Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Six Pack: Six Great TV Shows This Decade

I really get freaked out by top ten lists as much as I love reading them. I always get an inferiority complex about all the amazing stuff I haven't consumed. But I had to throw my hat into the ring somehow. And given my strange obsession with the Six Pack idea here on Pop Culture Platinum it seemed fitting to do some kind of list. But I got freaked out about writing about music because I just didn't know where to start, so.... instead we have six of my TV faves of this decade. By no means definitive and certainly missing a few things but a bit of fun nonetheless

Without further ado:

30 Rock: Plenty of great sitcoms this decade as the traditional styles of Friends and Will and Grace that were so popular made way for less of a reliance on canned laughter and traditional camera set ups. This gave us The Office (UK & US), Curb Your Enthusiasm and Arrested Development and many more. But 30 Rock is my personal favourite. A genuinely brilliant ensemble cast and a fantastic lead performance from Tina Fey backed up with whipsmart pop culture references and a fine mix of one liners and surreal moments it is an endlessly rewarding watch. And it is always hard to argue with The Muffin Top Song.

Mad Men: I had to have one "proper", "serious" drama on this list! And it might as well be this. In a decade were serious character driven drama won awards and audiences (you can thank DVD boxsets for that) from the big daddy The Sopranos to the most name dropped series of the decade, The Wire there is no shortage of innovative dramas that demand your time. Mad Men is my pick of the bunch. The period detail is sublime and the world of Sterling Cooper is brilliantly drawn. Throw in the complex, multi layered character of Don Draper and the lovely, lovely Joan and you have a show that has truly earned all of the praise heaped upon it.

Gilmore Girls : One of the most underrated shows of this decade. A genuinely sweet but still sharp comedy drama that brought a small town to life with an ease other comedies would kill for, the real ace in the hole for this series was the dream team of Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. A too good to be true pairing they may have been (who talks like that with their mother? Nobody) but they brought the sparkling and oh-so-fast scripting to life with style. Put aside any preconceptions you may have about a family drama set in a small town and dig in, Gilmore Girls is one of the most tightly scripted TV shows you'll ever see.

The Hills: There had to be one reality show here. In a decade when a new genre of TV was born The Hills brought gloss, glamour and lots and lots of blank stares to our screens. Compulsive and beautifully shot The Hills may appear to be about very little but that is part of its charm. One of the few shows looking at 20 something life and connecting with our new found celebrity culture it really is no surprise this show struck such a nerve. Whether Team Heidi or Team Lauren of just Team I Really Should Not Be Watching This, The Hills was the reality show to beat this decade.

The O.C.  It may now be a bit of a TV relic but it would be a shame to dismiss the quality of the show when it got things right. The O.C. gave teen drama a warmth, humour and knowing quality that was very of the decade. Happy to engage with a passionate online fanbase and as comfortable with comedy as it was drama The O.C. is every bit a teen classic as My So Called Life or Buffy (in its own in joke heavy, overly soundtracked way) and the TV show that made using "hot new bands" acceptable as way of scoring a show (we're looking at you Grey's Anatomy).

Veronica Mars: One of my favourite shows EVER and one that I will consistently rave about if given half the chance. A sharp, witty, moving, noirish, addictive thrill ride and one that will hook in the most cynical of viewers. The first season is a masterclass in how to build a mystery over a season of TV while still have plenty of time for one liners, relationship drama and father-daughter bonding. This should have so much bigger than it was. You owe it to yourself to check it out. Not least for the lead Kristen Bell who is several shades of amazing. She should become a huge film star, like many a great TV actress, but whether she does or not she will always have her winning performance in this to fall back on.

Some honourable mentions (that didn't qualify for date reasons or they didn't jump out at me at first, which is part of the qualification for this spur of the moment list) : Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Alias, Sex and the City, Undeclared, The Rachel Zoe Project, The City, America's Next Top Model, Life As We Know It, The Simple Life, Chelsea Lately, My Life On The D-List, The Dead Zone, Firefly, Dead Like Me,  Gossip Girl, Samantha Who?, The Osbournes, (this is an awfully trashy list is it not?)

1 comment:

  1. I'll only accept The O.C. Season One. The rest were sub-par.