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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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Fall TV Top 10
2008-10-22 10:24
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

I know the World Series starts tonight, but I haven't done any TV blogging in quite some time and just wanted to offer my fall 2008 top 10. These are the shows I'm most addicted to – although by the time you get to the bottom of the list, you'll see that addiction gets a liberal definition. Suffice it to say, I'm waiting for some midseason replacements to arrive, but in the meantime, this is what's dominating my TV watching.

1. Mad Men, AMC: Simply the most literate and rewarding work on television. Can't believe the season finale is already coming Sunday.

2. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Comedy Central: Four nights a week, it gives you bigger laughs and insight than you have the right to hope for.

3. Friday Night Lights, DirecTV: Has ditched the sensationalism and recommitted itself to meaningful stories. The great writing and performances, of course, have never left.

4. The Office, NBC: Strong out of the gate in fall 2008, with last week's "Baby Shower" episode filled with laughs from start to finish and even a Jim-Pamesque moment for Michael and Holly.

*30 Rock, NBC: Still waiting for the season premiere. Love it lots, but still not convinced this is better than The Office. Not that it matters.

5. Chuck, NBC: I tried this show three different times last season and just thought it was too silly. But through three episodes this season, Chuck has found its groove. A show that I always wanted to like, I finally do.

6. Pushing Daisies, ABC: Yes, it's super-sweet, but it's also super-smart. It's also tanking in the ratings, so I'm finding it important to enjoy it for the short time it lasts.

7. House, FOX: Its redundancy of formula can sap the spirit, but House and Hugh Laurie still do the procedural better than anyone right now. That's the case even though the show can't figure out how to best take advantage of its supporting cast.

8. How I Met Your Mother, CBS: Barely rises above the level of guilty pleasure, but I still watch every week. Ted is often downright unlikable. But some of the stuff works, and Neil Patrick Harris almost always saves the day.

9. The Big Bang Theory, CBS: I don't laugh out loud at Bang as much as others do, but to quote Kevin Bacon from Diner, "It's a smile."

10. Life on Mars, ABC: So far I've only seen the pilot – I'm a week behind and verging on two — but the juxtaposition of the '70s crime drama with an '00s hero seemed like it could work.

Comments
2008-10-22 10:41:37
1.   underdog
I can't believe that's the Mad Men season finale already, either. Seems a cruel fate! Oh well, quality over quantity, I suppose.

I don't think 30 Rock is/was "better" than The Office either, and we haven't seen the season premiere yet, but I believe I did laugh more often during 30 Rock last season than the Office, for what that's worth. Can't wait!

2008-10-22 10:41:45
2.   Jim Hitchcock
I'm really, really liking `Son's of Anarchy'.
2008-10-22 10:43:43
3.   underdog
It's weird, I was so into How I Met Your Mother when it first started and then just completely lost interest. I think it's just the nature of the beast -- for standard format sitcoms these days I have much less patience and a shorter attention span than I used to. I'm sure it's still enjoyable and all, but I just stopped caring. Have to use what little free time (and Tivo space) I have for the few real gems.
2008-10-22 10:46:22
4.   Bob Timmermann
I tried to watch "The Mentalist" last night. I got through 30 minutes and then realized I had no desire to find out how the story ended.
2008-10-22 10:47:35
5.   Jon Weisman
4 - I was going to include my list of "seen but abandoned" shows, but I decided the Internet didn't have enough space.
2008-10-22 10:47:39
6.   regfairfield
4 From the previews it looked like someone ripped off Psych but decided to make it a serious show. Is that accurate?
2008-10-22 10:51:59
7.   Bob Timmermann
6
I don't know. I've heard that. But I can't even remember what the storyline was about. I do have doubts about a show about someone who works for a special investigative arm of the State of California. It's supposed to be California's version of the FBI, called CBI.

Why the state of California would bother to pay for such an agency is the biggest laugh I had.

2008-10-22 10:53:10
8.   Bob Timmermann
"Life on Mars" took a big dip in quality after the pilot in my opinion. But I will still watch.
2008-10-22 10:54:06
9.   standuptriple
I'm really looking forward to the new season of Breaking Bad (March).
2008-10-22 10:58:32
10.   Kevin Lewis
I tried picking up Mad Men via netflix, and it didn't grab me. I think part of the problem for me is lack of time, and my wife doesn't want to watch it, so I am watching alone. It is hard for me to set aside time for myself to watch it without the son around.

I have actually enjoyed Chuck a bit more this season, and of course, I am loving Pushing Daisies.

2008-10-22 10:59:15
11.   kinbote
Agree wholeheartedly with #1 & #2. I've never seen the others.
2008-10-22 11:02:28
12.   LogikReader
Woo hoo! Some love for "Big Bang Theory." It's my favorite show on CBS Mondays so far.

Jon, I loved the comment you made about Ted on "How I Met Your Mother." How often is the Main Character the least likable guy on the show? It's quite fascinating. Sometimes I wonder "Why the hell do I even care about Ted? He seems like a pompous jerk." He's not even funny, but like Seinfeld, he was the glue that brought the other characters together.

Jerry Seinfeld was hilarious, by the way.

2008-10-22 11:08:28
13.   dianagramr
No love for "The Shield"???? :-(
2008-10-22 11:12:26
14.   Jon Weisman
13 - I hear it's great, but I missed it at the start and never tried to jump on.
2008-10-22 11:22:34
15.   Sushirabbit
Is there some directive to remake a BBC show every season for america? ie, Life on Mars, The Office, Roman's Empire, etc etc
2008-10-22 11:29:38
16.   Jon Weisman
15 - Welcome to the global economy.
2008-10-22 11:31:21
17.   Jim Hitchcock
9 Breaking Bad (the first season) is great even the second time around.
2008-10-22 11:37:04
18.   Xeifrank
Here is what is and will be dominating fall tv watching in my household.

1. World Series
2. Dora The Explorer
3. Wonder Pets
4. Barney
5. Tom & Jerry
6. Laker basketball
7. Scooby Doo
8. Backyardigans
9. Ni Hao Kai Lan
10. Winnie The Pooh

2008-10-22 11:38:41
19.   Jim Hitchcock
18 Imagine what it would be like if XF had kids!
2008-10-22 11:39:30
20.   underdog
15 Isn't that a trend that goes back to the 1970s? So often American TV has dipped into the English well for ideas, even for bad sitcoms (Sanford and Son, Three's Company, just a few of many examples of shows based on British telly). Fortunately, America has also come up with a few gems of their own in recent years so I don't feel too inadequate. Many of those made for cable series.
2008-10-22 11:40:48
21.   Zak
18 Kids watching enough TV? :)

It's Diego and Caillou in our household. My almost-four year old just saw Shrek and loved it. He was actually repeating lines from the movie.

2008-10-22 11:42:20
22.   Jon Weisman
18 - You should give Sid the Science Kid a try - that's my top new show of the fall kids TV season.
2008-10-22 11:53:52
23.   GMac In The 909
Ted is often downright unlikable. ... and Neil Patrick Harris almost always saves the day.

Truer words have never been spoken. The episodes that center around Barney always are entertaining; those that focus on Ted are barely watchable.

2008-10-22 11:55:52
24.   standuptriple
18 ,19 Curiously, no Spongebob. Suspect.
2008-10-22 11:57:01
25.   Jon Weisman
SpongeBob gives me a headache.
2008-10-22 11:58:33
26.   Sushirabbit
18 - What, no love for Franklin? (just kidding) I've seen more of some of those than I'd like to remember. Although I enjoy Backyardigans for some reason.

During the playoffs I did get the un-expected pleasure of my two boys (almost 2 and almost 7) watching the game with me for about 20 whole minutes. I appreciate the small things.

2008-10-22 12:01:43
27.   Jon Weisman
Yo Gabba Gabba, Word World, Super Why, Sid the Science Kid, The Upside Down Show, Wonder Pets, Backyardigans - all good.
2008-10-22 12:03:28
28.   Jon Weisman
Ooh - the Mad Men season finale just arrived on my desk. Rough cut - do I watch?
2008-10-22 12:03:45
29.   Jon Weisman
The answer - I'll have to, even if it means watching the finale twice.
2008-10-22 12:25:00
30.   underdog
28 Spoil and die! ;-)

Question: Do you have to have children to admit to watching Spongebob on occasion?

I'm just asking for, uh, a friend, yeah that's it.

2008-10-22 12:32:34
31.   Jon Weisman
30 - I thought it was the opposite. I hear more about Spongebob from grownups than kids.
2008-10-22 12:51:45
32.   Ken Noe
Imagine my disappointment--first the Dodgers lose and then House doesn't fire Thirteen after all. Heartbreaking.

We like Chuck too.

2008-10-22 12:52:48
33.   Marty
For me it's:
Mad Men
The Office
Lost
The Shield
Damages
Breaking Bad
Sarah Conner
24

I don't know why I'm still watching Heroes.

2008-10-22 12:59:24
34.   Jon Weisman
33 - I left off shows like Lost that weren't currently on.
2008-10-22 13:05:20
35.   ToyCannon
a1 World Series
1. Daily Show
2. Colbert Report
3. 30 Rock
4. Big Bang Theory
5. Office
6. SNL 1st 10 minutes. I can't get enough of Tina Fey doing Palin.
7. Clipper Basketball
8. Laker Basketball
2008-10-22 13:51:29
36.   El Lay Dave
The wife and I love Pushing Daisies - too bad about the ratings. In addition to what Jon said, it's also visually fun to look at.

Guilty pleasures:
Desperate Housewives, despite the shark-jumping.
Boston Legal, strident to be sure, but I'm still not tired of watching Spader and Shatner chew more scenery than LA RF pavillion sitters chew Dodger Dogs.

2008-10-22 17:10:34
37.   Andrew Shimmin
1. The Office
2. C-SPAN
3. House (though I think I'm pretty close to done with House)
4. Three Minutes Hate (various cable news channels)

I can't hang with Mad Men. I've tried it and while there are things about it that I like, it just doesn't do it for me.

2008-10-22 17:32:37
38.   Dangerous Bri
Is there a reason no one else is watching Friday Night Lights? It's the only show on Jon's list I MAKE time for. Yet no one else seems to have watched it.
2008-10-22 19:39:46
39.   Bob Timmermann
38
Some of us don't have Direct TV. We have cable TV. We have to wait several months.
2008-10-22 20:26:04
40.   Andrew Shimmin
I tried Friday Night Lights once, too. Dropped out about half way through an episode. Is it a soap opera? Is Mad Men a soap opera? I think that's the element (even if neither really qualifies) that puts me off.
2008-10-23 08:52:15
41.   Kevin Lewis
39

And some of us just have Over the Air broadcasting!

40

I appreciated the acting of Mad Men, but I just didn't like what the characters did to one another. For me it was a more sophisticated version of Grey's Anatomy...in terms of morality.

The shows I watch:

1) The Office
2) Daily Show (thank you Hulu on my TV)
3) Pushing Daisies
4) Chuck
5) Heroes (I actually liked the last episode a lot.)
6) Fringe...but I don't know why...it is not good.

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