Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Best Series of the Decade

For some reason, it hasn't hit me that many people consider this to be the end of a decade - the first of this new century. I'm honestly confused about whether a decade begins with "0" or with "1", but I'll just go with the popular consensus.

This list includes shows that may have started at the end of the 1990s, but to me, they are shows of the decade. This means that one of my favorite shows ever, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, will not be on the list - it definitely is a show of the '90s.

That said, here's the list, in no particular order:

1. Lost - of course Lost is first on my list. Even if it had been in order, no other show this decade has come close to this show in character development, suspense, mythology, and emotional involvement.

2. The Wire - okay, true confessions, I've seen two episodes of this show. But too many people and critics for whom I have respect love this show for me to leave this off the list.

3. The Sopranos - I was a latecomer to this show, not having HBO for a long time. But once I started watching, it was impossible to quit. It may have been uneven in its past couple of years, and a lot of people were frustrated by the wait between seasons, but still, these characters and their stories always stuck. Tony's mother always scared me more than most of the mobsters.

4. The Closer - the best of the TNT dramas focusing on an eccentric character played by a big name, The Closer has excelled in drawing some of the best character studies out of the whole ensemble. Flynn and Provenza never fail to delight.

5. House - if I did have this in order, this show would probably be lower, simply because of its unevenness. However, anyone who's spent time with Hugh Laurie's acerbic doctor recognizes the brilliance of that portrayal. House's struggle with his Vicodin addiction and recovery has been nothing less than phenomenal. I really hope Laurie gets that long-deserved Emmy next year.

6. Mad Men - yes, people argue that it's all atmosphere, but no one does it better. There aren't too many characters on this show that I'd like to spend time with, but I do thoroughly enjoying watching them. This year's season finale was exceptional - Don Draper finally takes control of his life!

7. Friday Night Lights - I have watched two episodes of this show, but, like The Wire, it is too well recommended for me to ignore.

8. 30 Rock - uneven, but never less than hilarious. Alec Baldwin is fantastic.

9. Top Chef/Project Runway - the Bravo reality competition series that have set the standard. Unfortunately, the quality of each season is often dependent on the cast of characters/contestants competing for the prize, but they are both fun to watch.

10. Arrested Development - ended far too soon. Always funny, and with its own skewed view of the world, this show never failed to make me burst out laughing.


  1. Nice list, but I think Battlestar Galactica needs to be included. I'm also surprised you didn't mention Six Feet Under or Dexter. I give you a great deal of credit for not listing those God-awful CBS comedies (How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men) that everyone loves.

  2. The problem with Top Ten lists is that something is always left off. Plus, I've a terrible confession - I've only seen one episode of Battlestar Galactica. I am hoping to correct this oversight on my part in the next six months. Had this been a Top Fifteen list, I am sure it would have made an appearance. I saw several seasons of Six Feet Under. A good show, but it never seemed to fulfill its promise to me. I've not seen Dexter, but it is definitely a Top Fifteen. What I failed to include - twice - is Deadwood. It would puss The Closer down.

  3. If I made a list it would include:
    Curb Your Enthusiasm and 24 in addition to your choices of Lost and Arrested Development. And, if I'd be honest with myself I would include Blind Date. A special mention to The Mole (competition based reality shows was by far the dominating genre of the decade).

    I think you should have just made this "your" list with a special section manking us know the critical darlings not on the list. Allow FNL, BG, and The Wire a chance in the future to earn their place.

    Finally, Ill give Network of the decade to FX. From The Shield to Damages, they know what niche to hit. (don't get me started on Sunny/Philadelphia's awesomeness)

  4. The Shield would be number 1 on my list. For the decade and for the history of television. In fact, I have vowed to never watch the Emmy's again because of the travesty of passing this show and its amazing actors over year after year. And now you, my favorite TV blogger, have also passed it over. I'm devastated. (mostly kidding, with a pinch of truth). I will not boycott you, though. Unlike the Emmy's, I recognize and respect that the blog is a single subjective opinion. The Emmy's are a group of opinions that are supposed to bring more objectivity due to the nature of aggregation. And I suspect you've never even seen an episode.

  5. Nicole, I'm glad you won't boycott me. I had forgotten to even mention The Shield, a show I've not watched, but it also has the respect of many I respect, including yourself. It's hard to develop these lists, and I even forgot a show I have watched (Deadwood). Perhaps I should have done a list as TQ suggested - a top ten of what I've seen and honorable mentions to those I haven't. Well, there's always next decade.

    As for boycotting the Emmys, I completely understand. As you know, I'm a huge Joss Whedon fan, and the fact that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was practically ignored year after year was also a travesty. Sadly, the Emmys voters are consistent in ignoring genre and basic cable shows while honoring some shows of questionable quality (Boston Legal, anyone?). The only reason Damages gets any attention is because of Glenn Close. But I find myself year after year watching them anyway, and now that I'm blogging on TV, I feel even more obligated to watch them.