As we near the passing of another year, it’s time to take stock of the best and worst that television has provided us. You will notice The Movie Mind came up with a diverse mix of comedies, dramas, and everything in between. This list is in no means meant to be comprehensive since even I can’t be expected to watch that much television. So please don’t get on my case too bad for neglecting to rate your favorite show but by all means feel free to leave a comment and start your own review of it! I’m sure we will all be extremely relieved to know you never miss a single second of Parks and Recreation or Rock of Love. Without further ado…I present The Movie Mind’s Best & Worst TV Shows of 2010:
BEST SHOW ON TV
Modern Family [ABC] I think they officially took the reins in their inaugural season last year and have stayed firmly planted on top after a hilarious season 2 so far. There is no better show that combines a perfect mix of real life comedy with characters that you can truly fall in love with. I see a long run on top as long as they stick to what made them this successful. By the way, Manny is going to be a star – the kid is the funniest character I’ve seen in years!
CLOSE TO THE TOP BUT SLIPPING
Rescue Me [FX] Still the best drama on TV but it’s beginning to get out of hand with the plot twists. I know after this many seasons you need to come up with shocking plotlines to keep your viewers interested, but seriously, how many people close to Tommy can actually die/become an alcoholic/sleep with a family member/etc? The writers need to cut the poor guy a break but at the same time keep it coming…the show is certainly not boring and Dennis Leary is such an underrated actor.
The Office [NBC] After an extremely poor season in my honest opinion, the Final Season has gotten off on a strong foot and will hopefully go out the same way it came in: with a bang. I find myself watching the reruns regularly and can easily see them reaching Seinfeld status at some point. By the way, I know there are talks to continue the show without Steve Carrell but it would be a fatal mistake. The show already “jumped the shark” a few seasons ago when they promoted Jim to Co-Office Head. It cannot survive no matter who else they put into that role. As much as it certainly is a top-rate ensemble cast, it’s Michael Scott and then the rest of the ensemble. Let’s enjoy what’s left of it.
Deadliest Catch [Discovery Channel] Now that I think about it, this show most likely already peaked. As sad as it was to watch the Phil Harris saga, it was simply the best TV they could have ever hoped for. They had developed a character over the course of a few seasons that viewers truly cared about and felt like they knew on a personal level. The fact that he went through an incredible tragedy unfortunately only helped the show’s status and ratings to where they have begun to cross over into too much mainstream commercialism (they’ve got a freaking PS3 game now for crying out loud!). I hate that the show moved into the upper-echelon due to the passing of Captain Harris because he was a guy you could genuinely like and wished you could have a beer with. Let’s hope they honor his memory more in future seasons rather than exploit it.
Sons of Anarchy [FX] Biker gangs, sex, violence, corruption, and did I mention bad-ass bikers? This show has built some pretty compelling storylines and has a brood of characters (including the one and only Peggy Bundy) that are unique, authentic, and have some serious depth. They look the part and act the part which is more than most TV drama’s can say.
The Good Guys [Fox] It’s about time the buddy cop comedy made it’s comeback! I’m psyched to see Bradley Whitford in a lighter role than The West Wing and Colin Hanks appears to be slowing moving out from under daddy’s shadow. It’s amusing but don’t expect something other than over the top crooks and storylines because that’s the backbone of the show.
Justified [FX] A real life modern day western under the guise of a cop drama is a recipe for success in my book. Plenty of solid violence and plot developments to keep you tuned in.
Outsourced [NBC] The uncomfortable comedy is what drives it and it manages to poke fun and some of the oddities of our different cultures, surprisingly with most of it directed at the American side. It is smart writing but not sure how long the gimmick factor will keep it entertaining. After a while, an American novelty company’s customer service department in India will have to become more. While they’ve made developments on the relationship plotlines, it’s yet to be determined if it will be enough.
Criminal Minds [CBS] What’s not to like? We have insanely scary bad guys and a crew of nerdy geniuses and super-agents tracking them down…does it get much better? Fresh stories and likeable good guys make it the top cop drama on TV. Who says you need Horatio Cane’s 1-word responses and overacting to be successful in this genre!
The Defenders [CBS] Surprisingly, Jim Belushi has found his role. Just like Ben Affleck needs to play an a-hole from Boston, Belushi needs to play a Las Vegas attorney. Jerry O’Connell plays a good sidekick and it is slightly reminiscent of one of my old favorite shows, Las Vegas, only with less action and casinos.
WORTH WATCHING IF YOU’VE GOT NOTHING ELSE TO DO
Whale Wars [Animal Planet] I was initially hooked to this show that burst onto the scene this past season due to an international maritime incident, but I cooled off thanks to the over the top tree-hugging attitudes of its stars who act like they are playing cowboys and Indians with real lives at stake. They see a little too camera-hungry not for the whales’ sake but for their own careers. I guess that’s what happens when you spend months at sea throwing glorified stink bombs at other boats. Mark my words though: this show will get even more popular due to the Japanese whaling vessels getting much more serious than they have been so far. The Aussies think they’re playing grownup pranks and the Japanese are losing millions. This could get ugly…or interesting, whichever way you look at it.
Jersey Shore [MTV] Ok, I’ll admit it…I might be guilty of the pot calling the kettle black. You will see me bashing the nonsense of the Housewives hows below, yet here I am telling you that you might as well watch Jersey Shore if you’ve got nothing else to do. The reason being that even though they are all void of talent, they can actually be mildly amusing on occasion. Not to mention that with the exception of The Situation and Snookie, they seem to realize that their 5 minutes is about to run out so they might as well party it up and make the most of it.
NOT WORTH YOUR TIME (OR ANYONE ELSE’S)
Sister Wives [TLC] To be fair, I watched all of 6 minutes of one episode and that was enough to literally make me sick to my stomach. Even if you were a fan of HBO’s Big Love, there is just something seriously creepy to the whole show. I felt like I was watching the opening to another Criminal Minds rerun. These gals and their “man” are straight-up freaks…no two-ways about it.
Football Wives, Real Housewives (of Anywhere), and all other “Wives” Shows [VH1, BRAVO] I’m sorry but there is not a single appealing thing about these shows or anyone on them. I’m not on my high-horse here because I am guilty of watching some truly mind-numbing shows that make me feel like I am dumber for having seen it, but this is a whole new level. There’s the train wreck appeal that some people can’t pass up, but this is more of a Matchbox car crash than anything else. The people/characters have zero redeeming qualities, characteristics, or talents to offer this world and should be treated as such.
Ice Road Truckers [History] This show as mildly amusing (not quite entertaining) during the first season. After the subsequent season and spin-offs (yes, even shows about truck drivers have copycats) we all have experienced the “NASCAR effect” and have come to terms with the fact that we could care less about watching unless anybody crashes. While we may hate ourselves for feeling that way, we don’t feel guilty enough to actually tune in.
The Event [NBC] I just couldn’t get into this Lost and 24 knockoff. The commercials alone drove me to hate it before ever watching it. After seeing the premiere, the commercials were the least reason not to like the show.
American Chopper [TLC] Do we really not have enough family drama going on in all of our personal lives that we need to watch it air out on TV? A show that used to be about building pretty sick choppers has turned into a melodramatic family squabble. It’s pathetic to watch.
Detroit 1-8-7 [ABC] I really gave this one a shot but there’s just nothing there to keep me interested. Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti from The Sopranos) is decent but not good enough to carry the show. Unfortunately in a landscape filled with cop dramas, this one’s fate might be sealed.
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE AND WHY WON’T YOU COME BACK?
Shark [CBS] Not sure why James Woods’ lawyer drama went away but he is always solid so I hope for a return one day.
Numb3rs [CBS] They left us open-ended but it was a solid all around crime drama that needs to be resurrected.
NOT INCLUDED DUE TO MISSING LAST/CURRENT SEASON BECAUSE YOU PEOPLE DON’T CLICK ON MY LINKS ENOUGH TO PAY FOR AN HBO SUBSCRIPTION!
Eastbound & Down: Season 2 [HBO] Yes I know, it’s blasphemous that The Movie Mind who is Kenny Powers’ biggest fan (and an apparent lookalike I’m told) hasn’t yet tuned into Season 2. I will be purchasing the DVD as soon as it hits and have heard from reputable sources that I trust that it’s a season not to miss.
Entourage [HBO] Again, from trustworthy sources I hear that the show is going downhill. I’ve sensed it a bit after the prior season anyway. The writers have started to forget what made the show successful in the first place. The story is about Vince and his crew who happened to win the lottery that most groups of guys all dream about. We could care less about Turtle’s music career or E’s self-identity crisis. We want Johnny Drama and the gang ripping each other unmercifully while partying it up like they could care less about tomorrow. Man getting old sucks onscreen as much as it does in real life!
Boardwalk Empire [HBO] This is one of the shows that might actually make me pay for HBO again. The Sopranos going off the air was responsible for a ton of lost business for the Home Box Office, but they may have struck gold again with this new series. Steve Buscemi is one of my favorite all-time actors and in this role he is a can’t miss. Another DVD that I will purchase the minute it comes out.
Mad Men [AMC] I know I know…it’s ridiculous that someone that writes movie and TV reviews hasn’t seen this show yet. Truth be told, I’m thoroughly disappointed in myself for missing it for so long and now it’s just too much to go back and start from the beginning. I really don’t want to have my Netflix tied up for the amount of time it would take to get caught up on all those season. Sorry for the letdown folks, but enjoy your treasured little secret and the inside jokes The Movie Mind will never understand. [sigh]