DVDs in Review -#12: Dexter Season 1

Category: , , , By Rev/Views
This came out on region 2 this month and I picked it up while Play were having the new release price cut. Frankly I don't like the way that DVDs are sold cut price when they first come out then go up and finally depreciate slowly towards the sales. It essentially means that you either purchase a DVD immediately or avoid buying it until it's more than half it's original price.

Oh well, I'm not in charge of the rubbish pricing strategies used. What do I know?

Dexter: The Complete Season 1.
Rated: 18

Show:

"The only real question I have is why in a building full of cops, all supposedly with a keen insight to the human soul, is Doakes the only one who gets the creep from me." - Dexter Morgan

Well I mentioned Dexter in the number 3 slot of my all time favourite shows for damned good reason. Dexter is one of the few shows out there right now that challenges it's viewers. It asks a strong question of the people who watch the show. Asking you "Is a monster that preys exclusively on other monsters OK?" And then proceeding yo win you over with an exceptionally likable and charismatic Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan.

Michael is utterly fantastic as Dexter, he's almost unrecognisable from his previous work as David Fisher (Six Feet Under); looking rugged, tanned, confident and unshaven instead of pale, insecure and smartly dressed. Michael is such a fantastic actor that I still have some difficulty accepting it's him in both roles. As Dexter he gives us an exceptionally likable character, one who has a dry wit about life, someone who is still - despite what he is - trying to understand and fit in with society. It's an exceptionally strong portrayal of a sociopath. Very accurate, especially in the narration which helps show how he doesn't fit in. The rest of the cast are also phenomenal. Providing a wonderful counterpoint to Dexters obvious abnormality with their own ordinary lives and personalities.

Dexter is one of the finest shows ever.

10/10

Packaging:

"No blood. No sticky, hot, messy, awful blood; no blood at all. Why hadn't I thought of that? No blood. What a beautiful idea!" - Dexter Morgan

Dexter's packaging is an exercise in 'How to do it right' and should be looked at by every manufacturer as an example to emulate. It comes in a tidy and small cardboard sleeve (see top picture), that has one of two alternate artworks and inside that is a pair of slim-line DVD cases; each of which contains 2 DVDs.













Just look at that. It's efficient, clean, well produced and has everything you could possibly want in packaging. All wrapped up in a box that has a tiny profile on the shelf. This is the best packaged DVD product so far. Additionally the menus are clean, precise and beautiful. With no pointless details to them. Just fantastic.

10/10


Extras:

"I chose Rita because she is, in her own way, as damaged as me." - Dexter

There's a price to all of this slimline packaging though, the DVD set distinctly lacks Extras. In fact, so far I've only found a single extra on any of the four DVDs and that's commentary from the producers on the final episode. Honestly, I'm never that interested in hearing what the producers have to say, throw in a writer and some of the actors please. They're far more interesting.
But, that said it's not a bad bit of commentary. They manage to provide some interesting insights, especially into the choices behind the creation of the brilliantly chilling title sequence.

2/10

Price:

"So then he must have already had the head with him in the front seat. Huh, that's weird. Why would he keep it there?" - Lt Maria Laguerta
"I don't know. So he could use a carpool lane" - Dexter

I was fortunate enough to get the set in play.com's release 'sale' and got it for the low, low price of £18. But it's now £26.99 from them, £27 in HMV and Zavvi and sendit.com have it for £25.89. At 720 minutes of quality programming it works out at a rather expensive 3.56p per minute. So it might be worth hanging on until the price drops a little before you get this. But it is worth the price.

7/10

Overall
Show: 10
Packaging: 10
Extras: 2
Price: 7

Final Score: 72.5%

That's not an amazing score, but because I figure in the quality and quantity of Extras into the score Dexter loses out hard. Despite this score I'd still recommend this to anyone without hesitation. But I can't go fixing my scoring style just to bump up one of my favourite shows...

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Pilot Season

Category: By Rev/Views
As a reminder to myself to keep an eye out for these. Here are the most interesting pilot shows mentioned so far. Synopsis are taken from TV.com.

ABC:
Section 8
A group of everyday people who possess uncanny neurological abnormalities have been recruited to work for a secret government agency.


I'm always interested in paranormal shows, this one sounds interesting.

NBC:
My Own Worst Enemy
Christian Slater stars as a regular suburban dad and a deadly government spy who suddenly realize that, due to a previously undiagnosed multiple personality disorder, they are in fact the same person. Can these two men reconcile their differences and learn to live as one?

While the premise of this show is rather trite, it could be an exciting show to watch, especially as Christian Slater is a decent actor. It's worth noting that an episode of 'Life' already explored this in a way. Ah Life is such an excellent show.

Fox:
Dollhouse
Eliza Dushku stars in this new Joss Whedon series, which brings viewers into a mysterious world populated by human beings whose personalities, abilities, and memories have been programmed in order to help them complete top-secret missions.

Eliza Dushku, Josh Whedon. It sounds like a mix with serious potential to run. But any Josh Whedon project should always be considered as a serious contender.

Fringe
FBI agents Olivia Warren and Peter Bishop are faced with a rapidly spreading, unexplained phenomenon of the threatening kind. In an attempt to stop the spread, they enlist the assistance of Bishop's estranged father, the institutionalized scientist Dr. Walter Bishop

Could be good, could be bad. Worth keeping an eye on.

Sit Down, Shut Up
Based on a live-action Australian series of the same name, this animated offering depicts the lives and quirks of seven staffers at a high school in a small fishing town

For reasons listed in the post immediately below this one.

The rest of the shows are either a little bland, the synopsis seems boring or are yet more reality TV shows.
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Class Dismissed/Sit Down, Shut Up

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I'm always on the look out for interesting new programs, especially at this time of year where most of the current stuff is in 'finale' mode and we end up left with almost nothing decent to watch. The first show on my radar is the cartoon remake of an Australian show called Sit Down, Shut Up. Now on the whole I'm not keen on this remake fad that American TV is going through, but I am interested in this as it's been set up and supervised by Mitch Hurwitz, who created the best comedy show ever - Arrested Development. Additionally three of the cast members of that show have signed up to do voices - Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Henry Winkler.

Sit Down, Shut Up will come out in 2009 and will be animated characters over a live action backdrop. It is about the teachers of a school in a small north eastern fishing town and their problems. My mother is a teacher so I already have a good insight into the murky goings on that happen behind the pupils heads. Oh yes, you have no idea about the extra level of interaction, bureaucracy and office politicing that goes on in the average school while the pupils aren't present.

It'll be airing after the Simpsons, which isn't a terrible slot for it to be on. But I'm predicting that Fox will screw the pooch on this show as they don't have a good track record. Regardless, I'm keeping an eye out for it and I'm looking forward to seeing the pilot.
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Spin-Off Sunday

By Rev/Views
I realise this is getting posted on the Monday, but I started it on Sunday before having an accident and as I just got back from an overnight stay hospital I'm finishing it here.

Spin-Offs. They are a strange thing; essentially giving the characters from a show a new lease of life these things. Sometimes not even the character(s) you'd expect. Now I'm going to ignore franchises in this, they're not quite the same thing. So no CSI, L&O or Star Trek here.

Spin-offs are a fairly lazy way of creating a new show, you've already laid the ground work for much of it as at least one of the characters in the new show has already had exposure and a normally a fan base is in place. This I guess gives the spin-off a better chance of being accepted by a network when compared to a fresh new show which could be a complete unknown quantity.

Anyway, enough rambling about Spin-Offs. Here are the very best ones I've seen, followed by the worst. (In no particular order).

The Best

1. Frasier (From Cheers)
I've mentioned it in my top 50. It's a great show that's simultaniously cultured, intelligent and hillarious. While it did run a little thin towards the end it still held up strongly and managed to go out with a bow rather than than soiling itself in a desperate attempt to keep going into TV Senility.

2. The Colbert Report (From The Daily Show)
I love The Colbert Report, it's pardoy of shows like The O'Rielly Factor is unparalleled and it displays a level of sarcasm and irony almost unreached by most American shows. Stephen Colbert really understands comedy. He's an absolute master of the mock interview, only Sasha Baron Cohen is in the same league as him (sorry John Stewart!)

3. Sarah Jane Adventures (From Doctor Who)
The second spin-off from "new" Who is The Sarah Jane Adventures. In this the writers managed to avoid everything that made Torchwood bad and put together an excellent childrens show that's intelligent, fun and well written. It also helps that Elisabeth Sladen is exceptionally charasmatic and an excellent actress.

4. Happy Days (From Love, American Style)
Ah Happy Days, A childhood show that was not only a spin-off itself but also span off into many other shows. Including Mork and Mindy. I still fondly recall many evenings spent watching this with the entire family.

5. NCIS
I only watch NCIS occasionally as I'm not a fan of repeated 'crime of the week' shows. I need my shows to have some kind of over arcing plot to work best. But, this said NCSI managed to put out a charasmatic cast, excellent dialog and occasionally interesting crimes so it's one of the best crime of the week/spin offs around.

7. The Simpsons (The Tracy Ullman Show)
The most successfull TV Spin-Off series ever. Sadly now well past its prime and living on life support. But when it was in its prime the show was spectacular. I just wish that it would be put out to pasture.

8. Boston Legal (The Practice)
What a spectacular spin off this is. It has exceeded 'The Practice' in every single way. Boston Legal is simply the best Television Law Comedy/Drama show we've had. Ever.

The Worst
1. Torchwood (Doctor Who)
Now, I do watch Torchwood. But the show dwells in a special level of TV Hell for me. It's set in locations I'm familiar with and it's based from Doctor Who. But it's just awful, mostly because of John Barrowman/Captain Jack. Who has simply no acting range whatso ever, something which has become increasingly apparant as the series has progressed.

Additionally the first season suffered from some ridiculously bad plotting and absolutetly awful writing. Chris Chibnall is a bigger hack than Russell T. Davies. Why he was put in charge of the project we'll never know.

The second season was an improvement, but that's like saying it's good to get beaten with a broom when the alternative is a rusty crowbar.

2. Joey
Now I quite liked Joey, the supporting cast in particular were excellent. But the show took Friends shallowest character and attempted to bulk up an entire series around him. It was doomed to fail right from the start, and it did.

But, that said there were still spots in this show that shined. It wasn't all bad, it just didn't have enough good moments.

3. Cleveland
I've tentively put this one here because I think a show about Cleveland (from Family Guy) is just not a good idea. We'll see.

4. Prison Break: Cherry Hill
Ugh, not content with having one Prison Break show jump the shark Fox are going for a double whammy.

The Should Be:


1. Gobias Industries (Arrested Development)
Spinning off from the "Gobias a Coffee" idea from the Arrested Development episode "Whistler's Mother", this show would star G.O.B. and Tobias's attempts to run a successful coffee shop for the Bluthe Company.

2. Zap Brannigan in the 31st Century (Futurama)
Starring the adventures of Zap & Kiff along with a small group of long suffering crew members this show would showcase the joys of the Futurama universe while parodying Star Trek, BSG and other such sci-fi shows. It would also include attack fish in land suits! See the episode 'A Big Piece of Garbage' for Cinnamon the fish in a land suit.

3. Futures (Millenium)
Starring Terry O'Quinn returning as
Peter Watts, who survived the vicious attack from the Millenium Group at the end of the previous show and now travels the globe seeking the truth behind the organisations activities. He gradually discovers a bigger truth behind all the lies and must make a terrifying decision.

4. Dutch (The Shield)
Starring Jay Karnes as Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach this show would continue the universe of The Shield after the fallout of the final season. Of course, there's no guarantee that Dutch will survive the end of the show, The Shield is just like that. But I'd hope he does so, in fact I'm going to predict here that if anyone shoots Vic it'll be Dutch who pulls the trigger.
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Supernatural

Category: , , , By Rev/Views
Well; I haven't finished viewing all of the first season, but I wanted to put down my thoughts about this show here.

Initially I had judged the show without watching it at all. I did not like the pair of pretty boys that had been cast in the league, both of them still look like they should be modelling men's clothing on the runway and posing for Playgirl. Additionally the price of the the DVD boxed set was just too high for me to consider trying it out (£30 for half a season!) so I decided to just give the show a miss. But when the price dropped to £18 for the complete season and Aaron Williams of Nodwick (http://nodwick.humor.gamespy.com) said he was enjoying the show I decided to give it a go. Especially because Aaron has exceptionally good taste in TV shows (liking many of the sames ones I do) and I've always been fond of the horror genre.

I'm approaching the three quarters mark for the first season and I've avoided seeing anything on the web so this has been like watching a show fresh just the way I used to do back before the age of the interwebs came along and provided spoilers for every aspect of life.

Anyway, my thoughts... Where are they? Oh yes, Supernatural. Once I got down to watching it this show has actually quite impressed me, the first thing that clicked with me is the choice of camera filters. The show uses a very dark deep set of filters to keep colours rich, shadowy and dark. A similar style of filters were used in Millenium and I liked the bleak nature of them then. The Supernatural ones are a somewhat cleaner, but they still evoke the same feel and this is a good thing because Millenium made it onto my top 50 list as number 50 (it would have gotten a higher place if Fox hadn't nixed it before it finished). Reminding me of a show a love is a good way to get me on your side. Well done supernatural.

But it's not just the filters on the show that I enjoyed, Supernatural is a rather fun experience. It's not the best show ever, in fact it's very predictable. I often call out lines before the characters utter them as they're using all of the cliches from the horror genre with no shame and that's a good thing.

This is where Supernatural (at least the first season so far) manages to succeed, it doesn't take itself too seriously, you have the stereotypical horror monster of the week, a splash of "where is their father and what killed their mother?" plus some pretty female guest stars and plenty of people who are still skeptics. I can't get over the number of skeptics that live in the Supernatural world, considering the amount of utterly wierd things that seem to happen on a weekly basis and the freaky nature of their world in general it's almost comedic that a lot of the guest characters still remain skeptical, sometimes even in the face of the utterly bizzare.

And that's the crux of it, Supernatural works because it's an amusing parody of a genre
that should never be taken seriously. The show doesn't try and be pretentious, it doesn't want you to take it seriously. It's just two brothers driving around America in a 1967 Chevrolet Impala and stopping strange happenings. Sort of like Scooby Do 2000 or a modern day Call of Cthulhu.

As such, I quite like this show.
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No content!

By Rev/Views
I'm busy until Thursday so there won't be any updates. But I'm planning to do a few things when I get back. Here's the plan as it stands.

With all the shows finishing around this time I'm going to run a brief eye over the highs and lows of the various series I watched. Not only looking at what was enjoyable but what just didn't work. This TV season has had some very sketchy moments thanks in part to the writers strike.

Thoughts on Supernatural, which I both like and dislike intensely.

Spin-offs; the very best, the worst and the ones that should have happened but didn't. It's fair to say I have a love/hate relationship with spin offs. I think they're a lousy idea, but I do like some of them.

‣ At least one more Exceedingly Excellent Episode, so I can justify the existence of it's link over there ->

‣ A "Why you should watch..." on Arrested Development,

Other stuff, I'm open to suggestions here.
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DVDs in Review - #11: The Complete Adventures of Tintin

Category: By Rev/Views

Tintin and Asterix were two comics that I grew up with. I didn't really own many of the books myself but I did read them by borrowing them from the library. So when I saw the complete set in Zavvi for £16 (which works out as £14.40 for me) I couldn't resist getting it and watching the tv series because I missed most those when they were being broadcast due to a combination of being out or being denied early morning television.

Show:

The Adventures of Tintin is based on the comic book series Herge's Adventures of Tintin and is the second animated version of this show; for the sake of the few people who've been in a cave the last 80 odd years and don't know anything about it I'll briefly summarise.

Tintin is a young reporter (who spends less and less time reporting about his adventures) who's natural curiosity and lack of fear lands him in trouble repeatedly. Set in a pseudo realistic version of the world (1930s onwards) Tintin includes some mystical elements along with science. Accompanying Tintin on his adventures are a selection of recurring characters and eventual companions, specifically the Thompson Twins, Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus.

The animated show follows every book from Tintin in America to Tintin and the Picaros. Which is 21 out of the 24 books released and basically all of the good stories. But for myself personally the series only becomes entertaining when Captain Haddock joins the cast in the 7th adventure. It's his combination of drinking, uttering oaths, comical clumsiness and general 'hard man with a heart of gold' that I enjoy most of all.

One thing to note about the series is most of the adventures have sections edited out to resolve time issues. But this does mean that there is the odd plot element not explained in the show. For the most part it's not noticable, but there's a pretty major blunder in 'Tintin and the Shooting Star' where the exploding mushrooms are almost entirely forgotten about, but they play a key part in the final scenes and as such appear without any previous explaination... Also much of Haddock's obsession with whisky has been removed and as such many comical scenes are lost.

On the other hand the animation is faithful to the style of the comics and there is actually some 3D animation in Destination Moon & Explorers on the Moon. Which is very impressive for 1989.

On the whole it's a great package and enjoyed it immensely. But the books are still better.

8/10

Packaging:
Now, while the complete bundle is quite nice looking and it uses slimline DVD cases there is a slight question where the number of DVDs is concerned. Most of the DVDs have 2 adventures on them, but they could easily hold between 3 and 5 per disc, in fact the final DVD does indeed have 3 adventures on it. So you have 10 DVDs doing the job of 5, that's pretty wasteful and means the collection takes up double the amount it should have.

This is a criminal act in my opinion and as such I'm deducting marks from the score.

4/10

Extras:
Blue blistering barnacles, there's absolutely none what so ever. Not a sniff of an extra, nor a drop of whisky. For shame!

Well, there is one thing you can do in lew of extras, you can play "Where's Herge" as he makes a lot of animated cameos in this series. As such I'll give the show a single point.

1/10

Price:
Zavvi seems to have gone back up in price since I bought this so I'll work from the cheapest I've found online with Sendit. That's £15.89 with a run time of 1080 mins. Which works out as a ridiculouly low 1.5p per min. I think the collection has redeemed itself here. Bonus point for being the cheapest so far, which means it's breaking the 10 mark.

11/10

Overall
Show: 8/10
Packaging: 4/10
Extras: 1/10
Price: 11/10
Final score: 60%

This set is let down by it's lack of extras and it's poor choice in DVD packaging. It's best to try and get the HMV 5 DVDs version instead of purchasing this one. But I haven't seen it outside of eBay.

As an additional side note, Steven Moffat has written Spielberg's film adapataion which will be released in 2009. That's an awesome writer and talented director so hopefully it will be a classic.

Available from Sendit for £15.89
From Play.com for £16.99
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DVDs in Review - #10: Sugar Rush (The Complete Series 1 + 2)

Category: , , By Rev/Views
Sugar Rush was a show that I caught occasionally on Channel 4 a few years back and it left an impression on me. So when I had a chance to pick up series 1 + 2 together on the cheap I decided "Why not? Lets see if it's as good as I remember it."



Show:
Sugar Rush is a teenage drama about a young lesbian called Kim who is secretly in love with her best friend 'Sugar'. It's a show that manages to capture the trials and issues that occur for teenagers in love and deals with them in a funny and sensitive manner. Kim narrates the show, providing much of her insight and thoughts on situations as voice over. Now narrated shows are pretty common these days and some shows are gratuitously over narrated (Scrubs has become a culprit of this, but Pushing Daises also springs to mind), but Sugar Rush strikes the right balance between narration, action and dialog without leaning too hard on the narration to explain events.

The perfomances from the cast are superb, from the fiesty and self confident Sugar all the way to the deeply wierd and disturbed Matt (Kim's younger brother), the show feels real. All of the characters have their lives and it feels like they do exist even when they're not on screen. It's this extra level of reality combined with the humour and the attention to detail that makes Sugar Rush so much fun to watch. It's not just for lesbians, it's for everyone who's ever been a teenager.

8/10

Packaging:
Sugar Rush's packaging is nothing special. It's a little bulky for the amount of discs (4 in two seperate standard cases) but the box art looks fine and both seasons look similar without being the same. It's a decent job, but nothing amazing here.

7/10

Extras:
Sugar Rush have very little in the way of extras; each season has some outtakes, a few deleted scenes and other bits. But there's nothing amazing here, no commentary or in depth documentries. I flicked through it but was quickly bored, it's not as good as the show is.

5/10

Price:
Unusually for a British series Sugar Rush has 10 episodes in a series which means it totals at 510 mins for the price of £12 (in Zavvi). This works out at an astounding 1.9p per minute, which I believe is the new record for price. So the show is undoubted value for money as it's well under the 3p mark.

10/10


Overall:
Show: 8
Packaging: 7
Extras: 5
Price: 10

Final Score: 75%

But if you don't care about extras the score of this show goes up quite a bit. It's tremendous value for money and great entertainment. It's just not the best DVD package ever.

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DVDs in Review - #9: The Shield - Season 4

Category: , , , By Rev/Views
I watched this a while ago now, but I decided not to review it because I was busy pushing through the top 50 and didn't want to interrupt the list with other posts.

This is (obviously) the fourth season of The Shield, which is the season that guest stars Glenn Close as Captain Monica Rawlings.

Show:
Season four of The Shield continues the utter excellence that you'll come to expect from this show. Glenn Close joins the cast as the new Captain and she has an immediate and obvious chemistry with the entire cast, especially Michael Chiklis. The show has also taken a slight change in dynamic with the addition of a new major player. The head of the One Niners, Antwon Mitchell, portrayed par exellence by Anthony Anderson.

Things, as always. Aren't going smoothly for Vic and the boys, Shane is causing them no end of problems and David Acevada has a major bug up his ass about Captain Rawling's new "seizures policy" where any property purchased with gang related gains can be taken by the police and auctioned off. The cast is excellent and the dialog is as witty and sharp as ever. The first episodes "dog shooting incident" is brilliant in the darkness of it's humour.

Season Four is every bit as good as Season 3 was, the show has really found its stride by this point and is pushing on well.

10/10

Packaging:
The packaging continues to keep the same style as the previous seasons, it matches up well and doesn't take up too much space. The box art is also excellent (as you can see) and the whole thing ticks all the boxes.

9/10

Extras:
Season 4's Extras are strong, but not the best. Ultimately it depends how much you like extras, I can take or leave them but I do enjoy good commentaries. Of course; no-one has yet managed to provide commentaries that beat the Futurama ones, but some of the ones on The Shield are excellent. Overall, it's a mixed bunch as some commentary groups are more interesting than others and they managed 8 out of ther 13 shows.
Of the other Extras the most interesting is "Under the Skin", which is an hour long look at the show with cast interviews and the like. Overall the Extras are good, but I have seen better.

8/10

Price:
Season 4 can be had for £13.89 from Sendit.com and it stands at 585 mins. This works out as 2.4p per min. Which is darn impressive as very few DVDs have passed the 2.5 mark. Considering the quality of this show and the previous standards set there is only one score possible here.

10/10


Overall:

Show: 10
Packaging: 9
Extras: 8
Price: 10
Final Score: 92.5%

A solid, but not unexpected score. Unfortunately it's likely to be the last high score I give the region 2 versions of The Shield because Sony butchered season 5 and 6... More on that later.


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Top 50 Shows - Countdown List

Category: By Rev/Views
Here's the list in countdown order!

50. Millenium
49. Deadwood
48. Simpsons
47. Family Guy
46. Burn Notice
45. 30 Rock
44. Danger Mouse
43. 'Allo 'Allo
42. Friends
41. American Dad
40. Extras
39. The Green Wing
38. Heroes
37. Band of Brothers
36. Battlestar Galactica (2003)
35. The Mighty Boosh
34. The League of Gentlemen
33. Nip/Tuck
32. My Name is Earl
31. Black Books
30. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
29. Friday Night Lights
28. Scrubs
27. Life
26. House M.D.
25. The Venture Bros
24. Dead Like Me
23. How I Met Your Mother
22. Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law
21. The Colbert Report
20. Top Gear
19. Curb Your Enthusiasm
18. Frasier
17. Fawlty Towers
16. Black Adder
15. Boston Legal
14. Monty Python's Flying Circus
13. Father Ted
12. Six Feet Under
11. Red Dwarf
10. Homicide: Life on the Street
9. Spaced
8. Seinfeld
7. Firefly
6. The Office (USA)
5. Futurama
4. Arrested Development
3. Dexter
2. The Wire
1. The Shield

See below for breakdowns of the various shows!
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Top 50 Shows - Numbers 50 to 46

Category: By Rev/Views
Hello apathetic internet! Up yours!

Here is the first in 10 installments (one per day) that will list my top 50 shows. These are taken from the various shows I've watched over the years and we'll just have to see what ends up where.

Onward and upward!

50: Millenium (1996-1999)
I did watch the majority of The X-Files, but in all honesty I didn't completely like the sci-fi slant of the show. It felt a little too "out there" for me. On the other hand Chris Carter's 'other' show, set in the same universe was right on the curve. It starred the excellent Lance Henriksen as Frank Black and best of all it had Terry O'Quinn (Lost) as the wonderfull Peter Watts.
The show was about the mysterious Millenium group and some sort of thing was supposed happen with the coming Millenium. Sadly the viewers were screwed over and the whole thing was canned before we got one final season.

Honestly though it's not suprising that it got canned, the show is seriously dark and not that accessable to the average couch potato. It's a show where the lines between good and evil aren't that clear. It's a show where the bad guys can sometimes get away. It's a show that leaves things open to come back to them later and will put it's lead character through the wringer without a moments hesitation. Which is why I love it.

The show was gifted a pseudo ending via The X-Files in an sort of cross over episode where Frank teams up with Mulder and Scully. But the style of the episode is very much "X-Files" and as such it's not really satisfying. That's the main reason this show doesn't rate higher, it could have ended better.

TV.com score: 8.9
IMDB Score: 8.2

49: Deadwood (2004 - 2006)
Deadwood is one of HBOs grand dramas, with all the stops pulled out the show is utterly fantastic to look at and just feels so authentic. It drips with the stink of the old west and really makes the place look and feel alive. The dialog is also utterly brilliant, but very authentic (i.e. hard to understand) and exceedingly blue. Still it's a must watch for any fan of historical dramas, cowboy movies or Lovejoy. Yeah cause Ian McShane is utterly amazing as
Al Swearengen. I don't rate this show much higher because it also hasn't had a proper ending (yet) and the dialog plus pacing of the show isn't for everyone.

TV.com Score: 9.1
IMDB Score: 9.3

48: Simpsons (1989 - )
Oh yeah, take that, I've gone there and not even put it in my top 20, can you feel me bucking the trend? While I enjoy The Simpsons, the reluctance of Fox and Co to let the show die gracefully has really made it lose it's luster. The earlier episodes are sheer comedy genius, but the longer the show has been left running for the worse it's gotten. While the movie wasn't half bad it's still not enough to redeem this show in my eyes. I love it, but there are better things out there and I wish Fox would start investing in something new instead of clutching onto the show like some old security blanket.

TV.com score: 9.2
IMDB Score: 9.1

47: Family Guy (1999 - )
HAH! Suprise! Family Guy isn't in my top 20 either! Oh boy I feel like a real rebellious critic now, oooh go me. Fighting the system and playing as the underdog! Maybe it's because I get no money or product from any big fat cat executives that I'm willing to rate this show down here in the high 40s.

Now, strutting aside - I do enjoy Family Guy, quite a bit and I even rated Blue Harvest as a 9/10. But Family Guy has become increasingly hit and miss over recent times. I adore the first three seasons - in particular I think season three is utterly delightful, it's as much fun as a bucket of marshmallow bumblebees would be.
To Love and Die in Dixie is without a doubt the best episode of the entire show and one I'd go watch now if you want me to...

...But lately the show has been looking tired, it's started to lean more and more on the 'random inserted gag' and the plots have frankly become a bit outlandish. It's maybe feeling a little of The Simpsons effect on it, plus it's possible that American Dad is stretching the writers a little thin on jokes.

That said, I really am looking forward to "Something, Something, Something Dark Side"

TV.com Score: 9.2
IMDB Score: 8.8

46: Burn Notice (2007 - )
Oh yeah, with only a single season under it's belt the spy/spoof/comedy/drama show starring Bruce Campbell and that guy who plays Michael Western and was a pair of twins in one episode of Homcide ("You got the wrong twin!") has made it into my top 50. It's an immensely fun show that has such a simple premise that it really shouldn't be this good. But it is, marrying the "Help a guy each week" with "Overarcing, why did you get fired?" plot works so well.

The performances from the main cast are excellent - Bruce Campbell pretty much steels every scene he's in, but that's to be expected - and the writing is both light, fast paced and witty. Add to this the fact that Miami is a gorgeous city and filled with fantastic hotties in bikinis and you have a winning forumla.

TV.com score: 9.2
IMDB Score: 8.3

Tune in tomorrow for 45 to 41. Or don't because I'm a lousy writer! Your call Marty...

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Top 50 Shows - Numbers 45 to 41

Category: By Rev/Views
"You might be a king or a little street sweeper, but sooner or later you'll dance with the reaper. "

Here's the next installment of the internet's least anticipated list!

45: 30 Rock (2006 - )

"I love you so much I'm going to take you behind the middle school and get you pregnant." - Tracy Jordan

In a respectable position 45 is Tina Fey's sit-com about the cast and crew of a fictional show called "The Girly Show with Tracy Jordan". The show centers around Liz Lemon (Fey) and the constant problems that crop up both within her work life and her (lack of) a personal life. Tina (as Liz) made it into my list of most attractive women this year because of the fantastic role she plays in this show.

But it's not just Tina who's so brilliant in this show, pretty much the whole cast is amazing and funny. But the best is without a doubt Alec Baldwin, who is just so wonderful as Jack Donaghy and provides an excellent semi-sort-of-but-not-really-evil-boss for Liz. The show mixes semi-serious moments without going into the seriously 'touching sad music moment' that Scrubs likes to. 30 Rock isn't there to make you think, it's just there to make you laugh. I especially love the concept of Milf Island. Genius!

Oh and Sein-vision utterly rocked!

tv.com: 8.8
IMDB: 8.3


44: Danger Mouse (1981 - 1992)

"He's the greatest, he's fantastic, wherever there is danger, he'll be there!" - Danger Mouse Theme Song

Creeping in from my childhood comes the worlds smallest secret agent (who matters) Danger Mouse! Even now this show is so perfectly watchable and brilliant that it's amazing. David Jason and Terry Scott are so wonderful and madcap in their dialog that this show simply shines. Both of them constantly attempt to one up the other, which creates such a superb interaction between DM and Penfold.

The show has aged in appearance somewhat, but as it's animated that's not a major problem. While I'd love to see new episodes it seems somewhat unlikely as Terry passed on in 1994. I'm sure that there will be an inevitable re-make somewhere down the line (what is with all this re-making now?!?), but it won't hold a candle to the original version in the dialog section.

tv.com: 8.8
IMDB: 7.5

43: 'Allo 'Allo! (1982 - 1992: With a special in 2007)

"Good Moaning. The resist-once have accqo-aired a bum. They are going to ex-plod the whaleway brodge" - Officer Crabtree

Another show from my childhood, this was one which the entire family used to sit down and watch together. I was never quite comfortable with the sexual tones in the show at the time, partly because I was so young when it was on, but mostly because my parents were in the room.
'Allo 'Allo! has some of the most well written and superb dialog gags in tv history. Officer Crabtree's incredibly poor french language speaking skills in particular were brilliant. "There is obviously no piss for the wicked." still cracks me up to this day.

But it's not just the dialog that made this show so funny, the entire premise is brilliant. Including such utter insanities as the entire cast spoke english, but with french accents (as the show was set in france) so they had the British airmen speak in incredibly english accents to show they were speaking a different language. And it worked!

Quality show through and through. Oh and the special was awesome.

tv.com: 8.8
IMDB: 8.7


42: Friends (1994 - 2004)

"I can handle this. "Handle" is my middle name. Actually, "handle" is the middle of my first name." - Chandler

It's a classic and I'm sure you knew it was going to be on this list somewhere. But it's only made it here to the low 40s as while I enjoy it and own every episode it's one of those shows that went on for longer than the writers could manage. I see little point in expanding on this much more so I'll just say Chandler is my favourite friend but my favourite line (which I still use to this day) is:

"We were on a Break!"

tv.com: 9.3
IMDB: 8.9


41: American Dad (2005 - )

"Sorry I'm late, I was getting a piping-hot cup of coffee. It's far too hot to drink, but luckily my leathery man-mouth can take it. " - Stan Smith

Scoring higher than it's counterpart Family Guy I prefer American Dad due to it's lack of 'gag cut scenes' and overall superior storytelling style. Family Guy is a sketch show with thin plot between the sketches while American Dad plays more like a violent sit-com.

I think I enjoy the show so much because it's a wonderful parody of all those secret agent types you see in various films and shows. They're almost always either single or in dysfunctional falling apart marriages. The Smiths; in contrast, have their problems but manage to stick together.

I think it's just a better show than Family Guy, but it's not my favourite cartoon show on this list. That one is still to come...

tv.com: 8.4
IMDB: 7.4

Well here we are, a fifth of the way through the list and I'm already hankering to watch the shows I've talked about. More tomorrow!
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Top 50 Shows - Numbers 40 to 36

Category: By Rev/Views
Welcome again internet, and you can all go to hell! I hate you all! Let's talk about some more tv shall we?

40: Extras (2005 - )

"Oh, come on love, you're like a dead horse, put a bit of minge round it!"

Extras is a rather brilliant little show from Ricky Gervais, I'm not really sure there's much need to tout it as most people have seen it. Every episode is complete gold, but the real shine are the performances from Ashley Jensen (as Maggie) and the various guest starring roles that occur. The episodes stand and fall depending on the performances of the stars in the episode, but so far every single one has been willing to lampoon themselves with great gusto. Patrick Stewart remains a favourite of mine, he was superb as a horribly perverted version of himself.

tv.com: 8.9
imdb: 9.0

39: Green Wing (2004 - 2007)

"Join me again next week on this episode of "Let's make no fucking sense" when I will be waxing an owl."

Green Wing is a delightful little show, it's essentially a sketch show with dramatic continuity. While it's set inside a hospital there is almost no medical action in it at all, almost no medical references either. Instead it's a non-stop barrage of the sureal, bizzare and out-right funny.

While many of the characters and situations are brilliant. It's Michelle Gomez as Sue White who I find the funniest, some of the stuff she spouts is simply jaw droppingly funny. I was astounded to discover that the following line (one that had me laughing in the asiles) was actually improvised.

"Do you want to have sex with me? I mean, do you want to just have, do you want to just fuck me now? Do you wanna do that? Do you wanna just get your cock out and fuck me now? How about that, yeah? Shall we, here... on the table? Yeah, how about whopping it up my ass, what about that Mr. Secretan? Not Doctor... but Mister. Yeah? One above Doctor, how about that yeah? Mr. Secretan whopping up the staff liaison's ass."

How can you not love a show that has characters ranting like that at each other?

tv.com: 8.8
imdb: 9.2

38: Heroes (2006 - )

"I'm Back!"

Yes, arriving in at number 38 is everyones second favourite superhero show, Heroes. The show has a fairly simple premise. Ordinary people plus super powers minus costumes equals ratings winner. The show is very clever in many ways, but for me it can't get much higher in the rankings than the high 30s because it's flawed in so many ways. The writers leave no end of loopholes, have characters conveniently forgetting to be imaginative with their powers and managed to totally balls up the first part of the second season with poor pacing.

But, the show is still brilliant to watch, mostly because of two men - Zachary Quinto and Jack Coleman as Sylar & Noah Bennett (aka Horn Rimmed Glasses Guy) respectively. It's these two characters who really drive the show and have the most interesting plot lines and personalities. Sylar is by far and away the most imaginative 'hero', capable of using powers he's gained in a variety of creative manners all in the quest for additional abilities/power. Noah on the other hand is very much a ruthless agent and killer, but this is tempered with a softer family side. He'd do anything for his family and has speciall affection for his adopted daughter Claire.

Ultimately, while the show is fun to watch. It's not perfect as the writers often seem to be full of good ideas, but unable to execute them in a satisfying manner. Also it sucks that the action scenes in the show just... aren't. The end of season one was very anti-climatic in particular.

tv.com: 9.4
imdb: 8.4

37: Band of Brothers (2001)

"I treasure my remark to my grandson who asked, "Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?" Grandpa said, "No... but I served in a company of heroes"."

Some have called this show, Saving Private Ryan - the tv show. But I feel that's doing this masterpiece a disservice. The show is based on the true accounts of Easy Company's experiences during the second world war. As it's based on reality the threat of death lays all around the characters, despite the fact that every episode has interviews with the survivors of the war it keeps the identities of the interviewes secret until the end of the show.

The events that occur in the show are incredible, there are both heartwarming scenes and ones that will stay with you forever as incredible or shocking. The chaos of the war and the horror that the people who participated in it is palpable. This show doesn't glorify war, it simply shows you for what it is.

tv.com: 9.2
imdb: 9.6

36: Battlestar Galactica (2003 - )

"The mob is not usually in the habit of electing ungodly apostates who denigrate people of faith."

Time Magazine, Rolling Stone and New York Newsday called this the best show of 2005 (I disagree), but BSG is one of the few remakes that has actually managed to work. Most of the time remakes are terrible but BSG is an exception.

Now BSG has made it into the mid 30s because I'm not really a fan of sci-fi as such. I could take it or leave it as a genre. But BSG has some most excellent characters and moments in it, especially during the first two seasons. Both of which are phenomemal in their pacing, writing and action. Sadly the third season is a little more spotty, at times its brilliant but at others it's just dire.

Fortunately the writers appeared to get their act together by the end of season three and have started strongly in season four.

imdb: 8.1
tv.com: 9.2

More tomorrow. If anyone is reading this that is.
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Top 50 Shows - Numbers 35 to 31

Category: By Rev/Views
And with a drum roll, and then sudden silence from the audience here comes the next batch of 'my top shows'

35: The Mighty Boosh (2004 - )


"One time, I saw a man looking at me, yes, with his eyes. And then, he, he picked up a tube. And he looked, in the tube, and he made the moon big, inside the tube. The moon big inside a tube!"

The Mighty Boosh is one of the most surreal shows on television anywhere outside of the truely bizzare (i.e. crap) stuff that gets aired at stupid-o-clock. The Mighty Boosh is about the odd adventures of two friends called Howard Moon and Vince Noir plus their Shaman friend Naboo and his monkey Bolo. Each season is set in a different enviroment, the first season is based in a zoo called the Zooniverse, the second in a small upstairs flat from which Howard and Vince attempt to make it big as a band and the third in a magic shop owned by Naboo.

Vince and Howard are, as explained by the show. Idiots. While Vince is popular, attractive and lucky, he's still as bright as a piece of celery in the bottom of a well. Howard is more intelligent, but not by much. As such they tend to get themselves into bad situations with great aplom and often have to be bailed out by other characters in the show.

The show has plenty of reccuring and memorable one off characters, these vary in quality from the truely brilliant like Old Greg "I've got a man-jina!", Saboo "What do you know of the Crunch" the shaman, Tony Harrison the tentacled head, the moon (described by Tony as an 'alabaster retard') and Bob Fossill to the rather uninsipring and overused Cockney Hitcher. (Yes Boosh fans, I don't want to see that character ever again).

The Mighty Boosh doesn't rate higher than 35 because at times it's brilliant, but at other times it's just... not very good. Season Three in particular struggled somewhat with some rather duff stories. Also, I'm not very keen on the way character death is treated in this show, multiple characters have returned from the grave. Mind you, Saboo died and I'm glad he's back...

imdb: 9.2
tv.com: 8.7

34: The League of Gentlemen (1999 - 2002)

"Are you local?"

If The Mighty Boosh is the most surreal comedy on tv, The League of Gentlemen is the most disturbing by miles. Proving that comedy can be dark and that freak shows are funny TLoG burst onto British screens in early '99 and had an immediate impact on the viewing public. Essentially a sketch show set in Royston Vasey TLoG wasn't afraid to have some true abominations for characters. Edward & Tubs, Hillary the butcher of "special meat" and probably the most iconic character of all... Papa Lazarou!

While the movie "League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse" is not a particually good ending to the show (or even a good movie) the stuff that occurs in the three seasons and the christmas special is nothing short of magical. If you like your comedy dark, or just enjoy the sick and twisted. Royston Vasey is a place you should visit.

imdb: 8.7
tv.com: 8.4

33: Nip/Tuck (2003 - )

"Tell me what you don't like about yourself? "

Nip/Tuck is one hell of a polished drama that borders on the strange at times. It's about Macnamara/Troy, a successfull plastic surgery clinic run by two metrosexual men (Christian and Shawn). The show varies from season to season in it's brilliance. The first two seasons are staggering, the third season is great but let down in the end, the fourth season was ok with a few amazing episodes and the fifth has been good so far. In truth, the quality of the show varies a lot from one story to the next. But the show consistently delivers surgery scenes that I can't stand to watch (they're that good) along with witty dialog, gorgeous women and handsome men. There's something for everyone in this show, as long as you don't try and take it seriously. Because if you do, it's going to leave you behind at the door.

imdb: 8.7
tv.com: 9.1

32: My Name is Earl (2005 - )

At 32 is everyones favourite redneck (and starring character from one of The Ferrett's favourite shows) Earl. I got in on MNIS with the pilot episode just on a combination of the strength of Jason Lee's movie performances and the premise (bad guy learns about karma, decides to make amends). I was not disappointed, the show has been consistently great for two strong seasons and has even taken the brave step of shaking things up a little for it's third season by changing the main plot drive and setting (slightly).

Jason Lee's performance is fantastic, but the supporting cast is what really makes this show shine. All of the main supporting characters are superb, each one bringing a great deal to the situations in the show. The scripts are tight and packed with jokes, plus there is some very nice eye candy for the male viewer. :P

This show also got Rednecks to start using the word 'karma'. Anything that teaches rednecks new words can't be bad.

imdb: 8.8
tv.com: 9.1

31: Black Books (2000 - 2004)

- "Look, there's no other way to say this, but I didn't come in here to be insulted. "

- "Well, I didn't ask for the job of insulting you. In another life, we could have been brothers. Running a small, quirky taveria in Sicily. Maybe we would have married the local twins instead of wasting each other's time here in this dump. But it was not to be. So hop it."

Black Books is one of those truely British C4 sitcoms, so much of it has the same feel as Spaced, Peep Show, Bottom and Green Wing (amongst others). Possibly because there's are plenty of cast members shared between some of these shows and possibly because there's something quintisentially British about them.

Black Books is about as British as you can get, it's filled with miserable people who can barely stand each other and like themselves even less. They're unpleasant, unkind and intolerant. Which makes for superb television in this critics eyes as there's nothing more uplifting than seeing other people being miserable.

Black Books is one of the finest Brit comedy shows ever produced. I can only think of five Brit-sit-coms that are better.

imdb: 9.2
tv.com: 9.1
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Top 50 Shows - Numbers 30 to 26

By Rev/Views
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.

imdb: 8.7
tv.com: 9.1

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.

imdb: 8.4
tv.com: 9.1

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.

imdb: 9.3
tv.com: 9.3

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.

imdb: 8.3
tv.com: 9.2

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.

'Nuff said.

imdb: 9.1
tv.com: 9.4

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.
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Top 50 Shows - Numbers 26 to 21

Category: By Rev/Views
Well, as I predicted no-one would give a hoot if I took a day off from writing my top 50. No. I'm not bitter, I just sound that way naturally. :P

25: The Venture Bros. (2005 - ?)


"You see Doctor Venture, I found the piece your father hid in the foundation years ago... then I thought about you in physics class. You were a daydreamer. A sassmouth! And, not infrequently, a bit of a gigglepuss! Somehow I doubt twenty years of amphetamines and failure have done anything to improve that. " - Professor Impossible

Sneaking into the top half of this list comes a show recommended to me by lj user Jaxvor. Venture Bros is a satirical take on the old 'boy adventurer' style of cartoon with a healthy dosage of 'making fun of the superhero genre' to boot. Venture Bros is adult cartooning at it's finest, it's got action, obscure humour, excellent characters and so much more all crammed into each episode.

Venture Bros. is about the Venture family, specifically Hank and Dean Venture. A pair of lads that are technically boy adventurers but are more correctly, morons. They live with their father Dr. Rusty Venture (ex-boy adventurer and rubbish scientist) and his bodyguard the ultra violent Brock Samson. There are a variety of outlandish villains who seek to see the end of Dr. Venture. But quite often they're either incompetent, pathetic or to busy screwing each other over to get the job done right.

Venture Bros is just sheer brilliance and is worth watching if you love cartoons, superheroes, Johnny Quest or are just a fan of parody humor.

imdb: 9.5
tv.com: 9.1


24: Dead Like Me (2003 - 2004)

"Who do I have to kill to get some attention around here!" - George

Dead Like Me was created by Ryan Fuller, who has most recently created Pushing Daisies. In some ways Dead Like Me can be seen as a blueprint for where he went with Pushing Daisies. But in my opinion DLM is the superior show. It stars Ellen Muth as a girl named George (Pushing Daisies has a girl named Chuck instead) who dies (just like Chuck) and discovers a second life beyond death for her (this is where the shows do deviate, I promise). George has become a reaper (no, not like the TV show Reaper, but they clearly cribbed notes from DLM) and it is her job to collect the souls of people about to die in unfortunate (and sometimes outlandish) accidents. George isn't too happy about this, both because she died so young and because it seems she can't even get any peace in the afterlife.

She's joined by the sassy traffic warden Roxy, the bum Mason, thrill seeker Betty, ex-actress Daisy Adair and the wonderful Mandy Patkin as Rube. The show is a essentially about depression, as almost every character in the show (apart from Betty and maybe Crystal) are suffering from depression. They may deal with it in different manners but it's clear for the viewer who knows where to look. The show is a wonderful celebration of life via the medium of death, it speaks volumes. But the most important message is, enjoy your life as you never know when it will be taken from you.

Despite being cancelled the series is returning for a straight to DVD movie, sadly Mandy Patkin isn't involved and they've ironically recast Sarah Wynter as Daisy Adair instead of Laura Harris. But I'm still looking forward to it as I love Ellen Muth.

imdb: 9.0
tv.com: 9.1

23: How I Met Your Mother (2005 - ?)


"Suit Up!"

Described as a love story in reverse HIMYM is the telling of how Ted Moseby came to meet his wife. In many ways it has a lot in common with friends, it's that 30 something age bracket comedy show with plenty of romance and fun. But it has the added twist of being told in retrospect, which allows for some great gags and story hooks to be used.

I've written about this show previously, so I don't feel the need to go into it with much more detail. But I do feel this is one of the best of the current batch of modern comedy shows. It's better than Two and a Half Men, or the current season of Scrubs is.

imdb: 8.9
tv.com: 9.2

22: Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law (2000 - 2007)

"Did you get that thing I sent you?"

Spanning four seasons and 39 episodes Harvey Birdman is an exercise in quality over quantity. Taking a parodical look at what happens to cartoon characters after their series finishes we follow Birdman, who has retired from superheroing and has instead taken up working as an Attorney at Law for his old boss Phil Ken Sebben (aka Falcon 7). The show uses the backlog of old Hanna-Barbera characters as the fuel for the cases present in each episode.

The voiceover work in this show is fantastic, including amazing performances by Gary Cole as Harvey Birdman, Chris Edgerly as Peter Pottamus and Stephen Colbert as Phil Ken Sebben & Reducto (Stephen is also in Venture Bros as Proffessor Impossible and will be making another appearance in this list very shortly). The joy of this show is that each episode is under 15 mins long. Making it ideal for bite-sized watching and also jam packed with comedy moments.

imdb: 8.6
tv.com: 9.1


21: The Colbert Report (2005 - ?)

"Like any good newsman, I believe that if you're not scared, I'm not doing my job. " - Stephen Colbert

I promised you another appearance from Stephen Colbert (pronounced Colber) and here it is. Coming in at 21 is Stephen Colbert as well... Stephen Colbert, a parody of himself. The Colbert Report is a satirical look at current events in the vein of The Daily Show. But with a very unique spin on it, Stephen is a ridiculously right wing, god fearing, middle American republican who claims to be an independant.

Through a clever parody Stephen highlights so many of the inconsistencies and hypocritical actions of his country while sounding like he means it. It's clear that most of his opinions are ironic hyperbole or straight sarcasm, but they are delivered in such a deadpan manner that it sells the character and leaves many people unsure what bits are serious and which are not.

The show also spawned the utterly brilliant Tek Jansen

It's like The Daily Show, but better.

Just remember, Bears are soulless killing machines that are a threat to American life!

imdb: 9.2
tv.com: 9.1

Tomorrow I might not have time to start the top 20 as it's a busy day for me. But if I don't then I'll start it on Tuesday.

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Top 50 Shows - Numbers 20 to 16

By Rev/Views
Well, this is it. We're into the big boy league now. My top 20 shows.

20: Top Gear - (1978 - ?)

"Aston Martin DB9, that's not a racecar, that's pornography. " - Clarkson

It's pretty much the quintessential boys toys show on television right now and it's the longest running show in this list. Top Gear is currently one of the most exciting, enjoyable and laddish/loutish shows the BBC produce. The current presenting team is nothing short of phenomenal; Richard Hammond, James May and of course Jeremy Clarkson are a superb trio that mesh together like cod and mushy peas.

The reason Top Gear works so well compared to other car shows is the gusto with which the presenters perform the various challenges. The challenges are the lifeblood of the show, without it Top Gear would just be average and uninspiring. But when you've got three men driving across Africa in road cars or racing a plane against a car, you have something truely special.

Petrol Heads, you have to love them while they're still around.

imdb: 9.6
tv.com: 9.2

19: Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000 - ?)

"Here's a question for "Who Wants to be a Millionaire"- what kind of an idiot is running ABC? " - Larry David

At 19 is Larry David's "other" creation, Curb Your Enthusiasm. A largely improvised show about a fictional (but very close) version of Larry David living his life as only he can manage. It's a wonderful showcase of Larry's talent and ability to turn even the most mundane of circumstance into an utter disaster. The show excels in 'painful comedy', showing a man who's trying to do right by other people but just keeps on screwing up in a fundemental way.

It's had 6 seasons now and there's not a bad episode amongst them.

imdb: 8.6
tv.com:: 9.1

18: Frasier (1993 - 2004)

"For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these it might have been. " - Frasier Crane

A spin off which moved on to dwarfing the original show it came from, yes I know Cheers was a massive hit blah blah. I'm talking about in quality, Frasier took one of the semi-less outright comedic characters from Cheers, moved him to Seattle and turned him into an utter star. Frasier could be considered to be as high brow as comedy can get without being pretentious. But it is a little pretentious, that's the point.

Kelsey Grammer provides a wonderful foil for all the happenings and events in the show. But the real comedic star turn is provided by David Hyde Pierce as Niles Crane. He's just fantastic, making Frasier look positively normal in comparison to his bundle of neuroses and snooty ways.

It also helps that Peri Gilpin is just completely red hot smoking as well.

imdb: 8.4
tv.com 8.9

17: Fawlty Towers (1975 - 1979)


"I've been trying to get through to the speaking clock... Well, it's engaged... Well, it's been engaged for ten minutes. How is this possible? My wife isn't talking to it. " - Basil Fawlty

It has a ridiculously small amount of shows, but it just doesn't matter. Fawlty Towers is the comedy show that other comedy shows want to be when they grow up. Born out of the writing synergy between ex-Python John Cleese and Connie Booth the show has just about everything you could want from a comedy show. It's the genre of 'painful comedy' at it's most perfect and beautiful.

There is no doubt that this is the best comedy show in this list. But it doesn't take my top slot because personally I find the show frustrating and funny at the same time, this makes it hard work for me to watch. I find myself desperately wishing Basil would act differently and as such it means I don't watch the show as much as I should because it drains me.

imdb: 9.4
tv.com: 8.6 (wtf tv.com? srsly wtf?)

16: Black Adder (1983 - 1999)

"Hello? Yes, yes, I'd like to leave a message for the head of the Flying Corps, please. That's Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Massingbird-Massingbird, VC, DFC and Bar. Message reads "Where are you you bastard". " - Captain Blackadder

Each series of Black Adder is listed by IMDB seperately for some inexplicable reason...

Black Adder is another example of classic British comedy. Now the first season of the show isn't really anything that special as far as Brit-Com goes, it's solid but not inspiring. No, it's the addition of Ben Elton to the writing team that changes the show in the second (and later) seasons into something truely wonderful. Each season is as good as the next, if not better and Black Adder Goes Forth is just, well.. It's magical.

It's a must watch.

imdb: 9.2 (Black Adder Goes Forth)
tv.com: 9.1
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Top 50 Shows - Numbers 15 to 11

Category: By Rev/Views
Ok, so we're approaching the end of the road. I might lay out the Top 10 a little differently to eek this out a few more days (and reduce the amount of writing I do in a single sitting) But this is the final approach to the top 10.

15: Boston Legal (2004 - ?)

I've spoken in length about this show before. So I won't repeat myself, just read this post instead.

imdb: 8.9
tv.com: 9.1

And now for something completely different.

It's

14: Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969 - 1974)

"Lemon Curry?" - Random Viking

This is the only sketch show I feel is actually worth bothering about (I know I've mentioned a few semi-sketch shows in this list but this is the only pure sketch show). The Python crew have shown time and time again that they are giants in the field of comedy, ones who are yet to be surpassed... It was positively criminal when Channel 4's top 100 sketches ever didn't have the Dead Parrot Sketch at number one (Little Britain? Oh please... Do me a lemon.)

Also the Python lot managed to avoid the prattfall that many other sketch shows get into, using the same characters & catchphrases over and over. While some characters did make multiple apperances there wasn't ever a fixed set of characters. Later sketch shows tend to follow The Fast Show style of same characters, same gag, same script... Milk Comedy Cow, rinse repeat.

Monty Python instead showcased how innovative the cast were by providing fresh jokes and wonderful sketches. Who can forget "Self Defense", "Upper Class Twit of the Year", "Bicycle Repair Man" and of course the aformentioned "Dead Parrot Sketch"?

Even now, near 40 years after the first episode aired the comedy is timeless and crisp.

imdb: 9.5
tv.com: 8.6 (?!? Sometimes I really do think the people over at imdb are a better breed of tv watcher than tv.com)

13: Father Ted (1995 - 1998)

"That's the great thing about Catholicism - it's very vague and no-one knows what its really all about. " - Father Ted

Possibly the greatest Irish show ever Father Ted is very much a Brit-Com through and through. All about the little irritations in life and the small events instead of the grander scheme. Father Ted is a side achingly brilliant look at the lives of three Irish Catholic priests, there's Father Ted, Father Dougal - who is a bit... dim - and Father Jack - who's a stinking, drunken, foul-mouthed, dirty old man.

Sadly the show didn't run for as long as it could have because of the unfortunate passing away of Dermot Morgan, but we were gifted with 25 episodes of comedic genius before that happened. So sit back and enjoy them.

imdb: 9.4
tv.com: 8.9

12: Six Feet Under (2001 - 2005)

"If we live our lives the right way then everything we do can become a work of art. " - Claire Fisher

Alan Ball's dark comedy/drama about the Fishers, a family that own and run a funeral home is seminal television that changed the face of American drama forever. It's willingness to show death in all it's glory and depth was pretty unique at the time, something that only crime shows tended to do before hand.

Despite being about a funeral home Six Feet Under was not dark or depressing, instead it was a wonderful celebration of life. Of all the good times and the bad, it had two messages to bring to it's viewers. The first is that life is worth living, that it's achingly beautiful and should be grasped tightly and held for as long as possible. The second is that there is something beautiful beyond death, that death shouldn't be feared and instead should be looked on as the next big adventure.

If I was going to pick one mechanism that always stands out in Six Feet Under, one little touch that they put into the show it's the fades. Fading to black is a commonly used cut in most shows, but Six Feet Under decided not to fade to black and went with a fade to white instead. This fade technique just changes the entire feel of the show. Making it hopeful.

The finale of Six Feet Under remains the single greatest finale I've ever seen in any show. It was just total perfection and has to be seen to be believed.

imdb: 9.3
tv.com: 9.1

11: Red Dwarf (1988 - 1999)

"Smeg off Rimmer!" - Dave Lister

Ah, Red Dwarf. The first primetime comedy show that everyone I knew in school used to watch. Red Dwarf started out as a simple idea, essentially 'The Odd Couple' in space. Over the years it's expanded and at it's peak it was truely one of the funniest things being broadcast on British television at the time.

Red Dwarf took the stuffy and dull genre of Sci-Fi and lampooned it seriously. It span so many concepts on their head and milked the funny out of them that it's still staggering to watch. But, at the heart of the show it was a sitcom and it didn't loose sight of this. The core interactions between Lister and Rimmer in what is best described as a 'Hate-Hate Relationship' are without fail, marvelous.

Red Dwarf peaked at season six, which remains my favourite season. And while it did lose a little in the seventh and eight seasons it still was good enough to warrant the 11th slot in this list.

Gunmen of The Apocalypse, Ace Rimmer, The Polymorph, Out of Time, Justice, Back to Reality, The Inquisitor and so much more warrant the 11th slot in this list.

imdb: 9.1
tv.com: 9.0

So what will be in the top ten? Tune in tomorrow to find out.
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