Best TV of the Decade – Part Four


Here they are, the top five TV series of the decade (minus the big three I’ve yet to see). To recap, here’s how we got here:
Honourable mentions: Firefly, Freaks and Geeks, Band of Brothers, Generation Kill, Planet Earth
15. Survivor
14. Angel
13. 30 Rock
12. Friday Night Lights
11. The Daily Show

10. Big Love
9. The Shield
8. Arrested Development
7. Six Feet Under
6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Now on to the five best…
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Best TV of the Decade – Part Three


Time to continue on with the list, with entries 10 through 6. To read the introduction with honourable mentions, go here, and to read entries 15 through 11, go here.

One note: I added at the end of each entry (besides #11, because the series didn’t lend itself to this kind of analysis) a quick mention of what I felt were the best season and episode for each series. These were honest attempts to make a few more declarations on the shows, but I’ll admit, I didn’t kill myself picking my favourites. I’m working completely from memory, so there’s a good chance that for some of them, another episode might actually be better. So feel free to share your opinions on them and anything else I write here.
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Best TV of the Decade – Part Two


Time to make with the listing. Go here to read the introduction of this post for the qualifications for this list and my general thoughts on television this decade, along with some honourable mentions for shows that didn’t fit well with the list. Also, I should add that some of my thesis about this being the best decade in television history was influenced by this great piece by Emily Nussbaum of New York Magazine titled “When TV Became Art”. If you haven’t read it yet, you probably should.
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Best TV of the Decade – Part One


Now that I’ve spent parts of the past two months listing the best albums of the past decade, it’s time to move on to television. I finished off that end of decade list theorizing that “given that it was the decade where I was in my twenties, it’ll probably end up being my favourite decade for music as my tastes begin to calcify”, but in the case of television, I truly believe that this was the decade that television grew up and rose to levels of quality previously unmatched.

You probably wouldn’t know it if you only watched network TV, or focused on all the negatives that rose along with these newfound levels of quality, like the constant stream of reality TV and copycat procedurals. But it’s useless to judge TV by its worst output, or even its average output, because as a viewer you only have so much time to watch it. Say you watch 10 hours of TV (which is a lot less than me, but more than others). You can now fill those 10 hours with greater levels of quality than ever before, and if you choose to fill them with the dregs, that’s on you, not the medium. Me? I could care less about how the other hundreds of hours are filled by all the channels out there, because I can barely find time to watch all of the high quality TV that I want to watch.
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Bonus List: Top 25 Canadian Albums of the Decade


Inspired by Maclean’s list of the Top 10 Canadian albums of the decade, I decided to bang out an all-Canuck version of my top 25 albums of the decade. This has been a fantastic decade for Canadian music, which benefited from the fracturing of pop culture that allowed small acts from Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and points in between to gain a foothold in the popular consciousness throughout the world, without having to overcome the traditional barrier in spreading Canadian art: we don’t have a big enough population to warrant attention. This was a problem back when bands had to sell millions of records and dominate the charts to get buzz. Now you just need to get the attention of the proper taste-makers, sell a few units, do the right festivals, and let the internet do the rest. Oh yeah, and have the talent to back it up.

Sure, we still had some artists getting attention the traditional way, like Nickelback and Avril Lavigne, and for that… I apologize. But judging our music by its most popular acts would be just as big a mistake as dismissing American music because of the work of the Black Eyed Peas and American Idol or the UK because of James Blunt and The X Factor. Instead, let’s celebrate the best.

The following is just a short list, with no write-ups, designed to just give an idea of what kind of decade it’s been for the True North Strong and Free (although, if you want to read write-ups for the top 8, see my Best Albums of the Decade list). I didn’t take too much time putting this list together, so don’t get too focused on the order. As always, this list is for entertainment purposes only, and should not be used for wagering of any kind.
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Top 25 Albums of the Decade – 5 to 1


When I first began this list I predicted that it might end up taking two months to complete. That was November 2nd, so I suppose I beat the prognostication by a couple days, and just got it under the wire for the change of the decade. And speaking of the wire, be on the lookout for my breakdown of the best TV shows of the decade sometime in the new year.

Here’s a recap of how we got here. Click on the links to read the write-ups/listen to the song samples.
25. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009)
24. Jay-Z – The Blueprint (2001)
23. The Cardigans – Long Gone Before Daylight (2003)
22. Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
21. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (2003)

20. Elliott Smith – Figure 8 (2000)
19. Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary (2005)
18. Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People (2002)
17. Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (2006)
16. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (2008)

15. Common – Be (2005)
14. Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights (2002)
13. Feist – The Reminder (2007)
12. Tegan and Sara – So Jealous (2004)
11. Okkervil River – The Stand-Ins (2008)

10. Okkervil River – The Stage Names (2007)
9. Kathleen Edwards – Failer (2003)
8. Stars – Set Yourself On Fire (2004)
7. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (2004)
6. The National – Alligator (2005)

Click on to find out the top five.
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Top 25 Albums of the Decade – 15 to 11

Here’s a recap of how we got here. Click on the links to read the write-ups/listen to the song samples.
25. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009)
24. Jay-Z – The Blueprint (2001)
23. The Cardigans – Long Gone Before Daylight (2003)
22. Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
21. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (2003)

20. Elliott Smith – Figure 8 (2000)
19. Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary (2005)
18. Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People (2002)
17. Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (2006)
16. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (2008)

Click on to find out the next five.
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Top 25 Albums of the Decade – 25 to 21

The end of the decade is fast approaching, and while some publications are starting to publish their end-of-decade lists, it does feel like it sort of snuck up on us, didn’t it? It wasn’t like that when the 80s ended, but I guess after everyone blows their collective load on the end of a millennium (that, depending on who you listened to, was supposed to portend the end of times), the passing of a decade can seem passé. Maybe it’s just because we’ve never settled on what to call this decade (is it the Ohs? The Aughts?). It’s like they settled on the name for the new millennium (2K) and just gave up.

So if there’s no consensus on what to name the decade, I suppose it makes sense that there’s been no attempt to define the decade. You know, besides the fact that it’s too soon. Cause it’s never too soon to make definitive statements online that will almost immediately become wrong and outdated! In that spirit, allow me to present my top 25 albums of the decade, two months before the decade is over.

The rules for the list are simple: anything I’ve heard that was released between January 2000 and now is eligible. I had no rule against multiple albums from the same artist (as you’ll see). But, when I was deciding between albums on the bubble of the list, those challenging for spots 18-25, I went with albums from artists not already represented earlier in the list for varieties sake. So if an artist does have multiple albums on this list, you can be assured that those albums are really good. Also, I’ve decided to publish this list five at a time, which will hopefully make it easier to read and reduce the temptation to just skim. The danger is that I’ll end up taking two months to complete the whole thing, but I figure that would happen anyway.
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