Category Archives: Quality TV

Bored to Death Gets Cancelled: Blame It On Brooklyn

I guess three seasons is the charm. Today, HBO cancelled its smart and continually underrated comedy series “Bored to Death.” The announcement was not followed by outrage or backlash but simply, a series of copied press releases. 

  Unlike other shows that have struggled in the ratings in the past (“Arrested Development,” “30 Rock,” “Community”), “Bored to Death” never gained a loyal following. Viewers were few but those who watched it knew it was smarter and funnier than most of the shows they were used to. Unlike the other shows previously mentioned, “Bored to Death” has just as many, if not more, detractors as it has followers.

  One piece of criticism on the show that struck me most was a column publish for Entertainment Weekly’s website, in which writer Darren Franich said he felt exactly the feeling described by the title every time he watched an episode. Now there’s a joke even Jay Leno wouldn’t put into his opening monologue.

  What bothered me more than that joke was an accusation made by the author, which was repeated by many in the comments, that a show with a Brooklyn-centric appeal doesn’t belong on television. Why is it that the only base that writers, directors, and producers alike have to appeal to is “Middle America”? Maybe it is because Middle America is apparently into so-called mindless entertainment, and they makes up the majority of America. However, television has changed drastically in the past few years. Shows like “Breaking Bad” and “Boardwalk Empire” are more talked about than the “CSI” franchise, and while “Two and a Half Men” still dominates the ratings, a show with a twisted narrative like “How I Met Your Mother” can now occupy the classic sitcom format. Thanks to specialized cable networks, audiences have become more specialized than ever before, and niche shows can now survive and thrive alongside shows with mass appeal. 

 HBO is certainly justified in its cancellation, as the show never pulled in ratings, and it wrongfully never garnered a single Emmy nomination. But HBO is known for edgy programming, and it is a shame that they never gave “Bored to Death” the chance that it deserved. With a little bit of effort, this show could have had much wider appeal. So what if it takes place in Brooklyn? So what if a majority of its jokes center around Jewish neuroticism? “Curb Your Enthusiasm” targets basically the exact audience, and it has been running strong for eight seasons.

 “Bored to Death” is not just inhabited in the world of hipsters, but it is also an inside satire of sorts of that culture which anyone who has ever been to a big city or a modern college campus can appreciate.

 “Bored to Death” is also first and foremost a detective story, and each mystery is as surprising as it is entertaining. This show also pulls off the rare balancing act of having a season full of self-contained episodes that also fit in to a larger plot. Despite running on the exact same formula, each and every episode still feels refreshing and original. I would wager that a value of Middle America is familiarity, and any show with a consistent formula is usually able to build a loyal following. The Jews may run Hollywood (according to Professor Mel Gibson M.D.), but making them the center of any story will apparently make most of the country want to change the channel.

 “Bored to Death” did have some limitations in its stories, as it involves something of a literature and pop culture prowess to enjoy, but most of its humor was so madcap that anyone could have laughed at it. One of the gags that first got me into “Bored to Death” was in the second episode of the series when Ray (Zach Galifianakis) randomly falls on top of a baby stroller. In a later episode, he spills iced coffee all over another baby. Franich writes in his article that he thought the only growth that Danson’s George did was in the amount of pot smoking he does. First off, that element of the show has always been hilarious, as his habits once lead him to tamper a drug test by adding soap to a urine sample. But really, Danson grew into the character whether it was through his relationship to his daughter in the most recent season, or his brave decision to leave his job as magazine editor. Galifianakis was also more than just a prop for slapstick, and he showed more dramatic range in this role than he ever has during any other point in his career. 

  Thanks to Jonathan Ames, “Bored to Death” had some of the highest quality writing on television. Each season was better than the last. Some highlights have included a diner scene in season two that felt reminiscent of the finale of “Pulp Fiction” in the best way possible, and an episode where Jonathan (Jason Schwartzman), Ray, and George have a wild night in New Jersey that ends with them rear-ending a cop car. There was something habitually funny about the show’s writing and performances. Each of its three seasons were only eight episodes in length, or about one third shorter than the length of the average TV comedy series. The best part about this was that it allowed Ames to put an extra amount of focus and detail into every episode, as opposed to other shows where the writers have to create episodes like an assembly line. It is no wonder that each episode of “Bored to Death” felt like a serial in a larger novel series and not just a half hour television episode. 

   I know out there somewhere, there is a compassionate cult of “Bored to Death” fans who have yet to come together and express their outrage. This Hipster Noir of a comedy will eventually earn its place among the pantheon of great shows that were cancelled too early. Until that day comes, I say #OccupyBoredtoDeath all the way.  

And Five Years Later the Lord Said, "Let There Be More Arrested Development"

Ever since “Arrested Development,” arguably the best sitcom ever put on television, was cancelled in 2006, speculation has been rampant on what will happen to The Bluths next. Creator Mitchell Hurwitz and cast members have hinted at a movie. However, the more they hyped it, the less likely it seemed to happen, and the more fans have been let down.

For the past five years, every time Jason Bateman has been asked about the movie and a soundbite such as “it’s happening” comes out of his mouth, bloggers and journalists alike have been quick to jump on it as evidence that the movie is on its way. But today, cast and crew released some news that actually seems a bit more tangible: ten new episodes of “Arrested Development” will air sometime next year. The movie will pick up where the last new episode left off. This news excited me so much that I accidentally spilled coffee all over my $6300 suit.
Each episode will supposedly focus on each character individually, and where they are in their lives since the show ended. I, for one, think this is a perfect idea, as the movie could now be about basically anything imaginable. It will also allow both the new episodes and the movie to take place in the present. What I hope is that the show keeps its mockumentary style, and that Ron Howard stays on as narrator.
All us loyal fans can do is hope this bit of news is true. If it is not, then the cast and crew of “Arrested Development” will be solidified as the smartest internet trolls of all time.
For any of you who aren’t a loyal fan of “Arrested Development” (and if you aren’t then for your own sake, start watching immediately), you may wonder why we haven’t moved on at this point. Well, it’s for good reason. Every episode of the show packed in so much wit and humor that repeated viewings are the only way to give this show any justice. However, three seasons of the Bluths simply isn’t enough. There can never be enough instances of Gob dancing like an idiot to “The Final Countdown,” Buster forgetting he has a hook for a hand, or Tobias taking the idea of a Freudian slip to the next level. What I’m trying to say is that no amount of “Arrested” puns could some up my excitement for the prospect of new episodes. But that won’t stop me. As the way-too-literal doctor from the show would say: everything is going to be “all right.” And by that I mean, he’s lost the use of his left hand.
See, Obama actually has gotten something accomplished while in office!

TV Review: Skins

I never thought I’d say this, but the world has found a new “Freaks and Geeks.” The late, great show has found its self reincarnated in the British show “Skins.” It’s “Freaks and Geeks,” uncensored.
“Skins” is so different from most shows today portraying high schoolers in its realism and dimensionality. It follows a large group of friends at a British high school, with each one getting their moment in the sun. There’s Tony (Nicholas Hoult), the cocky, obnoxious pretty boy. Tony’s best friend is Sid (Mike Bailey). Sid lacks the confidence of his best friend. He’s both the kind of guy everyone defines simply as “nice,” and the kind of guy who cares less about his own problems than everyone else does.
Sid is also deeply in love with Tony’s girlfriend, Michelle (April Pearson), who wonders whether or not there’s an emotional being under her boyfriend’s sleaziness. Sid might love Michelle, but he is constantly pursued by Cassie (Hannah Murray), an insecure but sweet girl with eating issues.
The rest of the important players include immature Chris (Joseph Dempsie), kind and musically gifted Jal (Larissa Wilson), and Anwar (Dev Patel), a Muslim grappling with his religious identity, so much so that it leads him to troubles with his gay friend Maxxie (Mitch Hewer).
The rest of the story typically just involves the teens navigating through a world of teenage angst. That could involve screwy relationships, embattled friendships, school work, and drugs. But then it also arches out to broader, everyday issues, like how to cope with getting hit by a car while trying to confess your love for someone.
“Skins” is one of those shows that wants to give every member of its large ensemble time to reveal their stories. Yes, it’s about redemption. Yet, not every character will immediately receive redemption in their assigned episodes. When one character is given an episode, it is their chance to realize their flaws and maybe think of how to change them later on. On “Skins,” redemption is never just given; it has to be earned.
Despite the fact that most of the characters get to redeem themselves, that doesn’t mean everyone is necessarily likable. Unlike most modern American shows, “Skins” doesn’t push to make any of its characters likable. In fact, some of them could be considered detestable. Yet, that’s what makes them human; not every person has the ability to be a totally great human being of any sort.
Unlike many high school stories, “Skins” is not just about its teens. The plot stretches into the lives of teachers and parents. When we see the lives of the parents, we are allowed to experience both the anger and angst that is passed down to the children, and through this we get an even more complex and detailed character study. Basically, everyone has a problem.
“Skins” is most engaging with its fascinating characters. It also manages to grab attention with its unique storytelling devices, the kinds that are atypical for this type of show. Many episodes will end right in the middle of an action, denying its audience of seeing the one action the episode has built up to. It’s a way of saying that the final action doesn’t matter; it’s the path the character took to get their that truly matters.
At other times, the show might even break the fourth wall. In the final moments of season one, rather than having a huggy-kissy moment, “Skins” opts for a very “Magnolia” moment. I won’t tell you how, because that would ruin the strange magic to it.
One extremely noticeable thing about “Skins” is how wildly uncensored it is, and sometimes how casually, yet seriously, it tackles some of its more controversial subjects. But hey, maybe swearing and partying are just casual hobbies for kids. Another thing that makes “Skins” great is that it never cuts corners or tries to be a clean version of reality. While it might heighten reality at times (like the episode where they go to Russia, or that whole ordeal with the submerged car), it never veers from its intended vision.
Whenever I review TV shows, I often look at them from the perspective of film. That is, the ones that have episodes that seem cinematic in quality. “Skins” has made me realize that that simply isn’t what makes a show great.
While most episodes of “Skins” can work as self-contained stories, this overall story could never work as a film. The character development that takes place could happen over several seasons, not 90 minutes or so. It’s amazing how we’re not only how deep the show goes, but how many characters it is able to so fully develop. “Skins” will impress not by gags and gimmicks, but simply by a deep and detailed fascination with how people behave.

Lost: This is the End/There is a Light that Never Goes Out

SPOILER ALERT: If you didn’t watch the series finale of “Lost” yet and ever plan on it, I advise you do not read this until you watch it.

Well, it’s over. Now please excuse me for a few more seconds while I collect my thoughts and feelings.
There. What I have here is a film blog. I thought about movies. But every once in a while, there’s a TV show that captures the magic I see in films. “Lost” happens to be one of them. Ever since that first plane crash, I’ve been mesmerized by it. Like any “Lost” watcher, I’ve had so many questions. Tonight, in its last episode ever, “Lost” did the impossible: it answered every question I had, and then it took all of its answers back.
Here is my interpretation. It might not be right, it’s merely an interpretation. Some spent six seasons believing that the island was purgatory. Well, they were close. The island wasn’t quite purgatory. However, the Sideways world was. It was a purgatory they created. It was a world of redemption and second chance that these characters so desperately needed. It’s exactly what the Island represented in seasons one through five. But now that that was taken away, this was the place where they could go before they went knockin’ on heaven’s door.
As for everything else, we did find out what the island is: it is the light. This light is the source of all enlightenment for some. Keep it in one place, and it’s good. Let it get out, and unspeakable evil will be unleashed. That unspeakable evil was the Man in Black, who spent the entire season in the skin of recently deceased John Locke. His reign of terror came to an end at the hands of Jack Shephard, who truly became the hero figure that the show has tried to make him look like for six years.
Let’s talk about Matthew Fox for a second. I never much liked him, nor the character. While a weak main character will usually bring down a work, “Lost” was lucky enough to have such an amazing supporting cast. In the past, Jack was always stagnant and arrogant. Plus, Fox never put much emotion into him. But starting with his breakdown after Jin and Sun’s death, Jack became a character I actually felt invested in. Then, in this episode, he truly became the Luke Skywalker of “Lost”: the one man driven to great things by fate, the man with the force. You could even call him Christ, as well.
Jack’s sacrifice was heartbreaking and almost uplifting at the same time. The final shot ever of “Lost” was Jack lying in the same bamboo forest he landed in once the plane crashed, but this time with an eye closing rather than opening. In this moment, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse so beautifully and perfectly brought “Lost” full circle. The moments before might’ve left you scratching you’re head, but that final shot was no “Sopranos” fake out.
Before I get into the heavy interpretation stuff, let me appreciate “Lost” for its entertainment value. Tonight was two and a half hours of more than solid entertainment. The final confrontation between Jack and Fake Locke was one of the most intense fights I’ve ever seen shot on film. It could be because of the slippery slope atmosphere. Or maybe it’s because of the build up to it. It wasn’t being built up for just a few episodes. No, this is the confrontation we’ve been waiting for for six years.
Kudos to Cuse and Lindelof for how well structured this episode (appropriately titled “The End”) was. While large parts of the episode were certainly devoted to plot, much more was devoted to character. While it was important to see Kate and Sawyer get off the island and Hurley becoming the new Jacob, it was also important to see everyone unite in the Sideways world.
The connections achieved in the Sideways world simply achieved what I believed “Lost” has been going for since day one: to show how much the little things matter. In more detail, “Lost” shows how so many different people can somehow be connected to one another. At the end of the day, “Lost” is all about how a bunch of random people ended up on an island together and then realized, they all impacted each other’s pasts and futures.
Another important “Lost” theme was handled carefully this season: perspective. “Lost” has never been the show to stoop down to creating good guys and bad guys. Good guys become bad, and bad guys become good. This was seen in the battle between Jacob and the Man in Black. Some could view Jacob as a God like figure, while others could see him as an oppressor. Meanwhile, the Man in Black could be both a devil and a man who just wants to be free. Also, Locke became a villain and Benjamin Linus became a good guy. When a show can so convincingly turn good into bad and make all perspectives seem convincing, you know you have good writing.
Another highlight of this season includes, as usual, Terry O’Quinn. He always gave outstanding performances as John Locke, but this season was unique as he was playing the same character with a totally different disposition. He nailed the role of noble, complex villain.
As for season six itself, I wouldn’t put it on the same level as season one. However, it did have its moments that emulated the spectacular first season. By taking away the whole time travel aspect and focusing more on the faith aspect, Cuse and Lindelof were able to spend more time trying to understand what the island really is while suspending reality. They also brought back those nice, quiet moments which might simply involve the cast hugging and appreciating their own existence.
While many have been polarized by the Sideways universe, and especially with what it turned out to be, I enjoyed it because it brought many characters back to their roots, with a few twists. While the Island had villain Locke, the sideways world had hero Locke. Even after they died on the Island, Jin and Sun were still alive and eternally in love in the Sideways world. Not to mention, it also brought beloved Charlie back into our lives.
Season six also brought us one of the best episodes “Lost” has ever produced. No, I’m not referring to the finale; I’m referring to “Ab Aeterno.” What simply made this episode such pure genius was its compelling storytelling. Not only did it reveal so much about the island, but it also proved that sometimes “Lost” could be at its finest when it sticks to one dimension of time for more than five minutes.
But of course, there was a lot that didn’t work this season. That temple storyline felt more like the Hydra Station than the Hatch; a time filler rather than an actual compelling storyline. However, the creators were wise in not dwelling in this one space for too long. And as always, there were a few backstories that just didn’t have the same impact that others did. For example, while the Jacob backstory was crucial to the show’s mythology, his history strangely came off as cheesy rather than inspiring.
What did this ending mean for “Lost” as a whole. In the series-long battle between fate and freewill, it seems fate was the winner here. It is still arguable whether fate or freewill brought them to the island but ultimately, they were all reunited by fate.
While the they’re-all-going-to-heaven ending isn’t something I’d buy into in reality, it’s something I buy into only in the universe “Lost” has created. “Lost” has done what any good fantasy should do and created an alternate reality so fully realized and elaborate that it becomes a living, breathing entity where anything is possible. I would even take the risk of saying it’s created a sci-fi mythology great enough to allow this show to be mentioned in the same breath as both “Star Wars” and “Star Trek.”
Some also seem to get angry when anyone calls “Lost” ‘groundbreaking’ or ‘revolutionary.’ Revolutionary is a step too far, but groundbreaking isn’t. Few shows would ever even dare to tell their stories so out of order and then actually make the viewer think by not answering every question for them. “Lost” was one of the last bastions of great storytelling left on a basic cable station.
In its final moments, “Lost” showed its self-aware, self-reflexive side, then it showed what it was truly all about: love. Amidst all of the polar bears and smoke monsters, “Lost” just wanted to show us the peace brought about by loving connections between human beings. It could’ve been corny, but that final beam of light felt earned, and it got me. Maybe it was because they included the dog.
For the joy and the frustration you’ve provided me over these past few years “Lost,” I salute you.

TV Review: Modern Family

I’m so sorry. I feel like I’ve committed a crime.

For months now, I’ve been meaning to write about “Modern Family,” the best comedy currently playing on television. With the season finale fast approaching, some might think it’s too late. Me, I think it’s the perfect time. As the entire season has now unfolded, and the characters are totally developed, it’s time for me to convince you to watch “Modern Family.”
Like any good sitcom, “Modern Family” takes a tired subject (dysfunctional families) and breaths new life into it. In fact, it’s the best family-centered comedy on TV since the end of “Arrested Development.”
Like “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation,” and “Summer Heights High,” “Modern Family” is shot entirely in an interview mockumentary style. It focuses on three different but connected families. The main patriarch is scotch guzzling Jay (Ed O’Neill) who loves his family as much as he loves making racist comments. He’s recently married to young Colombian Gloria (Sofia Vergara) who has brought along with her 10-year-old son Manny (Rico Rodriguez), who acts about 40 years older than he actually is.
Then, there’s Jay’s daughter Claire (Julie Bowen), who is the definition of uptight yet caring mother. She’s married to Phil (Ty Burrell), who has the body of an adult, but the mind of a child. Together, they have three kids: a ditz (Sarah Hyland), a brain (Ariel Winter), and another ditz (Nolan Gould).
And finally, there’s Claire’s gay brother, Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). His boyfriend is the flamboyant, yet always hilarious Cam (Eric Stonestreet), and the two recently adopted a Vietnamese baby.
This is the premise, boiled down. I could go in deeper and deeper but then I’d have no room to analyze. So what I will say is that from there, the show deals with the relations between each family, and how they cope with the idea of staying together when external factors serve to pull them apart.
Though, even that doesn’t do the show justice. Hopefully, this will: it’s sick, it’s twisted, and in that, it’s beyond hilarious. It has a degree of boldness that seems to be lacking from most network TV shows.
“Modern Family” has what every good comedy needs: great writing. What’s even greater is that the show never restricts itself to one brand of humor. Each character in some way embodies a different style of humor. Phil, who seems to always either be falling or being locked in port-o-potties embodies the show’s slapstick side. Claire and Mitchell embody the concept of the “straight-man.” Jay and Alex are examples of good old wit. And Haley is just an example of why stupidity can just be so funny.
It is a testament to the greatness of the writers that they can constantly balance slapstick and sophistication along with stupidity and wit and never lose balance. There are big visual punchlines involving fake mustaches and spicy food, along with brilliant, snappy one-liners.
“Modern Family” is an ensemble show so of course it would’ve suffered with poor actors. Fortunately, the acting is quite strong. If I would, I’d find praise for every single actor in the cast but instead, I’ll just point out the most notable ones. O’Neill’s entire character seems to be a reference to his role on “Married…With Children,” yet here he seems to have a little more of a heart.
Meanwhile, Burrell and Stonestreet play two characters that easily could’ve become caricatures. Yet, they find the right way to emphasize both their quirks and their humanity without losing sight of either. Then there’s Vergara who’s sassy attitude never gets old. She turns Gloria into something endearing and she is well on her way to becoming a big, new name in comedy.
At the end of the day, the best comedies are great not just in how they make you laugh, but in how they make you feel. Some might enjoy “Modern Family” by finding common ground with it. While its documentary style could’ve provided the viewer with an objective, mocking look at modern American family life, it instead totally invades the home and becomes a part of it.
In this respect, the audience is therefore forced to see both ridiculous actions, and the justifications for them. That could be poor intentions, or just plain misunderstandings. When quirks are emphasized, so are flaws, and when flaws are emphasized, characters escape becoming nothing more than cardboard cutouts. The show’s complex look at family matters evokes the tagline of “The Royal Tenenbaums”: “Family isn’t a word…It’s a sentence.”
There are a lot of good comedies on TV right now. “Modern Family,” in its very first season, manages to stand above them all because it manages to remain so consistently funny. Even in weaker episodes, there is always a laugh to be had. This is a great sign that the creators, the writers, and the cast know exactly what they’re doing, and exactly where this show is heading. With hit-and-never miss humor like this, “Modern Family” looks like it’ll be around for years and years to come.

The Top 10 TV Shows of the 2000s

Sure, this is a film blog, but I can’t forget to mention the forgotten art form: television. Unfortunately, this decade was a breeding ground for the worst form of television imaginable: reality television. Throughout the decade, our TV screens were constantly invaded by trash like “Joe Millionaire,” “The Littlest Groom,” and “Jersey Shore.” However, art wasn’t gone forever. HBO, Showtime, FX, and AMC showed that the new television was no longer only on basic cable. However, basic cable didn’t totally disappoint. What this decade proved was quite simply, that the best shows had the best writing. Here now, are the best TV shows of the decade. Note that only shows that began during the years of 2000-09 are eligible; so unfortunately “Freaks and Geeks,” “The Daily Show,” “South Park,” and “The Sopranos” just missed the cut:

1. Arrested Development- Not just the best of the decade, but perhaps one of the greatest shows ever made. This mockumentary comedy about Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman), a good man simply trying to bring together his dysfunctional family and failing company, scores from a mixture of ingenious writing, brilliant directing, and a pitch-perfect ensemble. One could attribute this show’s greatness to its ridiculous ensemble of characters, led by Bateman’s straight man. One could also point to its writing, which blends social satire with double entendres. Or one could say it’s both factors, as “Arrested” is a rare show where the stars aligned and everything works out perfectly. The fact that this show was cancelled after only three seasons is an atrocity (hey, I guess it was just too smart for America). However, its future influence is worth more than a million “Two and a Half Men”s. What genius could have invented characters who are nevernudes, alcoholics, and cocky magicians, all in one show? Mitch Hurwitz, that’s who.
2. 30 Rock- Pure comedic bliss. Tina Fey left “Saturday Night Live” and blessed the world with this brilliant showbiz satire. In “30 Rock,” Fey plays the lonely, overworked Liz Lemon, the creator of an NBC sketch comedy show whose world is turned upside down thanks to a pushy new boss (Alec Baldwin). Like “Arrested Development” before it, the show embraces every member of its ensemble (also like “Arrested,” it was in serious danger of cancellation). But what really makes the show tick is its writing, headed by Fey which mixes pop culture references with the weird and the avant garde.
3. Mad Men- The 1960s never looked so vividly alive, and gloriously sinful. This AMC drama portrays the advertising industry in the 60s, through the eyes of the well-spoken, philandering ad man Don Draper (Jon Hamm). “Mad Men” wows for nailing every detail of the time period, from the clothes to the wallpaper. Mainly, it’s incredible that creator Matthew Weiner could spend so much time on style, yet still tell such amazing stories all while keeping the audience attached to such compelling characters.
4. The Colbert Report- It seems rare that an alumni of “The Daily Show” could go off and become just as successful than Jon Stewart. Stephen Colbert is that rare exception. Colbert created a Conservative alter ego and put it on a talk show four nights a week–and it worked. Colbert’s totally deadpan portrayal of a Bill O’Reilly reincarnation is convincing at every turn, from his segments “The Word” to “The Threat Down.” Colbert made America aware of the dangers of bears (“Godless killing machines”), and even saved US Olympic Speed Skating. He even brought his show to the White House, and fooled the president, too. Only someone as brave and brilliant as Colbert could pull this off.
5. Lost- There are two stages of TV drama: before “Lost,” and after “Lost.” “Lost” changed the rules of how time and space work by eliminating both concepts and exploring the infinite abyss of a world in limbo. “Lost” is a modern day “Twilight Zone” for its creative take on the sci-fi genre. However, what truly sets “Lost” apart is its human story. Despite the chaos of its look between fate and freewill through the context of time travel, “Lost” never loses its central theme of being about the little connections that lie between every member of the human race.
6. Planet Earth- Here it is, the best nature documentary ever filmed. “Planet Earth” consists of 11 episodes, each one exploring a different habitat of the earth. What makes this nature show different from every other nature show is that it uses the latest in groundbreaking HD technology. Each image seems so vividly real, that it feels like the action is happening right in your living room. From a shark devouring a seal in slow motion to the rare mating habits of the birds of New Guinea, you’ll never see this planet the same way again.
7. The Office (US)- What we have here is the rare remake that’s actually original. “The Office” managed to take on a life of its own rather than just imitate its predecessor. It helped make the mockumentary sitcom style popular (“Parks & Recreation” and “Modern Family” would later follow). What truly made “The Office” come into its own were its characters, whom the writers made so real by giving them real emotions; they were capable of doing horrible, unforgivable acts and then earning believable redemption. Not to mention, a tour de force in some of the most uncomfortable humor you’ll ever see.
8. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia- Some have described this show as “‘Seinfeld’ on crack.” That sounds just about right. “Sunny” follows the lives of five losers who run a bar and in their free time, do horrible, misguided acts in attempts to become successful. Some of these deprived acts include faking handicaps, making terrorist videotapes, and operating secret sweatshops. Oh yeah, did I mention this was a comedy?
9. Curb Your Enthusiasm- If you thought the characters of “Seinfeld” were bad, wait until you meet its creator. “Curb” revolutionized the improv comedy by following the life of the selfish, inconsiderate “Seinfeld” creator Larry David. Just to get an idea of who Larry David is, he once told a teenage girl to “shut the f**k up” and another time tried to dig up his mother’s body and move her into a Jewish cemetery. There are many, many, more horrible things that Larry David has done. And this is all pretty good. Prettaay, prettaay, pretty good.
10. Summer Heights High- It seems that the leading sitcom style of the 2000s was the mockumentary. This Australian import about the lives of a drama teacher, a troublemaker, and an exchange student, is one of the finest examples. Maybe what is funniest about this show is that creator Chris Lilley plays all three of the main characters, even the girl, and makes them seem ridiculous yet endearing. Also, you might quite simply enjoy its hilarious writing, which turned “Puck you miss!” into a national catchphrase.
Honorable Mentions: How I Met Your Mother, Pushing Daisies, Family Guy (Seasons 1-3), Chappelle’s Show, Parks & Recreation, Scrubs, Modern Family
What shows might you include as the best of the decade?

If You Want Quality TV: Mad Men

In case you haven’t caught up with the incessant (but well deserved) media coverage in the past few weeks, television’s best drama, “Mad Men,” will be making it’s triumphant return tomorrow. The season three premiere will be airing Sunday, August 16 at 10 PM on AMC.

“Mad Men” is the best drama currently on TV (sorry, “Lost”). It does so by being multi-layered, well-written, well-acted, well-directed, and visually stunning. 
For those procrastinators out there who want to catch up on the first two seasons, you still have 23 hours to do so. For those of you who want to watch but don’t feel like watching that much television (note: I wouldn’t recommend against this; It would be time well spent), the recap attached below is very helpful: