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 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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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 Actor

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, Two and a Half Men, Monk, The Mentalist, or all of the second season of The Big Bang Theory.
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The Fourth Annual Andy TV Awards – Best Supporting Actor

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 Boston Legal and Two and a Half Men.
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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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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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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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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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The Second Annual Andy TV Awards

Hey, did you know that the Emmy nominations are to be announced tomorrow? Yeah, until a few minutes ago, I didn’t know either. And I doubt I’ll be watching the eventual awards show either. But, thanks to the white hot, one comment reaction to my Andy TV Awards post last year, along with my zero comment 2006 Andy Movies Award post, I’ve decided to once again tell you who I’d nominate and give awards out if I was the only voter. Hey, if I worried about actual readers, I’d have to find other things to do with my time.

You know how the Oscars are often stupid and wrong? The worst part of it is that the Oscars are far better than any of the other entertainment awards, for the simple reason that voters have a much better chance at seeing more of what they’re voting on. Even a professional television critic can’t hope to watch every show out there. I’m no different, so there will be a lot of omissions here that have nothing to do with quality. But, I do watch a fair bit of TV, and I like to think most of it is good. To get it out of the way, acclaimed shows that I don’t watch include The Sopranos, The Wire, Extras, 24, Battlestar Galactica, Ugly Betty, Brothers and Sisters, Friday Night Lights, and any procedural. Because I can only watch so much, I’m limiting my nominees to three per category.
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Top 10 TV Episodes of 2006

Hey, I wasn’t kidding when I said I love year-end lists. Thus, I shall leave no stone unturned in my attempt to quantify the year in pop culture. Unlike my Top 10 TV Shows of 2006 list, this list only judges episodes that aired in the calendar year, January-December. So some might be from current seasons, while others will be from previous seasons.

To put the list together, I went through episode listings and summaries from the shows I watch on various web sites like TV.com, IMDb, Wikipedia, and Television Without Pity, picking out episodes that stand out in my memory. Then I worked from that list to make my ten. I didn’t do anything crazy like re-watch every episode or anything, cause if an episode wasn’t memorable enough for me to decide on it now, then it wouldn’t be top ten, now would it? As a result, this list is heavy with event programming, be it season finales or sweeps week episodes that send the show into hiatus. But, hey, they usually save their best stuff for then anyway, so I’m sure this list is solid.

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.
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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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