BEST OF 2007 - TELEVISION
To begin with, I want to cover just the calendar year of 2007. That would be the 2nd Half of 2006/2007 season, the Summer, and the first half of the 2007/2008 season. Just wanted to say that in case that is helpful to anyone.
- LOST - Personally, I felt the entire third season was great - even the six episodes from 2006. But if you remove the six B-grade episodes from the total score, the series was back to "Best Show on Television" status. Absolutely gut-wrenching and tense, with the richest mythos on television. The season finale was unbelievable. It was better than about 95% of all movies. And the last few episodes managed to make Heroes' finale look like amateur hour.
- 30 ROCK - Sure the show started a little rough in 2006, but by 2007 the show was the funniest 30 minutes on television. (Yes, that includes its NBC comedy buddy that is listed next.) The beginning of this season was even zanier and funnier. Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, and the rest are absolutely gut-busting. The episodes are brilliantly written - even addressing things like the Iraqi war, racism, corporate greed without being heavy-handed. And the guest stars are unbelievable. Any show that can say Jerry Seinfeld was only the fifth best guest star knows how to stunt cast.
- THE OFFICE - There are two major challenges of all long-term shows. First, how do you advance story lines without losing what made the series popular? And second, how do you become popular and stay "cool"? These were the battles for The Office. We'll see how things go overall, but to date they have handled some potential landmine story lines with humor and brilliant writing (Jim & Pam romance, Michael & Jan romance, Ryan's promotion). There have been some bumps (like the one hour episodes this fall), but overall I laugh -- a lot.
- BIG BANG THEORY - By far our favorite new show from 2007. It helps that we are geeks and the show is about geeks. The laugh track is pretty annoying, especially when getting used to watching no canned laughter on NBC's Thursday shows. But it is a very very funny show.
- MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL - I put this on last year too, but 2007 was a brilliant year for MNF. There have been four legitimate classic-level games this year - ones that make you kick yourself for falling asleep too early in the morning. And adding Ron Jaworski instead of Joe Theismann was a great move.
- FOOD NETWORK - When exactly did a channel about food become one of the best stations on television? Their roster of newer shows are amazing: Dinner Impossible, Bobby Flay's Throwdown, Feasting on Asphalt, Ace of Cakes, Diners Drive-ins and Dives, Iron Chef America. And their "Next Iron Chef" short season was six weeks of tension, brilliance, and fun. Best reality show I've seen in years. And it had an unexpected outcome. The guy who was very shaky week one wins the whole thing - we wanted the guy who came in second to win. But then one his debut episode on Iron Chef, everyone realized why he won. We actually watch it more than any other channel. Great stuff.
- HONORABLE MENTION - Shrek the Halls, Scrubs, Upside Down Show
- WRITER'S STRIKE - I don't know where I stand on this. It is very easy to feel like you have to side with the poor writers instead of the greedy billionaire owners. But the strike has undeniably ruined what could have been a great season. It makes me wonder if things will ever be the same on television. And what happens when this goes on for months and months? I can't wait to see the horrible reality shows we are forced to deal with to fill hours. On the plus side, we watch a lot less television. And a lot more Food Network.
- ESPN - I officially am tired of ESPN. With the exception of Mike and Mike in the Morning and live sporting events, I can't think of a single show on ESPN that I would even watch. They began the entire process of sportswriters just being argumentative to get face time. And they have blown more stories than any other news outlet. Would CNN or ABC get away with an anchorman insisting that he was sure a corporate CEO was abandoning his company for a rival - the same day as the Annual Meeting - only to be proven wrong? Yet ESPN did that with LSU's football coach. Some of the personalities I used to like (Chris Berman, Stuart Scott, Kenny Mayne) have become so arrogant and self-involved that I hate listening to them.
- YO GABBA GABBA - Seriously, watch this once. It will scare you forever.
- HONORABLE MENTION - Cable News Shows, Sopranos Finale, Most of 2007 Season