December 14, 2010

TV: Thoughts on year end Top 10 lists

Tis the season for Top 10 lists!

I've been pretty miffed by pretty much all of the top 10 TV lists. I'll admit, that it's just not possible for one person to be caught up on all the good TV that's out there now. I can cop to the fact that I have yet to see a single episode of many highly praised shows like Sons of Anarchy, Terriers, Men of a Certain Age, The Good Wife, Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, etc. However, I am seeing way too many blind spots in all these Top 10 lists, that I feel the need to come out of my laziness cocoon and update my blog!!!!!!

But before I get all righteously angry about the quality of any Top 10 lists, it's interesting to consider what these lists have come to mean to us. Are they there, so we can get indignant about what should or should not be included? Should we chastise the authors of these ALL IMPORTANT lists, when we do not agree with them? Should we shed a single tear at the thought of a universe that dares to underrate the Sleigh Bells album? Does the thought of a world that keeps giving awards to Entourage make me feel cold and numb on the inside? I think in the end, these lists are simply a good way to get conversations started about things that entertained & inspired us this past year. And when the lists piss you off way too much, then it's time to make your own!

Before I start spouting off my lists though, I want to talk about some interesting TV trends from this year. The way we watch serialized shows keeps changing so rapidly. Surprisingly, the interweb has yet to really produce any solid serial programming, although many of our favorite television shows are actually being watched on computer screens by many of us. But it seems that we still discover new shows via the television screen. For instance most people did not check out Children's Hospital until it was aired on Cartoon Network.

The big trend in the past 2 years have actually been the various basic cable channels like FX, TBS, TNT, IFC making room for serialized shows in their schedule, following the example of AMC's enormous success with cutting edge original programming like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. The USA channel, owned by NBC has established hugely popular blocks of programming with shows like Burn Notice and Psych. Though not included on my Top 10 list, they produced some of my fave guilty pleasures like Royal Pains, White Collar, and Cover Affairs. IFC is campaigning big time to shed the "movie channel" image and bringing in a whole bunch of sitcoms and sketch comedy shows, as well as rerunning old faves like Undeclared and Arrested Development. (For some of us watching sitcom reruns is a big part of our daily routine, because, it's just one of those really comforting rituals to watch reruns of Seinfeld and The Simpsons and what have you. It's quite nice to have an oddball show like Arrested Development added to the usual mix, and interesting to consider that the best programming decisions that a network makes does not always have to involve producing new content. ) FX in particular have really impressed me, esp. with their comedy line up. That and more, I'll discuss further in my Top 10 lists.