TOP 3 SHOWS
1. "The Wire" (HBO)
You’ve probably heard it before, but it never hurts to say it again: “The Wire” is the best show on television. So why is it criminally ignored by millions of HBO subscribers and Emmy Award voters each year? Quite simply, because it’s so good at what it does, that many forget it’s even a piece of fiction. Portraying the crime, politics and, most recently, the broken school system of a troubled American city (and who’s more troubled than Baltimore?), “The Wire” is the closest thing to television artistry that you’ll ever find. The storylines never linger (despite featuring one of the largest ensembles on TV), the performances are all strong, and perhaps most importantly, the material actually challenges the viewer to think about what they’re watching. It’s not very often that a show fires on all cylinders and succeeds, but that’s why “The Wire” can be associated with words like “brilliant” and “masterpiece.” It’s not because a bunch of pretentious critics say so, it’s because it’s true.
2. "Heroes" (NBC)
With the X-Men film franchise at a standstill and the Justice League of America movie still in development, NBC’s “Heroes” has brought team-based comic book adventures to the small screen in the form of an hour-long, live-action television series. Many fans have complained about the first season’s lackluster finale and the second season’s slow start, but that’s merely a product of high expectations. In truth, “Heroes” has remained one of the best shows on television thanks to a healthy balance of mystery, drama and action – not to mention one of the best comic book villains since Magneto, in Zachary Quinto’s slimy portrayal of Sylar. The similarities between last year’s plot to blow up New York City and this year’s story arc involving the murdering of older heroes is clearly more than coincidental to those who’ve read Alan Moore’s “Watchmen,” but it’s also a nice compliment to the source material, and ultimately to a fanbase who expects the very best.
3. "Flight of the Conchords" (HBO)
From its hilarious yet addictive musical numbers to its charismatic leads, “Flight of the Conchords” is unlike any other comedy you’ve ever seen. Based on the two-man stage act of the same name, HBO took a huge gamble on a series with such little mainstream appeal (even more so than David Milch’s “John From Cincinnati), and while the premium channel has yet to reap any benefits other than the critical acclaim that it’s used to receiving, this is the kind of show that only gets bigger over time. The concept alone exerts a certain manic brilliance that some may find a little too weird for their taste, but stars Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement (as well as fellow New Zealander Rhys Darby) are so hopelessly devoted to becoming rock and roll superstars that it’s difficult not to laugh as they stumble across New York City. This isn’t only the best new show of the year – it’s one of many reasons why HBO is still worth tuning into every week.
BEST REASON TO TUNE INTO THE CW
Several of the writers on the Bullz-Eye staff fought tooth and nail to get The CW’s “Reaper” a Top 10 spot in the most recent edition of our TV Power Rankings, and for good reason. A melting pot of geekdom that combines pop culture icons like Buffy Summers and Ghost Rider (with a dash of “Ghostbusters” thrown in for good measure), “Reaper” is to “Buffy” what “Entourage” was to “Sex & the City.” It’s the guy’s version of the supernatural action/comedy, and while the show can be a bit formulaic at times, the writers have already proven that they plan on mixing things up very soon. Bret Harrison and Tyler Labine are perhaps the second best comedy duo on television, while Ray Wise has been given a Tarantino-like revival as the show’s scene-stealing Devil. Plus, you’re already getting The CW for free, so you might as well get good use out of it on an otherwise unpopulated Tuesday night.
WORST NEW DRAMA
"John From Cincinnati" (HBO)
When David Milch’s surfer drama, “John From Cincinnati,” premiered, it was bittersweet to say the least. The sudden cancellation of “Deadwood” left many upset with Milch, and the fact that his new show had to follow a very tough act (the not so well received “The Sopranos” season finale) probably didn’t boost the ratings. Still, the first few episodes definitely showed potential (not to mention featured the best theme song in quite some time with Joe Strummer’s “Johnny Appleseed”), but as the season progressed, the mysteries transformed from thought-provoking water cooler talk to a spiritual mindfuck (and mindsuck) that simply wasn’t worth the time. Add to that an incredibly grim tone and Milch’s pretentious dialogue (which, for some reason, was all spoken as a series of prolific monologues), and “John From Cincinnati” didn’t seem quite as trendy as we all imagined it would be.