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How many times can the Grateful Dead line "what a long, strange trip it's been" be recycled? At least once more, anyway, because it's about as good a phrase to describe television in the 2000s as any. Whether or not you think the first decade of this new millennium started out spectacularly, at the very least, you can't say there hasn't been a heck of a lot of good stuff to watch on TV. Of course, some less-than-spectacular shows have crossed our path during the course of the last 10 years as well but, hey, nobody's perfect...and that includes us. Tune in as Bullz-Eye takes a look back through some of the best, worst, most infamous, and most unjustly short-lived series to hit the airwaves from 2000 to 2009. Our opinions might not match your own across the board, but that doesn't mean they're wrong. (Yours might be, though.) And if you'd like to share that opinion, be sure to visit Premium Hollywood or click the comment links below.



TV of the 2000s: 5 British Series That Didn’t Translate Nearly As Well As "The Office"

In "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," Spock casually observed, "As a matter of cosmic history, it has always been easier to destroy than create." As such, it should come as no surprise that, when the networks have the opportunity to avoid creating something new in favor of destroying something old, they damned well take it. As we continue our look back at the , we decided to revisit several of the networks' attempts to adapt popular British series to match American sensibilities. As "The Office" has proven, they can sometimes make it work, but as these five shows remind us, they very often .

(CBS): In 2006, ITV broadcast a four-part series entitled “Eleventh Hour,” starring Patrick Stewart as Professor Ian Hood, a special advisor of the British government’s Joint Science Committee who investigated threats related to various scientific developments and experiments. Each episode was 90 minutes in length, and it was received well enough in the UK that CBS immediately set forth on a quest to develop the concept into a weekly series in the States. Stewart was switched out for another talented Brit - Rufus Sewell - and even though he dropped his accent in favor of going "American" with his character (now renamed Hood), we were still optimistic about the series. Alas, despite an intriguing premise, the adaptation suffered from a couple of major problems.

First off, critics perceived the show as "troubled" before its premiere because of the delay in releasing the first episode for review, but, fair enough, many series have managed to survive that particular issue. The bigger problem came from CBS's steadfast determination to make "Eleventh Hour" fit into the same procedural mold utilized by all of its other series. As such, the predominant thrust tended to be about the crime of the week, leaving not nearly enough focus on Dr. Hood, whose considerable knowledge on scientific matters makes him an enigma. Viewers should’ve been left wondering, “Who this guy? What’s his story?” But just as we were starting to learn about Hood’s past and getting the impression that he might actually be able to find romance for the first time since the death of his wife, the series steered back into a let’s-stick-to-the-case mindset, making its cancellation after only 18 episodes less disappointing than it might otherwise have been.

(CBS): The original series - which bore the slightly longer title of "The Worst Week of My Life" - had three incarnations. The first focused on the week leading up to the marriage of its two lead characters, the second shone the spotlight on the week before the birth of their first child, and the whole thing culminated in a three-part holiday special entitled "The Worst of My Life." Anyone who enjoys a good bit of slapstick would see the merit in trying to adapt the series for an American audience, but after watching the pilot, I wrote, "Despite the first episode being thoroughly hilarious, it’s hard to imagine how they’re going to keep up that kind of momentum on a weekly basis." What I didn't write - but what I did indeed wonder - was why, given how much testing goes into television nowadays, they didn't change the title. I mean, c'mon, if you watched the show, then don't tell me you didn't find yourself wondering from Episode #1 just how long they were planning to drag things out. In the end, "Worst Week" ran for 16 episodes, and given that its final episode* was entitled "The Epidural," it's clear that the series never had a chance to expand much beyond its source material. Not that they could've managed it much faster: getting from premiere to bringing the pregnancy to fruition within five months is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Still, with all British-adapted series, the rule of thumb is that you should create your own identity as quickly as possible...and they didn't.

(ABC, NBC): A lot of game shows and reality shows have successfully made the transition from the UK to the US, but even after two attempts on two different networks, "I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!" has found American popularity elusive. But, come on, surely this is a case where you can see the problem immediately: the show's very, loose definition of the word "celebrity."

ABC's take on the show featured as contestants three models (Tyson Beckford, Nikki Shieler Ziering, Alana Stewart), two well-past-their-popularity-date former TV hosts (Downtown Julie Brown, Robin Leach), a dancer best known for knocking up a pop star (Cris Judd), a former radio sidekick turned talk show announcer (John Melendez), an Olympic athlete who hadn't yet had his reality-show renaissance (Bruce Jenner), and an actress whose most famous movie was 20 years old (Maria Conchita Alonso). So, basically, the contestant with the highest profile was Melissa Rivers. That's just sad...and NBC's stab at the series wasn't much better, which was evident from the moment it was announced that they were bringing on the wife of disgraced Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. Seriously, the only reason to watch was to see how much of a douche Spencer Pratt ("The Hills") was going to be, and since we knew we'd end up seeing those clips on "The Soup," anyway, what was the point in tuning in?

I'm not saying that the British version has been consistently better when defining "celebrity," but they managed to convince John Lydon to participate in Season 3 of the show. No, the guy's not as punk as he used to be (which you already know ), but at least he makes for interesting TV. In most cases, the participants in the American casts did not.

(CBS): I can't even begin to imagine the level of intensity that the discussions about this show reached within CBS, but I'm guessing that, in the end, it boiled down to this key question: is the popularity of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine going to be enough to sell audiences on a drama filled with song-and-dance numbers? Someone decided that it was. It was not.

Yes, the curiosity factor may have there for viewers, but it was still too soon for TV critics to be able to resist bringing up "Cop Rock," and the network was showing startling naivete if they thought otherwise. (: we TV critics keep "Cop Rock" in our arsenal like Ollie Queen keeps the boxing-glove arrow in his quiver. You know the odds are long that you'll ever need it, but you want to have it at arm's length just in case, and when "Viva Laughlin" came around, you can damned well bet that we had that "Cop Rock" reference cocked and ready.) Plus, a casual observer with discerning taste...okay, it was my wife...watched the pilot and noted that waiting for characters to suddenly burst into song is like waiting for a bomb to drop. It was a compliment.

At the time, I said of the series," "It's a unique show, make no mistake, and placing it on Sundays at 8 PM means that the possibility for a big family audience is there...but, then, a show about a casino doesn't seem much like a family-friendly series. It probably won't matter, anyway; neither the Jackman factor nor the novelty of waiting for the next song will be enough to keep it on the air for more than a handful of episodes." If you define "a handful" as a mere two episodes, then I was right on the money.

(NBC): Try telling an American who's never seen the original British version of "Coupling" that it's one of the most hilarious sitcoms of the decade, and they'll never believe you, but if you try telling it to someone from the same demographic who managed to catch an episode of the version of "Coupling," and they may never trust your opinion about television ever again. Still, I'm going out on that very limb, mostly because I know there are a lot of other folks out there who'll vouch for me.

NBC's attempt to bring "Coupling" to the States was accompanied by a huge advertising campaign, but what it did come with, unfortunately, was anything original. The first episodes of the series to air - which, not coincidentally, ended up being the episodes to air - slavishly followed the scripts of the British series, which only served to convince fans of the original that this had been a very bad idea. Meanwhile, BBC America did its part to secure that mindset by pointedly airing episodes of the original immediately after the new version, so that viewers could see exactly how much better the original version was. They could also see how much better the British was.

Certainly, the post-"Coupling" credits of cast show that they had talent: Jay Harrington is the titular star of "Better Off Ted," Colin Ferguson plays Sheriff Jack Carter on "Eureka," Sonya Walger went on to "Lost" and is now on "FlashForward," and if Lindsay Price hasn't had the greatest taste in project, at least "Lipstick Jungle" and "Eastwick" have kept her working. Their problem was that they started with no chemistry and, by being forced to fit into the shoes of their British counterparts in an almost word-for-word fashion, they were never able to find any.

: If this one doesn't ring a bell as an American series, that's because it never actually an American series, but it certainly wasn't for lack of NBC to make it one. Indeed, the network was excited enough about the adaptation for NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly to chat it up during the May 2007 upfronts, which - as you may recall - also included chatter about the much-vaunted "Heroes" spin-off that never was, but the sitcom was set for a mid-season debut, eventually getting wiped off the slate altogether. So can we blame the infamous writer's strike on the fact that we never saw a Stateside take on "The I.T. Crowd"?

If so, then it's something that fans of "Community" should probably be thankful for, as it was originally supposed to star Joel McHale. Same deal for "NCIS" fans, since Rocky Carroll - now better known as Director Leon Vance - was also penciled in as a cast member. What really had our hopes up, though, was the fact that Richard Ayoade was set to play the same role on the American version as he had in the British version. The idea of seeing Moss interact with Americans like it would've been comedy gold, but would "The I.T. Crowd" have been the next "Office," or would it have been another "Coupling"? The world will never know.

TV of the 2000s: The Top 10 “Doctor Who” Stories of the Decade

TV of the 2000s: 15 Sci-Fi Series That Deserved A Longer Run

It's always been a rough go on network television for series which require viewers to think and suspend their disbelief at the same time, but despite this, many brave producers and writers have tried to capture the imaginations of couch potatoes. Sometimes it works, as evidenced by the long runs of such shows as "Battlestar Galactica," "Lost," "Smallville," and "Supernatural," but more often than not, it doesn't, which is why IMDb is littered with listings for sci-fi series that lasted for only a single season. Looking back at the decade (which, if you hadn't noticed, is what we're doing with all of these features), you can also find way too many shows which survived into the second season, proved that their first season wasn't a fluke, sometimes even on it, and got canceled...and, man, does hurt. Heck, I even included three- and -season wonders in this list, one because it had scored such a huge upswing in quality, the other mostly because it seemed like such a gyp when it got the axe. But, then, you could say that about of these shows, really...

- To be included within this list, the show cannot have started at any point prior to Jan. 1, 2000. Without that caveat, you can bet that "Angel" would've been included...and, yes, probably "Farscape," too. But "Angel."

(ABC): As an anthology series in the 2000s, it's not like it ever had a chance in Hell of surviving, anyway, which is why it comes in at the bottom of the list. Still, it deserves mention here, partially because it was really good, but mostly because it got an even bigger shaft from ABC than "New Amsterdam" got from Fox.

Get this: during ABC’s executive panel during the TCA Press tour of summer 2007, someone asked Stephen McPherson, the network's president of entertainment about the origins of the series, and he responded, “It was a low-cost initiative that we tried. We did this series of movies to see if there was a way to spark something different at a really low cost point. You know, I think there is some good work done there, but it’s very unseen. So it’s just been…it’s been a little bit .” Okay, now, to be fair, he’s acknowledging that there's “good work” inherent somewhere in the series, but to put these comments in a better perspective, they were made . And how did he decide to this problem of the series being "unseen"? By premiering it at 10 PM on Saturday night. Hey, way to get behind your programming, Steve!

In fairness, I'm sure no one, not even the series creators, ever expected "Masters of Science Fiction" to be anything other than a short-lived midseason entry, but it's not like it to be. The series harked back to classic dramatic anthologies like “The Twilight Zone,” “The Outer Limits,” and the like, and while its budget might not be through the roof, the performances - including turns from Malcolm McDowell, Anne Heche, Sam Waterston, Judy Davis, Terry O’Quinn, Elizabeth Rohm, Brian Dennehy, and John Hurt - were top-notch. But, then, that's what happens when you bring in directors like Mark Rydell (”On Golden Pond”), Michael Tolkin (”The Player”), and Jonathan Frakes (”Star Trek: First Contact”) to helm adaptations of stories by Robert Heinlein (”Starship Troopers”), Howard Fast (”Spartacus”), and legendary sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison, who actually adapted his story, collaborating with Josh Olson (”A History of Violence”). If any of this sounds like it might be up your alley, you can at least take comfort in the knowledge that the entire series is available on DVD, including two episodes that ABC couldn't be bothered to air.

(Fox): Nowadays, it's best remembered for the fact that it introduced the world at large to the assets of Jessica Alba (which, by the way, look damned good in black leather), but when "Dark Angel" premiered, its high profile came from the fact that it was the first thing that it was produced by James Cameron. What not nearly as many people remember, however, is that the show also starred Michael Weatherly, who would get a much longer running gig a few years later when he took on the role of Anthony DiNozzo in "NCIS," and Jensen Ackles, now better known as Dean Winchester on "Supernatural."

But I digress. The slightly-futuristic (it took place in 2019) "Dark Angel" was predominantly about Alba's character, Max Guevara, a genetically enhanced super-soldier who has escaped from the government that created her and is using her job as a motorcycle courier to cover for the fact that she spends most of her time searching for her brethren, i.e. the other 11 super-soldiers who escaped with her. She does this with the help of Logan Kale (Weatherly), a.k.a. cyber-journalist "Eyes Only," whose unparalleled computer skills go a long way toward making up for the fact that he's paralyzed from the waist down. The series looked great, and having John Savage serve as one of its primary villains (Colonel Donald Michael Lydecker) was inspired, but trying to get the general public to embrace the cyberpunk movement - even the highly diluted version of it that "Dark Angel" offered - was a lost cause. Truth be told, we're probably lucky that we got as much of the show as we did. If Cameron's name hadn't been on it, it probably would've been over at the end of Season 1.

(ABC Family): Ironically, I'm writing this mere moments after getting word that a copy "Kyle XY: The Final Season" has just been sent my way. Even if you aren't familiar with the series, you'll nonetheless have deduced from the appearance of the word "final" in the set's subtitle that this isn't a show that came and went within the span of a single season. Yes, "Kyle XY" actually lasted for seasons, but it was still going strong creatively when ABC Family decided that it just didn't match up well enough with their other content, like "Greek" or "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." Now, look, I dig those shows as much as the next thirtysomething who wants to vicariously relive his youth through semi-realistic TV characters, but is that any reason to kill off a great sci-fi melodrama like "Kyle"? No, sir, it is not.

(USA): If I'm to be completely honest, I'm much more of a fan of this show's concept that I ultimately was of its execution. When a series kicks off by depositing a group of exactly 4400 people at the foothills of Mount Rainier, each of whom had disappeared at various times from 1946 onward but haven't aged a moment since then and don't remember where they've been...I mean, damn, how can you be intrigued? And the premise further expands to reveal that several members of the 4400 have begun to develop paranormal abilities, that's icing on the cake! But while I loved the episodes which focused on individual members of the group and how they dealt with their return, I wasn't nearly as enthralled with the ongoing storylines with the regular cast members. Still, when it was good, it was really, good, and with well over 4300 stories left to be told, I have to imagine that, statistically speaking, there would've been quite a bit more sci-fi goodness yet to come.

(UPN): No series wants to be remembered as the worst in its franchise, but you'd be hard pressed to find any "Star Trek" fan that wouldn't use that label on "Enterprise." The concept of stepping back in time to the pre-Kirk era and exploring the origins of Starfleet Command and the United Federation of Planets was unquestionably an intriguing one, but Rick Berman - who took the "Trek" reigns of command when Gene Roddenberry died - seemed insistent on rewriting established canon than putting together a good TV show. So why should such a mediocre series have continued? Because in its 4th season, uber-fans Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens came aboard the writing staff and turned things around in a big way, providing tributes to the original series and "The Next Generation" every time you turned around. The ratings didn't change, though, and "Enterprise" was canceled. Give Berman credit, though: he managed to stab at us from Hell's heart one last time by offering up an absolutely crap-tacular series finale.

(Fox): When I think of this series, I always think of the panel for the show during the TCA Press Tour, when one of the journalists just absolutely to accept that the creators of "New Amsterdam" had never seen "Highlander." I mean, seriously, it was starting to get . The funny thing, though, is that aside from the fact that the lead character of the series was an immortal, the comparisons really weren't all that dramatic.

The show was about John Amsterdam (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), a NYPD homicide detective who's 400 years old but looks 35. That's because, way back in 1642, Amsterdam saved the life of a Native American girl, who in turn cast a spell that granted him immortality, with the caveat that his aging would resume when he found his one true love...which was darned nice of her, because, really, no one should have to outlive the love of their life. Though you'd expect the show to spend the majority of its time on Amsterdam's search for his love, "New Amsterdam" didn't take the obvious route. Instead, it spent a great deal of its time exploring the long life of its titular character, revealing that he'd been in the Army three times and also did time in the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard (but not the Air Force, ostensibly due to a fear of heights), served as a doctor during the Civil War, worked for the CIA, taught history, made furniture, and - at some point - became an alcoholic. (He's been in AA since 1965.)

I've never really gotten a handle on why "New Amsterdam" was so disliked by Fox, but it's clear that it was. It was supposed to have premiered in the fall of 2007, but then they stopped production after the first seven episodes had been completed and proceeded to sit on the series until mid-season; once it finally got on the air, they did very little promotion on it, making it completely unsurprising when they pulled the plug on it. I'm still mystified. Like "Journeyman," the romantic bent of the show was one which seemed perfect for cross-demographic success, but they never even gave it a chance.

(Sci Fi): As someone who stepped into this series without having read any of the Jim Butcher novels which served as its inspiration, maybe I had an advantage, because fans of the literary franchise seemed to universally hate this adaptation. Me, I thought it was pretty cool. Paul Blackthorne played Harry Dresden as a cocky wizard who helped out the police department with their more eccentric cases, i.e. the ones that would be classified as supernatural if anyone on the force dared to claim a belief in such things, and the series managed to have a decidedly dark tone while still maintaining a sense of humor. But when you kick off a TV series by instantly alienating the majority of the people who made it a success as a book series, you're pretty much doomed to failure, which is what "The Dresden Files" proved to be.

(Fox): Here's one one that we already detailed , but, again, it deserves repeating that, when "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," it did so far too soon. Season 1 had its highs and lows, but the show's sophomore year was consistently intriguing throughout, starting with the season premiere and the introduction of Catherine Weaver (Shirley Manson), the co-founder and current CEO of ZeiraCorp...except that, as we discovered immediately prior to the closing credits, she wasn’t actually Catherine Weaver but, indeed, was a shapeshifting T-1001. As the season progressed, however, her physical transformation became less interesting than her emotional evolution, with the T-1001 being forced to maintain the façade of its new identity in its entirety, which required her to raise Catherine's daughter, Savannah (Mackenzie Smith), and try to understand her. (I have a suspicion that all of the parents in our readership just snorted en masse and said, "Uh, yeah, good luck with !")

The T-1001 wasn't the only Terminator to get a crash course in humanity during Season 2. Cameron (Summer Glau) spent much of the season suffering from a serious chip malfunction, leading her at one point to adopt the approximate memories of future resistance fighter Allison Young, on whom her personality had originally been patterned, but we also saw her interacting outside of the Connor camp; elsewhere, the Terminator formerly known as Cromartie (Garret Dillahunt) had his chip , but his body was connected to ZeiraCorp’s artificial intelligence known as the Babylon A.I., leading him to take on a new name - John Henry - and leading the series to explore matters of spirituality by querying whether his sentience means that terms like "life" and "death" now apply to him. Oh, right, and there was also some pretty good stuff with the human characters, too.

Sure, there were moments which defied credibility, but when you’re dealing with a show that lives and dies by time travel, suspension of disbelief and acceptance of pretty much everything that’s handed to you is a necessity. Fortunately, executive producer Josh Friedman found a way to combine the necessary technological components of “Terminator” with deep characterization. It seriously sucked that "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" was canceled just as those who’d followed it from the beginning were really feeling rewarded for their steadfast viewership, but it was just insult to injury when "Terminator: Salvation" bombed, taking down any decent chance that the series might be revisited at some point.

(ABC): I feel a little weird about including a show with religious themes in the midst of a list about sci-fi series, but when even the show's creator - Richard Hatem - is willing to acknowledge that it bounces back and forth between religious phenomena and paranormal phenomena, it's hard to argue against its place here.

Starring a pre-"Jericho" Skeet Ulrich, "Miracles" introduced viewers to Paul Callan, an investigator of modern miracles for the Catholic Church at the Archdiocese of Boston. Though he's dealing with the inevitable frustration of disappointing groups of believers each time he investigates and disproves the authenticity of their "miracles," Paul's faith is restored after he's involved in a car accident: not only does he have a first-hand experience with a young boy's ability to heal, but when his injuries lead to blood spatter on the windshield, he watches in astonishment as his his blood forms the words, "God Is Now Here." But, wait, hang on: maybe it actually said, "God is ."

Either way, these events lead to a schism between Paul and the church when his report on the incidents is dismissed, but he soon crosses paths with Alva Keel (Angus Macfadyen), who propositions him with a job offer at his organisation, Sodalitas Quaerito ("Brotherhood in search of truth"). From there, "Miracles" followed Paul, Alva, and Evelyn Santos (Marisa Ramirez) as they crossed the globe and investigated various phenomena, some less religious than others but all connected to life, death, and the afterlife in some fashion, rather like a spiritual version of "The X-Files." Unfortunately, the series was manhandled by ABC, running three episodes, then preempting it for three weeks, then moving it all over the schedule. No wonder it never caught on. With that kind of treatment, it would've been a miracle if it .

(ABC Family): I used to say that the reason this series failed was that ABC Family was the wrong network for it, but when I spoke with the show's creator, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, he set me straight and assured me that they were the network. Why? Because they let him do it. "It would have been very easy for any group of people to pick up the show and say, 'Gosh, we really like the idea of this girl fighting monsters, but can you make her sexier and kind of make the dialogue a little bit more accessible and make the sensibility of the show a little bit more accessible?'” he said. "And to ABC Family’s credit, they never asked me to do that." When you go back and watch the show from start to finish (which is easy to do, what with Shout Factory having released ), you really get a feel for the kind of freedom that Grillo-Marxuach was granted, but it still must be said that "The Middleman" might have been better served in the ratings if it had aired on a network that more readily catered to unabashed geeks. Or, then again, maybe it wouldn't have. Given that the dialogue flies fast and furious, like a Kevin Smith movie on speed, and the amount of science fiction and fantasy concepts thrown at the viewer are only matched by the number of references to science fiction and fantasy movies and TV series, maybe it was always destined to be a future cult series.

(NBC): What's this? "Bullz-Eye" favorite? Certainly, several of us on the staff were thrilling to the weekly adventures of reporter Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd) as he involuntarily traveled through time, doing so as much to see the next cool set piece - I particularly loved it when he was on a smoke-filling flight during the 1970s - as to find out how his unexpected disappearances and impossible-to-predict returns would wreak havoc on his life in the present. It was also unique for a sci-fi series in that it was unabashedly romantic, with Dan trying to reconcile his love for his wife in the present (Gretchen Egolf) with the revelation that his former fiancee (Moon Bloodgood), who he'd believed to be dead, was actually alive, well, and a fellow time traveler.

at a point when the fate of "Journeyman" was in limbo, and he was understandably frustrated at the way the network was treating the series, even if he understood that they obviously had more stake in saving the shows that were produced by NBC-Universal. ("Journeyman" was a Fox production.) When I pitched the idea of moving from series to movie, a la "Firefly," he was enthusiastic but realistic about the suggestion. "I would do anything to keep this show alive," he said. "If there was interest and somebody wanted to make a movie, nothing would make me happier. But I have to be realistic: Joss Whedon had quite a following, and I don’t know that Kevin Falls has quite that following." Unfortunately, it appears that he was right: not only was "Journeyman" canceled, but it wasn't even released on DVD after its cancellation.

(The CW): I think this cancellation hurt more folks at Bullz-Eye than any other in this list. It's a bold statement, but when you look back at our TV Power Rankings, you'll see that I'm not kidding. Of course, its success there is probably - but not definitely - , but, dammit, we had to show our love. The trifecta of slackers in "Reaper" were great, but let's not kid ourselves: as much as we laughed at their antics, it was Ray Wise who kept us coming back every week. It's a crime that that man never got an Emmy nomination for his work as the Devil. Series creators Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters had a lot of battles with The CW about their desire to expand on the mythology of the show (the network, as is so often the case, was more comfortable with self-contained episodes), and given that the duo had departed by the end of the show's second season, it's a fair bet that Season 3 wouldn't have been the same "Reaper" that we'd come to know and love, anyway. But, man, we sure would like it if Fazekas and Butters could find the backing to do a "Reaper" movie...and we have it on good authority that would be back in a flash. So what are you waiting for, Hollywood? Let's get on this thing!

(Fox): I feel like the majority of what I might have to say about this series has probably already been said somewhere within to Joss Whedon's best work of the 2000s...and if Bob himself didn't say it, then surely one of the folks who commented on it did. Still, I'll go ahead and throw in my two cents worth and reconfirm that, yes, the idea of a Western set in space was indeed a wonderful one...and it would've worked, too, if it wasn't for those pesky network executives at Fox. As someone who literally grew up in the world of television (his father, Tom Whedon, was one of the original writers for "Captain Kangaroo" and went on to serve as the head writer of "The Electric Company"), Whedon tried to kick it old-school with "Firefly" by starting things off with a two-hour pilot to set the stage for the series. Fox, however, decided it would be a better move to just dump viewers into the deep end and had the series debut with the second episode instead. I think we all know how well plan worked.

"Firefly" was set in the 2500s and offered a less than upbeat look into the future, suggesting that, although technology had reached a point where gravity-drive engines made travel beyond our solar system possible, things were pretty tough all over. Earth's population was such that people pretty much to leave the planet if they wanted to survive, but while terraforming had allowed humanity to set up colonies on many different planets, their existence tended toward the rough-and-tumble, not unlike America's wild west during the late 1800s. As such, Whedon took several stereotypes of the era - cowboy, preacher, hooker with the heart of gold, blacksmith, doctor, and even stagecoach driver - and tweaked them to fit his new premise. Nathan Fillion's performance as Captain Mal was such a career-defining role that he spent seven years trying to find another one that worked as well for him (you can bet that he kissed the sky when he got word that "Castle" had received a second-season pick-up), and Summer Glau's creepy vibe while playing the troubled River was no doubt directly responsible for earning her the later role as a Terminator on "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," but like Whedon's other shows, the whole ensemble played well together from the start. "Firefly" had enough of a following to move from cancellation to the silver screen, but while the odds of ever seeing a sequel to "Serenity" are pretty slim, hey, it's more of an afterlife than any other show on this list had.

(ABC): More love for another favorite of the Power Rankings. The premise of the show, more or less, was that a race of aliens had begun their takeover of Earth by slowly infiltrating the residents of a small town and possessing them...or bonding with them...or maybe they replaced them altogether but just retained their memories. I can't quite recall - it's been a fair while since I've revisited the series - but I'm not entirely sure that re-screening all 22 episodes would necessarily provide me with a definitive answer. There were a lot of mysteries lurking within "Invasion," and creator Shaun Cassidy had big plans to considerably expand upon the mythos of the series in future seasons, but, as we know, he never got that opportunity.

“Invasion” was, at its heart, a show about family. You've got Sheriff Tom Underlay (William Fichtner), whose wife, Mariel (Kari Matchett), is the ex-wife of park ranger Russell Varon (Eddie Sibrian); Tom has a daughter from his first marriage (Alexis Dziena), and Mariel and Russell have a daughter (Ariel Gade) and a son (Evan Peters), plus Russell is remarried, and he and his wife Larkin (Lisa Sheridan) – who’s expecting – live with Larkin’s brother, Dave (Tyler Labine), an amiable conspiracy nut who regularly blogs about his theories...which, yes, include the possibility of alien invasion. Yes, the show had its faults, most notably an insistence on spending too much time on teen angst, but as the season progressed, "Invasion" evolved into must-see sci-fi TV. The concept that the aliens weren’t always successful in their attempts to possess their human hosts was an intriguing one, as was the question posited as the series progressed: what if an alien race wanted to infiltrate Earth but their ranks were divided on how to go about it? Unfortunately, this mystery and all of the others within "Invasion" remain unsolved.

(CBS): Dr. Molly Anne Caffrey (Carla Gugino) is a crisis management consultant for the US government who gets a major surprise when her worst-case-scenario plan for what to do in case of an alien invasion is activated. Pulls together a team of experts, including microbiologist Dr. Nigel Fenway (Brent Spiner, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”), linguist Arthur Ramsey (Peter Dinklage, “The Station Agent”), and aerospace engineer Lucas Pegg (Robert Patrick Benedict, “Felicity”), the group begin to investigate the aliens in order find out if they’re hostile or not. Hey, guess what? They totally ! Produced by Brandon Braga and David S. Goyer, both possessing seriously strong sci-fi backgrounds (“Star Trek” and “Blade,” respectively), "Threshold" did a really good job of building the histories of the characters, exploring the aliens and making them legitimately terrifying, and, perhaps most intriguingly, presenting a realistic view of how the government would probably handle such a situation, with various senators being let in on the top-secret organization out of necessity so that funding would continue. Although the series only lasted for 13 episodes, "Threshold" had actually been designed for three specific plot arcs, with its creators planning to change the title accordingly for each: "Threshold" was meant to indicate that the aliens had made contact, and from there it would've moved on to the self-explanatory "Foothold," followed by "Stranglehold," wherein the aliens would've overthrown the indigenous population - that'd be - and become the overlords.

With such an awesome cast and a solid creative team, it's still shocking to me that the series never took off, especially when you consider that, while it certainly maintained regularly-progressing plotlines, “Threshold” had an arguable advantage over the rest of these series by not ending each episode with a cliffhanger...or, in other words, you could miss an episode and not be completely and totally lost the next time you tuned in. Maybe the problem came from the tussle between the network and the show's creative team. "It was always intended to be a serialized show," said Goyer in . "Once we got going into the series, (CBS) wanted episodes to be more closed ended. And they have had a lot of success with that, but we hadn’t really designed it for that, so it felt like we were stalling...and I think the audience unfortunately sensed that as well." That's just the sort of thing you'd expect a frustrated creator to say, and you can't blame him, but the potential for the show was so tremendous that it never occurred to me that they were stalling. I just thought they were just building anticipation.

TV in the 2000s: The Decade in Whedonism - 10 Small Screen Masterpieces from Joss Whedon

TV in the 2000s: The Shows that Defined the Decade

A recent issue of Time magazine has the phrase “The Decade from Hell” emblazoned across its front cover. It’s referring to everything America has gone through in the past ten years, and it’s difficult to argue such an assertion: it’s been a shitty decade on a national level. During such times of stress, people inevitably turn to entertainment as a form of release, and although the methods in which we’ve distracted ourselves over the last ten years have unquestionably diversified, television remains the most easily accessible outlet for most Americans.

Within the format itself, the whole concept of reality TV must surely have been the biggest revolution of the decade. It’s really easy to bag on reality TV – mostly because the bulk of it is so damned unreal – but anybody who spends any time in front of the tube has surely had at least a couple of reality series they consider appointment TV. The two concepts that paved the way for everything else are undoubtedly and The former, of course, opened the floodgates for the genre, and while it’s seen a considerable dip in the ratings department over the years, 12 million viewers isn't a viewing figure to sneeze at. The latter, despite all the bitching and moaning and cries of “it’s not as good as it used to be” that accompany each new season, remains one of the most watched shows on the tube, likely due to the fact that it’s strictly a talent competition.

On “American Idol,” the only backstabbers are the judges, and since they aren’t part of the competition, their amusing duplicity is championed. The contestants, on the other hand, are innocents, and once the competition is underway, we’re given no peek into any possible backstage drama, which is a good thing, because by the time the audition rounds are over, we’ve had enough drama to last the whole season. Everything that comes after is all about who can best transfix us for three minutes a week via one pop ditty. It actually says something positive about the U.S. that “American Idol” remains our #1 form of reality entertainment, even if the actual reality is that the vast majority of Americans couldn’t care less about buying the winner’s album six months after they’re crowned.

You might think reality TV is a bunch of crap, and in most cases you’d be right, but the whole idea of it, to my mind, led to an important revolution, and that is serialized nighttime television (the classic “soap” formula notwithstanding). Reality shows taught viewers how to become invested in characters, how to be concerned for their eventual fate, and, most importantly, how to pay attention to an ongoing storyline, and the need to tune in every week. It didn’t take long for the networks to figure out that there was an audience for shows that didn’t continually hit the reset button. must have been the first successful show of the decade to embrace the serial formula, and it embraced it whole hog. It required you to tune in for every episode, because each installment was another hour of a single day in the life of Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer. That “24” premiered less than two months after the terrorist attacks on 9/11 was pure happenstance. That it became enormously popular with viewers? Probably not so much. America needed some fictitious reassurance that there were folks on the job who could get shit done, and “24” filled the prescription.

Strangely, “24” didn’t open the network floodgates for more such programming right away. It took a few years, and then made its mark. The number of “Lost” episodes I’ve seen could be counted on two hands, but that’s not because I didn’t like it, but because real life got in the way of it being appointment TV. Yet I viewed the pilot for “Lost” several months before its 2004 premiere, and when it ended I was convinced that I’d seen the second best TV pilot ever made. (“Twin Peaks” stills sits at #1.) The fact that a show as intricate as “Lost” still has a hardcore, central audience is perhaps a testament to that pilot. “24” started a new story with each new season; “Lost” required that you tune in for episode of season.

Another sci-fi series that did just that was a show that, due it being on a niche network (Syfy), never amassed a huge audience yet snagged boatloads of publicity and awareness nonetheless. It was no small feat to take an utterly laughable short-lived series from the late ‘70s and re-envision it for modern audiences, but Ron Moore and company did just that...and they did it far more successfully that anyone ever guessed possible. Most amazingly, the show taught us a lot about ourselves, by thoroughly defining what it means to be human, and as the damaged ‘00s dragged on, there may not have been a more important lesson to be learned.

On the same day I saw the “Lost” pilot, I saw another pilot for a completely different kind of series. While I didn’t rank it as one of the greats, there was one thing I was sure of: it would be a massive hit…and it . was precisely the sort of vapid, soapy fare that had been absent for far too long on American TV. It clued into the seemingly bland suburban construct which surrounds so many Americans, via the Lynchian notion that “all is not what it seems.” Most anyone who lives a suburban life can no doubt relate to that idea, because wherever there are groups of people, there are bound to be some of them that are fucked up. “Housewives” is littered with fucked up suburbanites of all shapes, sizes and types, but they’re kooky and funny and there’s always some twinkly music playing in the background that in the end makes everything OK. It is not great television, but over the years it has, for the most part, been immensely watchable in the most disposable sort of way.

Around the same time period as “Housewives,” made some major waves. It’s a series I have never watched and never plan to, but I’d be foolish to omit it from discussion since it brought two annoyingly obnoxious terms to the TV table: McDreamy and McSteamy. I haven’t heard either in a few years, but there was a time when they seemed to define everything that was wrong with television. I assume “Grey’s” fans have grown out of it…or maybe the show killed one of those guys off? I’ve no idea and can’t be motivated to investigate. Presently, there’s a brand new version of it going around, through cinema, via Camp Edward and Camp Nimrod. People can be so easily distracted it makes you wonder why some shows actually try harder.

Speaking of trying harder, it’s a good time to bring up some cable shows, otherwise I’m going to lose about 90% of the readers - only people who appreciate cable fare are likely to be on the net reading an article like this in the first place. Jeez, what can possibly be said that hasn’t been said already? It turned pay-TV into a must-have for millions, and proved that there was a huge audience for an ongoing series with gratuitous nudity, violence and bad language. Of course David Chase’s baby wasn’t just tits, blood and variations on the word fuck – it was also a deep exploration of the human condition. You didn’t have to be a gangster to identify with Tony Soprano’s problems – you just had to understand them, which wasn’t a tall order since most of his dilemmas had nothing to do with offing people. The show rearranged the mafia formula so methodically, that it’s presented a serious challenge for any like-minded material that’s come since. It’s too soon to proclaim the definitive TV series of the ‘00s, but were I placing bets on what folks would say 20 years from now, I’d put my money on this one.

Fans of would tell me I’m insane with the previous assertion, but since every time I’ve tried to watch “The Wire” I’ve fallen asleep, I’ve no basis for an argument. The thing is, the people I know who worship “The Wire” (and for some it really is a fucking religion) are the smartest, most well-read and educated, witty and interesting folk in my life. I’m probably a boob for not “getting it,” but I’m willing to bet there are quite a few other “boobs” reading these words, nodding in agreement. “The Wire” be engaging, literate television…that was so niche it failed to capture a huge audience. The thing is, “Wire” fanatics, not everyone “gets” your show, no matter how damn good it is. You know how I know this? My two favorite shows of the ‘00s – both of which I believe to be incredible examples of TV - are “Doctor Who” and “Farscape,” and yet I know better than to showcase them in this piece, because it quite simply wouldn’t make any sense to do so, as neither of them had any real impact on American culture. “The Wire,” however, probably made some very relevant statements on certain segments of our culture, which is why I’ve devoted this much space to it. It’s too bad the general public didn’t bother to tune in and care. Maybe there wasn’t enough tits and ass?

There was plenty of tit and ass on another HBO series that captured a great deal of attention, and that was This one I’ve seen too much of, and I’ve no hesitation in saying that while “The Wire” made me comatose, and its fans may have driven me up the wall, “Sex and the City” made my blood boil, and its fans are some of the most clueless I’ve come across in all my TV watching years. Here’s the thing with this show: These women are meant to be emulated. They are not just bad examples of women, they are bad examples of . Some folks made the same mistake by rooting for Tony Soprano, only David Chase had the good sense to eventually call them on the carpet for it. The people who made this show never did any such thing, even though I’m fucking positive they . If you think Carrie Bradshaw is an encouraging role model, then I hope you enjoy living alone for the rest of your life, because that’s exactly what’s going to happen if you choose to behave as she did in this series. Since the show has miraculously moved on to successful movies – proving that its disciples are more slavish than any fan base outside of “Star Trek” – it begs to have a happy ending sooner or later. And unless the writers dig way down deep and drag these women through the muck all the way to a reasonable sense of enlightenment – it’s going to be horribly hollow. There was, quite simply, no show that was more evil and insidious in the past decade than this one. Not even

Lest you think that outside of “The Sopranos” I’ve a hatred for all things HBO, that’s hardly the case. Even with my opinions of “The Wire” and “Them Clueless Bitches in NY,” there’s no question that HBO uniformly provided the finest entertainment of the decade. There have been times when critics have championed Showtime as “the new HBO,” yet I couldn’t come up with a single series from that network that mattered. Oh, they’ve tried, but if the cream of their crop is “Dexter” and “Weeds,” they’ve got a long way to go before catching up to Home Box Office (a phrase that’s all but forgotten, yet is perhaps more descriptive than ever). and are two series that have had a lot to say about the people we are/were in the ‘00s: The former through its deep exploration of fractured and problematic humanity, and the latter though its exploration of fractured and problematic humanity. I miss “Six Feet Under” immensely, although it ended at a perfectly reasonable point. I look forward to more “Curb” because it has no clue where to end; hopefully Larry David will keep coming back to it every few years until either he dies, or runs out of straw men to bash.

“Curb” is damn funny. Wish I could say that about more comedies in the ‘00s, but the humor was scattered and inconsistent. As far as the defining comedy of the decade? That’s a tough one to assign, since nearly every single offering seemed to appeal to a different kind of audience, but the honor should probably go to Here’s a show that, given the track record of translated Britcoms, should not have worked, and yet it did, and continues to do so. I’m not sure exactly what “The Office” has to say about the typical workplace, because I haven’t done that sort of work in years, yet it still largely manages to be a scream on the occasions I bother to tune in, which is, admittedly, maybe once every six or so weeks (chances are if I tuned in every week I’d have gotten sick of it a long time ago).

Probably the most influential comedy of the past ten years was and it also happened to be the most prescient: George Bluth, Sr. was Bernie Madoff long before the phrase “Ponzi scheme” entered our everyday vernacular. The series has a devoted following that continues to demand a movie followup that they may never even see (but we’ve got our fingers crossed, even if the storyline revolves around George Michael’s funeral).

Fox discovered it could build a Sunday night empire on animated fare outside of “The Simpsons” by bringing back a series in ‘05 that it’d cancelled in ‘02. may not be the definitive comedy of the ‘00s, but it must be one of, if not most popular. It’s been amazing to watch comeback kid Seth McFarlane conquer the world through sheer idiocy, and one wonders exactly what sort of Faustian deal was made, and which supernatural deity has such a warped sense of humor.

Comedy Central’s remains the go-to series for pissing people off, and rare is the season that goes by without kind of shitstorm erupting from the questionable content presented by Messrs. Parker and Stone. Again, here’s a show I never really got into, but probably not for any reason you’d guess: I simply get bored by the cutout animation style, and it visually fails to hold my attention. One of my editors, however, was quite insistent that it be included here, which seemed a reasonable directive, especially given how often it’s been a focal point for controversy and discussion.

Also on Comedy Central we’ve seen the rise of a comedic take on daily events that for many has turned into an actual source of news, which in itself says something more profound about our country than anything I can possibly come up with. But I ask you, who presents a more reasonable version of the day’s events - Stewart or Glenn Beck? Sometimes the only thing left to do is laugh, because nothing’s really funny anymore. Something should be said about the show’s previous host, Craig Kilborn, but it would fall on mostly deaf ears, as nobody either cares or remembers that “The Daily Show” ever even had another host. (See also )

is a spinoff of “The Daily Show,” and a lot of people are fervent believers in Stephen Colbert’s mock brand of conservatism. Occasionally, you get the awful sensation that some of them might not realize that it's all a big joke, but rest assured it is. Mind you, I say that even though the joke has always escaped me, but then again, I love so what do I know?

Actually, one thing I know for sure is that Americans love their fictitious cops, doctors and lawyers. We can’t get enough of idealizing these three professions that in real life we fear and/or hate. Noteworthy legal dramas were on the lean side in the ‘00s, and with a half a dozen versions of “Law & Order” (a concept that has the cojones to showcase all three professions to varying degrees) on the schedule, it’s perhaps unsurprising that lawyers especially got the short end of the TV stick. Regardless, was a fantastically entertaining series that was never shy on opinion. During its run (’04-’08), it managed to do an exhaustive job of chronicling the political and social landscape as seen through the eyes of two very different lawyers – über liberal Alan Shore (James Spader) and extremist conservative Denny Crane (William Shatner). The show was clearly aimed at folks who wanted to think, which is probably why it never amassed a huge audience.

On the cop front – or indeed on front – there was no show people tuned in for en masse more than Man, this thing was a ratings monster, and it even spawned two successful spinoffs. Of course, the central characters aren’t actually cops, but rather criminologists, but since they’re investigating and solving crime, they might as well be. The concept likely paved the way for all sorts of other successful fare such as, but not limited to, and as well as their current and future spinoffs.

The best cop drama of the ‘00s was and it was a huge step forward for the genre, since it didn’t ask us to love its morally bankrupt central character, Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis), and yet the intricate study of this man made it very difficult not to relate to him on some level. For perhaps the first time in a cop drama, we saw an officer of the law (actually several) faced with all the temptations we assume cops are presented with on a daily basis; sometimes they indulged, sometimes not. Either way it went down, for the first couple of seasons especially, the damn thing felt real.

If “The Shield” was the most real cop show of the decade, then was the most absurd, but it never pretended to be anything other than a whimsical presentation of criminal investigation. In lieu of delivering a fascinating storyline, “Monk” delivered a fascinating central character, brought to life by Tony Shalhoub. This past weekend saw the end of “Monk,” which was heartbreaking and uplifting simultaneously, and yet it was an ending for a lengthy ongoing series that snagged little press. People won’t realize how much they’re missing “Monk” until it’s been off the air for a few years. This is the kind of show of which we’ll see TV-movie followups in the coming years; Shalhoub, much like Peter Falk before him, will never escape this character.

Then there are the doctors. Resting uncomfortably at the top is Hugh Laurie who stars as I personally have some major reservations about this show, but I’d be a damn fool to not realize its power to entertain, and much like “Monk,” the show wouldn’t work without the talents of its central star driving the bus. There’s no question that the man just inhabits this character, and adding to the equation is the fact that, once again, it’s a bold new stab at a tired genre. The idea of taking the medical cases for which nobody has the solution is a grand one, and episodes typically feel more like mysteries than medical drama. The other great series of the ‘00s that revolved around surgery turned out to be not so great after all.

FX’s charged out of the gate, and its first two seasons rewrote the book on what TV doctors could be. During that period, it felt like we were watching TV history unfold, and we probably were. Too bad that book ended up being more of a novella. Here I am watching the show’s sixth season every single week, mostly because the end is nigh and Episode 100, which, as I understand it, airs in March of ’10, will be the finale. (If the show had no end in sight, I’d have given up some time ago.) Surely there must not have been a series this decade that showed more promise in the beginning, and then went so disastrously south so quickly? I suppose there’s a lesson to be learned here about making tit jobs the central draw of your series – or perhaps knife-wielding madmen are just not the best course of action to take when telling this kind of story. In any case, flawed though it is, you gotta give credit to the show for saying everything there is to say about the previously unexplored topic of plastic surgery.

Speaking of madmen, let’s wrap all this up with a series I was reluctant to mention here, yet two people on the Bullz-Eye staff suggested it as being important to this piece. The main reason I didn’t see it as worthy of inclusion is because, even with three seasons under its belt, the show still feels as if it’s in its infancy. Perhaps this is problem, as I don’t see that the series has properly defined its mission as of yet. It’s a period piece and when I watch it, I wonder, “How will these characters react to disco?” Yes, that proposition is ludicrous, yet I’m unable to see a proper end for this story, and I’m not sure how it fits into this decade any more than it will fit into the next. But I have a feeling that the deepest parts of the series have yet to be presented, and that much of what we’ve seen over the past three years has been a sort of buildup. Matthew Weiner cut his teeth on scripts for “The Sopranos,” and even though the first few years of that series had massive amounts of greatness, the show delivered some of its finest, most definitive and thought-provoking material in the last two seasons. I’m hoping that Weiner took some notes from David Chase.

TV in the 2000s: 5 Animated Series That Deserved A Longer Run

TV in the 2000s: My Top Reality Shows For the Decade

Reality TV was kicking into high gear in the early part of the decade, and in 2002 Fox’s “American Idol” changed many things about how we watch TV, how we view the music industry, and how we view Paula Abdul. These are all shows that I blog about, so suffice to say that while I have become somewhat knowledgeable about each show, I do enjoy watching them, and enjoy them immensely. Here is how I rank them…..

It’s hard to argue with ratings and how this show has become the #1 show, maybe of all-time. And while we have taken issue with the judges, the producers and oftentimes, the talent, the fact remains that the concept of “American Idol” is awesome –to let viewers determine who they want to be a pop star. And it’s likely exceeded the expectations of producers and industry execs, particularly with the careers of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. In fact, without Idol, what would those two be doing right now?

It’s hard to believe no one thought of a show like this long before reality TV came to be. And what could be more inspiring to Americans than to prove that those of us getting fat while watching reality TV and eating bad food and not exercising, that we can actually lose weight, and a lot of it, if we put the effort in. But seeing how the show transforms the lives of its contestants is must-see TV, and can be downright heartwarming. Sometimes, however, the producers let gameplay take over, which can cloud the purpose of the show. But still, the show is already in its 8th season and shows no signs of slowing down.

Admittedly, I only started watching this one in Season 5, but became hooked faster than I’ve been hooked by any reality show. It’s so well done, and has made me notice things in the production, like lighting and music and continuity, that I’ve never noticed in shows like this before. Then there is the competition itself, and it’s a show that pits, well, top chefs, against each other—chefs that know fine dining but have to stay on the cutting edge of cuisines and techniques for survival on the show.

The boisterous Gordon Ramsay became a fixture in our living rooms a few yeas back, and “Hell’s Kitchen” was an awesome concept for the first two or three seasons. After that, it began to lose some of its appeal—mostly because they have stuck to the same format again and again without much variation. Still a great show, but after six seasons, they need to take a break or change things up.

This show gained all of its credibility after the fact, once Season 2 champ Guy Fieri became a rock star almost overnight. But in the three seasons since, it’s failed to produce anyone like Guy, and maybe never will again. Plus, you can’t keep crowning a champ, and then give them 5-6 shows before letting them fade into oblivion. At least in my book, that hurts this show’s credibility.

The guy gets to travel around in his vintage red Camaro and sample amazing food and talk to the owners and chefs of America’s finest (but humble) eateries. Dude has the best job ever, period. Of course, he’s a natural, and Food Network producers struck gold with this one.

Flay competes with the best of the best across the country at what they specialize in. Which means he’s at a decided disadvantage unless he’s making Tex-Mex anything. But the guy shows why he’s both an Iron Chef and a fierce competitor time and again, and it’s always fun to see the reaction of these chefs when they realize they’ve been duped and that Flay has come to town to issue a throwdown.

Watching Tyler Florence make the ultimate fried chicken, tacos, ribs, or anything will make your mouth water, and make you want to cook whatever he’s making, right now. But if you’re watching your waistline, you might get squeamish at his use of butter, full fat everything and real sugar (as well as loads of salt) that would make even Paula Deen look like Ellie Krieger. Still, I’ve made some of these items, and let me tell you, the word ultimate is no joke. The guy knows how to cook and knows how to entertain, and you can even play a drinking game by doing a shot every time Florence says “absolutely delicious.”

Along the lines of “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” Adam Richman gets to sample great food from across the nation. The difference? He ends each episode with a challenge, hence the show’s name, and has to eat mass quantities of something or has to consume food hot enough to burn a hole in the ground in order to win. Currently in its second season, this show is absolutely awesome.

Deja vu? Yeah, but this is probably a show Food Network wishes it had, and it only keeps getting better. Sure, the chefs often make dishes and use ingredients many of us have never heard of, but that’s also part of the charm.

TV in the 2000s: 15 Shows Canceled After Appearing in Bullz-Eye’s TV Power Rankings*

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