Sick of folks talking about True Blood and Fringe and Mad Men and Monk? Me, too. Those shows are stupid.
Here’s what I liked this year.
A mention: The Shield: The Complete Series (DVD; FX). Yeah, it’s a DVD release so it doesn’t rate higher, but it’s my last chance to pay tribute to my favorite drama ever. Another DVD release worth a mention: The complete Dana Carvey Show. It’s worth the money just to see early Stephen Colbert and Bill Clinton as a mama pig.
THE TOP TEN SHOWS OF 2009.
10. Celebrity Apprentice (NBC). Two words: Joan Rivers. I never found her interesting until this year. At first, it was just the horror of her face (and her daughter’s), but then it was the obscene way she managed to bring the apocalypse to a dumb-ass, egomaniac (not Trump, the poker-chick) who never even saw it coming.
9. Community (NBC). Is it the best sitcom ever? Not even close. Is it better than 30 Rock? Yes. At least this year, it is. Just looking at Chevy Chase cracks me up, but this show, which got off to a weak start, hit its stride around the third episode and then managed to make the best Halloween episode of the year.
8. Rescue Me (FX). The show is starting to wear, but it’s still great human drama. It’s like an hour of David Mamet, every week.
7. Big Love (HBO). Why do they wait so long between such short seasons on HBO? This season saw the little polygamists growing up and facing issues, like unwanted pregnancy, that even “normal” people face. They became more relatable, and generated more compassion, than ever before. This was a show I never expected to like.
6. Dexter (SHO). Dexter is kind of a silly show. It’s completely unbelievable, and it makes the Miami police force out to be complete idiots. Every ep brings with it a list of questions (“why wouldn’t the police just have checked that reporter chick’s phone records?”, e.g.). But it’s so well acted, and so surprising, that it’s like a great, fun soap opera for Sopranos fans. And that final scene (shiver) . . .
5. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FX). The most underrated, foul sitcom since . . . Ever. If you’re not watching this, you’re missing Danny Devito’s greatest work.
4. Breaking Bad (AMC). In my wilder days, I used to fantasize about getting a fatal disease with my girlfriend, going crazy dealing for a year, and then being set for life. What can I say? I was sick young fuck. But then they made a TV show about it! And who knew Malcom-in-the-Middle’s dad was such an amazing actor. This season ratcheted the chaos and paranoia to eleven. Watching this is like watching my favorite TV show ever (The Shield)–each episode, you can’t imagine how he’ll be able to make it to the next one.
3. Modern Family (CBS). Finally, an actual sitcom I can watch with my young kids, and I can laugh at the adult jokes while they laugh at the sophmoric and moronic, but also sweet and relatable, antics of three crazy, related families.
2. Survivor (CBS). Yes, Survivor. This season, Russell was able to find not one, not two, but three immunity idols without even getting a clue to their whereabouts, and used basic business-school management techniques to run the game right from the start. He exposed how simple the game is while, at the same time, outwitting a rocket scientist (literally) and dozens of other people, and all the while never concealed his swagger. Not since Season One has this show been so vital, tense, and hilarious. The only thing that made this season terrible, was the result. Natalie winning. But as I screamed at the jury for judging Russell as a backstabber when they all did the same exact thing to their own kind, I realized . . . That’s what made this season so great.
1. Battlestar Galactica (SyFy). The final ep came this year. The two movies that followed only tarnished the legacy of this show as the Greatest Sci Fi T.V. Show Of All Time. Through its run, it showed depth, political insight, and challenged philosophical and religious beliefs, all while producing dazzling special effects and action sequences. Truly incredible television.