Best and Worst of 2005: Joel's list
It's really hard for me to come up with lists like this, mainly because I try to watch shows that I know I'm going to like and avoid shows that I know are going to suck. Sounds pretty straightforward, but it's actually pretty hard to accomplish. There's a lot of crap out there, and it's very easy to flip right past it as you abuse your remote. So I likely won't stick to just listing shows, especially in the "Worst" section. Life's too short to watch Bad TV.
My Name Is Earl and The Office - Two quirky single-camera comedies that have delivered more laughs in each episode than Joey has in a season-and-a-half. While both shows can be a little uneven -- Earl can get very schmaltzy and earnest at times, and The Office's needs to scale back on Michael's cringiness -- the funny moments outweigh the head-scratching ones. Looking forward to see them on Thursday.
Arrested Development - Fox may have given it the short shrift, but the show continues to deliver week after week, putting the Bluths in ever escalating family discord amongst a swirl of layered jokes that take repeated watchings to catch. For instance, I never caught that scene where Henry Winkler jumped the shark. Guess I need to get the DVD.
The finale of Everybody Loves Raymond - Some people like it, some (like my parents) don't. But there's no question that Raymond ended its nine-year run with a low-key, funny finale that put bloated finales -- like the Seinfeld disaster -- to shame.
Grey's Anatomy - Tired of the umpteenth CSI or Law & Order? Want a drama with humor and heart and not just procedure? Think ER has gotten ridiculous? Then turn on Grey's Anatomy. Characters you care about, storylines that pull at the heartstrings, a great ensemble cast, and writing that's getting better every week. Not a bad way to close out the weekend.
Everybody Hates Chris - Combine Chris Rock's humor with a fish-out-of-water story and a sweet family comedy and you have Everybody Hates Chris. Again, this show's been somewhat uneven, as there have been episodes where Rock's narration has been the only thing that was funny. The quality is there, though, and it's only bound to get better as the kids grow up and the characters develop.
Scrubs - Yes, I know this is number 6, but I have to pay tribute to my current favorite show. Incorporating silly fun, a great ensemble, and writers who dare to go to the loopy side, this show deserved every Emmy nomination it got last year. Judging by the first two episodes of the fifth season, viewers are in for a hell of a funny ride.
Honorable mentions: The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, the news media's coverage of Katrina, How I Met Your Mother, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Gilmore Girls, the "Lazy Sunday" sketch on SNL, Beauty and the Geek.
The War at Home - It tries to be Married... With Children combined with Titus. It fails to be as funny or as clever as either. Generally, it's just a mess.
Freddie - Freddie Prinze, Jr. isn't funny. Period.
Copycat reality TV - Do we really need Supernanny and Nanny 911? Wife Swap and Trading Spouses? Dancing with the Stars and Skating with Celebrities? Please, FOX executives: stop copying other shows and create more shows like Arrested Development and Bones. Then keep them in one spot for more than a month. We beg you.
Every NFL pregame show - Between the sexy weathergirls, Boo-yahs, inside jokes and the hearty guffaws there's some interesting game information. But it's so hard to sit through the rest of the crap, that the information never reaches human ears. We don't need to be amused, we just want to hear about football, ok? It's so bad, it actually makes me long for the return of Brent Musburger.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - You can tell Leno doesn't care. 2009 can't come soon enough.
Dishonorable mentions: Too Late with Adam Carolla, coverage of the Michael Jackson trial, Desperate Housewives and Lost hype, Joey, SNL (except for "Lazy Sunday").