First things first, this disclaimer: I watch so little television that I'm rather like a SAG and movie awards show voter voting on the best of the film year having only seen 15 movies or so... (oh, come on, you know that's how they do. How else to explain the tiny pool of films they award or their lack of imagination in what to honor within those same films?) so with a huge grain of salt... my ten favorite TV-amajigs of the year
biggest anxiety: Joss Whedon's Dollhouse comes out in 2009. I've spent too much time in 2008 thinking about it. The reports of trouble on set are not surprising. This is the pinpoint reason I can't invest in TV... it's not safe to love anything. It's too emotionally draining to love TV. Movies last forever but TV shows get cancelled immediately if they're at all different/interesting: see #2
biggest surprise: the US version of Kath & Kim is not terrible. It's a little shaky but it's improving and Molly Shannon is still an underrated actor who exhibits range working from within very narrow characters (see also: The Year of the Dog). That said I heard from an LA friend who heard from a friend on set (unsubstantiated gossip. Wheeeee) that Molly & Selma Blair are most definitely not getting along: screaming matches!
Nathaniel's Top TV of 2008
10 Ronnie on Make Me a Super Model and Cody on Step It Up & Dance. Basically the only reason to watch reality television is to crush on cute boys (or girls depending on how you do). Don't you agree?
09 Rachel Maddow on MSNBC
08 Brothers & Sisters I didn't use to understand why so many people added the qualifier "guilty" to "pleasure" when talking about it. Now I see. It's hard to take seriously but I've never once been tempted to stop watching it.
07 The plot complications and expanding cast of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
I have been a Terminator nut since -- for as long as I can remember. Despite that, I thought this show was a bad idea (how does one improve on Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2: Judgment Day? The answer is that one does not. Though one wishes Lena Headey would at least try) and the first several episodes did nothing to change my mind. I still don't love any single performance or any episode in particular. But the longer it goes on, the more delicious nutty, overpopulated and convoluted it gets, the more I enjoy it despite all the things that aren't so good about it. Who'da thunk?
P.S. Good luck to Terminator Salvation trying to pretend that so many story threads from 3 Terminator movies and a tv series never happened and make sense of the ones they choose not to ignore.
06 Samantha Who? Hardly groundbreaking for a sitcom but still endearing. Extra bonus points: the trio of supporting actresses in Samantha's orbit (Jennifer Esposito, Melissa McCarthy and Emmy-winning Jean Smart) are totally invested in making with the funny: well done.
05 True Blood. I love vampires. I didn't use to have to qualify that but here it goes. I love vampires that are interesting, mean, bloodthirsty and/or horny --not the stupid asexual twinkle-in-the-sunshine kind that were so popular this year. Blargh!
04 30 Rock. The only show on television that literally makes me LOL each and every episode. Sometimes even LMFAO.
03 Battlestar Galactica -still breath-stoppingly brilliant all the way into its fourth and final daring season. It will go down in history as one of the fullest small screen experiences of all time. If you're still not watching, watch the video Catch the Frak Up before the final episodes air in early 2009.
02 Pushing Daisies -There's no show I look forward to seeing each week more. The second season has been an itty-bitty uneven but who cares. It's so rich: alternately amusing, bittersweet, wicked, morbid, musical, witty, eccentric and lovable. There's something to lose your fool mind and heart over in every damn episode. Just thinking about going without Olive, Ned, Chuck, Emerson and Aunts Vivian & Lily next year makes me need carbs. Lots and lots of them in pastry form --preferably with drops of anti-depressants added in the baking.
01 Mad Men - it wasn't really a contest.
What were your favorites this year?
p.s. 1 Next Week: The Top Ten Movies -- the countdown begins. The annual FiLM BiTCH Awards are on their way.
p.s. 2 A preview of Big Love coming back soon...