Archive for January 29th, 2010

The Captains Top Television Shows Of The 00s

I saved the most difficult for last.  Picking my favorite television shows of the past decade was by far the trickiest of the four lists.  There was a wide variety of quality television in that span that I debated on selecting.  Granted, television also managed to hit some historic lows thanks to reality programming.  But the best of the best were truly something to behold. Once again, let me state that I don’t necessarily think that the list that follows encapsulates the best shows on television.  These were the five that I most looked forward to viewing.  To that end, the list is primarily comedies since that is my general preference.  And with that being said, bring on the TV!

Top 5 Television Shows Of The Past Decade

1.  Lost

This may appear to be a result of timing, since the final season’s premiere is only 96 hours away1, but this has been my favorite show for several years now.  There is just so much to like about the show; the tightly scripted plot, the reoccurring themes, the literary references, the amazing character studies.  I watched the first season on DVD over one long weekend back in 2006, and season two the week it was released on DVD.  Since then it has defined essential viewing for me.  Lost is now the television show that I reschedule events in my life around as not to miss it.  And I love that the creators have decided to give it a definite ending date instead of letting it drag on past its prime.  I think l Lost has set the new high mark for scripted television; hopefully the upcoming final season doesn’t prove me wrong.

2.  Curb Your Enthusiasm

I spent a lot of time deciding whether to place this at #2 or #3.  After lots of thought I think that Curb at #2 was a pretty good decision2.  As I’ve mentioned here before, Larry David is a hero of mine.  Larry has lots of horrible traits, but he always manages to call ‘em like he sees ‘em.  Curb Your Enthusiasm managed to incorporate two of my favorite comedy tools into the show’s structure better than anyone else.  I love the way almost every show ends with a joke that was subtly introduced earlier in the show, and I love the way that each season has included a story arc.  But more than anything, I love the show for its numerous cringe-inducing moments.  Some of my favorite comedies are the ones that make me squirm in my seat, and no one does awkward or uncomfortable quite like Larry.

3.  Arrested Development

If not for the premature cancelation this show could’ve easily been #2 on the list.  While I know that it was not the fault of anyone involved, it still was a letdown when the show ended.  But before then, the first two seasons of Arrested Development were probably the funniest thing on television last decade.  The show was master of the reoccurring gag and had a cast full of comedy ringers.  It was packed with so many throwaway funny lines that it practically requires multiple viewings.  Even now I find myself offhandedly quoting it all the time.  It has left such an impression that the mere mention of full length feature film is enough to make me drool.

4.  The Daily Show

This show has been so good for so long that it’s hard to fathom.  Jon Stewart managed to transform the tired concept of a comedy news show into something that changed the way I look at news.  And the rest of the cast is even harder to believe; look at the amount of talent in that picture!  And seeing as I watch the DVR of the previous nite’s broadcast at dinner every nite, at this point it actually has become the daily show for me.  But besides the jokes, The Daily Show did some of the best political and social commentary in a decade that needed more of both.  More than any show on television, I feel that The Daily Show helped to define the last ten years.

5.  It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

There are so many shows that almost claimed the last spot.  Wonderful dramas like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and arguably the decade’s best all around show, The Sopranos, were all near the top of my list.  And other comedies, like The Office and 30 Rock, could have easily been here instead.  But right now I have to give the edge to Philadelphia.  Granted, I watched all five seasons for the first time in 2009, so they may just feel fresher than everything else.  But there’s just something about The Gang’s brand of dark humor that makes me howl with delight.  This show has proved itself willing to go further to get a laugh than anything else on television.  I’m still amazed at how willing the cast is to paint itself in a horrible light.  And I think it’s that dedication that ultimately won me over.

And there you have it.  My Top 5 of the 00’s started with a film about terrible, petty people and ended up on a show about terrible, petty people.  The circle is now complete.  Next month I will be moving on to other topics for my Friday 5.  See you then!

Ciao,

The Captain

1.  Holy shit I can’t wait for the three hour(!) event on Tuesday.  Even though the complete lack of any details about the show has been torturing me, it’s made the anticipation for the premiere even that much more exciting.  I WANT LOST!!!

2.  Pretty Prreettyy Prreeeettttyy good.

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