(Originally posted Thursday, February 1st, 2007)
Making a favorite TV list is much easier than movies for one reason, DVR. I’ve already got my recording priorities set on my Tivo (well technically DishDVR but you know what I mean), so it’s almost as simple as looking to see if two shows went head to head which one I’d rather record. Now explaining why, that’s more difficult.
10. My Name is Earl
Writers should study this show as a perfect sitcom specimen. Solid concept, stellar cast, great stories, and a positive message. All of this in a show that trusts it’s audience to know when to laugh on their own (RIP laugh-track, you were both annoying and unnecessary, glad to see you go). Sure, I have a bit of a problem with the mixed up spirituality of the show, but to have a show that honors the power of doing the right thing is nice to have on TV. Did I mention the show is hilarious?
There is something contagious about the sheer giddiness of Adam and Sam as they explore, in as explosive and destructive ways as possible, urban legends and commonly held beliefs. I consider this show part “Mr. Wizard”, part “That’s Incredible” and part “The Odd Couple” As funny and entertaining as it is educational. Thank you Discovery Channel for existing so shows like this can see the light of day, and then prove how that light can be focused through a block of ice to make fire.
8. The Lost Room
The what? Yes, I know. It’s a shame more people didn’t catch this 6 hour mini series on Sci-Fi when it was on last November. But it was one of the most thought provoking, quirky, entertaining, and well done things on TV all year. It got enough attention that Sci Fi is mulling doing another batch and it’s certainly a world worth exploring. “The Lost Room” refers to a Hotel Room that is locked in another dimension that is only accessible by having “The Key”, a hotel key that when used on any door will take you to the room at which point you can exit the hotel room into any other door in the world. “The Key” is only one of many objects that originally resided in the hotel room that now have strange powers in the real world (Think X-Men except it’s every day household objects instead of mutants that have strange powers.) The real power of this show though is in the end, as in, IT HAS ONE. I’d forgotten how satisfying actual resolution to a TV mystery could be. We need more shows with set ends so we can get somewhere. Are you listening Prison Break? Lost? I’m talking to you!
7. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Best written show on TV, easy. Of course, that shouldn’t be a surprise when Sorkin is holding the pen. I fell in love with his style on Sports Night, and am still smitten with it today. With the quickest wit possible Sorkin paints the backstage world of a “Saturday Night Live” type show (man, I wish real people talked the way he writes.) A prominent Christian character inhabits this universe as well, and guess what, she’s actually likable and funny. The show stumbled to find it’s way out of the gate with the characters being more humorous than the show they were making. But they moved away from that fairly quickly, and now the show seems to be finding it’s stride very well. So smart, so funny, Studio 60 is worth a glance.
Hugh Laurie is an acting genius. He has created a character that is so compelling and real that he has taken an otherwise gimmicky and often predictable medical show, and made it feel like the best thing on TV. Don’t get me wrong, I love the show (there are only 5 others I love more) but beyond his performance there really isn’t much else to this thing. Of course, what else do we need really, the show is after all called “House” in the same way that 24 really should be called “The Jack Bauer Power Hour”. I’ll keep tuning in every week just to see what this caustic, unethical, yet somehow strangely lovable doctor will say next. Thank Hugh, Thank Hugh very much.