Thursday, January 01, 2009

Top Ten of 2008 - Best in Show

#1 - Pushing Daisies -
Being chosen as my number one show is bittersweet and ironic as the show has not been renewed and it will soon join the realm of other Brilliant but Cancelled shows. This modern day fairy tale is simply so different and quirky than anything else out there, it had to be at the top of the list for it's sheer genius. Each episode looks and feels so magical and has such a quick and brilliant wit about it. The playful banter between the actors that is punctuated by different surprises such as music or magic that I am in complete awe each episode. It is a shame that there is not a network that is willing to broadcast the rest of the series, and I still feel cheated by having a stunted season last year due to the strike and then cancellation this year. In all, we get the equivalent of one season and I feel ripped off. Bryan Fuller has promised to continue and end the story, even if it means going into another medium such as comic books, so I feel content that I can say how things develop but feel cheated at the same time. Such is the fate of shows that are out of the box and willing to be more creative... I long for a time when something well written and well produced can be shown just for the pleasure of sharing it's creativity -- unfortunately this is TV and it's the almighty dollar that makes the choices.

#2 - Lost - Even with a short season last year, the writers' have created such an enthralling tale that I can't wait to see what might/has/will happens next. No other show has such a story filled with such complexities and managed to keep us all guessing with a combination of flashback and flash forward sequences. I am still completely hooked and want to see more of what happened with the Oceanic Six, the disappearance of the Island, the mysterious Ben and even stranger Jacob.This show doesn't get the credit it deserves and I can hardly wait to see how things will be this season. It's great that they like to run the season so that there are no interruptions, but I hate having to wait so long to know how the story is going to develop ... with only 34 episodes left there is a lot going on and I know that there will be more twists and turns along the trail, and I can hardly wait.

#3 - Supernatural - The chemistry between the Winchester boys is what makes the series and the combination of dark humor and gripping story lines has made every episode a must see event at home. The guys are just too funny and sexy even with everything going to Hell around them, and the current storyline with Dean being pulled back to Earth out of Hell by Angels and Sammy playing on the dark side with Ruby reads like a Shakespearean epic. The big story of battling Lilith who is trying to destroy the Seals that keep Satan in Hell is astounding and the big battle with Archangels and demons has been off the charts. They have even being throwing out special treats to the viewers this season with Dean's hilarious air guitar sequence to Eye of the Tiger. Solid writing, sexy guys and good acting make for a good series and this one has not been disappointing.

#4 - Doctor Who - This past season was fantastic with Catherine Tate joining the fold as the new companion and impressed me with her dramatic acting skills. I loved the Donna Noble character and her development and ultimate loss over the season. Russell T Davies wrote a hell of a season finale that crossed over into the whole Who universe ( The Children of Time) and it was astounding to see the Doctor with Rose, Martha, along with Captain Jack, Gwen and Ianto from Torchwood and Sarah Jane, K-9 and Luke. They managed to throw in tons of other characters from the past couple of years and have a huge universe shattering ending. Since BBC TV doesn't have to be written with a conventional happy ending, things ended with Donna losing her memories of her time as a companion (as well as her personal evolution) and she can never have the memories back with risking certain death. It was a hard lesson and harsh ending to a character, and I curious to see if the issue will ever be addressed again. The writing and stories were astounding and refreshing, and although this upcoming season will be short I will relish every moment.

#5 - Torchwood - The story lines this year were very adult and things started off with a huge Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and the introduction of James Marsters as Captain John Hart, Captain Jack's former colleague and lover. The stories delved more into Jack's life and his brother Gray, and we had the treat of seeing Martha Jones of Doctor Who fame make a guest appearance for a few episodes.The status quo changed around at Torchwood, and poor Owen was killed, but stayed on as a living corpse before being finally killed off (again?) in the season finale. Toshiko met her end in the final episode of the season, leaving only Jack, Ianto and Gwen at Torchwood. The new season will only be a 5 episode arc, but is better than no Torchwood at all. At least I got some more John Barrowman during this past springs How do you solve a problem like Maria? reality show that aired here in Canada but would love to see more. It will be a rough year with a reduced amount of Who Universe characters.

#6 - Battlestar Galactica -Things were put on hold since June and they will be airing the final episodes (finally) starting this January, and I am itching with excitement and very eager to see how things will be played out. The final Cylon model will be revealed (I just hope that it isn't the President -- that would be the biggest irony of all) and it will be interesting to see how things will change now that they have discovered Earth -- or is that really Earth or some other distraction? The acting and the writing has been phenomenal, the biggest complaint about the series has been the long wait time in between episodes and how Sci Fi seems to be milking it for all it's worth. It's still one of the best things on the tube and hopefully the spin off prequel series Caprica will be as interesting and engrossing as this one. It is still a definite not to be missed series and I can hardly wait to see how things finish off.

#7 - Bones - The show fumbled a bit this season with the separation of Hodgkins and Angela and the team was still reeling from the loss of Zack, but the show managed to hold on to it's core and even if things felt off a tad, they have churned out some great stuff so far this year. I don't think that breaking up our couple worked (I did like the tension when Angela's ex showed up) but I prefer it when the sexual tension is between Booth and Bones. Our reluctant lovers are still butting heads, but there are more and more moments that they seem to fit so well together that are unfortunately punctuated by Bone's lack of tact or just by her having no comprehension of the facts. I still find it humorous that a writer (Bones) who seems to not know much about popular culture is a popular author. It is just another endearing quality of Brennan. David has been killing this season with his very cocky Boothe strutting his stuff (I love the belt buckle) and his sly and subtle sense of humor has been creeping back in.I liked the idea of rotating interns (it reminds me of the good old days and the never ending stream of secretaries on Murphy Brown), but now that we are to the point of seeing some of the interns come back again, I am liking the idea less. The team is starting to feel like they are getting back in sync, but I am still convinced that Sweets is too good to be true and linked with the Gormogon. There are lots of unanswered questions and I am pretty sure that Sweets has the answers, it's just too convenient that he came into the picture at just the right time and has had some peripheral implication in pretty much all of the situations that involved the killer. I bet you he is the new Master and Daisy is going to be his new apprentice.

#8 - Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles - Even with Fox bumping this show on and off of the schedule, the stories have been solid and the acting is tremendous. I absolutely love Lena Heady as Sarah Connor, and she is totally believable as the character. It is rare to find an actress that can embody a well established character, and she has really taken the torch from Linda Hamilton and made Sarah her own. She certainly knows her mission, and I really like how they have been adding new depth to the character, now that they have changed time and managed to skip over that pesky death by cancer. The addition of Uncle Derek was another brilliant move that has added more of a human element and created a bigger sense of family, and Cameron is a great choice as the enhanced Terminator sent back to protect John. Shirley Manson has been disturbing as the T-1001 that is working against our heroes, and it has been a great storyline this season. Hopefully all the time shifts and schedule changes won't get this one cancelled, it's a great addition to the mythos.

#9 - Smallville - I have loved and hated this series since it started, but this year I can honestly say that I have been enjoying the stories and have been really liking the development of things between Lois and Clark. Erica Durance is becoming my favorite representation of Lois to date, having the right balance of toughness and sensitivity, and she has such a commanding presence that you can't help but notice her. If she wasn't calling Clark Smallville all the time I don't even think that they could keep the title of the show as all the action has been taking place at Metropolis and at the Daily Planet. I have been not entirely happy with the storyline with Chloe (the part of her no longer being a reporter), but I like her in Control Tower mode (reminding me more of the Oracle character from Birds of Prey) and find it a good balance for the character. The season started off great with an appearance of the Justice League and the regular appearances of Green Arrow and the Martian Manhunter have added a new dynamic to the show. The Brainiac/Doomsday storyline that is currently running has been playing out well and I am looking forward to seeing how things play out over the next few episodes. I think it is time to dish the no tights/no flights rule of the show and for Clark to start playing dress up like the rest of his hero friends.

#10 -The Big Bang Theory - This is the only comedy that made it all the way up the list, and every episode this season has had me laughing on my ass. Not only is this one of the best written comedies on the air, but it has some of the funniest characters created for a sitcom ever. The character of Sheldon is sheer brilliance on every level and his Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock variation was another example of the mindset of the character. It should be noted that the concept was not the writer's idea but an homage to Sam Kass who developed the concept in 2005. I really like how they have been developing the relationships between the characters as well as fleshing out our gang of geeks and getting to know more about what makes them tick. Brilliant minds make for great writing and this show is always worth the watch.

Almost made the List: Chuck, Samantha Who?, The Sarah Jane Adventures

Fallen from Grace: Burn Notice, Heroes

Biggest Flop: Knight Rider, Fringe, 90210