Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Aught 10 is Just Around the Corner:
A list of TV shows

A few weeks ago post volleyball we were talking about top shows of the decade. The 2000's or whatever you call them (I like the old timey 'Aught') are almost gone. At a later date we'll get into movies and music. Today we're going through TV shows.

Let's do comedy (not ranked, just listed):

30 Rock.
When Tina Fey left SNL to do a show about SNL I thought of Tracy Morgan's terrible NBC comedy "The Tracy Morgan Show" (I guess I shouldn't speak ill of it since I only saw one episode). That year will live in infamy because NBC had 2 TV shows about late night sketch shows. The other was Aaron Sorkin's "Studio Sixty on the Sunset Strip" (or Qs, as it was called at my house...don't ask). I like Tina Fey and would watch but Qs was the show I would have bet on to win (win what? who knows). I say the episode where it really started to find it's ground is episode 3 "The Blind Date". And the show hasn't stopped. It left Qs in the dust. The show is showered with Emmy's every year. It's got one of the best and most surprising ensemble on TV. Here's hoping it stays alive longer than our next show on the list...

Arrested Development.
Anyone who doesn't have this show on their list of best shows for the decade (or ever) are simply crazy. Or have no sense of humor. Find these people. Stop being their friends. Step on their feet. Entertainment Weekly had an advanced screening in Chicago before it premiered on Fox. I saw the magazine ad and thought to myself "What the fart is this show?" Interesting cast. I'm sure it will be terrible. The only smart thing Fox has done in the past 10 years was to put this show on Sunday nights. Otherwise I may have been late to the party. I loved this show so much that when Fox decided to kill it and air its last 4 episodes back to back, I had helped organize a party at a local bar for friends to gather and mourn. It is a show that helped gain an immediate bond with one of my closest friends, Mark. Every week at flag football we'd do Buster impressions. Go out and watch it if you've been living under a rock.

I bet a lot of you just went "You're right! I totally forgot about Ed!" This show introduced the world to the wonder of Tom Cavanaugh. We fell in love with Carol Vessy. We wanted to give Warren Cheswick a big hug. Another show that was cut short by lack of American viewers with Nielsen boxes watching (man, I wish I had a Nielsen box). It started to lose its footing in later episodes (don't get me started about changing the theme from Foo Fighters to Clem Snide). But when its death rattle was heard, they finished strong. I could probably do a post of great shows cut down too early.

I would like to thank my old roommate Sara for helping me with this show. She was the one watching when I pulled up next to her on the couch. Never watched it during the first season. But, back when network TV re-ran their shows by season during the summer months, I caught up quick. What's this? A sitcom without a laughtrack? Single camera format? Is this a fever dream? It paved the way for 3 other shows on this list. The going got rough during season 5(or 6, I can't recall). The musical episode is a turd (coming from a man who loves the Buffy muscial episode and musicals in general). But when show creator Bill Lawrence got more heavily involved the show magically got funny again. I do think it is a mistake to come back for season 9. It was given a chance to end perfectly. Sometimes you let sleeping dogs lie. Regardless, it makes the list.

The Office (US).
Yeah yeah. It's nothing without the British version coming first. They did it so much better. Blah blah. I love the british version but its like comparing apples to American apples. The NBC show has created like 5x as many shows from the wonderful seeds of the British version. Lets just say my list is an American list. They've done some things that would be the death of other shows (main character moving elsewhere, adding a new group of castmates midstride). You can always rely on this show to at worst provide a few chuckles over 20 minutes. Steve Carrell is magic.

...and of course drama:

J.J. Abrams came onto the scene with Felicity. That's the last guy I would expect to make a plot rich spy story. As with every show there were ups and downs in quality. But, when it came to the last season they were able to fire on all cylinders and go out strong. The main theme throughout was family. If you haven't seen it, definitely get disc one of season one and see if it's for you. And you can thank me later.

Really? Do I really need to say anything? For those of you who have been able to hold out for this long (ERIC!), a couple years ago the creators decided to have a finite finish point and not just go on until it was cancelled (X-Files, I'm looking at you). I dare anyone to watch the first episode and not continue. My suggestion at this point would be to wait until it has finished its run next year and just go through all of the seasons on DVD.

The OC
I challenge anyone to the same deal I mentioned above. Watch the first 3 episodes of the O.C. and thank me later. What set this show apart from all the other teen crap is the comedy. I hesitated to put it under the comedy section but at it's heart it was a drama. The scene where Ryan Atwood talks to his court appointed lawyer about retirement, that's when I knew this was something smart. The pilot was directed by Doug Liman. McG was a producer (hey, don't hold that against the show). People always said "Do you watch One Tree Hill?" whenever I said I watched the OC. Obviously those people are idiots. Yes, like any show (Scrubs, Alias, Lost, Buffy, Angel) when the creator moves on to other things the quality went down. But season 4 came back and they were again allowed to finish strong. If anything, just watch the first season. It's packed to the gills with 4 season's worth of story lines. TOOOOOOOOOOOOOLIVER!

The Shield
I came into this show late. Thankfully on cable, you have shortened seasons that are repeated ad naesuem. Most people will throw this and the Wire in the same breath. HBO's the Wire had the luck of being on a pay channel and got away with a lot more....but the Shield still got away with a lot. I saw butts, I heard swears. This was based on the rampart team on the L.A. Police Dept. In fact the original title of the show was Rampart. This show was amazily rooted in real life. No choices were not without their consequences. People were arrested, killed and tortured. No member of the team got out unscathed before their final bow earlier this year.

The Wire
Like Lost and Arrested and really all the shows on my end-all-be-all list there is not a lot to say without going on forever. I started watching this show a week after the last episode aired on HBO. I'm glad I did because I don't think I could have waited. I stayed home on a Friday to watch season 3. This makes the Shield look like it's downy cousin! Again, just put it on your Netflix queue and thank me later.

Thank me later forever!

*runner's up: Clone High, Andy Richter Controls the Universe


Sara said...

i don't even like scrubs. -sara

Mitch said...

lost is a silly show. they just make it up as they go along.

CircleGetSquare said...

I would like to nominate Rescue Me, at least as a runner up. Man alive, it's getting really good.

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