First off - apologies for a very prolonged absence. Apparently I haven't quite mastered this whole blogging thing. Finals came around and I basically gave up TV blogging (but not TV watching, of course). Anyways, on to today's order of business: it's that time of year where the entire world seems to compile top ten lists (no, seriously, TIME Magazine did "The Top 10 Everything of 2009", and they're not kidding...they really did 'everything'...I mean, top ten new species? really?), but this year is particularly exciting as it has sprung tons of "Top Ten of the Decade" lists. In particular, there's been a few Top TV Shows of the Decade lists floating around the web, so I've decided to go ahead and write my own!
I decided to write my own list after reading some of the others for two main reasons: 1) I often disagree with the rankings of the shows, and 2) I don't watch some of the shows on the lists. Now, I know that a true TV writer would be able to make a list based on ALL TV shows of the past decade, but unfortunately I just haven't had the time to become that well-versed with some shows. So take my disclaimer seriously when I say: **DISCLAIMER** This list excludes widely-regarded 'top' shows of the decade, based solely on the fact that I either do not watch them at all, or do not watch them enough to faithfully put them in this list.
That being said, here are MY PERSONAL Top Ten TV shows of 2000-2009!
10. 24 (FOX, 2001-Present) - This counter-terrorism real time thriller could not have started at a more opportune time in history. At the precise moment when the country was at it's height of fear about terrorism, 24 showed the world that one man could - literally - save the world. In each season Jack Bauer successfully accomplished a one-man tour de force - in 24 hours. Following his every move in real time over a 24-hour period was not only thrilling and extremely rewarding in the end, it also introduced an innovative new framework to television. While some of the more recent seasons have seemed repetitive and lacked the punch of the original few, it's hard to ignore the mass appeal this show produced during the middle of the decade - as evidenced by facebook groups like "Jack Bauer for President".
9. Veronica Mars (UPN/The CW, 2004-07) - While I would love nothing more than to rank this show higher on my list, it's hard to ignore the few drawbacks in this otherwise incredible show. I'll start with the bad first: Nielsen ratings for VMars was terrible, with the show being canceled abruptly and to the dismay of it's cult viewers. The third season was very good, but not great, and when a show only lasts three seasons it's harder to ignore the weaknesses. As for the good: The first season of this show was arguably one of the best solitary seasons in television history. A simple concept - 'teenage detective solves cases around town while trying to solve the overarching myster of who murdered her best friend' - was executed perfectly with an impeccable cast, snarky humor, dark undertones, and high school romance.
8. Survivor (CBS, 2000-Present) - Whether you watched this show beyond the first season or not, it's hard to argue with the notion that Season 1: Survivor Borneo and Season 1 winner Richard Hatch changed the face of reality TV. Now, many seasons later (18? 19? I can't keep track), countless shows have tried to spin off the basic concept of Survivor but none have succeeded in topping the original reality TV master of the decade. The challenges have always been intelligent and interesting, and the locations? in one word: impressive. Whether the 'castaways' are facing jungles, oceans, rain, or scorching heat, the natural elements of mother nature continue to play a crucial role in the show, giving it the one element that almost no other reality show has been able to capture: reality.
7. 30 Rock (NBC, 2006-Present) - Facing the competing threat of another show also based on a behind-the-scenes look at live sketch comedy (Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60), critics weren't expecting much from 30 Rock. Surprisingly, 30 Rock blew away expectations and (sort of) filled the void left behind by the departure of Arrested Development. Growing from cult favorite to three-time Emmy winner for Best Comedy, 30 Rock propelled mastermind Tina Fey into the Hollywood spotlight, and vice versa. The comedic antics of Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan only further fuel Fey's fire, giving real spark to this endlessly quotable show.
6. Friday Night Lights (NBC, 2006-Present) - There are few words to adequately describe the delicateness and raw subtle emotions of FNL's characters and storylines, which are the show's true brilliance. Surrounding the residents of one rural Texas town and it's high school football team, FNL's heart-tugging plots, innovative camerawork and outstanding cast (someone please give Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton some freaking Emmy's or at least a goddang Emmy NOMINATION) have prompted NBC to fight for the show's survival despite bleak viewing numbers. Here's hoping the numbers turn around or that NBC continues to put up the fight, because this show certainly has a lot of heart left to give.
Part Two: ....to be continued!