(Originally posted Friday, February 2nd, 2007)
13. The Simpsons
11. American Idol
10. My Name is Earl
8. The Lost Room
7. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
From the Top, to the f, to the ive, here are my favorite TV favorites.
5. Survivor (Exile and Cook Islands)
It’s a bit of a cheat to include both Survivors from 2006 as one, as each really does stand on it’s own. But the two editions this year were about the same (though I was much happier to see Yul win than Aras). Survivor continues to be the best Reality Show on TV even if American Idol gets all the attention and Amazing Race gets all the awards. They craft some great stories from these stranded strangers and I think Jeff Probst may be the most underrated host on TV. They also deftly mix the exploring of human nature with fierce competition, making the show compelling on philosophical and emotional levels as well as engaging on a week to week “root for your favorite” level as well. If this list were ranked by how much I yell at my TV, Survivor would easily be number 1.
I’m not sure any season of 24 will ever match the place season 1 has in my heart (Am I the only one who still says “on the day of the California Presidential Primary”, after Keifer does the intro?) . The show was so fresh and the style so risky, and I was so invested, that the first season plays like a lucid dream to me sometimes. Having said that, Season 5 of 24 has come the closest. So many great moments and great characters. I’m always amazed at how these guys continue to up the ante, kill off people we love (Edgar… sniff, sniff), and write in the most over the top plot points and somehow it just works and we love them even more. By the way, just once I’d like them to go to commercial with Jack Bauer saying to someone, “By the way, Where’s your bathroom” and then straight to the beep, click, beep, click. Oh and in case your wondering my full ranking probably looks like this 1,5,3,4,2.
3. The Office
From the most intense show on TV to the funniest. I’m not sure I can justify this one much beyond saying it makes me laugh. Like seriously laugh… a lot. Yes, Steve Carell as Michael is great, and yes, Dwight Schrute is a great Kramerish sidekick, but what makes this show for me is John Krasinski (Jim). The show is shot in a documentary type format so that fourth wall (that separates the audience from the action) comes down and Jim’s response to the insanity of what happens around him is often a direct wink, smile, or nod to us. Often times I laugh more at Jim’s reactions than the actual gag itself. So yeah, this show makes me laugh… out loud… a lot.
I’m really not sure how the creators of Heroes got away with such a blatant X-Men rip-off, but I’m glad they did. This show locked me in with it’s first four jaw-dropping, twist ending episodes, and has kept me around with some decent character development and story lines. Since the beginning of the year the show has been consistently besting 24 in the ratings and I have a feeling it could be with us a while. It’s a difficult thing to keep such a serialized, sci-fi, character driven show fresh so I wish them the best, I’ll be watching.
Speaking of serialized, sci-fi, character driven shows and staying fresh. Maybe you are in the seemingly growing group that thinks Lost has jumped the proverbial Dharma tattooed shark. Me? I think it’s stronger than ever. I still love the characters, I still want to know what is up with that insane island (er islands?), and I still would rather watch this show than anything else on TV. I also love the fact that it’s creators are doing everything within their power to set an end date for the series so they can wrap it up in as satisfying way as possible (I still weep at how poorly the X-Files exited) and I think once they commit to running uninterrupted seasons (like 24) the stage will be set for an spectacular finish to the best 42 minutes on TV every week.