Television – Best of 2009
TV continued it’s Renaissance providing entertainment superior to what can be found at the movies most weeks. Some veteran shows continued to satisfyingly plug along (Lost, House, 24, Family Guy, Amazing Race, and Idol) while some faltered (Rescue Me, 30 Rock, Damages) and one excellent show, Battlestar Galactica, ended its run. All available on DVD.
No real surprises here in my list:
Mad Men – I have written about this here. Another great season, with a particularly great performance by January Jones. Expect lots of Golden Globes.
Breaking Bad – I am still amazed how many have never heard of this show about a cancer ridden high school chemistry teacher who cooks crystal meth on the side – what must have been the most preposterous pitch session in TV history. Two Emmy’s for lead actor Bryan Cranston thus far. Cranston is incredible in this role alternating between rage and self loathing – all portrayed in a way that lets the audience in. Start with season one ASAP, so you can all caught up for season 3 premier on AMC in March.
Friday Night Lights – Still, no show has more heart that this high school drama that never hits a wrong note. This year it reinvents itself with new characters without loosing any momentum or authenticity. Another article about this show here. TIme for some recognition for Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton.
Modern Family – Another Office-style hidden camera comedy, only this time with a stellar ensemble of vaguely familiar comedic actors infuse energy into the most worn comedic venue, the family comedy. No laugh track and owing much to Arrested Development, this show is a clear winner and the only new show on my list. Here is to hoping they can maintain the quality next year.
Curb Your Enthusiasm – Here’s another show, that year after year has been doing its very high quality comedy thing, yet many who loved Seinfeld don’t even know it exists. With this season’s “Seinfeld reunion” maybe some new people will learn what us fans have known for years – hands down Curb is the most consistently funny show on TV. The Bare Midriff episode might just be the best ever.
Everyone seems to be super nutty about Glee. While the dancing and mash-ups are fresh and energetic and Lea Michele is a real find (she’s been on Broadway for in some high profile roles) – it’s all just too smug for me. You can tell the whole cast and criw is just delighted with itself each week. And the fans are no better with being in love with themselves. I came a across a website that have “the most memorable quotes from Glee!” You know it had every single line from every show! It’s not that good.
Also, another disappointing year for Saturday Night Live. One week there were 5 MacGruber sketches! One joke, and not a very funny one at that, done over and over. That has become the tone of the show and it seems as if the whole show has become a MacGruber episode. Kristen Wigg is the only cast member who brings any excitement to a scene. And only one episode of “What up with that?” in the whole season! What is up with that?
Maybe Leno could host permanently and solve all their problems?