Friday, January 02, 2009

Top Ten of 2008 - Reality Shows

#1 - So you think you can Dance Canada?
took the success of the American version and made it even better by giving a more positive vibe to the show. The Canadian version was more interested in showing the great dancers (as opposed to the bad) during the audition process, and throughout the entire competition the critiques were given as a means to improve and not to belittle the participants. The quality of dance found here in the Great White North stunned Judges Mary Murphy, Mia Michaels and Dan Karaty from the American version, and the homegrown and guest choreographers pulled some great numbers out of our contestants. Sure, it probably helped that most of the male dancers were from the Montréal area, but you could not deny the level of talent on the stage and happily, the show was a huge success. I can hardly wait for the next season, and for the chance to see the Top Ten dancers during their tour this February.

#2 - So you think you can Dance? had another amazing season and like last season it was the best dance competition on the air. Mary Murphy has gone up a few notches with her hilarious and ear shattering judging and then having the guts to show that she really does know her stuff by performing in the finale. Overall, the Judges become a more important part of the process and showed their merit, and proved that they could back up what they were critiquing. The season has some surprises with unexpected departures and some great choreography and was always a joy to watch. Mia Michaels and Wade Robson put together more powerful and heart wrenching choreography's and it was a great to see more world dance and other new and exciting choreographers. This show has really helped bring dance back to television.

#3 - Dancing with the Stars - has managed to keep me and the viewing public hooked on it's unique format and mix of celebrities and professional dancers. After several seasons, I am getting used to seeing some of the pros that I look forward as much to seeing how they will do as some of the celebrities. Cloris Leachman was the funniest thing ever to hit the stage (and she did a great job for her age) so far and I was in awe of Lance and Brooke who really turned the competition up a few notches this round. The show is fun and light, and is just pure entertainment instead of being some trashy reality show. Tom Bergeron deserves an Emmy for his hosting duties, he has a vicious quick wit and has had some snappy comebacks over the past season.

#4 - The Amazing Race - is still as amazing as the first season, and the reason this show keeps winning the Emmy each year for best reality show, it's because it is just that. Every season we get incredible scenery and a fascinating trip around the world that is different each time and the dynamics with the teams are never the same. I always have favorites, love cheering for the underdogs and seeing the different customs and cultures around the globe. My only hope is that eventually the show will be broadcast in HD, but imagine that the logistical nightmares that they already have on this show might be further complicated with bigger and heavier equipment. I have managed to see Phil in a few other things than the Race (his interview on the Bonnie Hunt show was hilarious) and it's always an entertaining watch, and the longer I watch the show the more nuances I can see with Phil and his interactions with the participants at the end of each leg. I can hardly wait for the beginning of the next round!

#5 - Survivor - Started it all and is still a force to be reckoned with after the past year and some outstanding play by some of the competitors. I have loved the social interaction between the various players, everything from friendships, crushes, bromances and the major blow outs and blow ups that have happened. The past year had more deception and sneaky play than previous years and I am applauding the ingenuity of some of the players, while so shocked that some of them still apply for this show with knowing basic skills such as fire making and other survival skills. The challenges have been interesting and my only complaint was that Sugar didn't get the credit she deserved for the last round in Gabon.

#6 - The Soup - is still must see TV and my week is not complete with out it. It may not be a typical reality show, but most of it's content is derived from the genre and it is simply too funny and too bitchy to miss. Joel McHale is a very funny guy and his team has helped me discover many a hidden gem over the past year such as Outsiders' Inn and Blush: The search for the next great makeup artist. The Soup is my favorite way to finish up things and start the weekend, and is always a huge laugh.

#7 - Tabatha's Salon Takeover - Tabatha was a huge draw when she was on the first season of Shear Genius, and although she didn't win the competition, she attracted enough attention to get her own show on Bravo. Tabatha has a no holds barred approach to things and is so blunt and direct to the point that it can make your head spin at times. Her most endearing quality has to be her " Don't even think about fucking around with me" attitude and I think my favorite moment of the first season was when she told the staff that they " looked like a bunch of fucking hillbillies". She knows her stuff (and to see her in action is astounding) and I am looking forward to seeing her back next season.

#8 - Make me a SuperModel had a great first season and it was all due to the bromance between Ronnie and Ben. The competition was interesting enough (the hosting was not so hot) and I liked how it was passing in real time instead of being filmed months in advance. The winner of the first season, Holly, was one of my favorites from the beginning and I loved her whole hillbilly sensibility about the whole thing. The photo challenges were great and it was a trip to see all the different locales and equipment for the shoots. Final result, good show with lots of beautiful people and some astounding photos.

#9 - The Cho Show - Margaret Cho dethroned Kathy Griffin as my favorite Gay Icon with her no holds barred show this year, and using topics such as aging in Hollywood and going as far as doing an episode about a Haunted Vagina. The show was more real in the sense that it felt less scripted, and her gay posse was very cute and endearing (as well as drop dead funny). All I can do is hope for more as this season was too short and I must have more.

#10 - Outsiders' Inn - The premise was so ridiculous and the choice of stars so mismatched that it had to be a hit. The idea that Bobby Brown, Carnie Wilson and Maureen McCormick are all friends and running this Inn together in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee was just so impossible and improbable that it had Guilty Pleasure written all over it before it even aired. The writing is terrible but the characters and situations are so endearing (and insane) that it is too much fun to miss. Some things will never replace Whitney crying Bobbbbayyyyyy but this was a good substitute, and opened my eyes to CMT and other hits such as Redneck Wedding. It's hard to fathom some of these bizarre shows but they are a fascinating look at an American sub culture. It can't be wackier than some of those Japanese shows.

Almost made the List: Sheer Genius, American Gladiators, Top Design, Reality Bites Back, America's Best Dance Crew, Blush: The search for the next great makeup artist, How do you solve a problem like Maria?, Wipeout

Fallen From Grace: The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, Kathy Griffin - My Life on the D List, Project Runway, Flipping Out

Biggest Flop: Stylista, Paris Hilton's My BFF, Rachel Zoe Project, Last Comic Standing, Next Food Network Star, HGTV Design Star, The Mole