Friday, January 23, 2009

My Favorite TV of 2008 (Part 3)

Dice's Favorite 10 TV Shows of 2008
(These are, in order, the 10 shows I enjoyed, respected, desired, and loved the most that aired new episodes in 2008.)

Honorable Mentions:
(in alphabetical order)

10-6:

The Top 5:

5. Doctor Who - Leave it to me to finally fall in love with a show that has been around for 45 years.   In my defense, it's not as if it's been easily available here in the colonies for very long.  The latest incarnation of Doctor Who just finished its 4th season and after seeing just a couple episodes (forced upon me by me brother), I became a complete and utter addict.  I spent the good portion of 2008 catching up on everything Doctor Who I could find.  The show revolves around the last of the "Time Lords", a race of beings entrusted to oversee both space and time.  Known simply as "The Doctor" our hero crosses both time and space (usually with an earthly companion) saving the day, often with such aplomb and eccentricity that you can't help but be both amazed and amused simultaneously.  But what really keeps me hooked is the depth of emotion that current Doctor (Time Lords regenerate new bodies, conveniently allowing new actors to phase in and out of the part) David Tennent manages to add to the mix.  Tennent has announced his retirement from the role after a few more special episodes and his replacement (Matt Smith) has already been tapped.  I can only hope that he manages to embody this engaging character as well as those before him.  Either way, I'll be watching, trying to make up for 45 missed years.

4. The Office - Oh Micheal Scott, how many more insensitive situations can you land in?  The Office retains it's place as my favorite half hour comedy on TV, but you can feel it teetering on the edge of becoming stale.   I think the cast is still wonderful, and the story lines are still engaging, but the beginning of this season has left me feeling just a little bit of, "been there, done that."  Still there are no shows that bring laughter more often (well maybe Wipeout, but that's different) and I still come away satisfied.  And really where else will I get my "That's what she said!" quotient. 
3. Pushing Daisies - It seems to be a rule that one show in my top 5 every year must be cancelled.  This years slot goes to the genius that was Pushing Daisies.  It was beautiful, engaging, heartfelt, warm, and ironically full of life.   It was almost as if the pie maker had touched the very landscape of television itself and brought a joy and life to it that had been so long missing.  There was no show that had better week to week scripts, full of word plays and sharp, rapid fire dialogue.  And it's gone.  Maybe we can pull a Jericho on this one and send ABC beehives until they agree to get it back on the air.   To have this show resurrected would be the most beautiful synchronicity of all.  Unfortunately, the facts are these; it ain't happening.

2. House - I'm still baffled at how Hugh Laurie makes me root for such a despicable man.  It's  as if he (and the writers should get obvious credit as well) knows exactly when to throw in that minuscule moment of vulnerability in his eyes that makes you feel sorry for him and want him to heal.  Add to that, the fact that his barbs and callousness are so often painfully hilarious, and you have the most compelling character on television.  I also love that the cast around him has shifted a bit and continues to morph, as it allows an ever expanding playground for his terror and wit.  House you are a sick man, and I love you.

1. Lost -  I know I don't exactly sound unbiased with my "BEST SHOW EVER!" shout outs to this piece of pop genius, but it's not even a contest anymore.  The closer Damon and Carlton (show runners Carton and Cuse) get to the series finale the tighter the story telling and mystery revelation become.    What the creators, writers, actors, and crew have done with this is a completely unique animal in the world of television and one we will likely never see repeated.   To craft a sci-fi show that not only asks a million questions, but promises to answer them once all is said and done, and then to begin to pull it off is astounding enough, but the real points are scored in the drama.  The characters and themes continue to be the most compelling on TV, and now that more answers than questions are coming our way, it adds up to an incredibly satisfying experience.  If you don't watch, I beg you,  Netflix/Hulu/ABC.com the episodes in order in a time frame that will allow you to join in for the final season or so.  It will be worth it, I promise.  Unless all this stuff is a little high minded for you, in which case, go watch Wipeout again.