Category Archives: Best Show You’re Not Watching

On the Last Day of the Year: The Best Show of 2010 and Nine Other Good Ones

Unbelievably, we’re about to enter our third calendar year in existence.  It seems like just yesterday we were scrambling to put together our best of the decade lists (which makes sense, because we didn’t actually post one of those until this week).  In 2011 we hope to be even more timely, on-point and just plain better.  Until then, let’s try to end 2010 on a high note with our not-at-all anticipated Best Shows of the Year:

1. Community: This was an absolute no-brainer.  Far and away Community was the most original, ambitious, rewarding, warm, funny, creative, fearless show of 2010.  It was just a little over a year ago when the show delivered its holiday episode, “Comparative Religion” (featuring mustachio’d Anthony Michael Hall), and we began to feel then that the show was truly building towards something special.  When Community returned in January of this year it began what should be considered one of the greatest runs of any comedy series in television history, playing “can you top that?” with itself from week to week.  Solid episodes like “Investigative Journalism” with Jack Black,  “Physical Education” with a nearly naked Joel McHale, and the truly superb Goodfellas tribute “Contemporary American Poultry” culminated in the single best episode of 2010 across the board, the paintball-splattered, action movie homage masterpiece “Modern Warfare” (we know that we’ve already proclaimed the greatness of this episode, but it’s worth doing over and over again).

Keep reading: More on why Community is the best show of 2010. And 9 other good ones…

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Winter Cleaning: My (Belated) Top 10 TV Shows of the 2000s

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 listIt’s that fucking good].

More: 6 – 10 and Honorable Mention

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Great Month for Spike Lee and ‘Do the Right Thing’ Tributes

First, Children’s Hospital, which enjoyed an absolutely genius smart-silly-stupid-absurd first season on Adult Swim, ended the episode “Hot Enough For You” with these completely random, wholly enjoyable Do the Right Thing-inspired closing credits.

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That was awesome.  But then our friends, the gals over at Broad City, went ahead and blew that out of the water with this unbelievably brilliant Spike Lee homage that served as their season finale:

Beyond words. Mini-masterpiece.

Well, since all good things (and celebrity deaths) come in threes, we have to imagine there’s a third Spike Lee-esque joint coming down the pike.  Who will it be?  Sesame Street, we’re looking in your direction (oh, looks like these guys already sorta did it).

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What Was It We Were Mentioning About ‘Late Night With Jimmy’ Fallon Killing It?

Oh just this:

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KILLING IT.

Via our friend Blair’s Facebook status.  And she’ll never read this so there’s really no reason to give her credit.  Oh, well, too late.

 

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Scott Wolf is Benjamin Button

Because the dude looks like he’s aging in reverse. Exhibit A: Wolf’s recent brilliant cameo on Delocated:

 
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Exhibit B: The rest of his brilliant turn on Delocated:

 
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Okay, well, maybe he’s not aging in reverse, but just not aging.   Exhibit C: his brilliant performance in the behind the scenes footage of Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus:

(that’s him, right?)

And you should just go ahead and watch his entire episode of Delocated, “RV B&B,” THIS MINUTE on adultswim.com.

AND catch the season finale of Delocated tonight at midnight!  Because if you don’t, then you’ll be TOTALLY lost come season three.

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In Memoriam: ‘Lone Star’

Well, Fox, you’ve done it again.   Axed a show before it even had a chance to reach its bris.   Lone Star is officially dead.

But this feels somehow different.  This was not The Pitts, or Brothers, or even Kitchen Confidential.  This was a show that arrived with critical praise, almost unanimously hailed as the season’s “best new network show.”  It had a beautiful backdrop to match its beautiful young faces.  It had Jon Voight.  And, most importantly, it had an original, complex story.  While a lot of shows come and go, and a lot of them deserve to be banished (looking at you, Outsourced), this is certainly not the first series unfairly cut down before it’s time.  It joins a group of shows like Love Monkey and Action that share the unfortunate distinction of a premature demise, depriving the viewing public of quality television.  Lone Star is not the first and it won’t be the last.  But why then is this particular cancellation so troubling?

Read on: The end of network TV as we know it?

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‘Delocated’: Another Best Show You’re Not Watching. Unless You Are. In Which Case Nevermind.

We talk a lot about the best show you’re not watching on this blog (Friday Night Lights, Community, Party Down before its unfortunate demise).  To that list we now proudly add Delocated.

If you’re a fan of Adult Swim you might have caught Delocated on a random night/morning around 1:45am.  The show was created by and stars Jon Glaser,  longtime NY comedian and former writer (and performer) on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.  If you’ve been around comedy in NY you probably know him, and if you own a TV you’ve probably seen him and not even known it, with appearances on 30 Rock, Human Giant, and Cheap Seats.  In his early days he was also a writer on The Dana Carvey Show, which was basically to up and coming comedians as The Outsiders was to young, hunky, male actors (The line-up included Carvey, Glaser, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Louis CK, Robert Smigel, Dave Chappelle and, curiously, Charlie Kaufman.  It was pretty much the ’27 Yankees of comedy).

The first season of Delocated comprised six 10-min episodes (and an amazing Paul Rudd cameo), and features Glaser as “Jon,” a member of the Witness Protection Program who agrees to move his family to NY and turn their life into a reality show, despite the fact that this requires wearing masks and using voice modulators.

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The show also stars Eugene Mirman as Yvegni Mirminksy, an aspiring stand-up comedian who happens to also be a member of the Russian crime family that Jon ratted out.

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The second season has been expanded to twelve 22-min episodes, and with the added length the show has broadened its scope, increased the violence, heightened the drama, and upped the absurdity.  It’s a dumb-smart, surreal, brilliant show, capable of silly comedy, and, as we find out in the season two premiere, silly drama.   It’s one of TV’s best kept secrets, but unlike “Jon’s” identity this is one secret that should be revealed to all.

Catch up on season one on the Adult Swim website, and then move right onto the new season (below!).  Also, catch new episodes Sundays at 10pm, just before Childrens Hospital (which, now that we mention it, is another best show you’re not watching).

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Bonus features:

Jon Glaser on Jimmy Fallon last night!

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Also, Jon Glaser reads letters from his deceased father, Dave Glaser, to his father’s former band mates ZZ Top.  One of the funniest things I have ever heard.

And finally, for extra credit check out the Delocated Blog and the PFFR website.

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