Dec 31 2011

Top 15 TV Shows of 2011

15. The Walking Dead

It’s a bit slow-moving and the acting is occasionally over-the-top, but The Walking Dead proved once again, even without zombies, it’s pretty compelling television. The first half of Season 2 revolved around the increasingly hopeless search for a little girl who had gone missing, while characters battled each other, themselves, and the end of the world as we know it.

14. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Still hilarious after all these years, Sunny’s seventh season introduced us to a new brutal board game called CharDee MacDennis, gave us a scenic tour of the Jersey Shore, and brilliantly tackled Mac’s ongoing weight issue. Dennis is still creepy, Frank and Charlie are still eccentric, and Dee….well, I think the gang’s driving her to the point of insanity.

13. 30 Rock

Don’t call it a comeback – season 5 was a strong turning point for this aging series, which got a lot of flak for a hit-or-miss season 4. Even with a temporary absence from Tracy Morgan, who underwent emergency medical surgery during filming, the show remained sharp as the plot became focused on trying to find out where his character went missing.

12. Archer

Just when we thought we had the womanizing, James Bond-mocking Sterling Archer figured out, he gets cancer, falls in love, and leads us on a three-part getaway when his fiance is killed. Season 2 (and the aforementioned first three episodes of Season 3) were exciting, witty, daring, and, most importantly, pretty damn funny.

11. How I Met Your Mother

It feels like it’s been a few seasons, but things are finally getting tackled on How I Met Your Mother. The character of Barney is slowly changing into a baby-lover. Robin has discovered an important revelation about the rest of her life. Marshall and Lily are adjusting to the realization of being future parents. Ted…well, does anyone care, really? The show is still irreverent, funny, and entertaining after all these years.

10. Modern Family

Modern Family isn’t really a show trying new things, per se. We’ve all seen the family sitcom thing done over and over, lessons learned, etc. And we’ve seen the Office-esque mockumentary multi-camera style of filming. But this show’s approach to it all continues to feel fresh and revolutionary week after week, even if the topics tackled aren’t necessarily so.

9. South Park

I surmise The Book of Mormon reinvigorated Matt and Trey, because this was a surprisingly excellent season of South Park overall, especially after many consecutive hot-and-cold ones. The half-season finale gave us a potentially series-altering cliffhanger, but we should have known nothing would change. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Quite the opposite, actually.

8. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

The Daily Show has completely changed from when Stewart took it over in 1999. Night after night, these guys do some heavy lifting, taking the day’s political issues and giving them a hilarious, and simultaneously rational, take on them. With a barrage of idiot Republican candidates vying for the presidency this year, you can bet the writing staff had a lot of great material.

7. Louie

Louie is heartwarming, realistic, and very, very dark. Louis CK plays a straight man in his own corrupt version of New York that he created, holding his children’s hands and guiding them through his cynical hell. The Seinfeld-esque standup bits put the eccentric short films all together for a strange, but hilarious, half-hour of TV.

6. Parks and Recreation

Parks works where the Office doesn’t. The Office has tried a more ensemble cast approach with the absence of Steve Carell, and it’s not working. Parks tried an Office-like approach in the beginning, making Leslie Knope a crazy Michael Scott clone. But now this show has found its true roots, with the whole crazy, lovable cast involved, and the results have been spectacular.

5. The Colbert Report

This year, for me, marks the first year the student became the master. Night after night, Colbert trumped Stewart on most bits, the interviews, the musical guests, and the overall quality. Colbert’s ongoing mockery of the Supreme Court’s ridiculous “corporations are people” ruling is daring and hilarious, as is the creation of the pointless Colbert SuperPAC.

4. Homeland

I started this show late, a few days before the finale, worrying I wouldn’t catch up in time. Man, was I wrong. This is the best new show on TV, no contest. Thrilling, compelling, addictive. If I even begin to go on about this show, I’ll just spoil it for you, so do yourself a favor and watch it. It will only take you a few days to get through it, I promise, because once you start, it will be hard to stop.

3. Boardwalk Empire

I suppose I should have seen it coming, as the season gradually progressed toward all the major cliffhangers of the finale, but wow….what an ending. Killing off a major character always marks a dramatic change, so we have to wonder, after only two seasons, where does Boardwalk go from here? You can bet, with an amazing cast and a stellar performance from Steve Buscemi, I’ll be watching.

2. Community

It may be on the brink of cancellation, but for now, we can revel in the utter amazement of this show, which never ceases to amaze on a weekly basis. It’s absurd, it’s off-the-rails, it’s hard to pin down. It’s topical, it’s smart, but it’s also got heart. This season the character bonding of Season 1 met with the absurdity of Season 2 for the show’s best yet. And hopefully they’re not done.

1. Breaking Bad

After Season 4, any naysayers have to admit: not only is Breaking Bad the best show on television, it’s one of the best shows ever made. Just when we think we’ve got a character pegged, they shock us. And no one shocked us more than Walter White, played by the incomparable Bryan Cranston. There’s one season left, and there’s only so far down that dark abyss these characters can crawl. There’s no way this ends happily, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.

Jun 2 2011

Jon Stewart Acts Italian, Berates Trump For Pizza Naivete

I don’t normally post videos of programs I watch, unless they’re in context of something bigger, like a list, but this was too good to pass up. Another instant highlight from Jon Stewart’s reign as King of Late Night, he stuck it to the Donald for eating pizza like a pansy, or, even worse, a non-New Yorker.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Me Lover’s Pizza With Crazy Broad
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

Dec 30 2010

Top 10 TV Shows of 2010

This list is more comprehensive and accurate than yesterday’s Top 5 Movies list – needless to say, I am a big fan of appointment television.  So without further ado, here are my picks for this year’s best TV shows.

10. How I Met Your Mother

9. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Watch Lethal Weapon 5 here. You’ll be glad you did.

8. Modern Family

7. Conan

6. The Walking Dead

5. Community

4. Boardwalk Empire

3. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
A Look Back – October 2010
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

2. Mad Men

1. Breaking Bad

Sep 17 2010

A Rally Worth Attending

In an obvious parody of Glenn Beck’s recent media-whore marathon on the Mall in DC, Jon Stewart announced his plans for the Rally to Restore Sanity, happening at the same location October 30.  Stewart proclaimed the rally is for those who are too busy and rational (you know, the majority of Americans) to yell loudly and irrationally in front of cameras and behind lecterns. He declared we will all gather, as one movement, to voice our support for those with microphones to “take it down a notch for America.”

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Not to be outdone (but obviously part of the event in his own special fear-mongering, pundit-satirizing way), Stephen Colbert announced his “disapproval” of his “warm-up act’s” battle cry and made his own big announcement: the March to Keep Fear Alive, happening at the same place at the same time as Stewart’s.  Whether you’re a rational, free-thinking Daily Show fan, or part of the fearless (yet also clearly rational) Colbert Nation, the event is sure to be fun, entertaining, and maybe even poignant, if those in the media and in power will listen to what these straight-talking comedians have to say.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
March to Keep Fear Alive
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News

And, in case you were wondering, yes, I plan on attending. My sis and I are booking flights to DC ASAP and we hope to see you there! Years from now, when my children study about this time in American history, when they learn of the ridiculous rhetoric and the legendary comedy it spawned, when they discover the crazed talking heads and the hilarious detractors (who would grow to become TV comedy legends) I want to be able to tell them, “Yes, my children, I attended that rally. You know, the good one.”

May 27 2010

Five Television Programs I Adore

After the jump are five TV shows you should be watching, whether on TV, Hulu, DVD, or by illegal means.  Just watch them.  These are not ranked, and they are not necessarily my all-time favorites (I’m leaving out many of my favorites, in fact) – they are just shows I am currently in love with.  You will love them too.

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