, we were promised twenty final episodes, and it appears that is what we shall receive.

Lost was also in a decent position, having shot eight of the sixteen promised episodes for their fourth season. An interview with actor Matthew Fox suggested that they could be back in production within five weeks of the strike’s conclusion, and therefore they should be able to have new episodes ready as soon as the first eight have aired. Because of the tightened schedule, however, it has been suggested that the season be trimmed from sixteen down to thirteen episodes. We’ll get most of the story we were originally promised, but it will come in a somewhat truncated form.

And last, there is Friday Night Lights. I am sad to say that this show appears to be finished. They shot fifteen of twenty-two episodes, and there does not appear to be any plan to go back and finish what they started. In fact, NBC has unofficially announced April 22 as the release date for the Season 2 DVD, with just the fifteen completed episodes. Since the show has always had trouble getting ratings, it looks like the Powers That Be have written it off. It’s a sad, ignominious ending to the best acted and directed show on network television. The writing has not thrilled me as much this season as it had last year, but the last few episodes felt like it was getting back on track. I hope, at the very least, they managed to wrap up a few of the storylines before the plug got pulled.

The good news, though, is that the writers are back. That means new shows and new movies. Huzzah…

…at least until this summer, when the actors go on strike. Crap.