Television in 2010 saw the rise of AMC, the loss of Lost and this writer collapsing to the phenomenon that is Glee. One thing that can be said is that the big 4 networks (ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX) are not nearly the powerhouses they once were. Cable TV and pay cable TV are where it’s at. I unfortunately didn’t see everything so this is the best that I did watch. Did I miss anything??? Scroll down to see Ruth favorites of the year that was…
1) Mad Men
Yes, it’s that good. Just watch already.
My wife suckered me into watching this early in 2010. What I quickly realized is that although the singing seems a little too much at times this is the most socially relevant, heartfelt and sincere show on television. The entire cast is fantastic and have pipes like no others. And Lea Michele is the most beautiful woman on tv.
3) Parks and Recreation
The funniest show on television is the true anchor of NBC’s Thursday night sitcoms (forget the overrated 30 Rock). A cast that is the best most cohesive on television (and just got better with the addition of Rob Lowe and Adam Scott) and way better than given credit.
4) The Walking Dead
This 6 episode series started on Halloween and was gone as quickly as it started. I caught up with it earlier this month and watched all the episodes in 2 days. Outstanding direction, well acted and gross as hell. I cannot wait for more of this.
Timothy Olyphant is the most diverse actor working today. He can do scary (one of the Scream movies), funny (was on 2 episodes of The Office this year) and can do this role just as well. Here he plays a sheriff that comes back to the town he once lived to “take over and kick ass” (my quotes). Excellent show.
I liked the first season of this and a friend at work convinced me to watch more. I did. It is everything a standard sitcom should be. Characters that have depth but not too deep, a setting that is inherently funny (community college) and story archs that are so odd and outlandish that only the highly skilled actors can pull off. This show has that and more. Thanks Glenn.
7) The shows of USA network
There’s a handful of them throughout the year. Sure they placate on the simple and mundane stories but they are consistent, story driven and feature some of the better actors working today. And you can quote me on this, Psych (the first one that I started watching) is the MOST UNDERRATED SHOW ON TELEVISION!
8) Modern Family
The problem with comedies nowadays is that most suck and the handful that are good (appear on this list) are great. There’s no happy medium. This one started last year and start their second season just as strong. More happens in this comedy in the 22 minutes than in most hour long dramas and the cast gets funnier and funnier. Simple, heartfelt comedy.
Those of you that know me have an idea that this show became an obsession. I doubt that we will ever get to see a show resonate the same way that this show did. Some have tried but of course they don’t get watched by those Nielsen crazies and don’t get picked up for a second season. This last season was bittersweet. We wanted so much to happen that we became a little pissed off. Time has healed us though. What did take place was enigmatic and perfect. Tell me you didn’t tear up a little at the last shot!? So long Lost.
There are 2 types of people in the world, fans of Jay Leno and fans of David Letterman. Conan O’Brien who left (graciously) his own Tonight Show gig (that NBC gave to him then took away) in January is a fan of the latter. He has come back strong to his new show on TBS and given his own fuck you to Jay and all of his followers by continuing his creative, original comedy that some people just don’t get. Shame on all of you. Don’t worry Conan, wherever you land we will follow you.
Maybe as I grow older and have a wife and child that I appreciate the simple family shows that show me that not all the world is glitz and glamour. The Bravermans are a family that I could love. Problems arise, fights happen and the bottom line is that family and friends are what really counts. Not a bad message to convey. It also doesn’t hurt that your 2 lead actors are Peter Krause and Lauren Graham.
12) The Event
One of those Lost-esque new shows that has a real shot at being great. Flashbacks, aliens and Jason Ritter. What’s not to love. There’s so much more to this show that you should check it out for yourselves.
13) Google’s “Parisian Love” commercial
This appeared (from what I understand) only one time during the Super Bowl. No 50 seconds of TV has ever been so moving. It reminds me of the famous Hemingway story told in 6 words: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. Sometimes it’s better when it’s short and sweet.
14) The Big Bang Theory
This one’s for all us geeks. Rock on.
15) Better Off Ted
Seriously America, what does it take for you to like a show. This one was seriously overlooked and grossly underrated.
My guilty pleasure show:
Blue Bloods- because Tom Selleck is still cool as shit.
The worst TV show:
The current season of Saturday Night Live- I come in every Monday to work and ask if anyone has watched. I then proceed to remark that I can’t believe that I laugh so little for a show that’s supposed to be funny. Seriously, now my wife and I watch to see how little we will laugh (save for the Weekend Updates and the occasionally funny Digital Shorts). Get it together SNL.
Ruth’s Best of…
1.) Mad Men
Still my favorite show and season 4 doesn’t disappoint. I kind of had enough of Betty Draper after last season and we see a lot less of her. I liked the addition of new character Dr.Faye Miller, who’s hired as a consumer consultant at the agency and who eventually falls under the spell of Don Draper (who could resist?) Just when you think Don might have met his match there’s a shocker of a season finale that was interesting because it had most women I know pissed off and most men sympathetic. Best scene of the season – Betty and Don’s chance meeting in the empty house where they once lived – subtle and poignant.
2.) Boardwalk Empire
Hands down the best new show on tv. HBO does it again. This time it’s politics and corruption in prohibition-era Atlantic City. A great cast – Steve Buscemi who I absolutely adore in everything he’s ever done, hunky Michael Pitt, Paz de la Huerta, and in a supporting role, Michael Kenneth White (who was brilliant as Omar on The Wire). I can’t wait to see what happens next season.
3.) In Treatment
Why do I feel like I’m the only person who watches this show?
Gabriel Byrne as Dr. Paul Weston, a psychotherapist living in Park Slope battles his patients demons and his own. Each of the four weekly episodes is a real time “session” with four different patients. My favorite – Sunil, is a sad and soulful Indian man forced to leave his native country after his wife’s death to move in with his son and less than welcoming daughter-in-law. Frances is a lonely aging actress estranged from her daughter and dealing with her sister’s terminal cancer, played by Debra Winger. Jesse- is a promiscuous and volatile gay teenager who is riveting to watch. The fourth weekly session is Dr. Weston himself in therapy with the amazing Amy Ryan (you may have seen her in The Wire or as Michael’s girlfriend in The Office). Feel-good entertainment it isn’t, but if you like intelligent, well acted dramas – it’s a must see.
I don’t have Showtime, but the husband and I have been on a Netflix marathon of this dark and funny show and we’re totally hooked. Michael C.Hall (who I loved as the uptight gay undertaker in Six Feet Under) plays Dexter, lovable blood splatter expert for the Miami police department by day, serial killer by night. And if that sounds creepy – he only kills people that really, really deserve it. Plus – best opening credits for a tv show ever. Making breakfast and getting dressed never looked so sinister….