TOP 3 SHOWS
1. "Doctor Who" (Sci-Fi Channel)
Having been a fanatic for all things Time Lord since I was 13 (equating to 23 years of fandom, FYI), the Doctor and his trusty TARDIS would have to make some pretty disastrous maneuvers in order for me to end the affair. Good thing Russell T. Davies’ reinvention/extension of the 44-year old BBC property gets better with each passing season (or “series,” as they’re called in the U.K.). The third round of time traveling adventure saw the alien Doctor (David Tennant) become human for a moving two-parter set before World War I as well as a three part finale that reintroduced his arch-nemesis, the Master (John Simm).
2. "Journeyman" (NBC)
What seemed at first to be a somewhat simple story of a newspaper reporter (Kevin McKidd) whose job it became to save people in the past, has turned into the most gratifyingly complex network unveiling of the year. In recent weeks, “Journeyman” has upped the time travel stakes by delving deeper into the intricate lives of its four principal characters and looks set to deliver at least three final episodes of this San Francisco treat. Support this show however you can, because if doesn’t get a renewal, you’ll be sorry you didn’t.
3. "Flight of the Conchords" (HBO)
Due to the enthusiasm for this show from the Bullz-Eye team, I recently delved into the DVD box set and discovered what I’d missed out on this summer. “Conchords” is one of the most quietly funny shows I’ve seen in ages, and its episodes beg for repeated viewings. The Conchords themselves are central to the gimmick, of course, but for my viewing pleasure, nobody brings a more gut-bustingly hilarious element to the proceedings than their clueless manager, Murray, played by Rhys Darby, who has this way of not looking at the camera with a wink that defies description. Should the Conchords ever call it a day, I wouldn’t mind a spin-off series centered around his continued antics.
MOST MISUNDERSTOOD TV SERIES OF THE YEAR
"Tell Me You Love Me" (HBO)
Long before HBO premiered “Tell Me You Love Me,” the show already had a reputation for being one of, if not the most sexually explicit TV series ever created…like, to the point where many wondered if the actors were actually having sex onscreen. Those who viewed the entirety of the 10-episode first season, however, may have discovered that none of this really mattered. The show turned out to be one of the most hard-hitting, painful explorations of adult relationships ever attempted in the TV series format; in ways that might have pleased Kubrick, it eschewed character in favor of archetype. One wonders exactly who the target audience was intended to be, however, but one thing’s for certain: it certainly wasn’t the late night Skinemax crowd.
BIGGEST STUMBLING BLOCK OF THE YEAR
The WGA Writer's Strike
Undoubtedly, this award must go to the Writer’s Strike. At the time of writing, even though it’s entering its second month, the average TV viewer (outside of late night talk show aficionados) has yet to feel the true stings of striking writers. But, come January, when many favorite series won’t be returning with new episodes and the network landscape will be littered with more reality and game show programming than ever, people will no doubt find themselves turning to a host of other media outlets for their entertainment fixes. Unlike the last writer’s strike, which occurred almost 20 years ago, everything’s owned by only a handful of conglomerates these days, which makes us wonder about the possibilities of the suits being able to make their money elsewhere.
BIGGEST HOUR OF LETDOWN
Paris Hilton on "Larry King Live" (CNN)
Yeah, we’re sick of Paris Hilton, too. The amount of coverage that was given to her antics this year (precious time we’ll never get back) came to a boring zenith on the night of her infamous post prison release Larry King interview. Maybe - just maybe - Paris would display a side that previously hadn’t been showcased? And maybe that old gasbag King would finally deliver some hard-hitting goods? It was clearly not to be. Instead, it was an hour of Paris saying she’d changed, but never showing as much and an hour of King struggling to ask even one question that might demonstrate he’s still got a little somethin’ going on. The nadir of the piece? After babbling on about how much she read the Bible during her stint, King asked, “What's your favorite Bible passage?” The ditzy blond could only respond with a lackluster, “I don’t have a favorite.” And then King mind-bogglingly moved on.