Saturday, 5 June 2010

The Year In TV: The Ten Best Episodes Of Television Of The 09/10 Season

Or is your empty gun a metaphor for your jaded persona.

The TV season generally follows the school year, essentially, so now seems like a good a time as any to do some kind of small screen wrap-up. I should say I watch next to no British television, despite being British, so if there's any omission in that regard I apologize. But most of it is kind of shite anyway so I'll not be worrying about it. Generally it was a stronger year for comedy then drama, although there were some fucking awesome moments, so much so that I couldn't make room for a single episode of Modern Family, as much as I like that show. Anyways, my ten favorite episodes of TV from this season would go something like this.

10) LA X, Lost

As I will no doubt go into further detail with my Lost finale post, I wasn't crazy about Lost's final season. But it had is moments. The terrific Sundown for one, But the powerful, intriguing season premiere was probably the best of the year, introducing unique concepts that we had no idea would end so anti-climatically and a terrific introduction of the year's villain, played by the great Terry O Quinn. Probably the last out and out great episode of lost.

9) Getting Closer, Dollhouse

Dollhouse first season widely disappointed pretty much everyone who saw it, strong ending or no. So much so that most of its audience ended up giving the terrific second season a miss. Full of ideas, surprises and entertainment, it was as smart as sci-fi TV can be. And yes Eliza Dushku still kind of sucked, but its amazing how little you care about that when you're watching episodes as awe-inspiring as this. They didn't just do that to River Tam.

8) Steve Guttenberg's Birthday, Party Down

If you measure quality to viewing figures, then Party Down may be the most disproportionately awesome show ever to be watched by no-one. Delightfully cynical, dark and hilarious, its a show truly like no other. This episode in particular did perfectly what the show always does so wonderfully, a kind of cruel, point and laugh comedy in a way that cares about the characters. The script-reading scene was legendary.

7) The Table Read, Curb Your Enthusiasm

The seventh year of Curb was far from its best. But this episode was fucking awesome. The Seinfeld reunion arc kind of went away mid-season, but came back with some force toward the end, with this episode both a terrific episode of Curb, yet a treat for fans of Seinfeld, and a glimpse into what went into making that landmark so good. Plus Larry David plays himself better then Jerry Seinfeld ever did. Just saying.

6) Gilead, Sons Of Anarchy

Another victim of the shaky first season curse, SOA was a slightly overwrought show that perhaps thought itself a little better then it was. But holy fuck was this season good. Catching up to its opinion of itself and then some, the show morphed into the most exhilarating pitch black morality tale on TV, with the exception of Breaking Bad. And this ferocious outing was perhaps the most awesome a very awesome season got.

5) The Stakeout, Parks And Recreation

While the American office flounders in its old age, Greg Daniels' other show, which uses the same mockumentary style, found its feet gloriously and while it wasn't quite my favorite show this year, it was consistently hilarious and in this particular episode utilized the genius of Nick Offerman's character for the most deadpan hernia joke of all time. He's Ron Fucking Swanson.

4) Skytanic, Archer

Archer isn't the most insightful comedy on TV, or the most organized, or the cleverest, but based on sheer laughs per minute this is some serious value for money. This particular episode, which features Archer and the team infiltrate a blimp targeted by a terrorist threat is just fucking gold. Yay for metaphors.

3) Do You Know What It Means, Treme

The Treme Pilot was just so elegant, dignified and wonderful in all the right places. The epitome of TV with class, anchored by several great performances perhaps most notably from Wendell Pierce and John Goodman, the show is simultaneously a love letter to New Orleans and a frank confrontation of its problems. The show is yet to surpass its first episode, but boy what a first episode.

2) Modern Warfare, Community

I don't think I'm alone on this. Community is occasionally inconsistent, particularly at its beginning, but its one of the most unique and funny sitcoms I've ever seen and if anything has a shot at dethroning Arrested Development, its this. And if you watch this episode, a riff on Battle Royale, with its perfect cocktail of intelligent reference comedy and intelligent character comedy, you'll see why this is probably the most enjoyable show on TV right now. Or if you just want to see Ken Jeong from The Hangover make like Chow Yun Fat, well. Come with me if you don't want paint on your clothes.

1) One Minute, Breaking Bad

But it was always going to be this, because OMFG.

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