Our Top 10 Shows of 2008

While they may not have been the year’s most critically acclaimed (WEEDS), or the country’s most popular (TERMINATOR THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES), the following shows made this TV Addict’s Top 10 of 2008 for the simple reason that week in and week out they left us wanting more. More laughter (30 ROCK, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER), more emotion (MAD MEN, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) and of course, more questions (LOST).

With a fourth season comprised of jaw-dropping twists, top-notch acting and addictive storytelling that, let’s face it, are now par for the course island, LOST has not only cemented itself among the pantheon of great television dramas, but raised the bar for serialized drama forever — essentially making the Lindeloff and Cuse masterpiece the television equivalent of Christopher Nolan’s DARK KNIGHT. (Either way, HEROES is kind of screwed!)

2. 30 ROCK
It’s a rare thing indeed when a television show lives up to the hype. Yet following what seemed like months of build up, nearly daily press releases about the latest A-lister to sign on for a cameo and the gift that kept on giving — Sarah Palin — Tina Fey and company returned to the airwaves and did just that, providing for the best mix of hijinx and hilarity since WILL & GRACE went off the air.

Thanks to one of television’s most likable casts, two of television’s sharpest showrunners (Carter Bays and Craig Thomas) and an endless supply of Barneyisms (“There are only two reasons to date a girl you’ve already dated: breast implants”), 2008 will be fondly remembered as the year audiences finally fell in love with our favorite MOTHER.

It so easily could have been a disaster of Judgment Day proportions. Instead, showrunner Josh Friedman deftly avoided the dreaded Terminator-of-the-week problem that plagued SMALLVILLE’s krypto-heavy first season by infusing Sarah’s chronicles with the perfect balance of adventure, mythology and Summer Glau. We can only hope that enough people tune in next year to ensure that you, know… she’ll be back.

To the critics who’ve been quick to proclaim WEEDS’ best seasons behind them, we’ve got one thing to say: What are you smoking? Jenji Kohan’s decision to move the Botwin clan to the fictional bordertown of Ren Mar was a masterstroke. Aside from THE SIMPSONS, no show on television deals with such serious issues as race, immigration, drugs and relationships in so consistently hilarious and poignant a manner. That, and you would not believe how many people stumble across theTVaddict.com by typing in the words… “Mary Louise Parker Nude.”

For providing us with consistent laughs on a weekly basis, the highest praise we could give stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Wanda Sykes is that they’re this generations Lucy and Ethel. Okay even though this TV Addict is a little to young to have actually seen Lucy and Ethel in action, our good friend CouchTater tells us they were kind of a big deal back in the day.

Contrary to popular belief, we do not watch this show just so we can feel morally superior to everyone else. (That’s what PBS is for.) We do watch MAD MEN because it’s different. Frankly, the glacial speed at which the story moves is a welcome break from the frenetic pace and all-too-neatly wrapped up stories found on more mundane shows. Okay, so maybe we do feel a little superior.

Like most families, the Walkers have their issues. With the good (Rachel Griffiths), comes the bad (Balthazar Getty). For every enjoyable clan crisis (Left-leaning Kevin winds up working for his brother-in-law, the right-wing senator!), there are those we could do with out (How many more times are we going to witness Nora break down over her husband?). But just like in real life, all is forgiven when the dysfunctional dynasty gathers around the dinner table to raise a glass. Or in the case of the Walkers, a few glasses.

The good news is that 2008 was the year SNL reminded viewers why it’s been a late -ight institution for over a quarter of a century. The bad news is that the election is over. Which means that the five brilliant minutes by Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and/or Darrel Hammond that more than made up for the other 85 minutes of mediocrity won’t be back for another 3.5 years. But hey, it was good while it lasted, right?

The truth is, after four and a half seasons of excellence there really isn’t anything we can say about BATTLESTAR GALACTICA that hasn’t already been said. So rather than wax poetically about BSG’s final season set to unspool this January, we thought we’d celebrate everything the show has given us this year. So here’s to you Ronald D. Moore, David Eick, Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell and the entire cast and crew, both cylon and human alike. Thanks for one helluvva fraktastic ride and we’ll no doubt see you back here one year from now as we put the finishing touches on the Best of 2009.

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  • My top ten is pretty similar!


    I completely missed Weeds this season, which is a shame, and never started Brothers & Sisters, but think I may netflix the dvds since it’s popping up on best of the year lists everywhere!

    Thanks for including Lost, BSG, Mad Men, HIMYM and 30 Rock!! I agree 100%

  • I absolutely agree with 70% of this! The other 30%, well, I just can’t comment on them because I’ve never seen Mad Men, The New Adventures of the Old Christine, or Brothers & Sisters. I know, what planet have I been living on, not having watched Mad Men yet?!? It’s on the list, believe me!

  • Nice. Way to give Weeds the love. I thought fourth season was the best yet.

    I have a couple friends who think this show jumped the shark during Season Three, but they are the ones who have jumped the shark.

  • Josh Emerson

    I’m surprised to see Brothers & Sisters up there. I completely lost interest in that show this season. I think I have 5 unwatched episodes sitting on my DVR.

    Yay for 30 Rock and How I Met Your Mother! Both should be higher than Lost. 😀

  • TVFan

    Great list, especially the additions of New Christine and Terminator. Although one suggestions for next year. Don’t forget Dexter!

  • Pitos88

    Where’s GG ? This was so great it deserved a spot in the list

  • makila

    are you kidding! mad men should be number 1 and where is big bang theory!! the closer is also fantastic. saturday night live should be cancelled, worst show of the year! (except for tina fey doing sarah palin)

  • The Televixen, You haven’t seen MAD MEN, NEW CHRISTINE or B&S… and you call yourself a televixen 🙂

    Pitos88, GOSSIP GIRL was so close.

    Makila, the problem with the BIG BANG THEORY is that it lacks something that truly makes most comedies great. A true ensemble. THE BIG BANG THEORY is really The Sheldon Show, and until that changes, it won’t be finding itself on theTVaddict.com’s Top 10 Anytime soon!

  • I have Season 1 of Mad Men on DVD. Does that count?

    And now that I have a PVR, I’ll be able to check out New Christine!

    Brothers & Sisters, not sure on that one. I’ve never been able to stomach Calista Flockhart.

  • Nice list. I gave up on Terminator, so I guess I better check back in.

  • AJ

    while I haven’t seen a lot of the ones you listed, I agree with the ones on the list. here’s another couple that I would have to include: heroes (I know I’m in the minority, but I still love it), ugly betty (loving the new location and independent betty).

    as for SNL, ITA!!!!! they need to stick with the political stuff. the skits just don’t do it anymore. I used to LOVE SNL, but now I watch the opening bit, and the headlines. I surf past every once in a while to see if anything good is happening, but I usually leave just as quickly. 🙁

  • showtime

    SNL is funny in the LOL sense, not ROTFL funny.
    You must admit that the digital shorts are really funny.

  • Dave

    Where is FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS ? This Top 10 sucks !

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  • grumpyoldman

    How about the comeback of Desperate Housewives…..or a fantastic season of Survivor? The trainwreck you couldn’t stop watching that was Vicky on Biggest Loser? How Chris Jericho saved Monday Night Raw through the sheer power of his personality? The overwhelming hotness of the Army Wives on Lifetime?

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  • Jake

    Where’s FNL? Chuck should be on that list as well.

  • Mel

    Supernatural and Chuck not on the list??? Tsk, tsk, TV Addict – you disapoint me.

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  • miller

    My TOP 10

    4. HEROES
    6. CSI MIAMI
    7. NIP/TUCK
    9. CHUCK

  • bob

    Here’s the best Top 10 list:

    1) Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
    2) 24
    3) House

    That’s enough shows… trust me, can you handle any more?

  • Mandy

    i agree with the list to an extent. Brothers & Sisters is a must see and is one of my favorite shows! I do think that Grey’s should be on the list without a doubt!

  • Out of your top ten picks, I have only seen one. Of course miore mature audiences definitely don’t watch the other nine.

  • i don’t like any of the shows on your list. They are all stupid and nothing funny about them.
    my 10 bones,ncis,csiny, nascar on fox, abc, tnt and espn, big bang, pbs nova,pbs nature, the mentalist.

  • I dont think that these top 10 tv shows are any good. I have never seen any of these nor do i want to. They just dont look that fascinating to me. My top ten would have to be…..Gossip Girl, Supernatural, 90210, Reaper, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Ghost Whisperer, Dexter, Scrubs, Friends, and the new Vampire Diaries that is fixing to come out in the Fall on the CW. Those are some really **GREAT** shows. Some of these should be on the Top 10 shows of 2008 or 2009 whichever. (:

  • TheIsland

    good thing u didnt include heroes xD

  • Natasha

    I don’t agree with this at all. I only heard of two of them and that’s the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles witch is good and I’ve heard of Lost but never watched it…



    One Tree Hill

    Prison Break


    That American teenage mom show

    Wizards Of Waverly Place

  • kiMMie

    They completely missed Big Bang Theory.. But I agree that LOST is the top one.

  • Nancy

    Sorry guys there is not one of the top ten shows that I watch. Maybe a different generation. My favorite was ER, then CSI Miami. Law & Order. Can’t wait for Melrose Place to return on Sept.8th,another all time favorite

  • bonesboy

    WHERE IN THE WORLD IS BONES. You can’t get a better mixture of drama, comedy and acting. The characters are awesome which were subtly built up not just dumped on you. It’s just an unreal show.

  • Joseph

    I don’ agree with that top you guys must see the best Top 10 in the World :

    1 – Prison Break
    2 – Bones
    3 – Heroes
    4 – Psych
    5 – House
    6 – It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
    7 – Grey’s Anatomy
    8 – FlashForward
    9 – Breaking Bad
    10 – Brothers & Sisters

    I also like Lost who is my 11 favourite tv show for now, I’m going to start watching The Mentalist and I hope it’s awesome

  • Ric

    lost anyshow that has to have screen writing to explain who is who and where they were ain’t #1.Tina Fey is a one trick pony. How I met your mother is an insult to anyones intelligence.Saturday night live hasn’t been funny in years.Will Ferrell is creepy and Tina Fey see above.Brothers and Sisters is the most unbelievable soap on tv and Calista Flockhart should go back and hang out with Harrison Ford

  • Joey

    Breaking Bad? Best show on tv, hands down.