It’s pretty hard to argue that we haven’t seen a renaissance in the form of televised entertainment over the past decade or so. One that started with the advent of HBO’s original programming (i.e. “The Larry Sanders Show”) and once “The Sopranos” hit the air, really got kicked into full swing. Since that time we’ve seen some amazing shows come and go, some by their own choice (“Battlestar Galactica”) and others forced to do so (“Arrested Development”) but regardless of how they ended, we are all the more entertained for them having ever existed at all.
Currently there are still quite a few good shows worth watching on television (and admittedly about a hundred other bad ones). Here’s a run down on a few of these shows worth mentioning.
Coming in first is “Chuck”. In one of the weirdest cases of fast food actually benefitting mankind, Subway restaurants effectively saved this show from cancellation last year by launching a campaign to “Save Chuck.” And we should all be thankful that they succeeded because day in and day out, “Chuck” is the most consistently entertaining show on television. Is is the best show? No, probably not (we’ll get to that one in a minute) but it certainly is the most fun to watch. From the music, to the comedy, to the action, to the casting, everything in this show is pitch perfect and all I can say is thank God it’s already been renewed for Season 4. Now we just have to get that 13 episode order bumped up to 19 again…
If you already like “Chuck” I recommend checking out “Burn Notice” as well. While not as consistent as “Chuck” when it’s on, it’s on. And between Jeffery Donovan and Bruce Campbell, there’s very little not to like about that show.
Also, just a brief note, but it’s hard to talk about Action shows on television and not mention 24
This is the show that practically invented the big budget action genre for television when it premiered almost a decade ago and yes, while it has lingered in tepid mediocrity for the past three years, it used to kick a whole lot of ass. 24 serves as a great reminder that television shows, like everything else, need to know when to quit. And Season 8 for 24 was about 3 seasons too many. Though I do have to also mention that as bad as this past season has been, last night’s episode (pictured above) has given us one of the most bad ass moments in 24 history ever. But all the same, I’ll be happy to see it go.
Speaking of badass action, “Community” parodied the action film genre two weeks ago and did an amazing job. “Community” is a sitcom that started off extremely strong, sort of struggled in the middle for a few episodes and now has come back full force as a must watch comedy. It’s the best show on NBC’s Thursday night comedy schedule (which is basically the only night worth watching anything on NBC, and after looking at their upcoming schedule for next year, that’s not about to change any time soon) and quite possibly the best sitcom on T.V. right now.
Other sitcoms worth mentioning are ABC’s “Modern Family” which is nearly as strong as “Community”, CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother” which was certainly, at one time, the best sit com on T.V. until the past couple of seasons which have stalled to say the least, and the mother of all hilarity inducing shows, “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”. “Philly” is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but those who get it will swear by it, and very little else compares.
There is nothing worth mentioning about reality T.V. I’m sorry, there just isn’t. I’m not implying that you cannot be entertained by reality T.V. only that I see absolutely no artistic quality or even integrity in any of it, so I can’t bring myself to watch it. That doesn’t mean that I’m not thankful for its existence though. Without reality T.V. (and its ever unbelievable popularity) most narrative shows would be no where near as strong as they are right now, because creators and writers upped their game in order to compete with the juggernaut that is Reality T.V.
Late Night Talk Shows
Seven words: The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson. Nothing else need be mentioned.
“Treme”, the new show by David Simon (creator of “The Wire”) is quite something to watch. It’s incredibly dense and packed with about as much knowledge in each episode as a volume on an encyclopedia. But I recently read a quote by Damon Lindeloff (co-creator of “Lost”) where he mentions that he would be hard-pressed to refer to “Treme” as “entertainment”. It’s a program that wants to educate you more so than it worries about making you like it. And this is certainly true. Speaking of “Lost”, we’re less than a week away from that show wrapping up, and while this past season has been somewhat slow, there’s no doubt that this is still the end of an era. I love “Lost” and as far as I’m concerned it’s probably in the top three programs that are on T.V. right now, and probably in the Top 5 of all time great T.V. shows… (okay, maybe Top 10) but we’re getting down to the wire now and I have some small, lingering reservations. The show almost seems to be struggling with what it wants to do here at the end, and that worries me. That being said, I trust in Damon and Carlton and believe that by next Sunday night, we will have all just watched one of the most impressive Series Finales in the history of television.
Finally, the best show on television right now (and possibly ever) is AMC’s “Breaking Bad”.
I’ve talked endlessly about this show before so I’m not gonna say much here, but stress once again that if you’re not watching this show, you are missing out. It’s one of the most artistic and emotionally captivating piece of entertainment that I have ever seen. So go find it and watch it NOW.