Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Best of TV That I Watched in 2010

I don't watch a crud load of TV, meself.  I'm way too picky (and, yes, uppity), and don't just veg on "whatever's on."  I also don't like to get into a bunch of shows that have endless mythology and loads of twists and secrets to uncover throughout 5 seasons.  I guess it's because I come from the old school 70s TV world, where the show's adventure of the week wrapped itself up at the end of the hour.  Sure, they have their ongoing quests -- Land of the Giants crew had to get the hell outa Giant Land; The crew of the Star Trek needed to get home;  Starsky had an insatiable journey to date and fall for every Mob boss' daughter -- but these goals weren't the main focus of every episode... Or, any, if that!!  What was of utmost importance was telling a great tale in that one hour each week.

I do get into some of the serialized shows, if'n they're well written, and the great characters arcs are worth the wait (or weight) of the story arcs. And, especially, if you get a beginning/middle/and end form each episode.  These TV shows with season long story arcs are also a lot more tolerable when their seasons run is 6 to 13 episodes.

There were a number of shows that I didn't get to watch, that I wish I did get to watch -- but, that's what NetFlix is for.  Then, there were shows that I didn't care to watch, no matter who said it was brilliant or wonderful.  But, this list is a list of the shows I did care to watch, and thought were absolutely wondrous.

    • I put these two together, because they have similar themes and equally moving writing. 
    • So so so wrong and politically incorrect.  I'll often laugh, and then look around to make sure I've not been seen.
  • 9.)  JUSTIFIED
    • Timothy Olyphant is part Dirty Harry grit, part John Wayne swagger.
    • An insanely filthy little bugger of a comedy.  Picture the boys from Porkys in a British prep school.
  • 7.)  DR.WHO
    • I have never been a big Dr. Who viewer, but for some reason, I decided to watch this latest incarnation of the series... and I love it!
    • Ray Ramano takes his Ray Barone character and moves him to a dramedy.  Thank God that Andre Braugher is back on TV!!
  • 5.)  MY LIFE AS LIZ
    • I haven't watched anything worth while on MTV since Austin Stories, but followed the buzz to this winner of a show.  Part John Hughes smartness, part My So Called Life angst.
  • 4.)  SKINS (BBC)
    • The show lost a little flare after the original cast moved on, but there is still the solid, unapologetic writing.
    • One of the best sitcoms since Roseanne. I haven't laughed this hard at a sitcom in a long time.
  • 2.)  LOUIE
    • I didn't much care for Louis C.K.s (yes the title spelling "ie" not "is") HBO show, but it did demonstrate Louis' irreverence.  This new FX show is plain killer.  Risky, vulgar, bombastic, thoughtful, and full of genuine pathos.  Oh yeah... and hysterical.
  • 1.)  MAD MEN
    • Hands down, my favorite show on television for the past few years.  It gives wide berth to serialized plot cliches.  The characters are the most unique, unpredictable, and solid of any show going.  The acting, writing, and directing is just brilliant.

As I said before, this list is culled from the shows I watch.  There are programs like Breaking Bad, Dexter, or Boardwalk Empire that are tops on other critic's list that I just have not gotten to see.  And then there are other list toppers that I just don't get, like Lost (yaaaawn),  Pretty Little Liars (seriously -- it made several lists!!), and Friday Night Lights ( I've only watched one episode of this supposed touching family drama, that of which portrayed the rape of a young student with copious and gratuitous close ups of the female victims flesh and curves. Way to demonstrate the pain and humility of rape -- with a li'l old fashioned T&A!!)

And, then some shows just fell short.  Sorry Modern Family.  Sorry Big Bang Theory.  Sorry Amazing Race and Survivor...

As a side note, I'd like to beg the networks (cable included) -- please let Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick create more programs for television.  They are sorely missed.

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