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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10 Memorable Episodes of ER


This week, the question that has surrounded NBC’s venerable medical drama ER for years will be put to rest. That question, of course, being “that show is still on?” Unbelievably (and probably unnecessarily) ER lasted 15 seasons, bursting on the scene in 1994, helping shape network TV drama in the process. I was a huge fan of the show when it debuted, and it remained one of my favourites for years to come. But, like many people who followed the show, I eventually dropped out. I gave up near the beginning of season twelve, deciding that a show that had none of the lead actors left from its first season (Noah Wyle left at the end of the eleventh season) no longer bore any resemblance to the show I once enjoyed. And, really, after a decade, I’d seen all I needed to see (although I did tune a couple weeks ago to see the return of Wyle, Eriq La Salle, Julianna Margulies, and that George Clooney guy).

So obviously this list is by no means definitive, although I’m fairly confident that few fans would rank episodes from the final four seasons amongst the show’s very best (even if they may have been pretty good). Moreover, I’m working completely from memory here, so it’s entirely possible that I’m missing some great episodes. Which is why this titled “10 Memorable Episodes of ER”, rather than “The Top 10 Episodes of ER”. I watched these episodes as they aired, some again on reruns, and have rewatched the first five seasons (the Clooney years) on DVD (I’ll probably keep buying and watching the series on DVD until I no longer enjoy it, which I suspect will be earlier than when I first stopped watching it). So my methodology is a little spotty, but, hey, if I remember an episode, it necessarily qualifies as “memorable” right?

Oh, and by “memorable”, I mean “memorably great”, not “Freefall” memorable (AKA “Romano v. Helicopter II: The Revengening”, AKA when the show jumped the shark). Because now that it’s over, let’s not remember all the reasons it faded into obscurity, and rather celebrate one of the truly great network dramas in the history of television.

The list, arranged chronologically…
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Top 10 TV Episodes of 2008

Consider this the companion piece to my Top 10 TV Shows of 2008 list. Unlike that list, this one is a more standard year end list, only covering episodes that aired January 1st to December 31st. Because I’m judging thousands of episodes, there was a bunch of contenders for this list, many of which were bunched pretty closely near the end of the list, so I used the 8-10 spots for shows that missed my other list just to change things up.

NOTE: Since I’ll be talking about specific episodes, the write-ups will be necessarily spoilerish. For people who want to skim but remain unspoiled, the pictures are fairly unspoilery. On that note, I’ll reiterate that I haven’t caught up to The Shield, so please don’t spoil it for me by telling my how amazing the final was and how dumb I am for leaving it off this list (well okay, you can tell me that it’s awesome. Just please don’t tell me why).
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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: My Television Schedule

Updated with new networks.
Here’s something many of you probably never expected to hear me say (or read me write for that matter): I watch too much TV. Okay, I don’t really mean that, at least not in the traditional sense. I don’t actually have a problem with the number of hours I spend in front of the television (well, okay, in front of the computer which is in front of the television), but rather the number of shows I’m currently watching.

What’s the issue? Well, every week it seems that most of my free time is spent keeping my DVR clear of the new shows that air, leaving me less time for other important matters, like movies or TV box sets (ha… and you thought I was going to say “reading”). This is an issue because there’s a good chunk of TV series that I’m currently following that aren’t as good as the ones I’d like to be watching on DVD (The Shield in particular). So I figured a good exercise would be to look at all the TV series currently airing new episodes that I follow, and maybe make some choices that will ease my burden (or, you know, “burden” as it were). After all, the last time I used this space to muse about a show that I no longer cared for, I cut the cord a week later.

Plus, I thought it could be fun for you all to see exactly what I’m watching, day by day. You know, if you were wondering.
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TV Talk: Heroes Season Three Premiere

By the time you read this, half of these characters will have died. Then not died.

TV Talk: Heroes Season Three Premiere

Starring: Kristen Bell, Jack Coleman, Greg Grunberg, Ali Larter, James Kyson Lee, Masi Oka, Hayden Panettiere, Adrian Pasdar, Zachary Quinto, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Dania Ramirez, Cristine Rose, Milo Ventimiglia

Series Creator: Tim Kring
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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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