Saturday, December 22, 2007

Best of 2007: Television

I'll start my best of the year lists with TV. With the writers' strike still unresolved, who knows if I'll even be able to do this list next year. I don't watch a lot of television, so in order to get 10 shows here, I have to include a couple that I at least watched, but was disappointed in.

1. Battlestar Galactica (Sci-Fi). It took a bit of a dip in its third season, primarily from the set of stand-alone episodes in the middle of the season, but the new version of BSG continued to be television's most challenging show, offering socio-political commentary and multi-layered characters like no other show. The November special Razor wasn't as good as it should have been, but it was still a lot better than your average TV, and the longer DVD version helped flesh it out.
2. Lost (ABC). Lost really took a dip at the beginning of its third season, but about halfway through miraculously regained its footing, driving us toward a mindbending season finale that leaves the future of the show completely up in the air--the sort of cliffhanger on par with Battlestar Galactica's season 2 ending. Where will it take place? When? Are they in alternate reality now? Were they before? I cannot wait to get some of these answers.
3. Project Runway Canada (Slice). This is the Canadian version of the popular Bravo reality series, which debuted in October while I was vacationing there. Fortunately, some wonderful soul put the series on YouTube, which just concluded this week. While the U.S. version is having trouble finding its footing this year (and showing its age), this Canadian take revived the format's freshness, giving us a fantastic host (Iman), another genteel mentor (Brian Bailey), and a likable set of drama-ready contestants. They got it right with the final three, and the show's finale was really quite good. I was almost moved to tears when Elle Canada editor Rita Silvan gushed over Lucian Matis' collection, and his rival Evan Biddell, who'd picked on him all season, embraced emotional Lucian. And who couldn't love perky Marie Genevieve?
4. 30 Rock (NBC). The second season opener with Jerry Seinfeld was a clunker, but most of the rest of the episodes have been consistently laugh-out-loud funny. The cast continues to shine, particularly Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin.
5. The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard (PBS). This PBS import of last year's BBC miniseries broke the stuffy stereotype of Masterpiece Theatre. This show was fast-moving, modern, quirky, and, as a show about a grocery store manager who becomes Britain's prime minister, political. Jane Horrocks gave a fantastic performance in the title role. Shame on the Golden Globes for snubbing her.
6. Kathy Griffin: Life on the D-List (Bravo). Kathy Griffin's reality series was a lot better than I expected it to be. It was hilarious, but also touching, due to the unexpected death of Kathy's father. Is she really still on the D-List? I'm guess she's a solid B by now.
7. Project Runway (Bravo). So far this season isn't as good as the last two, but it's still decent television. What it needs is to focus on the contestants, who I haven't yet developed a reason to either love or loathe.
8. Pushing Daisies (ABC). Visually stunning, but already this new show is getting stale. Still, I do love the lead characters Ned and Chuck.
9. 24 (Fox). The fifth season was awesome, so how disappointing that the sixth was terrible. I'll keep watching out of loyalty, but season 7 better show some marked improvement quickly.
10. Chuck (NBC). This was the other new show I watched this fall, but I gave up on it after about five episodes. It was cute, but just not going anywhere, and the spy-lite formula isn't enough to sustain a series.


Anonymous said...

Two critic darlings you did not mention were Friday Night Lights and How I Met Your Mother.

At first blush, Friday Night Lights can be misconstrued as a soap opera for the ESPN and NFL male Neanderthal. However, football is just the backdrop or window dressing. At its core the show is about relationships and love: young love, forbidden love, love between husbands and wives, and between friends. The show touches on faith lost and gained. It did start off this season with an annoying story line concerning covering up a murder. Thankfully that was put to rest. The performances by these virtual no named actors are nothing short of amazing. Don't let the football theme turn you off, it's just a mask. This show is full of heart and grit and it’s well worth a visit to Dillon TX on Friday night.

Now, How I Meet your mother is a different beast. Gritty...not really. Well acted...hmmm next topic please. A guilty pleasure...absolutely. Some shows just make you laugh and this is one of them. The characters are silly as well as are most of the plots. But so was Three's Company. And millions of Americans hung out with Jack at the Reagle Beagle. The show is a lot like candy. You know it's not good for you, but it's so sweet and delicious you go back for more. I will never apologize for enjoying this show. In the end funny is funny and this show in the end is well…humorous.

ww_adh said...

I haven't watched either, unfortunately. I bet I'd like Friday Night Lights, but I've been afraid to try it since it's been on the chopping block for like 2 years now.