Thursday, December 28, 2006

Year's Almost Over: TV Lists

I could give this a big, flowery introduction, but the holidays have me kind of assed out right now. Suffice it to say: my picks for the best and worst TV of '06.

The Best Shows on TV:
Battlestar Galactica
Big Love
Brothers & Sisters
Friday Night Lights
Grey's Anatomy
The Office
Project Runway
Ugly Betty

Five cable shows, five network shows, three comedies, one reality show, three "genre" shows, seven shows with explicitly gay characters, two more with implicitly gay characters, two shows with polyamorous relationships, plus one show with a dream-sequence threesome, one show that's already been cancelled, one that's pulling in dangerously low ratings, three that air on Thursday nights, four that air (or aired) on Sundays, two shows who will be changing time slots come January, one show that airs on a network I don't currently get, and a grand total of ten shows that made TV freakin' awesome in 2006.

Most Improved Shows:
The O.C.
Prison Break

I'm chalking the O.C. resurgence up to adding Taylor Townshend and killing off Marissa Cooper. Survivor cast a far more diverse cast than ever before for all the wrong reasons but the end result was the best season in years, scoring one for diversity in a much better way than the "Race Wars" conceit ever could. Prison Break took things outside the Fox River walls and opened their dumb-but-awesome show up to an entire world of possibilities.

Most Un-improved Shows:
Gilmore Girls
Studio 60

Okay, I mostly stopped watching Gilmore because of timeslot reasons, but I'd have stuck with it, I think, if I'd have been more interested. This is in no way because they paired Lorelai with Christopher, however, since I vastly prefer him (a.k.a. The Cute One) to that surly and joyless lump of a diner owner all the message board crazies seem to enjoy. Nip/Tuck still has its moments of car-crash awesomeness, but the steady decline from the end of season 2 to the end of season 4 was precipitous. Studio 60 managed to take a promising pilot and squander it all in a flurry of bitter agenda-settling and a tin ear for almost every aspect of the subject at hand.

Best New Shows:
30 Rock
Big Love
Brothers & Sisters
Friday Night Lights
Ugly Betty

I'm cheating with six here so as to emphasize what a good year this was for new shows. And for once, the good shows didn't get axed too soon, even when the ratings may not have been outstanding. Even some of the bad shows (Jericho; Studio 60) were kept around. Okay, I could be talked into shedding a lonely tear for Kidnapped (which was pretty good) and Smith (which I never got to see at all), but on the other hand, you won't hear me complaining about the fates of The Nine or Six Degrees.

Best Performances:
Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock
James Callis - Battlestar Galactica
Steve Carell - The Office
Sally Field - Brothers and Sisters
Neil Patrick Harris - How I Met Your Mother
Mary McDonnell - Battlestar Galactica
Ian McShane - Deadwood
Chloe Sevigny - Big Love
Jeanne Tripplehorn - Big Love
Chandra Wilson - Grey's Anatomy

Most Underrated Performances:
Connie Britton - Friday Night Lights
Ed Helms - The Office
Chris Lowell - Veronica Mars
Becki Newton - Ugly Betty
Hayden Panettiere - Heroes
Autumn Reeser - The O.C.
Matthew Rhys - Brothers & Sisters
Katee Sackhoff - Battlestar Galactica
Michael Urie - Ugly Betty
Kate Walsh - Grey's Anatomy

Best Reality Show Contestants:
Laura Bennett - Project Runway
Tiffani Faison - Top Chef
Yul Kwon - Survivor: Cook Islands
Ozzy Lusth - Survivor: Cook Islands
James Rhine - Big Brother:All Stars



OleNelson said...

I was with you all the way, dude [aside from some skepticism with that Brothers & Sisters show]. But then, James from Big Brother? Really?

mathan said...

I do not understand the complete and utter lack of The Wire on your list. I really can't wrap my head around that.

I'm with you on Prison Break and Nip/Tuck. I'll even share your shedding of tears for Smith (pretty good show) and Kidnapped (helping Oz alums pay the bills) two shows that died before their time.

And despite your snub of The Wire I'm going to follow your lead and give Ugly Betty and Brothers & Sisters a shot since ABC has every episode online.

In conclusion; The Wire.

Joe R. said...

Re: James -- I needed to have someone from Big Brother, for all I watched it this year, but the only people I liked were Danielle and James, and Danielle unfortunately had that freakout where she got drunk and stalked Erika throughout the house. Sad.

Re: The Wire -- I don't watch it. Still. I started to watch the season 1 DVDs, and I'm sure I'll get back to watching them, because I do like them, but probably not before the series is over.

Sars said...

...Tiffani?! FIRED!

Anonymous said...

Joe - a little disappointed that Heroes didn't make your Best Shows on TV but you redeemed yourself a little by adding it in the best new show category. Anyhow Happy New Year and hope you continue to update your blog as it is source of much amusement for me at work.


Joe R. said...

Sars: I feel like my back just ran into your knife.

jorii: Thanks! I'll sure try. And Heroes *just* missed the top ten. I do love it.

jessica said...

No love for The Amazing Race at all? I admit it kind of waned towards the end, and my favorites weren't in the finale, but this was a huge resurgence to actual clues you have to figure out, plus awesome tasks and difficult choices. Maybe an honorable mention?

I also admit to not being nearly as over the moon for Ugly Betty as everyone else is, but the last couple episodes weren't so bad. And I do love Marc and Amanda.

As for Best Performances, I sure would love to see Jaime Pressly on that list for My Name is Earl and you should have an entire category for Most Underrated Shows, with Scrubs at the tippy-top (maybe behind FNL).

SikeChick said...

Tiffani? Like, Big-Faced Tiffani? Oh, that's so wrong. Unless you mean like best for Keckler to rip apart in recaps.

mathan, I'm with you re: The Wire. The show is consistently awesome and captivating. Not sure why it is so underrated.