Low Resolution celebrates the end of the Double-Oh decade with an enthusiastically biased take on the last ten years on TV. I've limited myself to one season per series, tried very hard to keep it to seasons that began and ended in the Aughts, and haven't included mini-series and TV movies, but for two extremely worthy exceptions. Enjoy!
[Previously: #50-41, 40-31, 30-21]
Top Episode: "Did You See How I Stopped It? With My Face," wherein Heather and Eve took a cab to the pit stop when they were supposed to walk, thereby falling from first to last and getting the boot.
written about this show at great length, and with incredibly good reason -- it is only the most underappreciated TV season of the last decade, if not beyond. I love laughing at those Jersey Shore idiots as much as anyone, but if one-third of the people yammering about that show had watched The Paper just once, it might have gotten a bit of the notoriety it deserved. Amanda Lorber, Adam Brock, Miss Weiss, you'll remain the Situations of MY heart, at least.
Top Episode: "Superteen Bonding," where we were graced with the well-rounded presence of MICHAEL JAN!
Top Episode: "Ji Yeon," because Sun and Jin have always been among my favorites, and it also doubles as an amazing Juliet episode, where she pulls all sorts of underhanded shit to make sure Sun leaves the island (thus saving her baby).
Top Episode: "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," as addictive a TV pilot as I can remember.
Click below for #s 16-11...
Judd Apatow's other swiftly cancelled wonderful comedy. The cast is brilliant -- Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen, Charlie Hunnam, and Carla Gallo were the standouts -- and the absurdities of college were sharply observed. Fox fucked with this show as severely as it did with any of Joss Whedon's properties, it should be noted.
Top Episode: "Eric Visits Again," featuring Jason Segel in his BRILLIANT performance as Lizzie's psycho ex. MORTAL KOMBAT!!
Considering the first three and a half seasons were in the '90s, plus the general downturn in quality that Buffy took during its UPN seasons, this wasn't a super hard choice. But the fact is, I ADORED this season, featuring girlie god Glory, Spike before he became a bodice-ripper, the great running subplot about Giles and Anya running a magic shop, and the heartbreaking retardification of Tara. And then Buffy went and died at the end! Tears! Oh, the tears.
Top Episode: "The Body," duh. Just total crushing brilliance.
I certainly loved the first two seasons of Big Love, but the third was an incredible leap in quality, and a real grab for the mantle vacated by The Sopranos as the signature HBO drama. As with the best HBO shows, it features a rich, deep supporting cast (Mary Kay Place, would that the world were equipped to appropriately award you), but it all revolves around the trio of stellar women: Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny, and Ginnifer Goodwin. Watching the power struggles is great, but it's the undercurrent of real loving bonds and a strong sense of family that gives the show depth.
Top Episode: "Come, Ye Saints," where the Henricksons trek to Palmyra and endure the usual road-trip trappings, plus major revelations, including the indelible moment where Nicki helps Sarah through her miscarriage.
You guys, what a perfect season of reality TV. Part competition show (VH1 set four unsigned bands on a cross-country tour to see who could rack up the most ticket sales -- and MERCH sales! Can't forget the MERCH!), but it was so loosely organized that it turned into a great candid snapsot of boozy Flickerstick, gothy Harlow, douchey Soul Cracker, and...that other band with baldie up there and the keyboards. The camaraderie, conflict, and actual great music (I own two Flickerstick albums) was some kind of charmed alchemy. In a way, I'm glad VH1 never attempted a second season. No way that lightning strikes twice.
Top Episode: "Columbus, Part 2," wherein our heroes, Flickerstick, were in last place and needed to win a Battle of the Bands to survive. And they did!
Everybody expected the U.S. version of The Office to be terrible. Terrible! That first season made it through with a reluctant "Not so bad" vibe, but it was the second season that really established it as the best comedy on TV, with a surprisingly deep cast of office weirdos as their secret weapon, plus a quartet of strong leads in Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and Rainn Wilson.
Top Episode: "Office Olympics," still the single best evocation of the show's central theme: how to create something meaningful out of days filled with the most meaningless of work.
Flip a coin between the first season and the second, really. I'll tip the scales for Season 2 for a few reasons: Maeby's job as a movie studio executive (Marry me!), the rapid proliferation of chicken dances, George living in the attic, Motherboy, and the inexplicably objectionable Ann (her?).
Top Episode: "Spring Breakout," where Lucille takes a break from rehab so she can beat Kitty in a drinking contest, and Buster, left to his own devices, mistakes a box of wine for juice and ends up performing "Rose's Turn" all over the penthouse.