Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Top Eleven TV Shows of All Time

Slav’s excellent critique of modern television got me thinking—what are the eleven best shows of all time? Why eleven? Because I was going to do ten but couldn’t decide which one to cut. I am only going off of my own experience here, so right off the top, I’ll admit that I haven’t seen “The Wire” or “The West Wing,” so they won’t be included on this list, as deserving as they may be. Also, on-going talk shows did not merit consideration, so no “Real Time with Bill Maher” or “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn” (and yes, I realize I said Kilborn and not Ferguson—Kilborn was the fucking man). Also, the amount of a show that I have watched came into play—everyone raves about the Sopranos, but I only saw the last two seasons, which were absolute shit, so it’s not on the list. Also, I saw a decent amount of Rome’s second season, but not enough to pass judgment on it, so it, too, fails to make the list. I’m sure I forgot some others, too, so feel free to mention them in the comments. Here’s one intrepid blogger’s opinion:

11: Entourage. Through the first two seasons, this show was headed higher on this list. Much higher. The jokes were hilarious, the characters fairly well-developed, and it was just a lighthearted, hilarious look at the life of a charmed Hollywood celebrity. After Season 2, though, there were a bunch of problems. The show started focusing more on Ari, which can be good, but too much Ari makes him tiresome. The whole “biggest star in the world can’t get a part, then magically does, then is in the gutter again” cycle was repeated a couple of times. The two Don debacles were awful. And the dialogue was nowhere near as funny as before. There were always a few good jokes per episode in recent years, but they just didn’t click like Drama’s “Um, no, I, DON’T.” The 5th Season finale was proof that this show has lost its way a bit—out of the blue, despondent Vince lands a Marty Scorsese movie? Fucking ridiculous. However, the first few seasons were so good that it deserves to be on this list.

10: Star Trek: Deep Space 9. Yeah, so I’m a fucking nerd. So what. Quit laughing. Seriously. Shut the fuck up. Big fucking bully—Stop it! STOP IT! MOM!!! MOOOOOOOOMMMMMM! OK, now that that’s out of the way, I have to say that yes, I do enjoy the Star Trek series a little bit. No, I am not anticipating the new movie, simply because it looks way too effects-driven, and it seems that J.J. Abrams would be happy to light DeForest Kelley and James Doohan’s graves on fire, just so he could piss on them to put it out. Simon Pegg? Come the fuck on. Anyway, DS9 was a little darker than other Star Trek series—once the Dominion War got going, this show was awesome. Of course, there were too many “cute” episodes mixed in there, but overall this show deserves a spot somewhere in the top ten.

9: Battlestar Galactica (2001-2009): Like the Sopranos, I got into this show sort of in the middle of things. Luckily, Sci Fi made a handy catch-up guide where I was able to learn pretty much everything important in eight minutes or so. Sure it lagged at times, and there were times where you wondered what the frak…err…fuck was going on, but I found the (apparently extremely polarizing) finale to be excellent. And, I have to say, I called it from the minute I started watching. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but “FUCK YEAH!! IN YOUR FUCKING FACE RON MOORE!!!” Apologize for the outburst. Even though it might be a little to Sci-Fi-ish for a lot of you out there, those who watched it know it is far more than some simple-minded sci-fi drivel like those Stargate shows.

8: Mad Men. I’m only half-way through Season 2 at this point, but Mad Men is a fantastic show. It’s a throwback to a time when women and children knew how to treat their men. Don Draper is my hero. He’s thirsty? One of the kids better fix him a drink, quick! Dinner’s not ready when he gets home? Unacceptable! Combine this with the man’s creative sensibilities, and the adventures of our heroes at Sterling Cooper, and this show is a great watch. I hope to finish out this season before it returns in the fall. I just don’t understand why HBO didn’t pick this up—they could have made it Top-3 material.

7. Family Guy. Sure it can fail spectacularly at times, and yes it seems like some random new chick is writing every third episode, especially this season, causing the jokes to fall flat since she obviously does not get the character dynamics or the show’s sense of humor at all. But overall, you have to admit, they have more hits than misses. Brian and Stewie are great, and the evolution of the show from cheap, one-trick pop culture reference to nuanced one-trick pop culture reference has been great to watch. I don’t know why it’s still funny, OK? It just fucking is.

6. The Office (UK). What a great show. Though the U.S. version has become a very good comedy in its own right, it all started with Ricky Gervais’ portrayal of David Brent in the British version. The writing was absolutely “spot on” throughout the entire series, and the characters were quite well-developed. More importantly, the show actually was able to provoke an emotional response—quite a rarity for a comedy. I’m not gonna lie—at the end of the Special, it got a little bit dusty in my dorm room. So what? What, am I less of a man because I cry? Every night? Waiting for the sweet, sweet booze to dull the…I CAN’T FUCKING TAKE THIS ANYMORE! I HATE IT!!! I FUCKING HATE IT!!!”…ok, sorry…I’m back…everything’s cool dude…nothing is fucked, dude…

5: Frasier. When is the last time that you ever watched an episode of Frasier? Come on, be honest. Even though it is buried in syndication on Lifetime, the beauty of Tivo is that you don’t have to sit through the countless promos for absolutely awful-looking movies starring Sigorney Weaver and LeAnn Rhimes. But I digress—Frasier is the smartest sitcom to ever grace the airways. The level of acting and writing, even when the show uses more “screwball” elements, is just a notch above even Seinfeld. Frasier is so pompous, yet insecure, that he makes for a great, yet flawed, protagonist. Niles is flat out one of the best characters in television history—the way he combines snobbery, weaselness, and cowardess with enough endearment to make you root for him was an amazing performance by David Hyde Pierce. Marty and Daphne keep the show somewhat grounded in reality, making fun of the two brothers for their opera and wine club habits. I would highly recommend you put this on season pass right now and dig right in.

4: Seinfeld. This was an agonizingly close call between Seinfeld and Frasier. Absoultely agonizing. I guess that’s more a testament to how good both shows are as opposed to my own pussiness. In the end, I think the reason Seinfeld won out is because I have literally watched every single episode at least 3-5 times, some of them many, many more. It’s not only the characters and the excellent dynamic they had, or the “popular” lines (“yada, yada, yada!” “Spongeworthy!”), but rather a lot of other “throwaway” lines that have found their way into the lexicon without many people realizing it. At one point, JSugar and I watched Dumb and Dumber and we counted around 50 lines from that movie that people use all the time without realizing it. Seinfeld is the exact same way. Overall, that’s why it gets the nod over Frasier.

3: South Park. What a masterpiece. I have no idea how two guys in their thirties (forties?) still manage to make such good tv. Cartman has always been fantastic, but in recent seasons, I have to admit, Randy Marsh has really come into his own. I think he represents what a lot of the show’s initial fans have become—guys who are tied down and have to try to act respectable, but in their hearts, just want to play video games and stay young. An absolutely amazing show.

2: The Larry Sanders Show. I have previously written about the “Best-of” DVD set, but I still don’t think that people realize how fantastic this show was. Aside from introducing three of the greatest characters on television (Larry, Artie, and “Hey Now!” Hank Kingsley, the show was incredibly well-written and just a how-to seminar on comedic writing. The ancillary characters, such as Wallace Langham’s disgruntled writer Phil and Bob Odenkirk’s Ari Emmanuel/Gold-channeling sleazy agent really tied the show together. I implore you to rent season 1 and the “Best of” discs since those are the only options for watching it at the present. You will not be disappointed.

1: LOST. What is there left to say that has not already been said? The show that already had everything—drama, intrigue, hot chicks, comedy, mystery, and, perhaps most of all, excellent character development—recently added the one element that could possibly catapult the series into a completely different level: fucking time travel. Sure it’s not clear what the “rules” are necessarily, and sure they’ve had a couple too many “What is it?” “More like WHEN is it!?!” exchanges this season, but this season has done a fantastic job of tying up some mythology-based loose ends while advancing the ball quite a bit. I have to say, I’m a big fan of Sawyer’s Dharma puppet regime (does anyone think that Horace is really in charge here?). Also, it’s good to see Kate and Jack get their comeuppance now that they made it back to the island. Despite the overall coolness of the “WE HAVE TO GO BACK!!!” line at the end of Season 3, maybe Jack will find that being a janitor on an island where you constantly live in fear of a giant fucking smoke monster and a nerdy teenager with round glasses isn’t exactly the greatest situation to be in. By far the best show of all time—it just isn’t even a contest. If you haven’t started watching yet, here’s what to do:

1. Go to Blockbuster/your NetFlix queue. Rent LOST Seasons 1-4/make sure LOST Seasons 1-4 are at the top of the queue.

2. Watch around 1 season per week/weekend. Go ahead—it’s ok. G-Gel Unit, Slav and I once watched 12 hours of season 2 straight. It was fucking awesome.

3. Buy this season on iTunes. Trust me, by the end of season 4, you’ll be begging for it.

4. Sit on the floor of a cold, dark room, clutching your knees, Thursday-Wednesday, with the TV turned to abc. Keep repeating “4,8,15,16,23,42” while gently rocking back and forth. At 9/8 central on Wednesday, sit up straight and don’t blink for one hour. Repeat next week.

So that’s pretty much it. Until next time.


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Monday, March 16, 2009

Fuck you if you like these TV shows

1. Heroes
My god could this show get any damn worse? I began watching Heroes last year and thoroughly enjoyed the first season thinking I had found yet one more show to waste my life trying to keep up with. Thankfully, the writers of Heroes have made it easy for me by turning the show into an absolute shitfest.
The above photo is of Milo Venti or something and he plays Peter Petrelli on the show. Peter Petrelli is a nerdy New Yorker who then realizes he has acquired incredible powers and chooses to save the world. Sounds a lot like Peter Parker but I let that slide for the sake of the show. Now however Peter Petrelli gives me the look above about 50 times during the hour long show. It's that elitist view that apparently was written into the script as all of the characters on the show continue to glance over at each other and prefer to convey script through glances instead of actual dialogue.
The show has gone from interesting to irrational as the first season was just explanation of super powers, the good and the bad guys, and how they must save the world/destroy it. A simple plot, but nonetheless enjoyable to watch. Season 2 goes on a rampage however on time travel, secret villains, alternate universes, people dying then being reborn, and alternate versions of bad/good. If it sounds confusing it is because it was. I consider myself an educated individual and I couldn't make heads or tails of what was going on. I prefer my puzzles in Sudoku form where I know there will be a solution and Heroes simply threw up ideas without any explanation or need to go back. Lost manages to throw out puzzles but continue to hint at them through subtleties in the show that keep me interested in the exact opposite way that Heroes tries to.
Fuck Heroes except for one character named Sylar who fucks shit up without rhyme and reason keeping him the only stable character in the most unstable TV show on the air.

2. The Mentalist
Are you fucking kidding me? How does this guy get work while Grant (G-unit) still has to wait tables and wait by the phone crying for his agent to call. It is an unfair world. First of all, was the name Smart Guy or Observer already taken for TV shows? The Mentalist is a stupid name for a stupid show. It is a smart guy who observes things and makes random inferences from things he sees. This concept is already in the show House (Much better show by the way) and is absolutely retarded on its own. This guy constantly looks like he is on the verge of buying a mesh tanktop and going down on the nearest guy. As much as I like witty and astute commentary this is flat out shit.

3. Grey's Anatomy
Get over it, this show is for women and if you watch it you are a woman. If you are a woman, continue enjoying the show.

Why didn't I include any reality TV shows you may ask. Because I love reality TV, so go fuck yourself. As a side note I would like to add that I hate King of the Hill, but realize it is not that bad of show. I hate it mainly because BigBabyDavis loves it and also because it interrupts my flow at night on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.



Wednesday, March 04, 2009

World Baseball Classic

As everyone should now know the World Baseball Classic will begin soon and as such I thought it appropriate to discuss the merits of the brackets. There are four brackets which I believe have been divided somewhat suspiciously to favor the Americans and save them from the embarrassment of years past.

Wow, Pool A looks tough! Oh wait, what the hell is TPE and what the hell do they know about baseball? This pool may look strong because of Korea and Japan but in the end the Asians have pitching and that seems to be about it. Their hitting is always lacking thanks to their no protein all carb diet, but I predict Korea and Japan will crush their opposition in this Pool.

You may notice that in Pool B there are two countries that are loads better than their counterparts. If you guessed Australia and the Republic of South Africa you were wrong. Mexico and Cuba are the clear favorites and I find it amusing that they chose not to put these two teams in the American Pool which would have made geographical sense. But no, that might scare the Americans into another humiliation at the sport they invented. The fact is, Australians make up games so they can for once be good at a sport and the South Africans have only gained baseball experience from the oppressive white population beating the teachings of baseball into them. Neither of these teams will perform well and Mexico will dominate this pool with their honor, guile and super athleticism that come from being Mexican and getting to go home to your beautiful latin wife and 17 children. Cuba will come in second with the sheer will of their players to impress on an international stage and get the fuck out of Cuba.

Pool C? Call me when it's over. USA chose the shittiest collection of countries for their own Pool to guarantee themselves a spot in the next round. Venezuela may prove the only threat in this Pool. Clearly the United States will come in first, Hugo Chavez will take second or maybe our neighbors up north, but Italy will most clearly be too busy putting on hair gel, buying gold chains, putting a "sweet" shifter in their I-ROC and travelling to Jersey to be able to win any games.

Let's hear it for Pool D! How the Netherlands got into this pool I have no clue but they will be the clear favorite for most runs against. La Republica Dominicana and Puerto Rico will dominate this category with smooth latin style and the sweet sounds of Daddy Yankee blaring over the Puerto Rican sound system at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Need I mention that DOM has the one player who, "hit home run for Christ." These people grew up loving baseball and playing with sticks and dead Caribbean sea rats. Unlike the over-coaching of the United States they love this game because they love having fun with it. This is the pool to watch and the one to be afraid of.
Let's all enjoy the comradery of international play and never forget that no matter what BigBabyDavis will be sad because he thinks Canada deserves more credit than they get. Unfortunately, like having sex with a "Canadian Girlfriend" Davis will be going home empty handed drinking Labatt and eating Moose fat.