Friday, December 29, 2006

Best of the Best '06

Last column of the year, which means it's Top 10 time. As discussed last week, I decided to spread the wealth with two lists, one for returning shows, one for 2006 rookies. The lists:
Returning Shows
  1. "The Wire"
  2. "The Shield"
  3. "The Office"
  4. "Battlestar Galactica"
  5. "Deadwood"
  6. "The Sopranos"
  7. "How I Met Your Mother"
  8. "The O.C." (season four only)
  9. "24"
  10. A tie between "Scrubs," "House" and "Grey's Anatomy"
New shows
  1. "Friday Night Lights"
  2. "Dexter"
  3. Stephen Colbert at the White House correspondents dinner
  4. "30 Rock"
  5. A tie between "Country Boys" and "When the Levees Broke"
  6. "Doctor Who"
  7. "Heroes"
  8. "Kidnapped"
  9. "Broken Trail"
  10. "The Loop"
To read the full column with elaboration on the choices (given the space limitations of writing capsules for 23 shows), click here.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just read the column. Interesting that The Loop is dropping Sam's friends. I only ever saw the pilot screener with Becki Newton in the role of Piper, but I thought she was terrific. I really don't understand why they replaced her and wonder if those scenes would have worked better had they kept her around. I guess she's getting the last laugh now that she's on Ugly Betty.

Chad said...

It looks like the Star-Ledger accidentally snipped the capsule on Stephen Colbert, getting lost in the transition from page 3 to page 4. Maybe it's just my computer, but thought you'd want to know.

Anonymous said...

No Arrested Development? Or did that begin in late 2005?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Read the full column. I mention Arrested in the entry for The O.C.

Bebe said...

Weeds.

jim treacher said...

I liked Colbert because he bombed but kept going.

Anonymous said...

Man, I feel like the only person to watch The Loop. Thanks for mentioning it and when does it come back on the air?

Scott T. said...

Great list. I'm now especially psyched to catch up with Friday Night Lights, which is having a marathon on Bravo tomorrow. (Hard to believe a show other than Project Runway or Top Chef warrants a marathon on that channel, but I'll take it.) Scheduling conflicts kept me away from the first few episodes and I was disappointed that NBC didn't make it available on iTunes. Oh well, victory.

As for Colbert, I think he probably anticipated bombing, as Jim says, since his barbed remarks were made in the presence of the President himself. But it's the bravest, funniest piece of comedy I witnessed all year and after the wacky Decemberists year-end showdown (featuring Henry Kissinger and Peter Frampton and Rick Nielson and Eliot Spitzer) I think The Colbert Report had officially eclipsed its lead-in. He can do no wrong.

dez said...

I couldn't find the capsule on Colbert, either.

One minor quibble (well, two because I'd put on this season of "Survivor" instead "The O.C.) I have is with you comparing HIMYM with "Friends" when the latter was "inventive and funny" because "Friends" was never inventive and funny :-D

Yes, I hated "Friends."

Alan Sepinwall said...

By the way, if you choose the printable format option, the Colbert item is there to be read.

Anonymous said...

great list. how come no weeds or big love? glad oc season 4 made it. why greys? thought you were over it. cool about the loop. though they cut back that show as soon as they ordered it. so...

no vmars, entourage, or ugly betty. which i salute. sometimes it seems critics are lemmings. sometime they are the sole beacon (the wire). what are the wires numbahs?

also colbert is braver then anything borat did.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Just like I was able to recognize The O.C. for being so good this fall after a lousy third season, I was so into Grey's for the first half of '06 (up until the LVAD business) that I'm okay with it being in a tie spot at the end of the list.

Big Love was a contender for that last spot on the newbies list, along with Ugly Betty and a couple of shows I'm blanking on now, but I never really connected to it. (My wife, on the other hand, loved it, so it'll definitely be in the rotation whenever it comes back.) In the end, I decided to shine some love on The Loop, since I figured I'd be the only critic around even thinking about putting it on such a list.

As for Weeds, I like it, and I thought season two was better than season one, but I don't love it enough to displace any of the shows on the returning list -- especially not after deciding to bump Arrested Development (all five episodes of it) for The O.C.

SJ said...

I would pretty much agree with your lists.

Have you watched "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia?" I just finished watching the 2nd season through iTunes and I think it's absolutely hilarious.

Other honorable mentions:
Weeds, Rescue Me (still extremely entertaining but had some disappointments), Rome, Sleeper Cell.

anon said...

Alan,

What did you end up thinking of _Thief_? I know you were cool in the beginning, and I forget if you mentioned anything at the end of the six(?) episode run. I've been thinking about lately during FX's ads for _Dirt_.

And thank you for giving some attention to _Country Boys_, which I had actually forgotten about. I admit it was a rough six hours (and I took a long time to watch all of it), but I thought it was a vital piece of documentary filmmaking. Kudos also to Frontline for putting the whole shebang online , though I don't know too many people who have the diligence to watch the whole thing in fifteen minute installments.


Anon

Lori said...

I also enjoyed Country Boys. I cried a couple times when I watched it, which is probably weird, but one of the boys... well, his story was really moving. His family was kind of dysfunctional, he barely made it to school half the time, and he just seemed like a victim of his surroundings. The principal believed in him so much, and I think that made me believe in him too. I still wonder what happened to both of the boys. I think the epilogue had one of the boys getting married to his girlfriend. Anyway, thanks for reminding me of the show. Do you know if Sutherland is working on another project?

I loved that you included Friday Night Lights in your best list, but I also have a special place in my heart for Everwood. I thought the writers finished that season out with finesse and grace.

Anonymous said...

Completely unrelated to the subject of this blog entry, I've been on this ER rerun kick this year and I was just reading a review from back in the day (when I was too busy with other shows, etc to read such things) and there, all of a sudden, is your name.
http://digiserve.com/er/episodes/season1/er120s-r.html

It was just... odd

Anonymous said...

A friend just sent me this article about time shifting and ratings (and Studio 60 and FNL). You've probably seen it.
http://www.zap2it.com/tv/news/zap-studio60mosttimeshiftedshow,0,4559331.story

Pam -- who's happy you cheated at #10 in you best shows list and is time shifting her heart out with
Grey's/Scrubs
House/Veronica Mars
and Studio 60/What About Brian