30 Dec 2006

The 10 Best TV Shows of the Year

Here are my ten favorite TV shows of this past year. Some are American, some are British, but all are available somewhere online. Again, they're in no particular order.

The Shield - Season 5
For me, this is the best US cop show on television. Set in and around the fictional LA borough of Farmington, it tells the story of a group of cops called the Strike Team, led by Det. Vic Mackey, who are corrupt and break the rules, but are the best cops on the streets. All five seasons have set an incredibly high standard in terms of writing, acting and, most surprisingly considering it's not on HBO, realism. Michael Chiklis is unbelievable as Det. Mackey and this season, Forest Whitaker (look for him to nab the Best Actor Oscar this year for The Last King of Scotland) matches him as Internal Affairs agent Kavanaugh. Most highly recommended. Best moment: When Mackey nails Kavanaugh's wife!!

Life On Mars - Season 1
If The Shield is the best US cop show, then this is, by far and away, the best UK cop show. Detective Sam Tyler, whilst investigating a murder case, gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973. He doesn't know why or how except that he may be in a coma in the present day. He becomes a cop in 1973 (experiencing all the fish-out-of-water situations) while trying to find out how to get back to the present. Funny, gritty and extremely well-acted it's like Hill Street Blues crossed with Quantum Leap, The Sweeney and Starsky & Hutch. Best moment: When Tyler and his boss punch the dude from The Catherine Tate Show

Extras - Season 2
Ricky Gervais once again comes up with the most excruciating, embarrassing and downright hilarious show on TV. He plays Andy Millman, a TV and film extra who dreams of becoming famous. This season, he appears to have struck gold, landing a sitcom deal with the BBC. Nothing, of course, goes to plan and Andy is forced to compromise in order to keep his new found fame. Guest stars this season included Robert DeNiro, Chris Martin, Sir Ian McKellen and Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe. Best moment: When Andy catches his agent and Barry off Eastenders having a wank over a pen

Planet Earth
This 10-part documentary series from the BBC is eye-wateringly, groundbreakingly, titty-wobblingly brilliant covering, as it does, the entire planet. Five years in the making, the series shows us footage of things never before filmed including snow leopards searching for food on the himalayas, a pride of lions taking down an adult elephant at night and an aerial view of wolves chasing wildebeeste. Each episode covers a different physical part of the planet, from mountains to jungles, rainforests, deserts and beyond. Narrated by the legend that is Sir David Attenborough, your gob will literally be smacked. Best moment: The Great White leaping out of the ocean in super slo-mo

Survivor: Cook Islands
This season caused controversy with it's pronouncement that, for the first time ever, there would be four tribes of five, divided into Black, Hispanic, Asian and White contestants. After not watching this show for about six seasons, this premise intrigued me, to say the least. it was, without doubt, the best season ever. Despite copping out after three weeks and mixing the tribes up, the combination of characters, twists and challenges made this the most purely entertaining show of the year. By the way, no white people made the final three! Yay! Best moment: Ozzy (Viva La Raza!) making it to the final two

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - Season 1 (and maybe the last?)
This was my most anticipated show of the year. Created by the guy (Aaron Sorkin) who wrote The West Wing and A Few Good Men, this show is about the behind-the-scenes machinations of a fictional TV comedy series, loosely based on SNL. This show certainly met my expectations offering this year's best and wittiest dialogue and some extremely touching moments. It hasn't exactly set the ratings alight, though, and may not make it to a second season. For shame! Best moment: The homeless New Orleans band's rendition of O Holy Night

The Vicar of Dibley 2006 Xmas Special
After 2004's worthy but unfunny Make Poverty History special, this was a welcome return to the hilarity of a show that most fans have a great affection for. For the uninitiated among you, this sitcom tells the story of the small village of Dibley's female vicar, Geraldine, played with great humor by Dawn French of French and Saunders fame. This special concerns Geraldine finally making it down the aisle and contains some truly inspired scenes that rank up there with the best the series has ever produced. Best moment: Geraldine's reaction to the marriage proposal

Real Time with Bill Maher - Season 4
Has an administration ever provided satirists and comedians such an abundance of material? Maher was funny when Clinton was in office. Now, though, he looks like a genius. Mixing serious political comment with satirical flourishes and some downright goofiness, this no-holds-barred HBO series is one of the funniest and most informative things on the box. Best moment: Bill's closing monologue at the end of episode 20

Nip/Tuck - Season 4
When compared with the previous three seasons, this season was the weakest. However, the fact that it is still in my top 10 should illustrate the brilliance of this show. Following the adventures of two Miami plastic surgeons, this season we had a guy who wanted his balls enlarged, Sean's wife's affair with their dwarf nanny, Christian banging Rosie O'Donnell's trailer trash lottery winner for money and the return of Escobar. This is, without doubt, TV's guiltiest pleasure. Best moment: Peter Dinklage's entire performance as Marlo the nanny

Elizabeth I

If, like me, you've seen many dramatizations of the life of Queen Elizabeth I, then this, the umpteenth version of the story, could have easily gotten lost in the crowd. The script was very good, the costumes and production design were, predictably for a BBC/HBO co-production, excellent and the supporting cast were uniformly impressive. What makes this one of the best shows of the year, and one of the best Elizabeth stories ever, though, is Helen Mirren. With this, the final Prime Suspect and The Queen, Helen reminded everyone why, along with Meryl, she is quite simply the finest actress working today. Best moment: When she gets pissed off at Hugh Dancy in front of everyone

Honorable Mentions:
I haven't seen the new seasons of Lost and Scrubs, yet but if I had, you can be sure they would have been on this list. Other shows I thought were the nuts:
The Catherine Tate Show - Season 3
The Sopranos - Season 6
The Daily Show
The Colbert Report
Match of the Day
The Royle Family - The Queen of Sheba

1 comment:

Cam said...

OMFG... you have to start watching the third season of Lost. Especially before all the new episodes come out in February. Time to play some catch up. Scrubs has been funny as always. Really hasn't changed much. I still love it. And Heroes is definitely on the top of my list this year. You have got to check it out. Addicting as all heck (almost as much as Lost).