MCN Blogs
Noah Forrest

By Noah Forrest

Top Ten TV Shows

I’m a bit of a pop culture junkie.  Aside from seeing an average of 150 new films of every year, I also watch a lot of television, listen to a lot of new music, and I read quite a lot of fiction.  As I begin the early preparations of my top ten films of the year list, I decided to give TV its due.  And to answer the critics who will inevitably shout about the ridiculousness of lists…well, I like them and I think they help provoke discussions and (friendly) arguments.  Hopefully my top ten shows of the year will do that.

I want to start by talking about one show you won’t see on this list: Lost.  It was, without a doubt, my favorite show on television while it was airing but I thought it completely crapped the bed.  It wasn’t just the finale, which clearly showed that the creators had no idea what they were doing, but the entire last season.  Within the first seconds of the new season, with Jack on the plane, I thought, “this is not where I want this to go.”  I will always love Lost for the enjoyment it gave me for the first five seasons, but anyone who defends the last season is completely deluding themselves.  I got choked up during the finale, only because it was super manipulative.  I didn’t expect answers to all of my questions, but I expected something that would have satisfied me in a more tangible way.  Every character spoke in vague generalities right down to the very end and I wanted something concrete…I think we all did.

(Note: I’m not including reality shows for two reasons.  1) It’s embarrassing to admit which reality shows I watch (coughRealWorldcough) and 2) I don’t really see the artistry in those shows (coughTopChefcough).)

Honorable Mention:

I really wanted to put Dexter on this list, but I can’t ignore the fact that the first two or three episodes fell flat and the season finale was incredibly disappointing.  Michael C. Hall was as fantastic as ever, but after last year’s killer season finale, this one seemed a little too easy.  Julia Stiles gave the show a new energy in the middle part of the season as Lumen and the deepening of her relationship with Dexter was the most enjoyable part of the season.  I hope she’ll be back next year and I hope the stakes are a bit higher.

I also would have loved to have put Weeds on the list, but I just think it’s petering out.  My biggest gripe with the show from the beginning has been that Nancy Botwin is one of the most despicable characters on television and certainly the worst mother.  I’ve grown tired of seeing her get painted into a corner only to find a way out only because I can no longer root for her to succeed.  Mary Louise-Parker is such a wonderful actress, but I think she needs to spread her wings with a different character.  Justin Kirk, however, still makes the show an entertainment.

30 Rock is still consistently funny every week, but is suffering from the problems that most sitcoms have as they mature: the characters become caricatures of themselves.  Rather than each of the cast members becoming a deeper and more nuanced character, they settle into certain personality traits that ultimately define them.  So Tracy is merely the wacky guy, Jenna the narcissistic actress, Jack the Republican, Liz the lonely gal, etc.  I tune in to every show and I laugh consistently, but I don’t care about the characters in any real way.  It’s like watching a cartoon.  A very funny one.

The Office is like hanging out with old buddies.  I know each of the characters so well that I feel like I know what they’re going to do in every given situation.  It’s a comfortable situation rather than one I tune in to for something mind-blowingly original and dazzling.  I think the show is running out of real stakes for these characters because there is no major conflict unless you count Michael and Holly or Andy and Erin, but those are lightweight issues compared to Jim and Pam’s courtship in the early seasons.  I still love it, but it’s not transcendent television any longer.

The first season of Eastbound and Down was pure gold from start to finish.  The second season finished stronger, but it started out of the gate a little bit slowly.  It took a while for the show to find its rhythm in Mexico, but once it got going (right around the time that Stevie shows up), it really took off.  The last episode was not only hilarious, but oddly poignant and it showed what a terrific actor Danny McBride can be when he wants to.  If only the first two episodes were as good.

Both Modern Family and Parenthood just missed this list because of  a last-second inclusion of something else.  Both of these shows are as funny as they are soul-soothing.  I know that I can flip these shows on and feel the need to call my own family.  Modern Family‘s Phil is proving to be one of the funniest characters on television thanks to a wonderful performance by Ty Burrell and Parenthood‘s Peter Krause holds that show together every week, just as he holds his family together.

Okay, so here’s the top ten:

10) Skins

Nothing gets under my skin (no pun intended) quite like the fact that MTV is re-making this wonderful British show.  The original is frank in its depictions of drugs, sex, and just being a damned teenager.  The fourth season of the show, which follows its second generation of teens, starts off with the suicide of a young girl after she takes some drugs.  The first episode seems to clear up the mystery of why and how, but the repercussions follow our main cast as the season ambles along.  This season falls apart towards the end, especially as Effy develops a strange relationship with her therapist, but it’s engaging enough throughout that we forgive its moments of silliness.  It’s certainly not on part with the first two seasons, mostly because the characters are not as likable and the actors not as charismatic, but it’s still better than most shows on American television.  Jack O’Connell as Cook really surprised me this season, taking a character that I did not care for in the first season and deepening it, making him the true hero of this generation of kids.

9) True Blood

If you think this show about vampires, werewolves, fairies and shifters is too silly, then I completely concur.  But if you can embrace the fact that it’s going to be ridiculous, then I think it’s one of the most entertaining shows on TV.  The political points it tries to hammer home are a bit on-the-nose, but otherwise this is a show that is not meant to be taken seriously.  It’s about watching these insanely beautiful people inhabit a strange world where sexual tension pervades every word and action.  I think Anna Paquin deserves a great deal of credit for being the guide that allows us to believe in this world for an hour every Sunday.  This is a soap opera, but a great one.

8) Louie

Louis C.K. is the funniest stand-up working today, but he’s a difficult person to cast in a television show.  He’s raunchy and dirty, but he brings a strange kind of sweetness to his comedy, a sweetness that is really buried in neuroses.  Lucky Louie was not the project for him because it pigeonholed him in an typical (yet ironic) sitcom.  With Louie, he gets to plumb the depths of his own psyche and he does it by writing and directing every episode; this is Louis C.K. through and through.  It’s a ballsy show too, that is comfortable with whole sections that are not designed to make you laugh.  I especially liked a scene where Louie shares a smoke with the dad of a bully on the steps of his Staten Island home; it’s not funny, but it’s true and it felt right.    With Curb Your Enthusiasm taking the year off, it’s a good thing we had Louie to take the “awkward comedy” reins.

7) Boardwalk Empire

This is a dense show that I think will grow into something gorgeous and even more complicated.  The first season did a wonderful job of giving us this ensemble of great characters that will hopefully be utilized even more in future seasons.  Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt do wonderful jobs of giving us characters that are duplicitous, murderous yet not evil.  Both men have charitable streaks, moments where they do incredibly loving things for the people they care for.  As the season progressed, though, I found myself completely engaged in two other characters: Chalky White and Richard Harrow.  Chalky, played deliciously by Michael K. Williams, is just flat-out awesome, doing what he needs to do for himself and his people.  Richard is just one of the most original and engaging creations on television, a man who lost half his face in the Great War and is now the most sensitive yet cold-blooded snipers ever.  Characters like this (and the ones played by Kelly MacDonald and Michael Stuhlbarg) make up for the fact that Paz de la Huerta is giving one of the most terrible performances I’ve ever witnessed in a great show.  I just don’t know what she – or the creators – are going for with that character, but she doesn’t resemble a rational human being in any way.

6) Bored to Death

Being an aspiring novelist living in New York City, I probably have a greater affinity for this show than most people.  But I will say that I didn’t like most of the first season, finding it off-putting and strained.  But it’s really come into its own in the second season by giving us more Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis.  More importantly, the show has done a good job of getting all three of the main characters together more often because that’s when the show really takes off.  Danson, especially, should be given every award there is for his performance as George Christopher, the perpetually stoned magazine editor and benefactor to Jonathan, our hero.  I think Jason Schwartzman also did a wonderful job of giving us a more sympathetic (emphasis on pathetic) portrait of a struggling author with a love for white wine.  The season started off with an episode in which Jonathan runs around Times Square with an S&M bodysuit on and ends with he and George going to smoke some pot; in between, there were moments of hilarity and startling poignancy.  Poignancy, you ask?  When George is headed off to surgery and the nurses asks him if Jonathan is his son, I was already in tears before he said, “Yes, yes he is.”

5) Saturday Night Live

Know what the worst opinion to have is?  “SNL hasn’t been funny since ________.”  That bothers me so much because it shows that whoever said that doesn’t know much about SNL.  Go back and watch those early “great” years of the show and you’ll see that was just as hit or miss as it is now.  The show was never consistently funny all the time, the skits always ran on too long, etc.  Then there’s “this cast sucks.”  People said the same thing when the cast had future superstars Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, and Chris Rock or when Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon were on.  The point is that, yes, it sometimes misses the mark and there are off-shows, but when it’s on, it is the funniest live-action comedy show out there.  Between the Digital Shorts and Seth Meyers’ wonderful job on Weekend Update, SNL is still going strong and I’m still watching it (well, DVRing it) every Saturday.  If you disagree, then I suggest you go on Hulu and check out Bill Hader’s “Stefon” character who recurs on Weekend Update from time to time…pure deranged genius.

4) Friday Night Lights

This is not a show about football.  I’ve had so many friends of mine who aren’t sports fans tell me about how they have no interest in “a show about football.”  It’s a show about a town, a family, a group of friends and they just happen to be connected to each other through football.  Sure there are scenes of games, but they are way less dramatic than the intimate moments between people.  This season, the show has taken a drastic turn with Coach Taylor stuck with the newly formed East Dillon High football team and we just know that there’s going to be a showdown with his old squad, the Dillon Panthers.  This season took a cue from Necessary Roughness, where there is no shot the team is going to win the championship but you just hope they can stick it to the bad guys.  However, the heart of this show has always been about Coach and his wife Tami, who are the greatest married couple on TV and played expertly by Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton.  Also, Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) is still around breaking and mending hearts wherever he goes; he’s the character that I’ve become more drawn to as the seasons pass, a different take on the reformed bad boy who is not quite reformed but not that bad.  This season introduces new characters and brings back old ones and its to the show’s credit that it all meshes seamlessly.  I wish that this upcoming season (currently airing on DirecTV) wasn’t its last because I can see how it could go on forever…at least as long as Coach and Tami stick around.

3) In Treatment

This is just such a fantastic example of how great writing plus great acting equals a great show.  There are no elaborate sets or special effects, just two people talking in a room and the dramatic tension within those conversations.  Gabriel Byrne’s Paul is an unusual therapist who gets close with his patients and the way in which he aligns with the people he treats is one of the big themes this season.  Irrfan Khan, who has always been an underrated and fantastic actor, absolutely kills it as Sunil this season – a man who is living with his son and his son’s family in the States and the friction between he and his daughter-in-law.  Debra Winger’s episodes weren’t as strong for me, but I thought she was good in them.  I didn’t respond to the “Jesse” episodes early in the season because he seemed like such a brat, but as I continued with it they became some of my favorites and it’s in no small part due to Dane DeHaan’s complicated and conflicted portrayal.  But this season for me was all about Paul’s relationship with his new therapist Adele, played by the uber-talented Amy Ryan.  The episodes start off by turning the “Gina” sessions from the previous two seasons on their head, making us question the ethics of Dianne Wiest’s character.  Then, of course, the complexion of Paul and Adele’s counseling changes and we veer off into unexpected (although not uncharted) territory for this show.  The last episodes weren’t as satisfying as they have been in the past – nothing is really resolved – but I’m hopeful that HBO will renew it for another season.  There may not be a large number of In Treatment fans (although there should be), but we are passionate and loyal.

2) Archer

Hands down the funniest show on television.  It took me a while to watch this animated show on FX, but when I did it absolutely floored me.  I’m not the kind of person that laughs out loud a lot when I’m alone, but this show had me crying from laughter and my neighbors must have thought I was insane.  The show follows the most self-centered and hilariously deranged secret agent, Sterling Archer, who works at an agency called ISIS that is run by his mother Mallory Archer.  I don’t really know where to go from here because I don’t want to ruin a single second of this show for those of you haven’t seen it, but I’ll just say that H. Jon Benjamin does incredible voice work as the titular character and Arrested Development alums Jessica Walter and Judy Greer (as well as Jeffrey Tambor) also do excellent work.  I’ve been quoting this show non-stop since I saw it – the humor is really quite insane, especially when it’s derived from the relationship Archer has with his butler Woodhouse.  Here’s an example and if you don’t find these this type of humor funny then it might not be for you:

Archer: I have to go. But if I find one single dog hair when I get back, I’ll rub… sand… in your dead little eyes.
Woodhouse: Very good, sir.
Archer: [pause] I also need you to buy sand.
Woodhouse: Yes, sir.
Archer: I don’t know if they grade it, but… coarse.

1) Mad Men

The funny thing about putting these two shows together is that the style of the clothes in Archer is heavily based on the clothes in Mad Men and Archer is kind of a dead-ringer for Don Draper himself.  But, there is no longer any doubt in my mind that Mad Men is the best show on television right now and is possibly in the running for greatest television show of all time.  That is not just hyperbole either; I honestly can’t think of another show that has been this dense and this beautifully crafted.  This season of the show could be called “MadMan.”  It  puts Don Draper in a new office with a new apartment, having moved out following his divorce from Betty, and in the early going he does not handle it well.  Gradually, Don tries to become a better and healthier person.  By the end of the season he is engaged and we’re left wondering if he’s really made any strides at all.  The episode where Don and Peggy spend the night arguing as they try to figure out the ad slogan for Samsonite is certainly one of the best in the show’s history, but I think the season finale is even better.  When Don travels to Disneyland and he sees his secretary Megan cleaning up a spilled milkshake with a smile instead of the scowl that Betty would have worn, it’s one of the greatest moments in the show because no dialogue needs to be spoken for us to understand what is happening.  Everybody at that table, including Don’s kids, has a revelation in that moment, but it’s a subtle one.  And it’s moments like that that make Mad Men such a wonderful show, the way it doesn’t feel the need to spell out its intentions, giving us the benefit of the doubt.  It doesn’t talk down to us and it doesn’t talk at us, it asks us to pay close enough attention so that we can make the most out of our experience of watching it.  The agony of waiting another eight months for a new episode is excruciating.

Be Sociable, Share!

16 Responses to “Top Ten TV Shows”

  1. theschu says:

    Oh Noah. If only you had any idea what you were talking about when it comes to LOST. How can you possibly think that the creators had no idea what they were doing with the finale or the final season? I don’t think the final season was one of the best. In fact, it might even be the weakest of the six seasons. But it is still great in its own way and has many many great episodes and moments. While it might not all work, you can’t possibly ignore that Lindelof and Cuse were attempting something risky and bold. Please don’t speak for those of us that love the show and the finale. WE were not let down. YOU were.

  2. Noah Forrest says:

    I used proper pronouns all throughout to indicated that it was I who was let down. The only time I used “we” was at the end of the paragraph and was prefaced with “I think” so I wasn’t speaking for anybody but myself and the loads of people I’ve spoken to since it aired. I don’t see what was bold or risky about ending with the exact same purgatory theory that fans had been postulating since the beginning and which the creators repeatedly DENIED. You think that the creators of the show knew they were going to end the series this way when they made the first season? That’s your prerogative, but I think you’re giving them way too much credit.

  3. Keil Shults says:

    As much as I love Mad Men and found it to be one of the year’s best shows, it probably wouldn’t even be in the running for my Top 5 All-Time Series, let alone #1.

    Nope, the best TV series of all time is The Wire. That is a statement I’ve been sticking by for many years, and I can’t imagine it changing anytime soon, especially with the recent downturn in American TV programming.

    But back to your article…

    I agree that Lost (which I loved over the years, despite its flaws and inconsistencies) ended with a lame finale to an equally lame season. Fanboys can try to justify and defend it all they want, but it simply did not work for me. Will I eventually own and re-watch the entire series? Probably. Will it dramatically shift my opinion? Almost certainly not. The show was a breakout hit that didn’t quite know where to go after it’s wildly popular debut season. And so it meandered, leading us down countless roads, many of which went nowhere. The writers were scrambling, almost from the get-go, and anyone who thinks they had a game plan from day one (or even day one of Season 2) is kidding themselves.

    As for the shows you mentioned, but did not list in the top 10…

    I would certainly have placed Dexter, Modern Family, and Eastbound and Down above True Blood, which quickly went from amusing to almost painfully ridiculous. Are we sure Ryan Murphy doesn’t have a hand in that show? Ludicrous writing and an annoying leading performance from Anna Paquin don’t help matters. In fact, I wish Sam Merlott would just eat her one night, move to Texas, and start his own show. But of course, it involves vampires and sex, so it’s become highly popular as its gotten worse.

    And while you may not have seen some of the shows I’m about to name, I’ll nevertheless take the time to mention some good shows from 2010 that didn’t make your list, for whatever reason. In no particular order:

    1) Fringe – During the final season of Lost, I actually found myself more curious about what would happen on Fringe each week. The show probably lost some viewers during Season 1, due to its initial X-Files knockoff nature. Its monster-of-the-week episodes, using Dr. Bishop’s eccentricities as comic fodder, and reliance on improbable science to provide a basis for (and solution to) many of its early episodes, made it easy for many to turn the channel. However, those that stuck around saw a major shift taking place by the end of Season 1. While most expensive shows in ratings trouble would have eased up on serial storytelling, Fringe actually deepened its mythology and complexity. And yet much of it felt like the natural extension of a sincere vision, even though I’m sure they still don’t know exactly how it’s going to end. But thankfully they’ve been able to make the show richer and more intriguing while also enriching the characters, their relationships with one another, and actually bringing genuine emotion into the series.

    2) Breaking Bad – While not its best season, it’s still one of the best shows on TV. Absolutely riveting.

    3) Sara Silverman Program – I actually don’t remember these episodes from early this year well enough to distinguish them from the previous seasons, but it’s still a wonderfully delirious show. The robot baby episode alone makes it worthy of mention.

    4) Justified – A slow burn debut season for a show that really found a unique voice over the course of its first 12 or so episodes. I’m eager to see where its sophomore season takes us.

    5) Parks and Recreation – Its third season hasn’t started airing yet, which is a shame, because its second season took it from a cute show to a truly hilarious one. Anxious for this one’s return. More Aziz, please!

  4. Arran says:

    What, you don’t watch Community or something?

  5. Krillian says:

    For those who question where True Blood’s going, read the books. It veers dramatically in many areas (like Lafayette still being alive) but yes, the silliness abounds.

    My Top Ten Shows He Didn’t Mention:

    Community, Justified, Breaking Bad, Cougar Town, The Good Wife, The Big Bang Theory, The Walking Dead, The Tudors, Party Down and The Daily Show.

  6. Noah Forrest says:

    Community, Cougar Town, Walking Dead all should have been in my honorable mentions.

    Party Down should have been in my top ten somewhere, thanks for reminding me of that one Krillian…excellent show, can’t believe it got canceled.

  7. Keil Shults says:

    Oh yes, The Walking Dead! While this initial season was far too brief, I nevertheless enjoyed the show and think that it will really pick up steam during its second season, which will contain at least twice as many episodes.

    And I know you were asking Noah about Community, but since I didn’t mention it either, I’ll just say this…

    I’ve watched maybe the first half of Season One, which I found to be merely okay. I have all the remaining episodes DVR’d and should hopefully plow through them during the Spring. It seems like I’ve read that it has improved, which I hope is the case, because so far I’m really not impressed.

    I didn’t watch many new series this Fall (many people didn’t, it seems), but one new show that I’ll admit is a guilty pleasure is No Ordinary Family. While it’s been a bit depressing to see Michael Chiklis go from The Shield (easily one of the best shows ever made) to this, the show has its own unique charm. It’s one that my wife and I can watch as we eat dinner, without worrying if we miss a line of dialogue here or there.

    Shows like True Blood and Glee, which I started watching from the beginning, became a chore to sit through. I’m a completist when it comes to pop culture, so I have forced myself to sit through True Blood’s first 3 seasons, though there were many times during the past two seasons that I found myself asking, “Why am I still watching this?” My wife is kinder to True Blood than I am, which is another reason I’ve suffered through its mediocre writing this long. But after stomaching the entire first season of Glee, my annoyance with the show and my principles convinced me to take a stand and just say “no.” I don’t need to waste what time I have left on this planet watching a string of nonsensical events and unrealistic musical numbers cobbled together solely for the purpose of selling song downloads on iTunes.

    I would eventually like to try The Good Wife. It looked like a show I wouldn’t enjoy, but the deluge of critical praise has me willing to give it a shot when I have time. My wife loves Party Down and we own Season One on DVD, but I haven’t watched it yet. I will definitely be consuming that one soon. And I’ve also heard good things about The Big Bang Theory, but again, I watch so many things as it is, and I’m naturally resistant to most sitcoms. Still, I’m sure I’ll give its first season a whirl at some point, especially if the 2011 TV season proves as lackluster as this year’s.

    I’ve seen about the first 6 or 7 episodes of both Boardwalk Empire and Treme, but have yet to finish the initial seasons for either series. I was anxious as hell for both of them, and while I’ve admired various aspects of each, neither has proven to be as impressive as I’d hoped. Still, I will probably be finishing both over the holidays and maybe their final acts will improve my overall feelings toward them. Treme has so many great elements, but the lack of a real narrative thrust has made it difficult to become genuinely intrigued. I don’t find myself anxious to see what happens in the next episode. And while I respect the ensemble, Altmanesque nature of the show, it makes it difficult to become deeply connected to most (if not all) of the characters. Still, The Wire was a show that worked like a novel, with its full impact not always being felt until late in the season, so perhaps the final four episodes of Treme will really bring it home for me. And maybe a repeat viewing down the line (without big gaps between the episodes, like during my initial viewing) will help me respond more favorably to the material. It also hasn’t helped that I have tremendous expectations toward anything David Simon touches. Boardwalk Empire, however, has a bit stronger narrative thread, but it still lacks a truly intriguing central character. And I don’t agree with Noah that Michael K. Williams comes even close to approaching a state of awesomeness. In The Wire? Sure. But here (at least in the first 7 or 8 episodes) he simply isn’t believable to me. One of the show’s weakest elements, if I’m being honest. Even Michael Pitt, who I had major reservations about in the beginning, seems to be doing a better job.

    And finally…Weeds.

    Sigh, what can I say about this one? I started watching it several years ago after finding the Season 1 Blu-ray on sale at a cheap price. It was fun and edgy enough to keep me somewhat entertained, especially when Andy was on screen. But it quickly began going downhill, and really took a nosedive once they left Agrestic. More annoying than the ridiculous plotlines, which seemed to be pulled from a hat at random, is the increasingly skanky and careless role of Nancy Botwin. Why the hell do I even care what happens to this waifish slut and her bland/obnoxious kids? I seriously hope that Andy spikes her mocha latte with arsenic, leaves the kids stranded in some ghetto alley, and drives off into the sunset…free to live life as he sees fit. I will, however, say that this season was better than the previous two. Hopefully it can build to a decent conclusion next season, which I would imagine has to be its last.

  8. Scott says:

    Good column Noah. I’m glad you shared your top tv shows of 2010. I just finished watching season 1 of “In Treatment” and I’m hooked. I’m going to start season 2. I’m part of the small, devoted, following now. If I were an actor I’d love to be part of this cast.

  9. Michael says:

    Just to clarify, Noah, the purgatoryesque theme only applied to the flash sideways. If that had been the premise behind the whole show, I would have been disappointed. As it was, I found the finale extremely satisfying. After spending six years with such a wonderful group of people, I couldn’t imagine an ending that didn’t allow them some measure of happiness. In my mind, Lost stands out as the greatest TV show ever produced, thanks in large part to the greatest cast of characters ever assembled.

  10. theschu says:

    @Noah. Once again, if only you had any idea what you were talking about when it comes to LOST.

    “I don’t see what was bold or risky about ending with the exact same purgatory theory that fans had been postulating since the beginning and which the creators repeatedly DENIED.”

    I can’t try to convince you that the final season was bold and risky. But you are wrong about the fans purgatory theory. The theory was that the island timeline was purgatory. The creators denied that theory and they turned out to be RIGHT. The island was not purgatory. As a matter of fact, the show never even used the word purgatory in the finale. Just fans and bloggers and media writers like yourself.

    “You think that the creators of the show knew they were going to end the series this way when they made the first season?”

    No I don’t. They repeatedly, in many interviews, said that they figured out the overall mythology and direction of the show before the beginning of Season 2. That is not to say that they figured out everything. Before each season they would meet and figure out the major beats and story lines. It’s all out there in print and video interviews.

  11. Noah Forrest says:

    Dude, your condescension is amazing, with your “if only you had any idea…”

    I watched the show for 6 years religiously. I re-watched every episode several times. I read many interviews with the creators of the show.

    None of that made the last episode enjoyable for me. You bought into what they were selling and I didn’t. I blindly followed the show for 6 years under the pretense that everything was going to be explained. I was also watching under the pretense that the whole “purgatory” theme was ludicrous. I get it, they aren’t dead on the island, but they still used the whole after-life as a “flash sideways” in the final season, which was very unsatisfying to me. It’s also a huge cop-out. Instead of spending that time on those flash sideways to the afterlife, I would have rather the show runners focused on what was happening on the island since…you know, that’s why we watch the show. We’d already gotten everybody’s past settled, I just wanted the island stuff to be resolved and instead of doing that, they introduce new locations (a lighthouse that somehow Sayid never found when he walked around the entire island) and new characters (like the useless Dogen) when there was already an abundance of characters and locations.

    Instead of pouring the soup into the bowl, they just kept adding ingredients. That didn’t work for me. I’m glad it worked for you.

  12. Travis D says:

    Great article, would have made a couple changes but it’s an opinionated subject. I haven’t watched Dexter season 5 yet (start tonight) but am a huge fan through season 4. Thanks for the Louie and Friday Night Lights love. Haven’t seen the remake of Skins but the British version was pretty awesome. Keep up the good work and I shall follow!

    Travis D

    PS: Lost fan boys, realize this is purely opinion based. Stick to your bromance sites if you can’t handle different opinions.

  13. chuddeluxe says:

    Walking Dead, Spartacus, eastbound and down,curb your enthusiasm, weeds, venture bros., archer. Some of my favorites as of late.

  14. theschu says:

    @Travis D I can handle different opinions about LOST. But there’s a difference between an opinion and a statement posed as if it were a fact.

    @Noah Although you didn’t address either of the two statements I mentioned in my previous post, I actually agree for the most part with you about the flash sideways storylines. I don’t think they were completely necessary and while they worked as a device for allowing past characters to come back, they also kept us in the dark as to what they were really all about until the final moments of the final episode. Which had me not be able to get fully invested in them (the flash sideways storylines) all the time, which detracted from my enjoyment of and emotional involvement in the final season.

    While I was able to forgive the inclusion of the lighthouse and dogen, I think the weakest episodes were the ones involving The Temple. I don’t think they should have spent so much time there. It reminded me of the season 3 episodes when Jack and Kate and Sawyer were trapped in cages on Hydra Island. The season took off for me once they escaped.

    And yes, there were many unanswered questions and mysteries left when it was over. Some of them, like the mystery of Jacob’s cabin and the ash, frustrated me that they weren’t more clearly addressed.

    And to be honest, I too hoped the show would end in a different way. The last two seasons were my least favorite. I liked the grounded, more realistic tone of the first four seasons and hoped it would end with the same tone instead of venturing into the fantasy and heavy sci-fi elements of seasons 5 and 6.

    That said, I still think it’s one of the best, most challenging and risk-taking tv series ever created and there will never again be anything like it, for better or for worse.

    Or, to quote Anchorman: “Agree to disagree.”

  15. Thank you for Top ten TV and Noah Forrest.

  16. Dave Harrow says:

    Agree with you about True Blood. Skins I really enjoyed as it was so raw.
    A noticeable omission from your list in my opinion is The Good Wife.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon