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 V.17 No.1 | January 3 - 9, 2008 

Idiot Box

Television Ratings

Best TV of 2007

Battlestar Galactica: Razor (Sci-Fi)--I could just list “Battlestar Galactica.” It’s still one of the best-written, most topical series on TV. Instead, I’ll single out this movie event as a perfect example of why: gripping drama, startling plot development, powerful characters and some of the juiciest political debate you’ll find on the idiot box. ... Plus, there are spaceships.

“Dexter”/“Weeds” (Showtime)--Don’t make me choose. Just let me say HBO’s powerhouse Sunday night (adios, “Sopranos”) has finally been supplanted by Showtime’s juggernaut Sunday lineup, including this wickedly clever serial killer crime series and this envelope-pushing drug comedy. Extra credit goes to stars Michael C. Hall and Mary-Louise Parker for their fearless portrayals. If only network TV were this bold.

“Pushing Daisies” (ABC)--Apparently, it’s too clever for some people, but you’ve got to give this oddball comedy/mystery/fantasy series credit for trying something different in all departments--from setting to casting to storytelling. A weekly delight for the initiated.

“Lost” (ABC)--I’m gonna hand it to this aging series based on the strength of one episode and one episode only--the jaw-dropping season finale. Not only did the series’ creators succeed in bringing a dozen divergent storylines to a head, they managed to work in one of the most mind-bending, reality-altering, what-the-holy-hell-happens-next? twists in TV history. Too bad we only get half a season worth of answers in 2008 thanks to the Writers Guild strike.

“30 Rock” (NBC)--It’s rare for a show to get smarter and funnier as it goes on. This one has. In spades. (My favorite line of the year: “I never make assumptions about race--remember when I asked that black guy if he'd seen Sideways?”) Tina Fey is a treasure. Alec Baldwin is a hoot. Guest stars like Paul Reubens and Edie Falco don’t hurt, either.

Rounding Out the Top 10: “Chuck” (it’s just plain fun, people), “Damages” (some of the most powerhouse acting on TV right now), “Mad Men” (the setting is refreshing and the period recreation is spot-on), “Reaper” (like “Chuck,” it’s purely entertaining), “The Riche$” (alongside “Dexter” and “Weeds,” this is one of TV’s most subversive comedy/dramas).

Worst TV of 2007: “America’s Bingo Night” (I don’t want to play it, why would I want to watch it?), “Cavemen” (Mediocre show, terrible idea. What’s next? The Budweiser Clydesdales talk show?), any celebrity dating show (Tila, Brett, Flava, et al: In the future, please do the nasty in private), “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” (kudos to Perry for the success, but this hokey sitcom wouldn’t stand up against “What’s Happening Now!”), anything MyNetworkTV airs (from the disastrous run of Americanized telenovelas to the recent spate of awful reality shows, MyNet is a network sans programming).


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