30: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006)
"Look, I hate Los Angeles just like everybody else, but I have to work here because in any other part of the country I'm unemployable. " - Matt Albie
It had a single season, but Aaron Sorkin's drama about the backstage occurances during a live sketch show was spellbinding. Incredibly, people just didn't watch the show. Which is astounding when you think how popular The West Wing was before. The cast was phenomenal, the script tight, the dialog witty and the whole package was nothing short of special.
Matthew Perry in particular was incredible in this, showing a real range of acting outside of Chandler from Friends (and that rather lackluster movie "The Whole Nine Yards"). It was great to see him in a show, and not just see him perform well. But excell in the role.
The show remains something I can come back to again and again without feeling bored and the last scene's final line is electric. It's a shame this show got canned so early on, but at least it went out without becoming tired and strung out.
29: Friday Night Lights (2006 - )
"Clear Mind. Full Hearts. Can't Lose." - Various
At number 29 it's the critic's favourite underdog, Friday Night Lights. Based on the book by the same name the series is one that just cares deeply about its characters. Everything is so wonderful, so real, so entertaining that watching it just feels like television perfection.
The show is about a small Texas town called Dillon. Specifically it's about the people surrounding the school's football team. Because in Dillion the night that their team goes out to play is the most important night of the week. It's that one little time when they can all get out of their lives and forget about their troubles.
FNL has made me reassess my opinion of Texans, previously the only experiences I've had with them have been with one dimensional characters on TV and a one dimensional character in the White House (Oooo, political satire. How original.) But FNL has given an insight into Texans that shows they're more than a bunch of ignorant, god fearing xenophobes (not that I really thought that, but it's the only image that was projected my way via tv before now). Instead I appreciate the little man.
All of this, and more. From a show about American Football. A sport I've only watched a match of once, in Alabama no less.
28: Scrubs (2001 - )
" Let me introduce you to, A Man Who Doesn't Care." - Dr. Perry Cox
Goodness gracious, has it really been 7 years since I first saw Scrubs online and introduced all my friends to it? Wow, how time flies. How things change. Still, Scrubs was one of the funniest comedy shows of it's time in the first few seasons. The mix of comedy and serious moments combined with the sometimes surreal was an immediate winning formula for me.
It was one of the first shows in the current age to pioneer 'the narrative lead' (I'm sure it wasn't the first show ever to do that though...) and with this decision it made a massive star of Zach Braff as John 'J.D.' Dorian. But the real show stopping performances come from the characters Dr. Cox, Dr. Kelso and 'The Janitor' along with superb supporting cast work from the characters Todd and Ted the ever sweating lawyer. For me those characters are why I watch the show these days. Most of the J.D./Elliot/Turk/Carla stuff is nowhere near as funny or interesting as the goings on elsewhere in the hospital.
I guess I'm saying the show is a little tired these days. It's had it's best period and now it's sliding quite a bit in quality. I'll keep watching as it can still pump out gems from time to time. But on the whole it's showing it's age and could probably do with being put to rest. This is why it's in at 28 and not higher up the list.
27: Life (2007 - )
"Dig a hole, Fill it up" - Charlie Crews
I've mentioned Life a few times before in this blog as it's the best original show that aired last fall. I initially decided to watch it because Damien Lewis was stunning in Band of Brothers and the concept of the show seemed interesting. Neither disappointed me, which is just as well because most of the other new shows that came out this year stank big time.
26: House M.D. (2004 - )
"I'm extremely disappointed. I send you out for exciting, new designer drugs, you come back with tomato sauce. " - Gregory House
Yeah, like you're suprised this is on the list. Everyones favourite nasty, snide doctor limps its way into number twenty six. I really don't see much need to tout why House is so good. But I'll provide a link to the reason. That's the winning forumla right there, that's all it takes.
I might take a break from writing this tomorrow as it seems I'm putting down a lot of words for no-one except myself. So as such I feel no obligation to keep to schedule. Of course, if there is actually someone out there who wants to see 25 to 21, just say so and I'll actually do it.
30: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006)