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Best and Worst of 2008: Debbie's list

by Debra McDuffee, posted Jan 2nd 2009 9:00AM
finale of Rosie Live

How can we enter a new year without celebrating the last year's best and worst TV? Not a lot of the new shows were impressive, but I've been entertained for the last year, so I can't complain.

In making out my lists, I realized I must be a half-full type of gal, because even my worsts aren't that bad, and I had a heck of a time coming up with them.

So, here are my lovin'-life, lovin'-TV best and worst lists for 2008:

Best new show -- Leverage
Man, I love everything about this show -- the chemistry between the characters, the quotable quotes, the clever jobs, the flashbacks. It's the most entertaining hour on television right now. Thank you, TNT!

Best TV headcase -- Zeljko Ivanek
As Ray Fiske in Damages and Jason, the hostage-taker in House's "Last Resort," you'd think Ivanek might be a little off-kilter in real life. Top it off with the role of Dr. Linus Wagner, the killer in The Mentalist pilot, and you've got yourself a professional headcase.

Best voice-over -- Dexter Morgan of Dexter and Michael Westen of Burn Notice take it for the tie

How can I choose between the two most perfectly crafted, intelligent and witty voice-overs on TV right now?

Best soundtrack - Life on Mars
I stand by my position that the best songs were written before 1980, making this soundtrack of a show set in the '70s flawlessly entertaining.

Best quote -- Dr. House, House, M.D.
"Aren't there other ways I could get pregnant? Like sitting on a toilet seat?" - Female patient
"Absolutely. There would need to be a guy sitting between you and the toilet seat, but yes. Absolutely." - House

Best sustained laugh provided by a sitcom -- naked poses in How I Met Your Mother
"The Naked Man" is one of my favorite episodes of How I Met Your Mother, and when Barney and Ted were on the phone, trading naked man poses, I laughed, deep and long. This was the cancer-preventing laugh of the year for me.

Worst new show -- Do Not Disturb
In all fairness, I never got past the pilot of this one, because it was so horribly bad. Maybe the other two episodes they aired redeemed Jerry O'Connell's reputation? I bet they were as good as Arrested Development. OK, end sarcasm.

Worst new show based on a book -- True Blood

I know, it is critically acclaimed. People love it. Just not me. The quick, snappy book series with the feisty Sookie ruined me for this slow-paced, dark series.

Worst spent hour of my TV life -- watching Rosie Live!
From the duet with Liza Minnelli to Gloria Estefan dancing with Rachael Ray and a giant turkey, I want that hour of my life back.

Worst season premiere of a great show -- "Do I Know You?" -- How I Met Your Mother
Waiting all summer long for the funniest sitcom on TV to come back is hard enough. But when they hit you with a lackluster premiere, full of Ted whining and Barney pining, it is very disappointing.

There you have it: my list, for better or for worse.

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Matt Dentler

LEVERAGE is great!

And, now, LEVERAGE is available in HD on the iTunes store:

January 02 2009 at 6:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Leverage gets so much press on this site, and it's all so ridiculously positive. Best new show, what a joke! It's barely watchable fluff, with completely unbelievable plot lines and badly cliched characters.

For your sake I hope this was mandated because you are part of the same corporate network.

January 02 2009 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Leverage is okay, but true blood is better.....Bill Compton makes it a little boring something but everything else is perfect

January 02 2009 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Huh - I watched the premiere episode of Leverage and it was just so so for me. I like character driven shows more than not, and this one just didn't pop for me.

I love True Blood, and read the first installment of the books and didn't like it much at all. Reminded me of something for kids, while the HBO show is all adult.

The House quote is great; if I recall, he was on fire that episode, slinging them out one after the other!

January 02 2009 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with the above. "The Mentalist" is the best new show this year. "Leverage" doesn't do it for me.

And Michael Westen for best voiceover would be a tie with Dexter if Westen actually had something to say. Westen basically reads stage directions. I'm always waiting for him to say "entering stage right:". Everything he says is so meaningless and redundant as well as repetitive. For me it was the reason to stop watching that show. More than once I was sitting there going "I SEE THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO TELL ME THAT". Most of the time he sounds like somebody explaining the show for blind people. It's as if the Fonz was telling the viewers why what he does is sooo cooool. And that ultimatively makes it extremely uncool.

January 02 2009 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to StillBash's comment
Debra McDuffee

If Leverage hadn't recently premiered and stole my heart, I would have put The Mentalist as the best new show; I love that one too!

I like the "MacGyver" tutorials in the BN voice-overs, as well as the explanations on how to be a spy. C'mon, they're fun! ;-)

January 02 2009 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Leverage isn't that great. It's boring and predictable. It's a poor imitation of BBC's Hustle. Actually it's trying to be like Hustle but comes off more like the A-Team.

Check out Hustle if you want to see clever plots.

January 02 2009 at 11:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I actually liked "Do not disturb". I like Jerry O'Connell in everything since Sliders, but I thought that the performance of Molly Stanton was the real highlight of the show. She played the "senior" but still very young desk receptionist in a great way. It was also good to see Jesse Tyler Ferguson again who was in my favorite canceled-to-early show "The Class"

January 02 2009 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Debra, I love and agree with your whole list here. Up for "Honorable Mention" for Best New Show should be "The Mentalist" though for pretty much all the same reasons "Leverage" has. Both shows have been a breath of fresh air in an otherwise lackluster fall season for new shows.

My only real complaint with ANY show on TNT is that I simply must DVR them or start watching a minimum of 15 mins late so I can speed thru the simply ENDLESS, repetitive plugs for upcoming TNT shows. I realize the network wants to promote their content and I will give them that but PLEASE try to limit it to ONE plug per show per hour!!! I am so tired of seeing an ad for "The Closer" et al no fewer than five times in one show... PLUS the obnoxious screen overlays during the show itself. I would much rather sit thru five minutes of real sponsorship by vendors than have to deal with TNT's ads. Surely I can't be alone here?

Oh, and Sophie is the BOMB!!

January 02 2009 at 9:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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