Best of 2007, Part One of Four ~ Television

I know it’s getting well into 2008 at this point, but my 2007 somehow felt unfinished without a blogg-y recap of my “Best of 2007′s”.

So I’ve broken my “best of” up into four parts and it will all be released within the next week or so.

Part one is Best of 2007 – Television (let’s get the least impressive one out of the way first, right?).

This will be followed by Best Films of 2007 and then Best Books READ in 2007. Unfortunately I’d have trouble picking a top 10 books read in 2007 that were also released in 2007, so I’m just going to do my top 10 read in 2007, regardless of their release date. Best Albums of 2007, will be last, though certainly not least.

Anyway, onto television…

The 1979 Semi-Finalist’s Best Television of 2007:

10. Life

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This is a pretty good show. It has let me down occasionally, but overall I like the fact that it has a storyline that solves itself within an hour (always more engaging and smarter than your average L&O episode) and also a larger story arch about the main character – Detective Crews, on his quest to discover who framed him and sent him to prison for 12 years. I think most of the actors are working at a really high level here and the character relationships are well developed. Detective Crews is one of the most interesting characters to come around in a long time. The quirkiness of the character would probably be annoying in the hands of a lesser actor, but it mostly works here. I hated the two-part episode that took Crews character quirks to a whole new level by making the entire episodes about that, but it seemed to be a one time slip up.

09. Extras

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I’ve loved this show all along, even though uncomfortable comedy makes me, well, uncomfortable. I was sorry to see this show end, but I understand why they may have felt it had run its course. Additionally, the final series episode almost had me in tears it was so good. I can’t remember the last time I felt so rewarded by a finale. It was pitch perfect.

08. Top Chef

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This is a show I would LOVE to hate, but I just can’t. It’s engaging and well edited and I always find I just can’t stop watching, like all reality television, but in a good way, like almost NO reality television. Padma has also proved to be an eminently watchable host, which I never would have guessed. I feel pressured to say something horribly cheesy like, “I refuse to pack up my knives and go, where this show is concerned!”. I’ll resist…oh wait, too late.

07. Damages

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I talked about this show frequently while it was on this year, it was a great show and I’m delighted it got picked up. I can’t wait to see what the writers have in store for these characters. With the exception of Katie, these characters were incredibly well crafted, and the actors were absolute top of the line (again, with the notable exception of Katie). There was a blip around episode five or so where my interest waned (again, I blame Katie) but it picked right back up and delivered HUGE.

06. Project Runway

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This show is AWESOME. No way around it. I never really thought I could say I love a reality show with no shame as I do with this show, but it is just brilliantly executed. And Heidi Klume has proved herself to be one hell of a smart supermodel. She’s likeable, funny, engaging, and comes off as pretty freaking intelligent. I love this show. My only complaint is that it takes so damn long to get it back on the air, unlike every other reality show on earth. But if I have to wait in order to have quality, then I’ll learn patience. In other words, “I’m in!” (sorry, could not resist cheesy quote this time either apparently). Also, Chris M. for president of the world!

05. Pushing Daises

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The BEST new show of the year. Brilliant, creative, constantly engaging, and by far the most rich and beautiful set I’ve ever seen on television. There is just not a damn thing wrong with this show…and I’m not going to look for anything. If you’re not watching it, you are totally screwing up. Of course it, like everything, is on hiatus with the writer’s strike, but it was definitely performing prior to the strike, so hopefully it will be able to come back in full force when Hollywood returns to normal.

04. The Office

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I don’t care what the rest of the world thinks, I love what they’ve done with Jim and Pam. I think the writer’s have pulled off a miracle here and done what has always been impossible on television – gotten the “it” couple together and kept it funny and engaging. I find it infinitely more interesting to be done with the cat and mouse of “will they or won’t they” and onto, “what in the hell are they going to get into now that we’ve broken down barriers”. Other characters have had a chance to shine as well, the Ryan transformation has been hilarious, as has Kelly’s. Dwight has been through hell and they’ve made me feel SO bad for him…and Angela…something I would never have thought possible.

03. Flight of the Conchords

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I adore this freaking show. Every time I watch it it gets funnier. Every time I think I’m going to be sick of the quirky hilarious songs, I’m dead wrong. The show is totally brilliant and I absolutely cannot wait for next season. I love this show so much I actually bought the cd (it was cheap – like five bucks) and as expected IT was hilarious as well, almost as good as seeing Bret & Jemaine in living color inside my ears. That didn’t make sense, but if you watch this show you know what I’m talking about. As a sidenote, I totally feel like Bret & Jemainr are my friends, and I’m aware this makes me seem like a crazy stalker person…I don’t know what to do about that, but I feel like we’ve hung out before, and we got along famously, what can I say?

02. 30 Rock

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Wow. I am an idiot. I wasn’t watching 30 Rock religiously last year. Biggest mistake of my life (and there have been lots – trust me), and there is just no way to go back in time and correct this horrendous error in my judgement. This show just rocks (no pun). When you can’t decide who stole all the scenes…because everyone had awesome lines delivered awesomely and they all stole all the scenes then you know you’re watching some freaking brilliance. I have to go with Alec Baldwin as the “regular” scene stealer, but Tracy Morgan has really given him a run for his money this season, and Jane Krakowski is no slouch either. And what is up with Tina Fey being some kind of multi-tasking mastermind that can create a show, star in it, write it, and produce it…AND it actually be awesome. That’s some kind of jedi mind shit. I’ll leave you with the immortal words of Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donagy, “I like you. You have the boldness of a much younger woman”.

01. Big Love

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Greatest show on television, without a doubt. I never in a bagillion (yes I’m using bagillion instead of bazillion…I’ve really never been a fan of bazillion) years would I have thought my favorite television show would be about Mormon Polygamists living in Utah, but it freaking is. I also never would have thought a show about this would be the most feminist centered, female focused show on television, but it freaking is. Love it, waiting with bated breath until it’s back. It is totally worth getting HBO just to watch this show alone…plus then you can watch Flight of the Conchords too…it’s really win win…

Honorable Mentions: The Last One Standing (Discovery Channel) and Studio 60 (this is easily technically in the top 5 of 2007 for me, but since it’s dead with no chance for renewal, I didn’t want to waste a spot on it).

Wanted to watch, it just didn’t happen, but I still intend to watch and expect I’ll love: Mad Men

Worst Show of 2007: Bionic Woman- by miles and miles!

11 comments

  1. thejamminjabber’s avatar

    You watch way too much TV, although Big Love is the Shizz-NITE! I want to be plurally married to Margine and Chloe Sevigny!

    Flight of the Conchords, on the other hand, can suck my ballz.

  2. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    Hmmm. Two things. 1) You don’t like Flight of The Conchords, so your opinion is no longer valid in any arena.

    2) A small justification on my behalf: I did the math, and this represents about 5 hours or less of television in the “on season” and 3 hours or less of television in the “off season”. It’s likely I’m in one of the lowest percentiles of people who own a television…

  3. thejamminjabber’s avatar

    Whatever. I don’t discount your opinion just because you like crappy reality TV shows. Thppbt. (<== raspberry.)

  4. Rebecca Hahn’s avatar

    Really? Big Love? We know people out here that are really into it, and tried in the beginning to watch it but Bill with his shirt off freaked us out and we could go no further. :) I think that Bret and Jermain are my friends too! Brian tried to get me to pick which one I thought was cuter and I couldn’t. I just couldn’t do it. They are equal in their cute and un-cute factors.

  5. Paul’s avatar

    Oh my goodness! I just started watching Big Love via the Internet (only 3 episodes into the first season so no spoilers please!), but I’m loving it! I’m actually the opposite of you though. Tired of superheroes, urban fantasies, and reality drama shows, I was interested in a show about the quiet, secluded, and problematic life of a polygamist man in Utah. It’s good so far. I wonder what’ll happen when the wives learn their man is taking Viagra.

    Oops, that’ll help with your search terms as well. Heh!

  6. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    Josh: The key word here is “crappy” – while reality tv is hugely populated by crap, I would argue pretty vehemently for both Top Chef and Project Runway, though PR is highly superior. Even Adam is addicted to PR and he HATES reality tv.

    Becky: You should totally give it another shot. It is SO good…Adam and I are both so in love with it. I admit that the mormon angle gives me an insider view, which was something that made it extra interesting in the beginning, but the are without a doubt the best most well rounded characters I’ve seen on TV in a long time. Plus, it really really makes me think, especially about relationships and family and jealousy and “real” love…the kind that lasts. It’s pretty crazy. If forced to pick between Bret and Jermaine at gunpoint, I could pick, I wouldn’t like it, but I could pick…and I would pick Bret. :)

    Paul: Am I into superheroes, urban fantasies, and reality drama? I don’t think so. I’m just into good tv, which is why Heroes doesn’t make the list this year. Though it was awesome last year which technically counts as 2007, it was so disappointing in the fall it knocked itself WAY off the list. I’m sick of crime shows (too much L&O) but Life is good, so it makes the list. And I dread putting reality shows down, but these two shows are actually good…so they make the list too. I’m just trying to be about things that are good this year…regardless of genre. :)

  7. kfugrip’s avatar

    Good start to your lists.

    Of all the reality shows that are out there I only like the ones where you have to have actual artistic ability. Project Runway fits that bill and is interesting in spite of the unrealistic parameters of the show. Top Chef is similar but less interesting to me.

    Josh: Flight of the Concords is funny. You are wrong sir.

  8. theyetiinside’s avatar

    I would also choose Bret!

    I have never seen about half the shows on your list. But of the ones I’ve seen, I completely agree. Big Love is probably my second favorite show on TV besides House. I do have one complaint about Big Love, and its the same complaint I have with a lot of shows: not nearly enough time spent with the kids. With Big Love, it is only amplified by the fact that there are 92 of them. Am I the only one that ever wonders what the hell the 85 of them that aren’t in the current shot are doing? I think these Mom’s have way more spare time than a ‘normal’ polygamist mom would have.

    A lot of people don’t get into House because they believe the title character acts like an egotistical, non-caring ass. However if you stick around and watch more episodes you realize he isn’t acting that way, he is that way. But the few that really stay on for the long haul and ‘get’ him know that while he may be that way, it is really just his way of caring…its complicated. There are other flaws to it, but the characters make up for all of it with me.

    Strangely, I didn’t get into 30 rock until this year either sis…kinda eerie.

  9. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    Scott: I love your first sentence. Hilarious. I didn’t know you were watching Flight of the Conchords…glad to hear it…it’s awesome eh?

    I’m sorry you haven’t seen some of the other shows – they are totally worth a look – I swear. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the reality TV for you – just knowing your personality – and considering I was spot on with Last One Standing (right!?). But Pushing Daises and Damages I would definitely recommend…especially since Adam is occasionally employed by Damages ;)

    Ironically, though I agree with you that children are often ignored and used only when convenient on tv, I find it actually more realistic on Big Love, since there are technically “extra mothers” actually around to deal with the kids. The argument that their lifestyle is not= valid is a completely good one, but they do a good job for me of presenting this as a believable “modern mormon polygymist” lifestyle, and since I have no evidence to the contrary I end up feeling okay about it. Also, selfishly, with the exception of Sarah, I’m not that interested in the kids and would rather focus on the adults anyway :)

    As for House, strangely my problem is not with him, as I like Hugh Laurie and I like seeing characters that are not all warmed up and fuzzy-fied for television consumption. My problem is more with boredom. They present really interesting cases, but the show is SO formulaic that I don’t find much reason to tune in. It’s like Law & Order, if I see it on I might watch it and enjoy it, but I don’t program it into my tivo…

  10. thejamminjabber’s avatar

    Grace Zabriskie telling Bruce Dern she’d let him go in through the back door was priceless.

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