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Home / Articles / · Archive / Film & TV /  True TV | TV ?08: The greats and the grating of 2008.
Film & TV

True TV | TV ?08: The greats and the grating of 2008.

By Bill Frost
Posted // December 24,2008 -

The Best
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Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, Life on Mars (ABC): The first two have been canceled; the latter will return Jan. 28, 2009, paired with Lost. Life on Mars, about a present-day cop mysteriously transported back to 1973, actually improves on the British original—when was the last time that happened?

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Gary Unmarried (CBS): Jay Mohr’s sitcom managed to wring genuine laughs from what seems like a standard-issue divorced-dad sitcom because Mohr simply doesn’t give a damn anymore—and Paula Marshall finally pleased the TV gods (and me) by appearing nekkid on Californication. Hence, success.

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Chuck, Life, My Own Worst Enemy, The Office, 30 Rock (NBC): Second-year series Chuck and Life are hitting their creative strides; The Office and 30 Rock are refusing to dumb down despite basement ratings; My Own Worst Enemy, now canceled, was too creative and un-dumb for its own good.

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American Dad, Bones, Family Guy, Fringe, House, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Fox): For a network that depends on idiot-fodder karaoke and dancing shows for the bottom line, the scripted stuff is damned solid.

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Easy Money, Reaper, Supernatural, Valentine (The CW): This network won’t exist beyond 2010 (mark my words), and the underappreciated Reaper and Supernatural probably won’t be around for the funeral. And The CW’s gamble to farm out Sunday nights paid off in two above-average series (Easy Money, Valentine) that no one saw.

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True Blood, The Wire (HBO): Paired with a so-so Entourage season, new HBO vampire drama True Blood still picked up serious steam and viewership—enough to forgive a ridiculous season finale, even. As for The Wire … there’s literally nothing left to say.

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Californication, Dexter, Weeds (Showtime): Season 2 of David Duchovny’s Californication felt a little off, but at least it refused to play things safe. Same goes for the ’08 seasons of Dexter and Weeds, both of which took huge risks (Weeds moved to the border; Dexter moved toward humanity) that will likely pay off well next season. A broadcast network would never allow that, which is why broadcast networks are dead.

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/The Middleman (ABC Family): Anything would be too smart for ABC Family, but the geektastic Middleman (think Men in Black meets vintage Saturday-morning action cheese) probably will never find a proper home—not until the Sci-Fi Channel merges with Comedy Central, anyway. ABC Family hasn’t officially canceled The Middleman, but it seems as likely to return as (insider joke alert) finding a cherry Hruck Bugbear on CarMax.com. I’ll miss you most of all, Dubby …

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The Drinky Crow Show, Moral Orel, Metalocalypse, The Venture Brothers (Adult Swim): Not all Adult Swim shows are random insanity aimed at insomniac stoners. These, for example, and … yeah, that’s about it.

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It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Rescue Me (Minisodes), The Riches, The Shield, Sons of Anarchy (FX): Its new companion comedy Testees was waaay too hit-and-miss to fall to either list, but It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia somehow raised (lowered?) the bar again this year in the Can You Fucking Do That on TV? category. The Shield went out (in)gloriously, and The Riches was canceled after a writers-strike-shortened season, but the new Sons of Anarchy picked up the family-drama slack. And Rescue Me’s five-minute “minisodes” veered wildly from comic to poignant to utterly confusing—just like The Only TV Column That Matters™. Hence, success.

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The Rest of the Best
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Breaking Bad, Mad Men
(AMC); The Sarah Silverman Program, South Park (Comedy Central); The Chelsea Handler Show, The Soup (E!); The Whitest Kids U Know, Z Rock (IFC); Battlestar Galactica (Sci-Fi); Burn Notice, In Plain Sight (USA)

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The Worst
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Eli Stone
(ABC); Worst Week (CBS); Kath & Kim, Lipstick Jungle (NBC); Gossip Girl, 90210, Stylista (CW); The Cleaner (A&E); Flash Gordon (Sci-Fi); Frank TV (TBS); Raising the Bar (TNT); The Starter Wife (USA); anything/everything (MTV, VH1)

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/New Year’s Eve for Shut-Ins

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New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly (NBC): The former TRL host who apparently has a late-night talk show on NBC (who knew?) rings in the new year with Elton John, Ludacris, T.I., the Ting Tings and talentless skank Katy Perry (left), who assures us that she won’t be kissing a girl. So, why tune in? Because Elton John might! (Wednesday, Dec. 31)

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 Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest (ABC): What do you get besides the two names in the ridiculously long title? Kellie Pickler, the Jonas Brothers, Ne-Yo, Jesse McCartney, Natasha Bedingfield, Fall Out Boy, Solange and Robin Thicke. So, in 2009, the term “Rockin’” is more subjective than ever. (Wednesday, Dec. 31)

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 New Year’s Eve Live (Fox): Spike Feresten, who apparently hosts a late-night talk show on Fox (who knew?), kicks out 2008 with American Idol winner David Cook and American Junkie finalist Scott Weiland. (Wednesday, Dec. 31)

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A Miley-Sized Surprise: New Year’s Eve 2009 (MTV): Miley Cyrus, live from a lucky fan’s bedroom! As if that weren’t sordid and wrong enough for MTV, the Veronicas, All Time Low, The Academy Is, Metro Station, Kevin Rudolf and other popular rock combos you’ve never heard of stink up Times Square back in New York. (Wednesday, Dec. 31)

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Moral Orel Marathon (Adult Swim): Nineteen of Moral Orel’s greatest hits till dawn—and, thankfully, very few of ’em are from the depressing, crash-and-burn series-ending run. Golly! (Wednesday, Dec. 31-Thursday, Jan. 1)

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Entourage Marathon (HBO): All 12 episodes from Season 5, which begins with Vince hiding out in Mexico, sipping cervezas and riding hot jet skis and hotter women after the critical/commercial death of Medellin. It takes at least a dozen eps to explain why the hell he would leave that. (Wednesday, Dec. 31-Thursday, Jan. 1)

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Listen to Bill Monday, Jan. 12 at 8 a.m. on X96’s Radio From Hell. “Rockin’” at BillFrost.tv. Even more True TV linkage at MySpace.com/TrueTV and on Facebook.

 
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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // December 24,2008 at 12:31 Thanks for mentioning Supernatural. I suspect, though, that it *will* be around until 2010. Smallville’s ending after this season. The CW will need Supernatural for what is likely going to be the network’s final season.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // December 24,2008 at 12:30 Thanks for mentioning Supernatural. I suspect, though, that it *will* be around until 2010. Smallville’s ending after this season. The CW will need Supernatural for what is likely going to be the network’s final season.

 

 
 
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