Sunday, February 12, 2006

God Bless My Tivo

The other day, a friend of mine who considers me to be a movie and television aficionado, asked me what I thought were the best shows currently on television. I gave a quick answer, but thought about it a bit more later that day.

So, since I bored MYSELF with the topic, I might as well share the pain and bring to you all my list of what I think is the best stuff on TV.

(Disclaimer: As the name implies, for a show to qualify, it has to still be either on the air or gearing up for another season, and I discounted Reality TV. I love Survivor and Amazing Race as much as the next person, but I wanted this list to be for scripted shows only).

So, here then is my:

Best Television Shows Currently On The Air

1) Deadwood - Currently getting ready for it's 3rd season, the show is quite simply the best thing on TV. Writer David Milch struck gold with this tale of the Old West you never saw in any John Wayne movie. God Bless HBO for having the guts to make a show this violent, this profane, and this raw, and for putting some of the best actors in the business to star in it. Why more of the cast didn't win Emmys last year totally escapes me. The best show on TV right now, period.

2) Lost - The people who complain that no secrets get answered on this amazing show are really missing the point. This show is a journey. It's a journey to discover these characters, and what makes them tick. The funky stuff going on on the island is just a way to keep things glued together, and if we knew all there was to know about the island already, the show wouldn't last as long as I hope it does. For a network show, the writing is top-notch and each actor in this HUGE cast brings something great to the table.

3) 24 - My God, has Jack Bauer REALLY been kicking ass and taking names for FIVE seasons now? Yup, he has, and that's just ONE of the reasons to watch this amazing show. Currently in the middle of it's previously mentioned 5th season, the show is still tight, the characters are well-written, and the real time format is still riveting enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, without wondering when the Hell these guys get to go to the bathroom....

4) Curb Your Enthusiasm - The first comedy on the list. God Bless Larry David for letting us see just how big a jerk he is week after week, because, Damn, it's funny. If you aren't watching this show, then you haven't been laughing enough.

5) Prison Break - The newest show on the list. Currently in it's first season, this show brings to the table most of the energy and great characters that 24 serves up, but this time losing the real time format and international terrorism, and giving us the desperate attempts of a noble brother trying to break his wrongfully accused sibling out of a maximum security prison. I don't know how the heck they can pull off a second season since the main story line seems to be wrapping up soon, but they have me hooked enough to stick around to find out.

6) Nip/Tuck - Does any show push the boundaries on network television MORE than Nip/Tuck? I don't think so. In fact, the worst thing I can say about this show about 2 Miami plastic surgeons and their wacky lives is that, especially in the past 2 seasons, the show has seemed to slip a tad from it's incredibly well-written first season, in an effort to just see how far they can go week after week. Threesomes, Swapping, transvestite murderers, there doesn't appear to be any where the show won't go. And it's still a damn fun ride.

7) Rescue Me - As Nip/Tuck lost some steam this year, Rescue Me actually got better in it's sophomore season, telling us the stories of some problem-ridden NYC firemen and the lives that they affect. Thanks to front man Dennis Leary, some of the dialogue in this show is so smart and funny that you might think you are watching some improv standup instead of an incredible well-woven and provocative show.

There you have it. I really wanted to round out this list to 10 (and there are other good shows out there), but in the end, putting other shows on this list would be a disservice to the Super Seven on it right now.

In a final bit of rambling, I need to give an electronic shout-out to some superb shows that would have made this list, but have within the past year or two ended their stellar runs. Let's give 3 cheers and a Huzzah to:

Six Feet Under (Best series finale of any show... ever)

Oz (The most brutal show ever on TV)

The Office (The Original British version, which was SO much better than the watered down version they are shoveling us here in the States it makes me want to puke)

Third Watch (I loved NYPD Blue, but this show was BETTER)

Ok, enough rambling (until next time, at least)......

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