With the snow keeping us indoors we thought it might be a good time to go through our drafts and let some of these long-languishing, somewhat unfinished posts see the light of day. First up, our best shows of the 2000s, which we held off publishing until we could embed some video evidence. But, at this point, we’ll put that responsibility in your hands.
My belated best TV shows of the 2000s! (in a semi-particular order)
1. LOST: For the reasons I outline here.
2. The Sopranos: The Godfather of dark, fearless cable shows with flawed central characters. Might be responsible for killing network TV.
3. Arrested Development: Simply the smartest sitcom of all time. It was probably to clever for its own good. It was basically teaching a master class in comedy while throwing out an impossible amount of sight gags, call backs and cutaways. We should just be thankful that we got 3 seasons of this masterpiece.
4. Veronica Mars: Could have put it below Freaks and Geeks, but I give it the edge for somehow making it to season three (even if that was a neutered, watered-down version of VM). I’d put the first season up against any season from the last decade.
5. Freaks and Geeks: The most gut-wrenchingly accurate depiction of high school ever. 18 episodes of achingly beautiful growing pains [editor’s note: just watched much of IFC’s Freaks and Geeks Holiday Marathon, and if we revised this list today we’d be tempted to put this show at the top of this list. It’s that fucking good].
6. The Office (US): Might have placed higher, but it’s definitely suffered from weaker later seasons [editor’s note: including the current one]. Still, it’s as capable of sheer brilliance and authentic drama as any show on TV today and in the last ten years, and the fact that it’s managed to stay so good for so long puts it ahead of the UK original.
7. Battlestar Galactica: Might have not delivered all the answers it (maybe) promised, but its underlying themes – religion, humanity, mercy, survival – created some of the most thought-provoking 44 minutes of the last decade.
8. 30 Rock: The most consistently funny show on TV, network or otherwise. Often feels like a runaway comedy train. And that’s a good thing.
9. Friday Night Lights: Did you know that this show is critically heralded but tragically unappreciated? Still, it’s managed to make it a 4th season, and the first three probably demonstrated the best pure drama on television. Not sure there is a better couple than Coach and Tami Taylor [editor’s note: we feel as strong about that statement as ever].
10. Stella: Too smart for its own good? Too dumb? Too smart dumb? Too dumb smart? Either way, the 12 episodes with these latter-day Marx Brothers offers some of the most inventive, adventurous, and unique comedy in recent memory.
*I realize that this list might be incomplete because I’ve never seen Deadwood, only saw the first episode of Firefly, and only recently completed the first season of The Wire (although, I feel pretty confident that I had a seen even one more season it would have made the list. It’s that good). Oh, and Mad Men is good. But not that good [editor’s note: we’re currently in the midst of The Wire Season 4 (and if we had the DVDs with us, we’d probably be finishing the whole series today), and it’s, no surprise, unbelievably good, and really in a class all by itself. If we were to redo these rankings it would most certainly place near the top].