Top 10 TV Shows of 2008
My annual caveat still applies. I do not watch any HBO or Showtime shows or most of the other critically acclaimed dramas. Would I like The Wire or Mad Men or Dexter or Damages if I gave them a chance? Probably. But I've never seen them and I probably never will and that's just not the kind of thing that keeps me up at night. Probably that invalidates my list, but I still do it anyways cause it's fun. Here's the list:
10. Wizards of Waverly Place - I like to leave one slot on my list for whatever is my favorite teen show du jour. In prior years this slot has been taken by Unfabulous and Phil of the Future. For now, this is the best show of its type, and while it isn't nearly up to the level of those shows it's still a very cute and entertaining show and some of its jokes do make you laugh. So the cuteness alone gets it this far.
9. Burn Notice - This is one of the most fun shows on TV, with its easy mix of action and drama and comedy. The plots are light and breezy but they are always paced well and they always set up good action. All in all it's a really fun entry to the landscape of TV.
8. American Idol - This show brought us Brooke White this season, definitely my favorite ever reality show contestant. It was a lackluster season otherwise, Chizekie's "She's a Woman" notwithstanding, but Brooke alone drives it this high.
7. House - I had a really hard time rating this show, just like last year, and for the exact same reason as last year. Season 4 was some kind of freaky creative renaissance for this show. The last half of season 4 was awesome, featuring great episodes like the one with Mira Sorvino, but the first half of season 5 has been extremely subpar. The process of getting the new team was a ton of fun, but the new team themselves is nothing too great, and it means less time for Dr. Cameron hotness. I've grown very bored of this show.
6. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - I think this show is still really funny. The last season was a little spotty, but there were definitely some classic episodes and moments. The episode where Mac and Charlie fake their deaths and the episode in the 18th century were particular highlights. The spark may be ever so slightly gone here compared to early seasons, but I still love the show.
5. Greek - In all honesty, probably the drama show of the year where I was most invested in the characters. All of the characters and storylines are a ton of fun. The show moves at a really brisk pace and it never gets bogged down in boring details but generally gives the storylines some space to breathe. I dunno, it could rank higher, but the show is so incredibly lightweight and I do love the 4 shows above it. I'm very eagerly awaiting the next season, regardless.
4. Eli Stone - Such an uplifting show! This is the heir apparent to Joan of Arcadia in my mind, and while it never reaches the heights of that show, the relentless enthusiasm and optimism makes this show really enjoyable. It just makes me really happy to watch the show, and the cancellation was really sad to me.
3. How I Met Your Mother - The basic feel and quality of this show has remained totally unchanged over the last few years. It's still consistently funny and it still nails the emotional character drama moments. The mixture of emotion and comedy make this a consistently interesting show, even during the poorer episodes.
2. True Life - I watched every new episode of this show in 2008, and pretty much all of the episodes were worth watching. The shows tend to range from really funny to genuinely interesting to really sad, and they always seem to hit the right tone for whatever topic they've picked. I think this show is by far the best reality show on TV, and the way it can consistently hit all the right notes is very impressive, landing it all the way this high.
1. Friday Night Lights - The third season on DirecTV was really good, and the second season improved towards the end. This is still the best show on TV, thanks to its realistic drama, great tension, and ability to hit emotional buttons.
New to the top 10: Wizards of Waverly Place, Burn Notice, American Idol, Eli Stone, True Life- Two brand new shows that didn't exist in 2007, one show that hit a new level in its second season, one show I had been unjustly ignoring over the last couple years (True Life), and Brooke White.
Falling Out: Pushing Daisies, The 4400, Unfabulous, 30 Rock, World Series of Pop Culture- 3 of these shows aired no episodes in 2008 due to cancellation. Of the other two, 30 Rock is a show that has never really grabbed me. I watched it enough in 2007 that it snuck its way to the bottom of my top 10, but I've never been too crazy about it. Pushing Daisies, I just lost interest in for no real reason. It was off the air for a long while due to the strike, and when it came back in I just realized I had no real desire to watch it any more. Sorry.