Best (and Worst?) TV of 2005

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Brad Porter, Jan 4, 2006.

  1. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Screenwriter

    Jun 8, 1999
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    Rob P S started this thread in 2003 and 2004, but since he hasn't done so yet this year I'll get the ball rolling.

    In 2004, I had the following list:
    1. Arrested Development (Fox)
    2. Deadwood (HBO)
    3. The Sopranos (HBO)
    4. Gilmore Girls (WB)
    5. Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (Showtime)
    6. The Amazing Race 5 (CBS)
    7. The Wire (HBO)
    8. The Venture Brothers (The Cartoon Network)
    9. Rescue Me (FX)
    10. Lost (ABC)

    The Sopranos, The Wire, and The Venture Brothers didn't air anything new in 2005, so they have dropped off my list. Both editions of The Amazing Race were more annoying this season, so it's out of my top 10. Lost annoyed me more than it entertained me in 2005. Rescue Me was still good, just not good enough to stay in.

    1. Arrested Development (Fox)
    Comment: This last season has felt a bit more uneven than the first two, but it is still hands down the most clever show on television. That's why I'm keeping it at number one. Please Showtime, pick it up!
    Best Episode: Righteous Brothers All the stuff with Franklin and this exchange:
    Michael: Go ahead and tell Gob that I'll be telling the cops that it was him in the truck so he'll be joining me here. I've got a nice hard cot with his name on it.
    Lucille: You'd do that to your own brother?
    Michael: I said "cot".

    2. Deadwood (HBO)
    Comment: This season was darker and less accessible than the first, but Swearengen's conversations with the "chief" and all of the growing political intrigue kept the show near the top of my list.
    Best Episode: A Lie Agreed Upon (1) "Welcome to fucking Deadwood." Indeed.

    3. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)
    Comment: This show only aired seven episodes, but I laughed out loud at every one of them. I'm not sure of the future status of the show, but I hope it comes back eventually.
    Best Episode: Charlie Wants an Abortion This second episode was when I truly knew this show had no boundaries.

    4. The Office (NBC)
    Comment: I was as skeptical as everyone else about the ability of this show to live up to its namesake, but I really think it's carved out its own identity. There's some great subtle acting by the supporting cast mixed in with Steve Carell's hamminess, so if you were turned off early you should definitely give it another shot.
    Best Episode: The Fight All of the episodes were solid and funny, but something about Michael threatening to spit in Dwight's face while they were fighting justs appeals to me.

    5. My Name Is Earl (NBC)
    Comment: This is a really fun show. Jason Lee really handles the character well, and I hope it survives the move to Thursday.
    Best Episode: Stole Beer from a Golfer "...churned some guy's butter at Ozfest..." [​IMG]

    6. Scrubs - (NBC)
    Comment: I only started watching this show last season, and I will gladly admit that I made a mistake by not watching it sooner. Now NBC just needs to quit leaving it on hiatus so damn long.
    Best Episode: My Best Laid Plans Heather Graham looked damn fine in this episode - that's my best reason for picking this one.

    7. Gilmore Girls (WB)
    Comment: The show is clearly sliding down my list, but it's still solidly in my top ten. I hated the Rory storyline this year. It was even worse that they had to bring Jess back to help snap her out of her funk.
    Best Episode: We've Got Magic to Do I liked that this episode represented a turning point in Richard's understanding of Rory. None of the episodes particularly stood head and shoulders above any of the others this year.

    8. The Closer (TNT)
    Comment: Part of me wonders if this is what a "Homicide" spinoff of Melissa Leo's Detective Kay Howard would have been like. I enjoy the detective shows that leave me guessing, and this one delivered that consistently.
    Best Episode: Good Housekeeping A nice payoff ending for a particulary disturbing episode.

    9. South Park (Comedy Central)
    Comment: Looking back on it I'd say that this season was weaker than last year's, but there was some damn funny stuff anyway.
    Best Episode: The Death of Eric Cartman The Butter's episodes are always so endearingly cruel.

    10. Miscellaneous: I couldn't really pick just one of the remaining shows on my list for this spot, so here they all are: Mythbusters (Discovery), Survivor (CBS), How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 24 (Fox), Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (Showtime), Family Guy (Fox), Rescue Me (FX), Robot Chicken (Cartoon Network), Grey's Anatomy (ABC), Monk (USA), NUMB3RS (CBS), Eyes (ABC), Rome (HBO), Curb Your Entusiasm (HBO)

    Disclaimer: I haven't watched Veronica Mars or Battlestar Galactica, so you can base their absence from my list on my utter ignorance of them.

    This thread has traditionally been used to discuss the worst of television for the year, but I tend to not watch things that I don't think will be any good. If forced to comment on things that I did watch, I would say that the worst trend was all of the Lost copycat shows (Invasion, Threshold, Surface, etc.) that forgot to bring interesting characters to the table.

  2. WadeLil

    WadeLil Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 22, 2005
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    The best shows for me this season are the only ones i still watch.BOONDOCKS,SUPERNATURAL,EVERYBODY HATES CRIS,
    DIRTY JOBS,THE OC,COMMANDER IN CHEIF,INVASION,BATTLE STAR GALACTICA,NIP TUCK and thats all i can remember but my dvr will get the rest.
  3. Marc_Sulinski

    Marc_Sulinski Supporting Actor

    Jan 15, 2001
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    How is The Wire anyway? I do not get HBO, but I would consider getting the DVD set if someone recommended it to me strongly enough. To give you a little background, I really like The Shield a lot. I watch a lot of other police procedurals, like Without a Trace, etc, but would probably not buy them on DVD.
  4. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

    May 12, 2000
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    That isn't exactly true, since there was a Christmas episode. (Which was one of the better shows they have put out.) I've heard that there should be new episodes in January.

    Battlestar Galactica: Kinda avoided the miniseries and a good deal of season 1, but saw a smattering of episodes and thought that they did a good job of revamping it to something more than the original.

    The Boondocks: CN really hits one out of the park here, basically making it the anti-Charlie Brown. A lot of the edginess of the comic strip survives here. It isn't always good, but it hits more often than it misses.

    My Name Is Earl: Just the presence of Jason Lee is enough to attract me. It is nice to see he's finally found something that works for him outside of a Kevin Smith film.

    Not so good:
    Lost: I'm still watching, but it is still displaying some of the same problems of not a whole lot of progress with more focus on backstories than on the main plot.

    Invasion: At least Lost had interesting characters. This didn't even have that much.

  5. John_Lee

    John_Lee Supporting Actor

    Mar 31, 2000
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    The Wire does something no other show has quite tackled. It observes the inside of all aspects of the criminal trade, from the points of view of the street criminals, the criminal bosses, the street cops, the police brass, and the folks that direct the police with an eye towards election. You get a first eye view of how a kid becomes a corner slinger, how he moves up in the organization, the philosophy and leadership principles of the bosses, their strategies in evading prosecution and dealign with rivals, the first responding cop on scene, the difficulties inherent in getting surveillance in the age of prepaid cell phones, the brass who has to answer to number crunchers and review boards, the city councilmen who are trying to get funding for initiatives in a cash strapped city.
    Rather than focus on a crime of the week, it focuses on one ongoing criminal enterprise [one season it was the street 'rock trade' another, it was smuggling and theft among longshoremen and the cargo the oversee], and goes in depth in all aspects around it.
    Think of it this way, if Law and Order is vertical, passing the crime of the week from the witness to the police to the prosecuting attorney, The Wire is horizontal, focusing on how everyone from the street slinger to the chief of police to the mayor deal with the everyday operations of organized crime.
    You see how one investigator might know information crucial in another case, but has no way of knowing where it needs to go to be of use. You see how the bosses in the drug trade are taking business classes in night school to formulate a business model for their enterprise. You see how those same bosses try to move to legit trade, using contact with elected officials who are oblivious to the background of their new friend. You see how a beat investigator who sees the big picture is thwarted by brass who don't like their murder numbers jimmied with.
    In short [I know, too late] I highly recommend it.
  6. Raasean Asaad

    Raasean Asaad Supporting Actor

    Sep 23, 2002
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    Go to Blockbuster and rrent th first two episodes of season one on any day you're bored and thats all the convincing that you need.

    You'll love it more if you were a Homicide: Life on the Streets fan.
  7. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

    Feb 22, 2000
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    The Boondocks - agree with Jason's comments; this is the sort of clear-headed and incisive racial humor missing from more mainstream sources. I dig the comic strip-fused-with-anime animation style. Also the best credit sequence/themesong of anything I've been watching lately.

    Entourage S2 - Lighter than air but nothing made me laugh more. The show also manages a surprising warm-hearted charm amidst the celebrity antics and "naughty bits".

    Everybody Hates Chris - A throwback to the classic family sitcoms of the 70's and 80's in mood and humor, but with a heavy dose of class issues not seen since the salad days of Roseanne.

    My Name is Earl - ditto what everybody else has said. I'm just a later convert because I didn't start watching until the WSOP coverage was over.

    How I Met Your Mother - Maybe the surprise of the year since much of the concept, story lines and settings are so generic to the abundance of post-Friends ensemble comedies. And yet it is the quality of the ensemble that makes this show work so well. With a different cast it would likely bomb; that it is so often laugh-out-loud funny is a credit to the actors and everyone involved in putting the show together.

    ESPN's WSOP Coverage - Gets both a best and worst in that it can generate grand drama, but similar to the Olympics is stuffed with profiles, fluff, and "storylines" at the expense of the events being covered. Also, they need to find a way to cut the timeline down to shorter than 4 months after the live event.
  8. AnthonyC

    AnthonyC Cinematographer

    Mar 29, 2004
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    The Best
    1. My Name is Earl - Easily the best sitcom since Seinfeld; in a few years it might even be better. I've been looking forward to this show's return for a while; finally we have a new one tonight!

    2. The Contender - By far one of the best stand-alone seasons of any reality show.

    3. Survivor: Palua - Sure, it wasn't edited too well (we barely knew most of the characters) but the challenges were fantastic and it had the most satisfying winner ever.

    4. Survivor: Guatemala - A great season, although I hated the Steph/BJ twist.

    5. The Amazing Race 7 - It was the first season I ever watched, and within minutes of the premiere, I was hooked.

    6. The Apprentice 4 - What an improvement a talented, business-savvy cast makes (instead of casting for entertainment).

    7. Everybody Hates Chris - Another great new show; I missed the first few because of Survivor but I've been watching the reruns.

    8. Rock Star: INXS - Undeservingly low-rated; far better than American Idol ever is.

    9. Big Brother 6 - I normally watch this show just because there's nothing else on, but this season was actually good; I really looked forward to each episode.

    10. The Simpsons - Sure, it's way past its prime but that doesn't mean it isn't still entertaining.

    The Worst
    1. The Amazing Race: Family Edition - If I didn't have the TAR1 DVD set while it was on, I may not have made it. What a terrible excuse for a season--the worst reality show season ever.

    2. The Apprentice 3 - Although this one's not much better. Completely incompetent candidates were essentially in a battle to not be the best, but the least objectionable.

    3. The Apprentice: Martha - Jim really stole the show, and without him, I'd probably have stopped tuning in after a few episodes. But he's not enough to keep this season from being a bore overall.

    4. Saturday Night Live - Get better writers already! (Although the Jack Black show was decent)
  9. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

    Nov 15, 2004
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    The basement of the FBI building
    My top ten (and really only the ten shows I watched this year):

    Curb Your Enthusiasm
    Arrested Development
    The Shield
    South Park

    EDIT: Oops, I forgot Extras. I'd probably rank that show at #10. Sorry, CSI. [​IMG]
  10. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Screenwriter

    Jun 8, 1999
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    Um... see what John_Lee said. If you need to have a white hatted heroic figure in a show to get into it then you might be in some trouble with this show, but The Wire earns your respect by presenting realistic, complex characters embedded deep in realistic, complex lives. The seasons may be divided episodically, but each season is a long story arc that can't fully be appreciated until you reach the end. I think that if you like The Shield then you should definitely at least rent Season 1 of The Wire and thank us later.

  11. Rob P S

    Rob P S Screenwriter

    Mar 22, 2002
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    Real Name:
    Thanks for doing my job, Brad. [​IMG]

    Instead of bests I'll list my faves:

    1. Lost
    2. 24
    3. House
    4. Prison Break
    5. American Dreams
    6. Without a Trace
    7. Everybody Loves Raymond
    8. King of the Hill
    9. Arthur
    10. Still Standing
    (7 holdovers from last year)


    The War at Home
    American Idol
    Growing Up Gotti
    Hot Properties
    Killer Instinct
  12. Travis_S

    Travis_S Supporting Actor

    Jan 14, 2001
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    St. Louis, Missouri
    Real Name:
    1. Battlestar Galactica
    2. Veronica Mars
    3. Lost
    4. 24
    5. Arrested Development
    6. The Amazing Race
    7. Curb Your Enthusiasm
    8. Alias
    9. Survivor
    10. Desperate Housewives
  13. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

    Jul 8, 1999
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    Don't forget Supernatural. Not great...But, if you enjoy an spooky X-Files type show. You will not want to miss this.
  14. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

    May 12, 2000
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    Oh. Didn't know that that was an old one. Must have missed it on the first run. Oh well, it was new to me. But yeah, there is a second season comimg sometime this year.

    Which reminds me of a show I missed: Robot Chicken. Absolutly insane stuff with action figures. Looking forward to the second season of that as well...

  15. CherylJ

    CherylJ Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 1, 2005
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    Oh, the horror. Get thee to Netflix! [​IMG]

    I hesitate to say anything about the "Best Shows" because admittedly there are many critically acclaimed shows I do not watch (Rome, Deadwood, The Wire, The Shield). But these are my *Favorites* out of the shows I watch:

    1. Veronica Mars
    2. Arrested Development

    Those two shows stand far ahead of the pack imho. Truly original, brilliant stuff -- if you haven't seen them, worth giving a chance by getting the S1 DVDs and starting from the beginning. Especially with VM, you don't want to start midstream. The last few eps of S1 were some of the best television I've ever seen, but they'd be less thrilling if you're spoiled for the whodunit. AD is just funnier when you start from the beginning b/c many jokes are callbacks to things that happened before.

    3. Lost
    4. The Office
    5. My Name is Earl
    6. Everwood
    7. Prison Break
    8. House/Grey's Anatomy (tie)
    10. The Daily Show

    Honorable mentions: Battlestar Galactica, Rescue Me, Entourage

    I have only seen a few episodes of Battlestar Galactica, but it's pretty frakking good. I will try to get caught up through DVD and reruns. Ditto Rescue Me. I've only seen about three episodes but they were excellent. I think both shows are probably better than House/Grey's Anatomy, but I need to see more eps. Entourage is funny, but without the Piven it would not be nearly as good.

    Shows that I love but didn't make the cut this year: Alias, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Amazing Race

    I still love 'em, but they aren't what they used to be. ::sniff:: TAR should get better when they ditch the awful family version. Original recipe was so much better.
  16. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

    Nov 1, 1998
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    Real Name:
    Top Ten

    1. My Name is Earl
    The best show on TV right now. It's just so damn good on every level -- it's like a mini-movie every week. Brought to you by the guy who created Yes, Dear. How the hell did that happen?

    2 (tie). Arrested Development
    So funny, so clever, so dense. Totally worth watching and rewatching. One of those shows that requires a Tivo -- you need to go back and catch the joke you missed while you were guffawing at the previous joke.

    2 (tie) The Office
    I was going to make this no. 2, but then you have to take into consideration the end of the stellar season 2 of AD happened in '05. Then I remembered that the entire first season of The Office aired in '05 as well. So I tied them. Anyway, this is also amazingly funny and clever and dense, although you need to be able to reconcile the over the top buffoonery of Michael Scott juxtaposed with the lower energy realism of the rest of the office staff (Dwight excepted). Reminds me of hating Kramer when Seinfeld began and then one day "getting" him.

    4. House
    It was good, to very good in the first season with an exceptional episode here and there. But this season has been extremely high quality and, surprisingly, is one of the funniest shows on TV. They've really tightened up the characters and their relationships, and the ensemble is humming along like sitcom hitting it's fifth season.

    5. Survivor
    I know lots of people don't like reality shows, and this was the 10th and 11th season already, but this show isn't merely chugging along or flatlining like you'd expect -- the challenges and plot twists are still fresh after all this time, and you can see that the creators still care to make this the jewel in the crown of reality shows. I still don't know how Mark Burnett oversees this show that has retained its excellence and the total dogshit that is the Apprentice series.

    6. Scrubs
    The last half of the season was not only a high water mark for the series, but was some of the best stuff on TV. The entire Heather Graham run was an absolute home run. Do you think she would have an ABC series right now if it weren't for her turn on Scrubs?

    7. Rome
    Haven't seen it on any lists so far, but I really enjoyed this one. One of those series that you hate to see end. Was it spectacular looking? It was good. But the performances and scripts were excellent (albeit not entirely historically accurate) and Pullo and Vorenus characters were just as fascinating as all of the historical figures, which was really impressive to pull off. All of the storylines and subplots were equally interesting, which is rare when you go back and forth through so many plotlines.

    8. Weeds
    Again, not on many lists, but being on Showtime and all, few probably saw it. In any case, it had it faults but it was flat out funny at times and I love Mary Louise Parker in anything. The supporting cast was also excellent.

    9. Desperate Housewives
    Okay, I have to agree with People Magazine in that, while this season has been a big letdown, they did show half of season one in '05, so they average out to this spot. The entire subplot with Alfre Woodard is flat out not working and uninteresting and it's too bad they killed off Rex. The relationship with Susan and Paul is irritating, and it's like they wrapped up so many loose ends last season and they're having a hard time generating new, interesting stuff. But season one was great.

    10 (tie) King of Queens/Two and a Half Men
    Two very underrated shows with sharp writing and great performances. Yes, Carrie has turned into a harridan but is still funny while TAAHM may be the smuttiest show on network TV. But at least it tries to be smart about its smuttiness.

    Guilty Pleasures

    1. American Idol
    Yeah. Hard to explain -- it's just addictive.

    2. The Soup
    Fricken' hilarious.

    3. SNL
    Yeah yeah -- the show was better when so and so was in the cast. Can't stop -- can't stop watching it. Every now and then you get to see something brilliant like Lazy Sunday. In Hi-Def.

    The Worst

    1 (tie) Any sitcom on ABC
    I can't believe how stupid these shows are, how lame they are, how they rely wholly upon laugh tracks, and how they aim to tickle the funny bones of 10 year olds and yet they are so smutty they're wholly inappropriate for them. Who are the retards who let shit like this on TV? Hope & Faith, George Lopez, Rodney, According to Jim -- all total dogshit. Fox throws up a Stacked every now and then, but at least there are quality shows to balance out. This is the kind of TV that makes people sneer at TV as being a lowbrow form of entertainment. That and Fear Factor.

    2. The Apprentice
    I don't watch bad shows with regularity, so I can't really say, "This show stinks," but I did watch Apprentice Season 3, and let me tell you, it was godawful. How many times can you make a group design something then sell it on the street? I think it was the episode with the dog washing that turned me right off. Sort of limped through to the end without paying too much attention to it. Skipped season 4 entirely. This show is dogshit.

    3. Extreme Makeover Home Edition
    The weirdest part is that this is a spin off of a plastic surgery show that is no longer on the air. The most pandering, most purposefully tear-jerking show on TV. Like Oprah on estrogen supplements. My wife loves it, but when I catch snippets of it here and there I want to vomit. I just find it shameful and pathetic. Could only be worse if you included Amy Grant into the mix. Didn't watch that show to comment.


    1. Joey
    The first season wasn't good, but it wasn't bad like this. Whoa -- some of the Joey stuff is funny for Friends fans, but his supporting cast just stinks. The neighbor is cute and has that crazy Monica thing going on, but the whole crush is ill-conceived and unresolvable.

    2. Will & Grace
    Can't even put my finger on it, but I can't even watch it anymore. It could just be simple fatigue. Also, Grace became so unlikeable that I can't stand watching her.

    3. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
    Does anyone watch this anymore? Not that there's any reason now.

    4. Numbers
    Why did they retool and dumb down this show? I liked it last season, now it's unwatchable.
  17. Elizabeth S

    Elizabeth S Producer

    May 9, 2001
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    Real Name:
    Elizabeth S

    Absolutely, Anthony! I had long wanted "Rock Idol", and this show was GREAT! Little did I know when I began watching it that it would be the motivation for me to go on my first trip to the mainland in about 10 years (to go see INXS -- with fabulous new lead singer J.D. Fortune -- in Vegas this month!) [​IMG]

    I don't want to make a real ranking, but my favorite shows this past season/currently running are:

    Rescue Me
    Rockstar: INXS
    Law & Order: SVU
    Prison Break
    Boston Legal
    The Closer

    I've been losing a little interest in "CSI" and "CSI: Miami", though I'm still hanging in there.
  18. Lance_R

    Lance_R Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 26, 2000
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    My list in order they air on TV
    Family Guy -this show really cracks me up, i have to PVR because my wife hates it.
    Gilmore Girls - another solid season, some of the best one liners of any show out their
    House - How can you not like House?
    Veronica Mars - Started watching season 2, best show on UPN.
    Smallville - Best season so far, every episode has moved the season along.
    My Name is Earl - Jason Lee 'nuff said.

    Every now and then I catch:
    Supernatural, Night stalker(is it on anymore?), Beauty and the Geek, not sure season 2 can compare.

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