Monday, December 14, 2009

Noughties TV Poll, I Love Everything Edition

ILE did a poll of TV for this decade, and I've reproduced my results below (if you're curious about the complete results), along with some comments I wrote for a select few programs (which, unfortunately, didn't crack the top 50):
  1. The Wire
  2. 30 Rock
  3. Doctor Who
  4. Freaks and Geeks
  5. Sports Night
  6. Justice League Unlimited
  7. Generation Kill
  8. America's Next Top Model
    For about six ineffable seasons, ANTM was the realization of reality tv's full potential. It created a world that bore only passing resemblance to ours, interested only in gazing on itself and reproducing itself, in which the rules were dictated by an increasingly megalomaniacal autocrat, where vain, silly, catty, usually dense, often fame-craving girls who pliantly follow these rules while in their spare time blowing up petty trivia into world-combusting spectacles all so that they can win something that has barely any real-world value, except the real-world value is us watching the self-contained, self-perpetuating inanity being driven to the limits of tolerance where, magically, it becomes absurd and dramatically engrossing all at once. A surreal masterpiece.
  9. Bones
  10. Friday Night Lights
  11. Teen Titans
  12. So You Think You Can Dance
  13. Project Runway
  14. Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles
    This is a show that underachieved for most of its run, but somehow managed to keep me watching. I don't know if they were banking on the attractiveness of its stars or the built-in fanbase, but I just kept being strung along by its aimless and convoluted narrative, bored all the while. Then almost overnight (in actuality, the transition between the first and second seasons) it turned into a mercilessly bold piece of sci-fi which sharpened all the dangling plot threads (excuse the mixed metaphors, they work in a scif-fi context, see?) and made all that time I wasted watching it instantly worth it, and it even became an engrossing (and weird) family drama, with guns.
  15. State of Play
    I watched it a month or so ago, and I couldn't help but think that this is how the last season of The Wire should've played -- the same narrative density, the same shorthand dialogue, the same, droll gallows humor used to push against the tedium/inanity found in a given profession, and the same weight of institutional self-interest that individuals run into. Also: the endings for both are kind of stupid.
  16. Da Ali G Show
  17. Survivor
  18. Undeclared
  19. Lost
  20. The Amazing Race
  21. The West Wing
  22. The Simpsons
  23. Veronica Mars
  24. Battlestar Galactica
  25. Futurama

Looking back at my ballot, a few things to note.

First, if you look closely, you'll notice I put Sports Night and The Simpsons on there, even if their 2000s output was marginal. See, I went by a simple criterion for picking my top 25 -- if I loved the show and it had any episodes this decade, I put it on there. This poll was hardly rigorous or definitive and I wanted to rep shows that mean a lot to me, so there. And, my vote for The Simpsons was something of a lifetime achievement award.

Second, I'd probably switch Freaks and Geeks with Doctor Who if I were to redo my ballot; F&G had the benefit of such concentrated awesomeness that from its first episode to its last, it never had a poor episode. It certainly doesn't have any episodes about Victorian werewolves or Daleks in Depression-era Manhattan. But man, Who delivered some astonishing sci-fi gigantism, so this doesn't rate as a heinous decision.

Third, I ranked The West Wing too high -- within the last few years, I rewatched seasons 1 and 2 and thought they were both much more cloying than I remembered. (Caveat: a lot of shows don't fare terribly well on second viewings -- which is why Veronica Mars ended up so low; The Wire even suffered after I watched it again but is so unlike anything else in terms of content and quality that it's still my favorite program by far.)

Indie rating: Isis – "Carry"


Margot said...

Wait... Are you calling the '00 decade the noughties? I came up with the same thing! :)

dixly said...

I love your analysis of ANTM. It's just so true (and hilarious). The show is just so hynoptically mindless yet I too am drawn into that maelstrom.

Leee said...

dixly, thanks. I wrote that blurb before Cycle 13 turned awesome, FWIW. (And I kind of regret not making the effort to blog it this year, &hearts Nicole.) I honestly love/loved the show to a point where I can't tell if I'm being ironic or not.