It’s December, which means two things. One, a lot of your favorite shows are heading into rerun land. (Course, unlike past years, they might actually stay that way for quite some time.) And secondly, “Best Of” lists will start proliferating magazines, newspapers, and yes, websites. So I thought I’d get ahead of the game and list off the five best shows that aired in 2007. Keep in mind that this list accounts for all episodes of a given show this calendar year. For that reason, Heroes is off the list, whereas it might have been as high as #2 in May. “Generations” was by and large a big ball of suck, however, and no matter what happens tomorrow, I’ll still be wondering things like “Why can Noah keep West from flying with a simple tackle?” while banging my head against the wall.
I’ll keep this short and simple, since I have a Playstation 3 that’s calling to me not unlike a half-human, half-robotic hybrid created by Cylon Centurions. Links to shows I regularly review or discuss can be found below as well.
5) Chuck/Reaper (tie). A few weeks ago, Reaper has this slot locked up, but Chuck just went through an absolutely stellar month, from both a creative and dramatic perspective. I have more faith in Reaper’s long-term (better mythology, more open-ended structure), but I would be silly to say that it’s currently the more entertaining show. Chuck, when firing on all cylinders, is so engaging that it almost makes me consider going back and watching old episodes of The O.C. Emphasis on almost.
4) Battlestar: Galactica. It’s not the same show as it was during Season 1, with its breathless pacing, oddly realistic feel, and characters finding their own skin after the near-genocide of the human race. The “New Caprica” epiodes were damn near flawless, however, and after a middle lull that found us inside the Cylon basestar way too much for most people’s liking, ending strongly with the best last five minutes of a season finale of a show not called Lost. The last few moments of the television movie “Razor” only further fueled momentum as it goes into its fourth and final season next year.
3) 30 Rock. The most consistently funny show on television. Sorry, The Office. But it’s true. The Office loses points for me due to the lack of knowledge on their part that “less is more.” I’ve yet to see an hour-long episode of The Office that I didn’t wish was shorter. I don’t want an hour-long episode of 30 Rock, as much as I love the show, since it’s so bursting with ideas, gags, and bizarrely wrought scenarios never overstays its welcome. Come for the Alec Baldwin, stay for Kenneth the Page.
2) John from Cincinnati. The most misunderstood (and frankly, hated) show on this list, I’ll wager. Yet in my eyes, I saw nothing except the most spiritual, the most provocative, and hell, the most optimistic show on television all year. If it falls short of Number 1 on the list, it is due to its sometimes almost willful obtuseness. About halfway through Season 1, the show “clicked” with me and the wife in a way so raw, and so profound, that it illuminated not everything that followed by everything that preceded it as well. Nothing short of miraculous, really.
1) Lost. No big surprise, I’m sure, to any of you who read this sight with any regularity. With the season finale, the writers and producers of the show exploded a show that had literally been contained. Just as Desmond blew the hatch at the end of Season 2, Damon Lindelof and Carleton Cuse blew the lid of the narrative scope and possibilities of what this show is actually about. To quote Room 23, “Only a fool is enslaved in space and time,” and these producers are no fools. We no longer are sure where this show happens, but we’re also no longer sure WHEN this show happens. What exactly constitutes a flashback from now on? Has everything on the Island already happened, burned into the memory of those who want to go back? No longer constrained by the existing narrative template (Island activity coupled with some sort of flashback), Lost is now poised to tell a much, much larger story, one that can be explained one puzzle piece at a time until the full picture is laid out before out eyes. After a Season 2 that left some (thought not yours truly) a bit flustered, and a six-episode arc at the beginning of Season 3 that left some (again, not I) bitter, the show roared back with Desmond’s trips through time, Ben’s gradual loss of power, Locke’s communion with the Island, Juliet’s conflicted/concealed loyalties, Charlie’s sacrifice, and Jack’s fateful decision. Brilliant television at the height of its power. One can only hope it burns this bright over the next 48 episodes.
So there you have it, my five favorite shows of 2007. Feel free to leave your own below!