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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Top 10 TV Shows of 2008

It’s year end list season again, so it’s about time I got into the game. Actually, most publications and websites have already finished their year end lists, but those are written by people who get early screenings of things and, you know, don’t earn their money doing things other than writing blogs. So expect the movie list sometime at the end of January, and my album list between now and then. I’ll start with TV because it’s the list that doesn’t require any more time to take in the contents (because if I haven’t seen a season of a show yet, it’s too late to catch up). The rules for my year end TV list are a little different than most other year end lists, in that it doesn’t just cover things that took place within the calendar year of 2008. Television doesn’t operate on a January to December calendar (or at least network TV doesn’t), and I think it’s silly to try and judge a TV show from the back portion of one season and the front portion of another.

Instead, this list judges seasons that ended in 2008, including portions that began in 2007. If a season began in 2008, but is slated to return in 2009, 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 Shield (I’m on season three), Battlestar Galactica, Chuck, Doctor Who, Pushing Daisies, and House. On to the list…
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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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