Thursday, December 20, 2007

Best of 2007 - TV

I'm going to go ahead and start posting my Best of 2007 lists, even though the year isn't technically over yet. For TV, it all ended a week ago anyway. I'll also plan to cover music and movies (although given my DVD versus theater habits, that'll be more of a Best of 2006). Comics will of course be covered in podcast form on Comic Pants in early 2008.

My Top 10 Favorite TV Shows of 2007
30 Rock (NBC) - I might love this even more than Arrested Development. It's funny, it's smart, it has a great ensemble cast. One memorable scene from a recent episode is below, but it's worth checking out all of season one on DVD or any of the second season episodes on Amazon or Hulu (although I don't whole-heartedly endorse those at the moment, given the writer's strike. And that goes for any reference to legal downloads made in this post.)

Dexter (SHO) - Claiming the title of favorite drama over longtime champion The Shield, Dexter had the benefit of a stunning first season and an even more impressive second season follow-up. Rarely misses a beat, has a great cast and great writers. Takes a bizarre premise that sounds totally unappealing at first and makes it totally addicting viewing. Worth having Showtime for. The video below is a funny official Showtime music video for the show, it spoils major parts of season one but doesn't spoil anything from season two.

The Shield (F/X) - Continually putting the characters into situations where you wonder what's going to happen next, how they're going to escape and if they even deserve to. There's only one season left, and it sure looks like they'll go out on a high note.

The Office (NBC) - To me, the show just keeps getting funnier, and I loved all the new characters in season three and the evolution of relationships in season four. There were a ton of laugh out loud episodes in both.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (F/X) - Actually managed to go even further into outrageous comedy territory in their latest season, building up steam with four last episodes for the season that are among the funniest they've ever done. Look up some clips on Youtube or Hulu, paying particular attention to "The Gang Gets Whacked" or "Bums: Making a Mess All Over The City" or "The Gang Dances Their Asses Off."

Lost (ABC) - I never quite had the disconnect that so many did from season three, but I won't deny that were some weaker episodes in there. However, I think it's better than most people remember, and the awesomely cool season finale (not to mention an announced ending) have me excited about a strong conclusion. Just hope the AMPTP's negotiating tactics and resulting long strike don't mess up the plan too badly.

Burn Notice (USA) - Light fun, good cast, and a developing larger story made this at first a mildly entertaining diversion, building up to a must-watch show by the end.

Pushing Daisies (ABC) - The best of the new Fall season shows, this one has a Tim Burton vibe (think Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and especially Big Fish), fantastic casting, two gorgeous female leads, the best narrator ever and lots of witty, imaginative comedy and dramatic character hooks as well. Bryan Fuller (of Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls) finally gets the success he's always deserved, and he gets to keep the quirk.

Chuck (NBC) - This one grew on me as the season went on, until eventually I was going into "Nooo! Not the strike!" mode when the episodes ran out. The terrific supporting cast (Adam Baldwin as Agent Casey in particular, although I also love Ellie and Captain Awesome, and Morgan has really grown on me) is enough reason to watch it, but the Chuck/Sarah relationship turns out to be really good, and I love the combination of goofy comedy with spy action and a touch of soap opera relationships. Also, the music choices on this show are excellent.

Battlestar Galactica (SCIFI) - The first four episodes, focusing on a guerrilla resistance against the Cylons, were my favorite episodes of the series. Then there was a drought of about fourteen episodes that rarely rated above mediocre, and then there was a terrific two-part finale. Then there was Razor, the movie about the Pegasus, which I loved. So although there were a lot of episodes I didn't like, the eight (counting Razor as two) I did I really liked, and that brings the whole thing up to the bottom spot on my top 10.

Shows that didn't make the cut (but almost did) were Heroes (for the first season episodes that aired in 2007, but the awful season two weighed too heavily aginst them), How I Met Your Mother (still funny, but it lost something in the transition between season two and three), Weeds (strong season, but not quite strong enough to get past the shows above) and Friday Night Lights (awesome first season, very disappointing second season).


Scott Dunbier said...

I love Pushing Daisies but wonder if it can sustain its whimsical originality. Hope so.

One show not on your list is Journeyman, which I've quite enjoyed. It started out as disappointing but for some reason I stuck with it (Bionic Woman lost me half way through the second episode). It then continued to build in quality and eventually became a favorite. Sorry to see it go.

Randy said...

I had the same worry about Pushing Daisies, especially after Barry Sonnenfeld left, but it's gone enough episodes now that I think it can sustain. At least for the remainder of its season, whenever that winds up getting done.

Journeyman I heard good things about, but decided to wait on DVD when it got to be so many episodes in that I didn't want to jump into the middle. Now I guess I'll be able to rent the complete series. :(

Based on what I've heard, I doubt I'll be renting Bionic Woman. :)

cascade said...

I second the recommendation for Journeyman. It is a very layered show that delivers plot treats and thoughtful character development. I love how much what he does in the past affects his present. My wife and I find this is a show we watch together and can talk about very enthusiastically afterward, much like Chuck, Lost and Jericho.