10. BIG LOVE
Once thought of as “that show about the guy who has sex with three women”, BIG LOVE has moved so beyond its initial constraints as to feel like a completely different series. Despite it’s odd (and, to some, off-putting) pacing, the tale of the Henrickson family has become as complex as the religion at its center, thanks in large part to the unforgettable performance of Chloe Sevigny as Nicki, the immature second wife who is torn between her fundamentalist Mormon values and her childish impulses.
9. CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
It’s odd to realize that there is a huge segment of the population of who have seen this HBO series and probably never even heard of it until the much-buzzed about SEINFELD reunion. Those people will probably squirm uncomfortably upon hearing that this season saw Larry David inadvertently pee on a portrait of Jesus, very intentionally grasp a secretary’s love handles in a bid to save his own life, or wound up in a fist fight with Rosie O’Donnell. Those of us who witnessed his antics also squirmed uncomfortably… while simultaneously howling with laughter. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
8. NBC’S THURSDAY NIGHT LINE-UP
They may not be perfect, but COMMUNITY, PARKS & RECREATION, THE OFFICE and 30 ROCK have come together — flaws and all — to create the best two-hour comedy block since the heyday of Must-See TV. Better, these are not your typical set-up-followed-by-punch-line sitcoms, but rather what we like to think of as comedies for the thinking man in which the unguarded moments “caught” by the camera are every bit as important as the dialogue being spoken. Sometimes even more so.
7. THE DAILY SHOW/ COLBERT REPORT
Who would have imagined that some of the best social commentary — not to mention concise media criticism and analysis — would be coming from the “World News Headquarters” of Comedy Central? What’s truly amazing about these shows is that they manage to combine politicians, pundits and celebrities into a breathtakingly funny cocktail five nights a week… a feat SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE can’t manage to do once a week.
The TV Addict with a few of Bon Temps’ finest at the 2009 Entertainment Weekly Comic Con Party
6. TRUE BLOOD
Yes, yes, we were a little late to the party. But thanks to HBO on Demand, we’re ready to sing the praises of Bon Temps, the little town where not only can anything happen, but when it does, it’s often in the nude. (Thank you, Cable!) While daughters everywhere were deciding whether to be on Team Edward or Team Jacob, TRUE BLOOD fans knew the real battle is between those who want to bare their necks for Bill and those who’d rather sink their teeth into Eric. That’s what we call a win/win.
Let’s have a show of hands: How many of you were reluctant to even start this season, bored at the notion of America’s favorite serial killer being saddled with a wife, two precocious kids and a new baby? Shame on us for having doubted the writers, who turned our notions of family upside down by giving Dexter a new nemesis who, like him, was both a family man and a serial killer. Unlike last season’s somewhat meandering and, in the end, almost pointless Prado plot, season four’s arc was every bit as twisted as the mind of John Lithgow’s Trinity. Better still (Spoiler Alert!) the shocking finale set the stage for the show to re-invent itself yet again, this time with Dexter as a single dad. It’s a tried-and-true storyline that on any show might quickly become trite, yet thanks to the fact that this year’s conventional set-up yielded what may well have been the best season yet, we can hardly wait.
The TV Addict parties with some of your favorite Gleeks at FOX’s Fall 2009 Launch
After years of COP ROCK punchlines, it looks as if television critics everywhere will need to look for a new scapegoat, because the musical dramedy is officially alive and well thanks to the students and faculty of McKinley High. Like most shows on this list, GLEE is not perfect. But it proves the power (and profit) of thinking outside the box and brings in the kind of demographics that cause happy-shivers to run up and down the spines of network execs.
3. MODERN FAMILY
We come not to bury the sitcom, but to praise it. What many expected to be a typical sitcom quickly proved itself anything but as America met and fell for the extended Dunphey/Pritchett family. What makes this show shine — aside from the wildly talented cast or the exceptionally sharp writing — is the family itself. Gay, straight, young, old, fat and thin, they are, in essence, us. It would be atypical for viewers to relate to any one member of a television family. For us to somehow relate to them all is what makes this FAMILY so dang perfect.
Not willing to rest on their laurels, executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse continued to step up their game with the show’s penultimate season. So much so that we’ll forgive them for raising more questions than answers (as usual), killing off major and much beloved characters (Juliet! Sob!) and introducing the head-scratching notion of time-travel (Please don’t make us do math) because we know deep down inside that like those pesky Cylons before them, they have a plan. Or, um, they damned well better. Just sayin’.
1. FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Just how remarkable was FRIDAY LIGHTS this past year? Put it this way: This TV Addict is so desperate to discover if Coach Taylor can turn around the lacklustre East Dillon Panthers that we may have [or for legal reasons, may not have] turned to a life of
crime downloading. Fingers crossed the judge is a fan. After all, if anyone will be able to sympathize as we revel in the small screen’s most endearing marriage (that of Eric and Tami Taylor) and the tearful farewell arcs for veteran cast members Zach Gilford and Taylor Kitsch, it’s a fellow Panther. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!