I write about TV for a living, and I'm a dad, and when you intersect those two particular sets, in the overlap lives a guy who doesn't go to the movies very often anymore. But every now and then on the old blog I would write up a movie if I got to see it while it was still in theaters (as I did in these parts for "Inception"). And over this slow TV period at the end of December/start of January, it's always fun to ask about the best movies everybody's seen in the past year.
Your humble TV critic loved 'Toy Story 3,' 'Inception' and 'Winter's Bone,' among others
Even a great year has a lot of junk
In many ways, this was a great year in television, one in which I struggled to make room for all my favorite shows in my Top 10 lists, even when splitting them into multiple lists. But with so many channels producing so much original programming year-round, the best stuff still represents a very thin slice of the pie - and if you cut into other sections, it was still easy to find plenty of things that were rotten.
I can't say that these 10 shows were the actual 10 worst to air in 2010. Because of the demands of my job, I often wind up just skipping over shows I suspect have no chance of being good. I haven't seen a second of "Bridalplasty," "Skating with the Stars" or the "Kate Plus 8 Minus Jon Multiplied By Rampant Narcissism" specials. These are just the 10 worst things I actually watched, in some descending order of terrible-ness (and you can find Fienberg's own worst-of picks here):
Stand-out installments from 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'The Walking Dead' and more
Time for one more Best of 2010 list before the year's out: some of my favorite episodes of the year.
Now, a list of my actual 10 favorite episodes would draw heavily from the shows that made my lists of the best new or returning series of the year - "The Suitcase" from "Mad Men," "One Minute" from "Breaking Bad," "Modern Warfare" from "Community," etc. - so in the interest of both spreading the wealth and acknowledging that less-than-perfect series can sometimes have perfect episodes, I'm going to restrict this list to shows that didn't quite make the cut for my other lists. (Though shows that I listed as Tough Omissions were eligible.)
If you listened to the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast a couple of weeks ago, some of these choices will sound familiar, but others weren't discussed in that show. Because I've already added a few qualifiers, these are listed alphabetically, rather than trying to subjectively rank them in order of greatness. Clips included where available, as well as links to my original reviews.
The guys' big changes become official in a strong episode
A review of tonight's "Men of a Certain Age" coming up just as soon as I'm interested in beefing up my sombrero reel...
Alan and Dan count down their favorite shows of the year, with a fair amount of overlap
I know we promised that this Firewall & Iceberg Podcast would be posted late last week, but various developments led us to push it back to its regularly-scheduled day, even though we were actually able to record it on Thursday. (Long, boring story.) For our last podcast of the year - and, appropriately, our 52nd, even though we didn't record podcasts every week this year (we doubled up enough times to catch up) - Dan and I discussed our picks for the 10 best shows of the year. You've already read my list and likely seen Dan's as well, but have you ever heard us discuss them before? No. Nor have you heard me absolutely, positively screw up an attempt to reference the TV line of the year.
Enjoy, and thanks for listening in 2010. We promise to work on figuring out whatever the hell it is we're doing in 2011.
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
And as always, feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com if you have questions you want answered on the show. Please put the word "podcast" in your subject line to make it easy to track them down amid the hundreds of random press releases we get every day.
The Doctor tries to help Michael Gambon find the Christmas spirit in a touching holiday special
"Doctor Who" presented its annual Christmas special last night, and it finally occurred to someone in BBC corporate that if America didn't get to see it on the same day as the UK, then fans on this side of the (Amy) pond might just bootleg the thing. Hopefully, that arrangement will continue for the upcoming season, but in the meantime, I've got a relatively timely review coming up just as soon as I get accidentally engaged to marry a Monroe...
Is it a flaw that Jamie has survived two elimination challenges where she didn't serve a dish?
A quick review of last night's "Top Chef" coming up just as soon as I freeze things so I can smash them...
Awkward Christmas spirit and forced humor lead to the season's weakest episode
A quick review of tonight's "Human Target" coming up just as soon as I'm familiar with "The Secret Life of Bees"...
Raylan Givens returns in February
"Justified," the FX drama about a 21st century U.S. Marshal who carries himself like a 19th century gunfighter, will be ready to slap leather again when its second season debuts on Wednesday, February 9 at 10 p.m.
The series, based on a character from a number of Elmore Leonard books, stars Timothy Olyphant as Stetson-wearing, quick-drawing Raylan Givens, Walton Goggins as his sometime-adversary Boyd Crowder, Nick Searcy, Erica Tazel and Jacob Pitts as fellow Marshals and Natalie Zea and Joelle Carter as the women in Raylan's life.
Per the FX press release, in season two, after wiping out a local Kentucky crime syndicate in season one, Raylan "must now face off against the criminal organizations who are moving to fill the void, and he finds himself entangled once again with the mercurial Boyd Crowder."
I was a big fan of the show's first season, and even named it one of 2010's best new shows, and a few weeks back I posted an interview with creator Graham Yost about some of his ideas for season two.
Interesting that it winds up on Wednesdays. Tuesday at 10 is the night where FX tends to put its better-known dramas, and newbies are often consigned to Wednesdays if there's another show airing in the same period. (Because of their content, all FX series air after 10, which means the network can't pair two dramas on the same night.) The new boxing drama "Lights Out," which debuts Jan. 11, already has Tuesday sewn up for the first few months of the year, and I guess FX decided A)that "Justified" was successful enough in its first year to do just fine on Wednesdays, and B)that the idea of putting the lesser-known show on the lesser-known night didn't work out too well for "Terriers" this fall.
What did everybody think of the sitcom's sneak preview?
A quick thought or three on the sneak preview of "Perfect Couples" coming up just as soon as I sit here and rhyme things with "labia"...