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My Favourite TV from 2008

  • Jan. 3rd, 2009 at 4:57 PM
cordelianne: (The Office Major dorks)
Happy New Year!!! I do plan to finally update my fic masterlist soon but in the meantime I thought I’d round up the year by sharing my favourite tv shows of 2008.

It’s interesting because – and this pains me to say it – but I don’t think this has been the best year for TV. The writer’s strike – which I fully supported – ended up negatively affecting a lot of shows, in ratings and in quality and quantity. This fall was the first time I wasn’t excited about any new tv shows. And some shows had been gone so long – Dirty Sexy Monday and Chuck – that it made it easier to stop watching them.

It has also been the year in which I’ve become increasingly frustrated with the stupid plotlines of Grey’s Anatomy (the horrible ending of the lesbian relationship and the stupid “we’re trying to be Ghost Whisperer” storyline), and in which I gave up on Bones after it destroyed a beloved character and devolved into making the characters parodies of themselves. I also don’t have the patience for Heroes anymore.

But there were shows that continued to be bright spots for me and which I looked forward to each week.

Favourite Dramas of 2008

1. Lost: This is a show I’m so glad I stuck with through its mediocre second season because it has rewarded me a zillion times since then. Even back in season three the show started to feel revitalized and like the creators had a clear vision. And season four was such an exceptional season. I like the shorter season, I think it works well. Something else that works? Those flashforwards! This is a series that continues to be gripping, fascinating, and moving, and show other dramas how to be a successful serialized drama. Also, the Desmond and Penelope romance is one of the best romances on tv. And Ben continues to be awesome to watch.

2. Friday Night Lights: If season 3 had continued like season 2 – with desperate ratings grabs – it wouldn’t be on my list. However, season 3 has been outstanding – like that amazing 1st season. My only quibble is that I’d like to see more examinations of race, something this show does extremely well. But man, they’ve been hitting the season 3 episodes out of the park (oops, maybe I should have used a football analogy instead?).

3. Battlestar Galactica: A shorter season served BSG well too because it allowed for tighter stories and less filler episodes. I never could have predicted this back in season 1, but Tigh has become my favourite character (well, except for my undying love of Starbuck, of course) and season 3 & 4 are definitely why. The season finale was devastating and has me totally hooked for the new season!

4. Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles: A show that actually got better in its second season!! It’s total luck that its season premiere aired before most other shows because I watched and was hooked – and I picked it over a lot of other hour long shows to keep watching. It’s not perfect and I find it best not to think too deeply about details, but man it’s good. I look forward to new episodes each week. I think that Cameron makes the show – she is guaranteed to make me laugh. And that episode “Alison from Palmdale”? Wow, that was fantastic!

5. Torchwood: Another show that’s not perfect but I don’t care because it entertains me so much. There were some fantastic episodes. The Owen arc was really well done, and impressed me with the actor’s skills. Plus, I totally and completely love the Ianto/Jack romance. I am disappointed to hear they may be toning down the show – I feel it’s good because it’s not toned down.

6. Eli Stone: A show about hope… with singing? How could I not love it? Johnny Lee Miller is fantastic and makes me believe in Eli as an uncertain prophet. I am very very sad that it’s being cancelled because I feel that there needs to be more shows like this: ones that tackle hard issues, explore faith and provide hope.

7. House: A show that’s best to watch for the characters and not the medical mysteries (which have started to feel very routine). However, what isn’t routine is the character dynamics. House dealing with Wilson’s romance with Amber – and then the tragedy at the end of last season. That season finale was one of the episodes of tv that had me sobbing. And this season has been fantastic as the House and Wilson friendship is explored in new ways. I’m not so keen about the House/Cuddy potential romance, but I remain positive about the show overall.

Favourite Comedies of 2008

1. 30 Rock: My mom and I just marathoned the first 10 episodes of last season and man is it good – genuinely laugh out loud funny!! This continues to be the most hilarious and smart show on tv, anchored by the fantastic Tina Fey as Liz Lemon. But what really makes the show fantastic is that Fey surrounds herself with talented people who she has awesome chemistry with. Liz and Jack’s platonic friendship is one of my favourite friendships on tv.

2. How I Met Your Mother: It and 30 Rock are some of the few shows who came back from the writer’s strike even stronger. I keep trying to think of a standout episode of HIMYM, but it really has been so strong recently, that there’s so many funny moments and episodes I could pick out. I find myself often remembering a funny moment from the show and chuckling to myself. I enjoy that this show has heart at the centre of its really great humour.

3. Big Bang Theory: This show really found itself by the end of the first season and is having a fantastic second season. I did find Sheldon a character who took a while to get used to, but now I adore him and he can always get me rolling on the floor in laughter. This is a show in which I have laughed so hard at things that I had a hard time getting my breath. What’s worked really well this season is that the writers have realized the fantastic comedic chemistry between Sheldon and Penny, and really use that. Also the addition of some smart female characters to the episodes has made a positive difference.

4. The Office: It’s a bit weird to put this show in the comedy category because some of the memorable moments that come to mind are all of the painful or sweet ones. I really love what they’ve been doing with Jim/Pam and that they haven’t gone the route I feared they would. Also, Michael’s most recent romance was such a delight with a sad ending. However what really makes the show for me is the entire cast and what they all bring to each episode – and everyone continues to shine.

5. Greek: I’ve actually only seen the first season which aired before 2008, but since I watched it in 2008, I’m counting it. This is a truly fun show. Even when there’s angst or upsetting things happen, it’s never terribly dark or depressing. However, that doesn’t mean the show doesn’t do a fantastic job dealing with relationships: both gay and straight. I admit that it gets bonus marks from me for having a fantastic portrayal of a gay main character, as well as a really great racially diverse cast. But there’s no way the show would end up on my list if it wasn’t consistently witty, entertaining and genuinely good TV. I never could have predicted I would ever enjoy a show about the Greek system – but this show does the impossible: make me root for characters in frats and sororities and provide criticism of those institutions too.

6. Aliens in America: Even though it only had one season, this was a smart, insightful, hilarious and all-round awesome show. Instead of getting sad about its cancelation, I try to focus on the hysterical moments – like Raja going wild in the mascot outfit – and chuckle to myself.

Favourite Reality Shows of 2008

1. So You Think You Can Dance 4: What an amazing season!! Katee and Joshua blew me away from the first week and kept on impressing me. I love to rewatch their routines on youtube. And speaking of routines I love to watch, I will also frequently watch Mark and Chelsea’s Bleeding Love. There were so many fantastic dancers and excellent and innovative choreography, that it was so exciting to watch each week.

2. The last few episodes of the Amazing Race: For most of the recent season (I can’t be bothered to check what number it was), things plodded along pretty boringly until the last few episodes when the show got exciting again. Inept marching, getting horribly lost, and the loss of passports made for some exciting final episodes.

Honourary mentions: Swingtown The New Adventures of Old Christine, Dancing With the Stars

Shows I’m enjoying marathoning on DVD: Gilmore Girls (seasons 1-3 so far), Everwood (just season 1), 30 Rock

Shows I want to catch up on/watch: Doctor Who, Life, Life on Mars, Mad Men and Reaper

So, what about you guys? Did we have similar favourite shows?



[identity profile] wrote:
Jan. 3rd, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
I agree with you 100% about 1-5 of the drams and 1-2 of the comedies. Those shows are all outstanding. I don't watch any reality TV, so no comment on that.'

I am going to miss BSG when it's over.
[identity profile] wrote:
Jan. 3rd, 2009 11:18 pm (UTC)
It's sad, I used to be a no reality show girl, but now a couple sneak in. I can't resist the dancing ones in particular!

Oh my goodness, yes! It'll be sad when BSG is over, such an awesome show. I'm super excited about the new season!!
[identity profile] wrote:
Jan. 4th, 2009 12:41 am (UTC)
My not miss dramas in 2008 included "Battlestar," "Friday Night Lights," "Supernatural," Sara Connor," and "House." I was on the fence about "House until last year's season finale. It revitalized the character for me. "Battlestar" was fantastic all the way across the board, and I was surprised to find myself still caring about those poor castaways on "Lost." My husband and I really like "Life on Mars," especially the soundtrack and costumes. We're shallow that way! "Doctor Who" is all kinds of fun. I'm looking forward to the new season.

We bid adieu to one of my all time favorite shows, "The Wire," and it went out with just as much great writing, directing and acting as it began with. "Rome" was also an excellent, though violent series.

I'm only watching "The Big Bang Theory" and "How I Met Your Mother" in the comedy section. "Flight of the Conchords" also rocked our socks. I have to play catch up on "30 Rock," which I find hysterical," but it's up against something else.

I stuck with "Project Runway," and wasn't rewarded for my patience. I still watch "Top Chef," but it's no longer must see around here.

"Gilmore Girls" is being rerun on some network, and I loved it the first time around and am loving it all over again. The snappy dialogue never fails to make me laugh.
[identity profile] wrote:
Jan. 4th, 2009 04:22 am (UTC)
Oh cool, we have very similar not-miss dramas!!! I really need to catch up on Doctor Who - I know I'm missing out on some fun tv. Hee - that sounds like a good reason to watch Life on Mars to me!

Aww, the Wire! I really want to watch that show - all I hear are good things about it!

Oh! Oh! I completely forgot about Flight of the Conchords! I love that show, it should have been on my list! I can't believe I forgot it!!

Oh, that's disappointing when your patience isn't rewarded!

Gilmore Girls' dialogue is so awesome! I find it's perfect for rewatching because of the speed.
yourlibrarian: Angel and Lindsey (Default)
[personal profile] yourlibrarian wrote:
Jan. 4th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
I had someone else recommend Big Bang Theory over the holidays and I may give that a try since I've dropped some from the schedule this year and others like BSG and SGA are ending. I hadn't heard of Greeks before. When/where does that air?
[identity profile] wrote:
Jan. 4th, 2009 04:41 am (UTC)
Big Bang Theory is definitely worth watching! I will note that it took me a while to warm up to Sheldon's character, he is very very OCD. But he's totally won me over!

Oh oops, I forgot to give info on Greek. It's actually on ABCFamily - I know, I know! I *think* it's on Tuesday nights, I have to get it via alternate methods. ;) It's a show set at college in the the Greek system but it's genuinely a fun show with some really great witty dialogue.
molly_may: (Default)
[personal profile] molly_may wrote:
Jan. 4th, 2009 04:11 am (UTC)
Your #1 Drama and #1 Comedy would be first on my lists too! I absolutely adore 30 Rock; I have to watch every episode more than once just so I catch all the punchlines.

This is a show I’m so glad I stuck with through its mediocre second season because it has rewarded me a zillion times since then.

For serious! I think negotiating an end date with ABC freed the writers up to really focus on the plotting and development of the show, so that it feels like it's definitely heading for a climax rather than just spinning its wheels. The fourth season was so great, and I can't wait for the new season to begin.
[identity profile] wrote:
Jan. 4th, 2009 04:55 am (UTC)
Oh very cool!!! It's actually why I had to create two separate lists because I couldn't choose between them. I totally find that rewatching 30 Rock feels like the first time cause things go by so quickly!

Oh yes, I totally agree that having an end date for Lost was an awesome decision - I can really see the focus now. I'm so excited about this upcoming season! I've been successfully avoiding spoilers, hopefully I can continue!


cordelianne: (Default)
[personal profile] cordelianne

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