Bonus Lists: Best TV Shows of 2009

I will spend all of 2010 writing about the past year or decade
If my top ten movies of 2009 list was late, then what does that make these lists? I’ll try not to think about it, especially since I still have another year end list to go. But, since I’ve spent the past two months writing about the best TV of the decade, I’m not particularly in the mood to spend the next two writing about the best TV of the year. But since my need to list all things chronological is near pathological, I’m still going to post a list. Two, in fact.

Traditionally, I write a top ten list of the best shows of the year, be they drama, comedy, reality, talk show, whatever. But lately, there’s been so many great shows on TV, that limiting it ten was too difficult. My compromise? Two top 10 lists, one for comedy, one for drama, just with less writing than usual. Another new twist for this year: in the past, I ranked shows based on full seasons – only considering shows that had aired a season finale within the year, even if that means taking episodes from the previous year into consideration. It made sense at the time, but had the unfortunate side effect of making much of my Andy TV Awards redundant. Also, it prevented me from talking about new shows. And in 2009, there was a lot of great new shows. So these lists are more traditional, January through December 2009 viewpoints of television (which, admittedly, is a little more difficult since some of these shows have been running episodes for two and a half months since the qualifications for this list end).

But enough of all that. I’ve already written more than I have time for. On with the lists!
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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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The Fourth Annual Andy TV Awards – Best Shows

It’s been over a month since I started this thing, so I should probably get around to finishing it off with the two biggest awards. Of course, if you’ve been paying attention, you can reasonably predict how these two categories will go. For the preamble, including an explanation on what exactly the Andy TV Awards are, go here. Shows that received Emmy nominations in these two categories that I don’t watch, and thus had no chance of getting nominations here include House and Family Guy.
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The Fourth Annual Andy TV Awards – Best Leading Actress

For the preamble, including an explanation on what exactly the Andy TV Awards are, go here. Shows that received Emmy nominations in these two categories that I don’t watch, and thus had no chance of getting nominations here are The Sarah Silverman Program, Samantha Who?, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Brothers & Sisters, Brothers & Sisters, and Saving Grace . So basically, almost all of them.
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The Fourth Annual Andy TV Awards – Best Supporting Actress

For the preamble, including an explanation on what exactly the Andy TV Awards are, go here. Shows that received Emmy nominations in these two categories that I don’t watch, and thus had no chance of getting nominations here include Ugly Betty, Pushing Daisies, and 24.
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March Recommendations

recommendation
Welcome to a new feature for this blog where I give quick recommendations from assorted pop culture categories of things I’m currently into. These things may or may not be current, but are things that I’m currently enjoying (or have recently enjoyed) that I think you (the reader) might enjoy as well. Provided that you enjoy things that are awesome.

In the past, I’d write reviews of things that I wanted to recommend, but I don’t have as much time to write those reviews as I used to, so instead of deciding how good something is, or weighing pros and cons, and all those things a responsible reviewer does, I’m just gonna come right out and say “I like these things. They are worthwhile”, which is basically what anyone is looking for when reading a review anyway. And because blogging can (and should) be a two-way street, please feel free to leave a comment with any recommendations you’d think I’d be into.
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The Third Annual Andy TV Awards

The Emmy Awards are this weekend, and once again, the list of nominees are wrong. It’s impossible to please everyone, but the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences make it especially hard. It’s interesting: while the Oscars have drawn heat of late for the fact that their nominated pictures aren’t widely seen productions, the Emmy people continue to baffle critics by insisting on nominating popular (and inferior) shows like Two & a Half Men or Boston Legal. But it wasn’t all bad this year (you can see the Academy’s full list of nominees here, although you’re probably better off with an abridged version, like the one here), as they got around to recognizing some smaller cable shows like Dexter and Mad Men.

But rather than be one of those people who complains about the snubbing of one show or another, I’m one of those obsessives who will come up with my own list of nominees and winners to show just exactly who was snubbed and who wasn’t. In doing so, I do have some sympathy for Academy voters, as even an avid TV viewer such as myself can’t manage to watch every great show (although I do like to think that I watch more than the average Academy member). Among the highly-acclaimed shows that I haven’t seen (and thus will not be eligible for awards) include Battlestar Galactica (I know, I know… I will check it out eventually; at this point, I think it’s best to wait for the whole series to come out on DVD), Breaking Bad, Brothers & Sisters, Doctor Who, House, and Nip/Tuck.

Some ground rules: to qualify for nomination, a show must have aired most of its season, including its season finale, in the past 12 months. Unlike the Emmys, each category is limited to five nominees each (the Academy wimps out a few times with six nominees on occasion). To decide what shows belong where, and which actors belong where (i.e., comedy vs drama, lead vs supporting), I used the official ballot for performers (which you can see here), even in situations that don’t necessarily make sense. Also, my votes are based on entire seasons, not single episodes (except when appropriate). And best of all? No awkward monologue to start the show…
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TV Talk: The Barren Summer TV Landscape

I won't be watching most of these networks for a few months.

The end of the TV season is almost here. There’s a two-hour finale of Grey’s Anatomy tonight (that I hardly care about, but I watch because my wife does… even though she hardly cares now too), and the two-hour finale of Lost next week (which I am very excited about, as this has been the best season of the show since the first. Perhaps better even). Then that’s it, it’ll be time for broadcast television to go into hibernation mode.

Even though I’m an admittedly voracious consumer of television, I like the slow summer TV schedule (particularly since I’m also a voracious consumer of movies… and apparently not that much of a consumer of sunlight). It’s a great palette cleanser that allows me to get excited about shows again come fall. More than that, in recent years I’ve been able to use the three months of summer to catch up on shows on DVD that I would have otherwise missed. Last summer, we watched all five season of Six Feet Under, the first seasons of Dexter and Friday Night Lights, the first three seasons of The Wire, and re-watched the first season of Big Love, meaning that we probably ended up seeing better quality television from June-August than we did from September-May.

With that in mind, I figured I’d lay out my summer viewing plans here, and ask for any input any of you might have regarding how I might best use the months ahead (you know, besides silly stuff like getting outside to enjoy nature or whatever).
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Top 10 TV Shows of 2007

Year-end TV lists are difficult things, as network TV follows a different schedule than January-December. Some writers go ahead and try to cram TV in the January-December calendar, judging two half seasons put together, but that’s just silly. Instead, this list judges seasons that ended in 2007, including portions that began in 2006. If a season began in 2007, but is slated to return in 2008 (whenever that may be), then it is not under consideration for this list. Make sense?

Acclaimed shows that I don’t watch, and thus won’t be appearing on this list include The Sopranos, Battlestar Galactica, The Shield, Ugly Betty, Rescue Me, Brothers & Sisters, Mad Men, Flight of the Conchords, and House. On with the list…
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POST #19: My Summer of HBO

We watch a lot of TV shows during the year, which makes it fairly hard to watch TV on DVD while new shows are airing. So summertime is catch up time. This year, I decided we should make it a Summer of HBO, in attempt to catch up on all those quality shows I’ve always meant to watch but hadn’t.

In addition, HBO shows are the only ones we watch right now currently airing new episodes. Currently, we’re watching season two of Big Love and season four of Entourage as they air (we gave John from Cincinnati a shot, but didn’t like it. Sadly, we never started Flight of the Conchords, which I’m starting to hear good things about. But, our hi def movie channel that carries HBO shows didn’t pick it up, so we didn’t have much chance to watch it anyway). On top of that, we finally got around to watching the first season of Six Feet Under that we had borrowed from our friends Ellen and George at the beginning of the summer, then went ahead and ordered the complete series after a couple of viewings, so we’ve been going through that pretty quickly.

We generally watch half-hour shows on our upstairs TV while we eat dinner, so up until now we’d watched a couple non-HBO shows that we’d been given on DVD, but now that we’ve finished those, we’re moving on to HBO’s Extras, lent to us by . The original plan was to try and rent the first season of The Wire when we were done with Six Feet Under, but I went ahead and borrowed Freaks and Geeks from Skooch, since I put off seeing for far too long, so we’ll watch that next. Hopefully we’ll finish it with enough time to at least start The Wire, if we can find somewhere to rent it (along with having no access to the actual HBO channel in Canada, we also don’t have Netflix. Very annoying).

I’m a bit of a late-comer to the HBO world (still haven’t seen The Sopranos, and I’m not sure I ever will), but I’m glad to finally be here. Such great television. Or not television… whatever.

Top 10 TV Shows of 2006

Like last year, this list will be for shows whose season ended in 2006. It’s too awkward to try and judge the second half of one season from January-May, then the first half of the next season from September-December. Seasons should be judged by themselves, as a whole. Thus, this list will include seasons that began in 2005, but ended in 2006, or shows that had their entire season within 2006. Seasons that began in 2006 but have yet to finish do not qualify for this list.

Shows I don’t watch, and thus will not make this list include all procedurals and cop shows, Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood, The Wire, 24 (which I do watch, but am behind on the DVDs), and Gilmore Girls. Also, I didn’t catch all of the first season of How I Met Your Mother, so I’m leaving it off the list. Consider that an honourable mention.
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Andy’s TV Awards

Since the Andy Movie Awards 2005 were such a big hit, and because we all know I know more than those who give out awards, I’ve decided to do the Emmy’s one better, and list MY nominees and winners for the past TV season. Of course, unlike the Oscars, where I make a concerted effort to see all Oscar-baiting movies, I didn’t see every show of last year, or even all the critically acclaimed ones. Unlike the Academy, I’m basing my awards on all the episodes I’ve seen from last season of a particular show, instead of just one or two episodes that were submitted.

To be nominated, I had to have seen at least part of last season’s shows of the series. Thus, 24 and Arrested Development, two shows I’ve seen on DVD and enjoy, are not nominated because I haven’t seen season five and three respectively. Other critically-acclaimed shows that I do not watch include The Sopranos, House, Curb Your Enthusiasm, any CSI or Law & Order shows (actually, no procedurals at all), The Office, Six Feet Under, The Shield, or Boston Legal. Despite not having seen any of those shows, I still think I did a better job than the Emmy people.

NOTE: I’ll only being doing major categories, and for two of them, I won’t have nominees. Because I’m not judging single episodes (too hard), I won’t be doing any writing or directing awards. Also, no mini-series or TV movies.
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