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Countdown, continued

It’s the end of a long, shitty year, so what better way to finish it out than with a few posts of top ten lists?

Yesterday: Top Ten Movies of 2007

Today:

Avitable’s Top Ten Television Shows of 2007

(in no particular order)

Once again, these are only shows that I actually watched. No, I don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy or House or Entourage, so I don’t have those to consider. My criteria for choosing these shows is always the writing. If it’s a comedy, does it avoid the pitfalls of sitcom stupidity? If it’s a drama, is it compelling? Is it something that I could watch again? Am I embarrassed to admit that I like it? Would I follow the writer or showrunner to a new show? Ad nauseam. Oh, and I’m not doing links to them. Google it if you don’t know it.

  1. Pushing Daisies – By far, my favorite new show of the season. It’s just amazing, and I love every aspect of it. I drink in the scenes and the deft wordplay, and the music and everything. I love all of the characters and I have absolutely zero complaints about this show. It even makes up for the early cancellation of the brilliant “Dead Like Me”, because without the cancellation, who knows if this one would have ever gotten made.
  2. Veronica Mars – Being cancelled was a heartbreak last spring. The third season shined, even with the restrictions and fuckery that the CW imposed, and the glimpse of season 4 at the FBI that was on the DVD was not enough for me. I only wish there could be more! On the plus side, Rob Thomas may be working on a brand-new Cupid series, so that might be a bittersweet victory.
  3. Doctor Who – Martha Jones was an excellent companion in this year’s series. I didn’t think anyone could replace Eccleston, but Tennant did. I didn’t think Rose could be supplanted to easily, but Dr. Jones was just wonderful. I just wish it wasn’t a year behind the UK!
  4. Scrubs – Sometimes it goes for the cheap laughs, but when it goes for the heartstrings, it really tugs! The friendship between JD and Turk feels real, and Sarah Chalke is, as always, gorgeous on screen. I think it’s a good year for the show to finally end, so it can end on its terms, but I can rewatch the seasons I have on DVD over and over again and enjoy them just as much as the first time.
  5. The Office – What can I say that everybody else hasn’t? Michael Scott is a vast improvement from Ricky Gervais’s oily weasel boss, and the show continues to draw me in with a very rich and developed group of supporting actors. Some of the best-written parts get left on the cutting-room floor, and watching the hours and hours of extras on the DVDs only extends the viewing experience in the best possible way.
  6. Ghost Hunters – This show is the only “reality” television that I’ll watch, and it’s the only paranomal show that I’d even consider watching. On every other ghost show out there, psychics and “sensitive” people walk into a room and say “Oh, there are ghosts here. I can sense them.” It’s theatrical and stupid. On Ghost Hunters, watching Rhode Island plumbers Jason and Grant go about trying to debunk every claim they find is an enjoyable experience. These are normal guys who go around, setting up infrared cameras, recording equipment, and employing only scientific methods to determine if something unexplained has happened. If they can’t explain it, and if they caught it on video, only then, and only maybe then, will they even admit that there’s something wonky about the place. This is a show I look forward to every week.
  7. Supernatural – It’s just fun. It’s not as smartly written as Buffy, the dialogue isn’t as sharp as Gilmore Girls, but it has a good sense of humor, explores some interesting corners of the US, and is a fun show to watch. It’s gotten even better now, in its third year, so if you checked it out before this fall, give it another chance.
  8. 30 Rock – Best comedy on television. Tina Fey is a genius. Alec Baldwin is perfect. Tracy Morgan is crazy, and the supporting staff manages to avoid most of the cliches that you’d expect. I can’t say enough good things about this show, and I wish everyone could appreciate the subtlety of some of the humor that fills every scene. As long as it gets renewed, though, I’ll be happy.
  9. My Name is Earl – Jason Lee’s moustache rocks, but it’s Jamie Pressly’s Joy that steals every scene for me. She’s so delightfully white trash that you can’t help but laugh. This show also has a supporting cast that rivals The Simpsons in scope, and each character has their own hilarious nuances that clearly defines them so that you remember them each time they show up. I hope that Greg Garcia can keep the momentum going.
  10. Psych – This show has finally dispensed with the need for the mystery to be the focus of the movie and has started writing for the well-developed characters instead. It’s another fun show to watch – you might not have too much invested in it, but it keeps you laughing and you get the feeling that the actors are having fun doing something they love.

And a couple of Honorable Mentions:

Monk – I love Traylor Howard in this. She’s even better than Bitty Schram.
Gilmore Girls – The last season was pretty bad, but the whole series was an amazing journey.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – This was a tough call. Such a great show, but I think the last season wasn’t quite as great as the ones past. Let’s call this one #11.
Law and Order – Not SVU, Not CI. Just the original. I love Sam Watterston’s Jack McCoy, and the female cop that was in last season was excellent. It’s such a great show, but it’s so consistently good that I rely on it to always be awesome. It’s beyond my top ten. It transcends it.

And a few that I’d never consider:

Lost – What a hack of a show
Desperate Housewives – Should just stick to the daytime like all the other soaps
Prison Break – really?
Heroes – it’s not well-written or plotted at all. It’s cool to watch superpowers on TV, but the show itself is bad.
Sopranos – hasn’t been a good show since the fourth season.
Family Guy – It was only funny before it got cancelled. Now it’s tired and played out.

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52 Replies to “Countdown, continued”

  1. Amanda

    I’ve only seen about half the shows on your list, sorry. But I miss veronica mars daily, if that counts for anything.

    I agree about Its Always Sunny. Although there were some pretty funny parts this season, it wasn’t quite as good

  2. bobgirrl

    The only one of these I’ve seen is Ghost Hunters (or whatever, are they on the Travel Channel???) If so I caught them a couple of times including at the Winchester Mystery House which is practically in my backyard. Totally fake and phoney. I love that stupid British bird with her fake eyelashes and dyed blonde hair. (“I’m sorry you died a horrible death.. wah … wah.. wah….”) OK, if it’s not the same show I apologize. Bad day.

  3. bobgirrl

    Oh no, nevermind. I just looked it up, and the shite to which I referred above is “Most Haunted” on the Travel Channel. A truly horrible show.

    Please disregard above comment.

    And my head feels heavier than my feet which is more than a good indication that I’ve had waayyyy tooo much to drink and it’s time for nighty-night.

  4. Avitable

    Amanda, do you at least watch Pushing Daisies?

    BPR, Smallville is something I watch only because it’s about Superman. It’s soooo bad! How do you watch that, but not stay on the channel long enough to watch Supernatural right after it?

    Bobgirrl, yeah, go to sleep. Most Haunted is recockulous – that’s why I was distinguishing “Ghost Hunters” from the rest.

    Girl, Dislocated, let me guess. Scrubs?

    Mr. Fabulous, it’s the wonder of DVR.

    RW, barely. And you watch movies and plenty of television, too. Snooty bastard.

    ADW, I just couldn’t get into Bones, even though I do like David Boreanaz.

    CMG, we’re clearly geniuses of the highest level.

  5. Wayne

    Have to agree on Office, and I liked Pushing Daisies but I got so far behind I stopped recording it so I’ll wait for the DVD to come out. All the others? never seen em.

    If they would just bring back Automan and Mannimal, I’d be happy. Oh, and A-Team.

  6. The Absurdist

    I gotta be honest with you. Since all of you were raving about Pushing Dasies, I started watching it. I did see the first one, since you guys were so excited about it coming out, and I watched two or three more episodes.

    I just didn’t get it. I mean, I get what it’s about, but it seems so cheezy. Maybe I am the only one in the universe; like being the ONLY one that doesn’t like LOL cats. I think they are stupid except for a couple.

    Oh well. What do I know?

  7. Clown

    Even if It’s Always Sunny wasn’t as good as past seasons (not sure if I agree there, but ok) it was still funnier than Earl or Psych.

    Earl was amusing but I felt it was “off” this season.

    Danny DeVito as John McClane should be enough to get it into the top 10.

  8. Jay

    God I love Pushing Daisies. Everything about the show and everybody on the show are just fantastic.

    My number 1 show though is still “The Shield”. I agree that this last season wasn’t nearly as good as the early ones, but Shawn Ryan’s writing and directing is excellent.

  9. Summer

    I did enjoy Dead Like Me but I just can’t get in to Pushing Daisies, I’ve tried. Did you ever watch the show Niagara Falls a few years back. Same creator I think. At least it reminds me of him but I liked that show too. Love 30 Rock and Scrubs from day one. Have shed tears over some episodes of Scrubs. Worry that the writers strike will prematurly end that show since it’s the last season. The Office grew on me. First season I couldn’t watch it, Michael Scott was such a jerk. It reminded me of the 18 years I worked in the corporate world for bad bosses. Pam and Jim together, I hope that doesn’t tank the show. I don’t think it will. :thumbsup:

  10. Dave2

    That’s a pretty good list… though I’d have a few changes. Mainly so I could add “How I Met Your Mother,” “Reaper,” and “Rescue Me” somewhere in there.

    My biggest disappointment was “Chuck” – at first I loved the show, but then quickly grew tired of Chuck being a clutzy, whiny little bitch every frickin’ episode. The nervous nellie approach to the character was fine the first five times… but now it’s just pathetic and sad. Such a pity, because the supporting cast is amazing.

  11. Hilly

    I’m a huge whore for David Tennant, so I was glad to see that the Doctor made your list. I also love love love “Pushing Daisies”, “Psych” and “Supernatural”…those three shows make me smile whenever I watch them.

    Have you watched “Torchwood” at all? I like that show too, despite the cheese factor.

  12. Fergie

    Finally! Someone who agrees that ‘Heroes’ pretty much stinks. I’m constantly getting in arguments with dumb hos who think otherwise. Then again, ‘Dancing with the Stars’ is a top rated show, too…

  13. Kylah

    I have to agree with seven out of ten on your list, and that’s only because I haven’t seen Supernatural, Doctor Who, and Ghost Hunters. I’d probably replace them with How I Met Your Mother, Flight of the Concords, and It’s Always Sunny.

  14. Avitable

    Hello, I don’t know if the books and music ones would be any good.

    RW, not all the time.

    Poppy, finally – you have good taste!

    Wayne, how do you watch Office but not 30 Rock? You should.

    Absurdist, it’s not cheesy – it’s supposed to be fantasy. And LOLcats are only occasionally funny – I agree with you on that one.

    Amanda, I knew I liked you for a reason.

    Poppy, really? That surprises me – you like Tim Burton and Barry Sonnenfeld, and this is like the best of both of them.

    Clown, I thought Earl was great this season. Although Danny DeVito as McClane was awesome. That’s why I said it was #11.

    Jay, I only saw the first episode of the Shield. I think it’s something that I’d like if I watched it.

    Summer, really? I like Pushing Daisies even more than Dead Like Me. And I think you’re talking about Wonderfalls – I never got around to seeing that either. I do agree with you about the first season of The Office – it’s shit compared to the second and third.

    Preposterous, you’re joking, right?

    Dave, I could never get past the laughtrack of “How I Met Your Mother”. It turned me off so much. And Reaper is poorly written, even if the characters are funny and even if Ray Wise is awesome. I think you’re being a little harsh on Chuck – he’s been standing up for himself a bit, but, in the end, he is just a big geek, so I don’t see that as being out of character. And I so need to actually watch Rescue Me sometime.

    Hilly, I haven’t watched Torchwood yet. I plan on getting it on DVD at some point, though.

    MyWeeWorld, she probably likes Deal or No Deal, too.

    Amy, yeah, he was one of my favorites, too.

    Fergie, the concept was much better done on The 4400.

    Kylah, I haven’t had a chance to see Flight of the Concords yet, although I’ve heard good things.

    Dagny, same here!

  15. bluepaintred

    How do you watch that, but not stay on the channel long enough to watch Supernatural right after it?

    We cannot get smalville on our station – or at least one that airs at a normal time. There is one that plays at 4 am. We buy the seasons as they come out and watch an episode with the boys every Saturday night. We are halfway through season six!

  16. Sybil Law

    I still liked the Sopranos.
    Can’t get into Pushing Daisies, but I’ve only seen one.
    The rest are all excellent.
    Oh! But I still love Family Guy! We watched it before it was cancelled, too, and now – and it still cracks me up!
    But have you gotten Dexter, yet?! It’s awesome. Period.

  17. Avitable

    BPR, Supernatural might be too scary for them, but you should try to download an episode and see. You’d probably like it.

    Poppy, ninja weirdo!

    Sybil Law, Dexter is good – I saw the pilot, and I have season 1 on DVD sitting here to watch. Family Guy is nothing but “like the time when” flashbacks and jokes that stretch out way too long. It used to be good, though.

  18. MyWeeWorld

    Mr. Avitable, you are so right about my mom and Deal or No Deal. When I was in Oklahoma, she made us watch it (both at Thanksgiving and Christmas), and she spent the whole time guessing what the banker would offer and then telling us all “I told you that’s what it would be!” even when she was quite a bit off. She’s a reality show junkie, urgh!

  19. Sybil Law

    Oooh you’ll love season 1 of Dexter.
    Family Guy still makes me laugh, compared to most other shows that are supposed to be funny. Ol’ testicle chin Peter – just his chin – makes me laugh.
    I’m going to give Pushing Daisies another try, though. ‘Cause YOU said so!

  20. Katie

    I agree about the Ghost Hunters show – I’ve recently discovered it and I really enjoy it because they are normal and not claiming to be psychics. Anyone can go into a building and say “Ooh, I sense the spirit of a dead guy” – that proves nothing! I like that they approach it skeptically and only look at EVIDENCE – none of this “I sensed it and I’m psychic so you gotta believe me!” crap! 😀

  21. Kevin

    Dude,

    If you don’t think that the last five minutes of Curb’s season was better than an entire season of Psych, I’m not sure I know you anymore.

    And no Battlestar? Did you watch Razor yet?

    You don’t watch Lost anymore, which I know for a fact, and you missed a great creative resurgence at the end of last season.

    30 Rock is the best comedy on tv – I agree. But do The Office and Scrubs not count as comedies? You ranked them higher than the best one. Unless you don’t consider the other two to be pure comedies?

  22. the_boy_blunder

    which was your saddest moment in Scrubs…mine was when Ben died. I think the graveyard scene and the song along with it was the best scene in the show so far.

  23. Avitable

    Boy Blunder, yeah, the point when you realize that Ben actually died was pretty sad. I also like the episode with the old lady who had lived her life and was okay with death, but JD was scared and stayed with her until she passed. It was a Christmas episode.

  24. the_boy_blunder

    oh yeah. it had the song hallelujah playing at the back. I think that episode was called “my old lady” from the first season. I also liked turk’s patient in that episode. I see that episode quite often.

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