Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top 10 TV Shows of the 2000s

The requirement for these shows to make the list was that they had to begin on or after January 1, 2000. So, sadly, shows like Farscape, Buffy, and Freaks and Geeks cannot make the list because they all technically started in the ‘90s, even though they all played into the 2000s.
If this was solely a persona list, a couple of shows would be switched, but I tried to be more democratic about it. Still, subjectivity people. I guess also I’m only including American shows, otherwise Skins and Being Human would probably be contending for a spot! And I'm not including any reality TV. For that matter, there are no crime shows in here either, so ha.

10. Tie - The Office (NBC) 3/24/05 - present & Dollhouse (Fox) 7/28/09 - present

I know, I know. But I had to give them a tie here! I couldn't fairly put Dollhouse when its first season really wasn't very good until about halfway through, but you could say the same for the first season of The Office too, yes? Yes. So, firstly, The Office. There's always something relatable, but maybe that's just because I have some personal experience working in offices. What makes it work is that it can be outrageous, but it's also very true to life. It's that delicate balance that the show has been getting (mostly) right since the beginning. And of course there's the epic Jim/Pam romance.
Now, Dollhouse. Anyone who knows me knows I don't have much love for Eliza Dushku's acting "abilities" (I could say the same for Tahmoh Penikett), but she's grown on me this second season, now that she has her own personality. The writing has gotten crazy good lately, and it's really quite sad that it's going down just when it's found its stride. And come on, Enver Gjokaj. Did you see him playing Topher? It was uncanny. He transforms himself into every personality, it's quite amazing. I can't wait to see what's in store the rest of this series.

9. Veronica Mars (UPN, CW) 9/22/04 - 5/22/07

The first season of Veronica Mars was one for the ages. While each episode had its own individual case that Veronica would solve, it would also touch on the overall arc of the season - who killed Lily Kane and who raped Veronica. While the second and third seasons both have their merits, they never really could live up to the brilliance of the first, and some would say the third was a travesty, though I still enjoyed it. I think it's kind of one of those things - you have a mystery for the first season that gets solved, it's hard to keep going from there. I've heard something similar about Prison Break. Anyhow, this was one of the smarter teen shows out there, particularly when you compare it to the more recent 90210. Ah Veronica, I miss you and your whip smart wit.

8. Battlestar Galactica (SciFi) 1/14/05 - 3/20/09

Some people would probably give this show a much higher rating, while some may forget about it altogether (or more likely never saw it). The main reason why BSG doesn't get a higher rating on this list is because I rarely felt like I just had to watch it, but when I did watch it, I really enjoyed it, though let's face it, there were a few boring episodes now and then. A lot of people hated the way it ended, and I admit I really, really hated one line in the very end, but for the most part I think it was pretty satisfying. In any case, the acting and writing were top notch, and let's not forget the production value, which was awesome.

7. Supernatural (WB, CW) 9/13/05 - present

It's no secret to my friends that I'm a little obsessed with Supernatural. I've watched it from the moment it began back in 2005 and have been enthralled ever since. The first season was very episodic - that is to say, most episodes were one offs without much to do with the overall plot. About halfway through the season, though, the writers figured out that the story was less about what the Winchester brothers were fighting than about the boys themselves. Some would claim that the show has gone a little off the rails this season, and I sort of agree particularly with the self-referential bits getting a little out of hand, but it is still one of the most entertaining shows around. Plus there's Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. Come on, now. I dare you not to cry one manly tear along with Dean or be taken in by Sam's puppy face.

6. Chuck (NBC) 9/24/07 - present

I actually read the pilot script for Chuck way before it ever aired, and honestly I thought it was only okay. But I decided to give it a try anyway, and I'm glad I did! The show has really only gotten better and better as it has continued, and I really can't wait to see what's in store for season 3 now that Chuck's got the new and improved intersect. What I love about this show is pretty much what I love about Supernatural as well - it does a great job of combining humor with action and drama, though I'd say Chuck is definitely more focused on humor generally speaking. What also makes this show shine is all of the supporting characters, from Casey to Captain Awesome and the always entertaining Jeffster. Fingers crossed that this season does well enough to keep the show going for seasons to come!

5. The Flight of the Conchords (HBO) 6/17/07 - 3/22/09

New Zealand folk duo Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement brought their shtick over to the states, and I am certainly glad they did. I actually am not sure whether I've seen all of the episodes or not, but never fear, I have them all in my possession to watch now. There was just something so quirky and strange about the pair that made them so lovable. And let's not forget the very catchy music that always enhanced each episode. I'm sad that the show won't be coming back, but it's totally understandable since they had to come up with all of the music along with the stories! Oh well, at least they're still around. 

4. Six Feet Under (HBO) 6/3/01 - 8/21/05

While Six Feet Under may have had some bumps around the middle of its run, the beginning and end of the series completely make up for any of those small failings in between. Just thinking about that montage at the end set to Sia's "Breathe Me" makes me tear up, not to mention a certain death that came before that from completely out of left field and left me staring at my TV going "WHAT! NO!" That's how much I loved Nate. Everyone was flawed but lovable in their own ways, and I got completely sucked in every episode. There was humor, there was drama, and it all worked so well. Man, now I want to watch it again.

3. Friday Night Lights (NBC, DirecTv) 10/3/06 - present

Here's another show that I didn't think I would be interested in that I've now become kind of obsessed with. I'm so happy I've got DirecTv because it hurt so bad last season to wait while I knew other people were watching the show! Anyway, anyway. The first season was nearly perfect, and if you forget about the second season, the third and now the fourth seem to be continuing in that tradition, despite having to say goodbye to many of the main players as they grow up and move on. While some shows struggle with introducing new characters, FNL seems to have a pretty good track record. It's nice to see a show that deals with realistic situations in a realistic way, though that's probably why it's had such a ratings struggle over its run. Nonetheless, it's lasted much longer than anyone could have predicted, and for that the TV viewing public should be very grateful.

2. Arrested Development (Fox) 11/2/03 - 2/10/06

You know, it would be interesting to see whether Arrested Development would have fared better in today's TV climate than it did back when it was on. I think it has definitely paved the way for shows like 30 Rock and probably even Modern Family. It was certainly ahead of its time in the zany humor department, but that's what made it so great. I'm actually quite amazed it even got to air on Fox, and hey it did last 3 seasons. The Bluth clan was seriously out there, but so very entertaining. I caught a few minutes of an episode just a few hours ago and was reminded how funny it still is today. The humor hasn't aged at all, so if you haven't seen it, seriously, do. I mean, if you trust my TV opinions so far.

1. Lost (ABC) 9/22/04 - present

Oh, what a crazy show. Though certainly hard to follow sometimes, Lost wouldn't be Lost without all of the intrigue and mysteries. And it was very revolutionary when it came on, as there were not a whole lot of serialized shows on TV beforehand. Compare that to now, and you can see the impact it's had. The show is coming to an end this season. It will be very interesting to see how everything gets wrapped up. That's one thing you can say for the show - it's always throwing twists and turns and keeping the audience guessing. Would you have guessed there would be time travel based on the pilot? I think not.

Honorable Mentions: Scrubs (NBC, ABC), Gilmore Girls (WB, CW), Mad Men (AMC)

Shows I loved but no one watched: Dark Angel (Fox), The Invisible Man (SciFi), Everwood (WB), The 4400 (USA), Reaper (CW)

Too soon to tell: Glee (Fox), Modern Family (ABC)

Shows everyone raves about but I never had a desire to watch: The Wire (HBO), Firefly (Fox), Carnivale (HBO), Deadwood (HBO), Dexter (Showtime), Breaking Bad (AMC), True Blood (HBO), Weeds (Showtime), 30 Rock (NBC)

So, do you agree? Have I forgotten anything? Am I just completely wrong? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. VERY surprised that Grey's Anatomy didn't even get an honorable mention?....::scratches head::

  2. I could really only give Grey's Anatomy season 2 props. I still watch the show but don't care much about it anymore.

  3. Oh, Veronica Mars...you were awesome!

    I'm more in love with some of the shows you have in your bottom categories! I'll be happy to go on and on with you about Dark Angel and The 4400!

    And Deadwood and Firefly are both AWESOME. The writing on Deadwood was amazing. And if you like Joss Whedon at all you'll find enjoyment in Firefly!

  4. I was totally obsessed with Dark Angel while it was on, I'd say it was a precursor obsession to Supernatural. Hmm, both feature Jensen Ackles. Coincidence?

    I've tried watching a couple episodes of both Deadwood and Firefly but never got really into them. Maybe I'll try them again someday.

  5. You whiffed big time. Breaking Bad not even in top 10. The Wire not in top 10. Wow!! Your list has little credibility. Why?? Lost #1. By your own admition is all over the place and hard to follow. My vote, The Wire & Breaking Bad top 2 shows of the decade.

  6. Like you Jen I really like Dark Angel, but have only recently discovered it via following Jensen Ackles from Supernatural, which is my all time favourite show. Like Veronica Mars on your list as well, but my interest wained in Lost after Season 1.

  7. Love you for putting lost where it belongs, it and supernatural are in my top 3 along with Justified. as for those you haven't watched I'd take a pass on most of them maybe watch the first four seasons of Dexter if you get motivated the thing is once you've seen Lost you're not expecting anything to be as good. I can recommend The Strain, Vikings, Black Sails and Bloodline from more recent years. Continuum if you like smart time travel stories and sociology - I'm boycotting showcase now that they've sent it to it's grave because it had the potential to edge out Justified in my top three. Anyway I'll stop rambling, keep blogging and stay classy.