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October 9, 2015

Best and Worst of 2008: Allison's list

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 3rd 2009 11:03AM
badIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times ... and a lot of it happened right on our TV screens. As we look forward to 2009, here's one more glimpse back at what was good and what was really NOT in the year gone by.

Overall, it seems like the Writer's Strike really hurt the business. Shows that might have survived, didn't. New shows have been stuck in development longer than usual. But despite all that, there were moments that were thrilling, shows that are terrific ... and those that weren't.

Best shows
Breaking Bad - Bryan Cranston is amazing in this drama, the AMC hit that's not Mad Men.

House - The most interesting character on television. Hugh Laurie make House must-see TV.

NCIS - After all these years, it's better now than ever. The chemistry of the team, the un-military military milieu ... it all works seamlessly.

Friday Night Lights - Please watch this when it comes back to NBC in January! These characters are so real, the situations so compelling ... it needs more viewers.

Pushing Daisies - Brilliant writing, great performances, whimsy, humor, music ... everything but ratings.

Burn Notice - Fun, fun, fun, with just enough tension and drama to keep you on your toes.

The Office - Comedy comfort food. I can watch the antics of Michael, Pam, Tobey and Dwight again and again.

Big Bang Theory - A comic geekfest with a breakout star turn by Jim Parsons. In its second season, it's taken off.

Psych - Charming and goofy in the best sense of the word.

Mad Men - The best show on TV. There's nothing more to say.

Worst shows (no explanation necessary): Kath & Kim, My Own Worst Enemy, The Rachel Zoe Project, Wife Swap, Greatest American Dog, Crusoe

Worst change of format
Guiding Light, the oldest soap opera on the air -- going on 71 years on radio and TV -- reinvented itself for 2008 with a new style of filming on location in a small New Jersey town that became Springfield. Instead of being innovative and interesting, it just looked cheap and slipshod, like a low-budget, independent production. CBS and Procter & Gamble turned a profit with this new business model, but the fans hate it, and it hasn't helped the ratings one iota.

Worst idea for the Emmys ... Reality TV hosts
What were they thinking by asking five hosts from reality TV shows to anchor the Primetime Emmys and then give them nothing to say? DOH! But then again these were the same brains that put Heidi Klum in a tuxedo.

Worst decision by a network
ABC for letting Pushing Daisies die. This charming, wonderful, whimsical comedy is destined to be a great show that couldn't make it on commercial TV. If it had been on HBO or Showtime or even AMC (like Mad Men), it would still be in production.

Worst success story

Ryan Seacrest. He's everywhere, hosting, producing, guesting ... why? He's not talented or particularly attractive, yet Ryan Seacrest is a star and he's not slowing down.

Best success story
Kathy Griffin. She's taken a ho-hum TV career and turned it around thanks to her Bravo reality show, My Life on the D-List, which is the best of the celebrity genre because it never takes itself seriously. Seriously, the Kardashians could learn a thing or two from Kathy.

Best network
Turner Classic Movies (TCM). It remains true to its mission, honoring and presenting great movies from the history of cinema.

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Two Blondes

Allison, we agree that Friday Night Lights is sorely underrated and we're not above begging friends, family, coworkers, random people on the street...to start watching it. It made our top list for 2008 too: http://twoblondeswalkintoablog.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/two-blondes-reflect-on-2008-year-in-review/

Please pitty me that I not longer get AMC and therefore can't watch Breaking Bad or Mad Men. I have never seen Breaking Bad, but Alison (my writing partner) keeps telling me how awesome it is.


February 03 2009 at 6:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Kudos for calling out Ryan Seacrest! The guy is a douchebag.

January 05 2009 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can't get enough of House. It's so funny! I can't stop laughing when I hear Dr. House's witty remarks http://www.entertonement.com/clips/45873/All-on-my-jock

January 04 2009 at 4:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with Jude, Crusoe is a pretty decent show, now given a death-slot of Saturday night, where it will only be seen by older people like me who stay home on Saturday's. You say 'no explanation nescessary', but you really do need to explain why it's on your worst list. And-I know I'm in the minority here- but I enjoyed My Own Worst Enemy a lot. I'm sorry to see it go. On the other hand, I watched the whole 1st season of Daisies and I'm NOT sad to see it go, I think it was over-rated. And since I can't stand Mark Harmon, I'll never watch NCIS. To each his own, I suppose.

January 04 2009 at 12:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh, and the 'House' character was more interesting--and original--when James Spader introduced the character as Alan Shore on the last season of The Practice.

January 03 2009 at 10:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Kath & Kim is a hoot, much more enjoyable than that cringe-fest known as The Office.

Any 'best' list that doesn't include Lost is a joke.

January 03 2009 at 10:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Weird. I really like Crusoe. Don't see anything really wrong with it at all. I liked the first episode of Pushing Daisies, but didn't really like any of the others (and I watched them all). Psych wasn't overly funny this year. I detest Friday Night Lights (I've watched both seasons--stupid show). I watched Season 1 of Mad Men on DVD and loved it, but I stopped watching Weeds, as it became too disgusting. In other words, TV is an individual thing (and you and I would probably not be friends).

January 03 2009 at 12:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jude's comment
Joe in LA

I agree. I think Crusoe is an underrated little gem of a show. That criticism just didn't ring true.

January 03 2009 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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