I’ve been waiting to write this list for months. It’s one of my favorite blogs all year because I love the excuse opportunity to talk about tv.
Before I begin, I’d like to recognize the loss of The 4400. I know, no one else watched it. But it was somehow intoxicating. The first season I just sat and watched each episode thinking, “It’s not that great or particularly brilliant. Why can’t I stop watching it!” Every time the opening music came on my world was in order. Granted, by the end the mythology was fairly convoluted (messing with time will do that). But it was engaging and fun. And I wasn’t the only one who liked it. At the end of each season I found my Sunday nights somewhat hollow.
Now, onto perhaps my most obscure list to date…
10. Chuck. Granted, I only watched like 4 episodes (if that) of Chuck but I would have watched it all if it wasn’t on at the same time as How I Met Your Mother (which oddly enough isn’t on the list this year) AND The Sarah Connor Chronicles. But even in one episode I was convinced it’s better than Heroes. And this list is predominately “shows you’re not watching” so that can apply to me also. And if you argue, I’m just going to play the “It’s my list” card.
9. Sanctuary. Ok, so in character depth this is barely two steps away from being a Saturday afternoon show. But Sanctuary gets to be on the list for the novelty of beginning as a web series, getting picked up by the SciFi channel, shooting almost entirely on green screen and still being pretty decent. and for really trying to be good.
8. Bones. The first procedural in the history of the list. I don’t normally watch procedurals, but this one has really wonderful characters. Bones is just weird (and occasionally infuriating) but how everyone reacts to her keeps her interesting. Booth is really cool for a lot of reasons. And I like a good puzzle as much as the next person.
7. My Own Worst Enemy. You weren’t the only one not watching this show because it’s already been canceled. Even though the premise was odd the story was involving and well constructed. The supporting characters had surprising depth. And Christian Slater differentiated and balanced his two characters very well. My Own Worst Enemy could have gotten interesting if it’d been given the chance.
6. Lost. It was definitely back this season. The new dimension of the flash forwards gave it a new compelling life but only complicated how twisted and incomprehensible the mythology has become. The characters were all surprising and engaging again, but I’m bitter about how convoluted Lost is which is what’s keeping it so far up the list.
5. Eureka. Again, not the best show ever, but like nothing else out there. Eureka has it’s own brand of quirky funny characters; sweet moments and odd ideas. Carter is consistently fantastic and I actually miss Stark. Even if it wasn’t great it was always amusing.
4. Stargate Atlantis. In many ways Stargate Atlantis was in top form. I didn’t think I’d like Woolsey in his new capacity, but I ended up really liking what he brought to the show and his interactions with the existing characters (especially the power struggle with Sheppard). On the flip side, I hate everything they’ve done with Keller, making her inane and then involving her in so much of the stories. But then again, it still has Sheppard and McKay and Dr. Jackson showed up this season so it’s still pretty good.
3. The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Not flawless certainly (see again how messing with time complicates things) but the action is top notch, it’s pretty well written, intriguing in the mysteries it raises, John and Derek are both really dynamic characters, and it promises to be exciting and fascinating in the new year, even if the winter finale was lack luster. They need to learn from Supernatural a little and really let us see the ramifications of the season premiere on John. Oh, and The Sarah Connor Chronicles has fantastic music courtesy of Bear McCreary.
2. Supernatural. Shocking, I know. How can Supernatural not be number 1? In the history of this list, it’s always been number 1 for good reason. And this year was no different. The end of season 3 was insanely committed to it’s inevitable path and where that took the characters. The writer’s strike even got rid of Bella’s storyline for us quickly. The first half of season four has infused the mythology with new blood and gone places both dark and glorious. It’s still funny, scary and haunting. They’re at the top of their game and have every reason to be number one.
Except you can’t beat…
Battlestar Galactica! Granted, the first half of season 4 was lacking. It hasn’t given me a lot of what I want after the mind blowing end to season 3. But it has also had some insatiably exciting and funny and moving moments in the midst of the flaws that are undeniably brilliant. Also, I watched the entire first 3 seasons in 2008, so I get to factor those into my scoring. Lee’s speech at the end of season 3, Helo and Athena’s appalling action to retrieve Hera, the horror of Pegasus that is unspeakable, the hope of Kobal, the heart racing heroic energy of New Caprica and all of the wonderfully tangled remnants that left. Battlestar Galactica is stunningly good and deserves to be number 1.