BuddyTV TV reviewer John Kubicek makes his pick from the top eight shows of 2008.
# 8 real blood
HBO’s vampire drama True Blood was funny, scary, sexy, serious, and about a thousand other things rolled into one. Creator Alan Ball beautifully adapted Charlaine Harris’s book series into an exciting show that kept viewers hooked and provided a unique twist on the normal vampire mythology we know. often like Dawn, Grandma Stackhouse, Jason’s crazy girlfriend, Amy, Eddie the Vampire and Rene.
# 7 in processing
Another HBO series, In Treatment, aired every weekday night for nine straight weeks. Each evening, we spent time with another patient of psychiatrist Paul, following his psychological journey. Much like a real therapy session the show started off slow and at first it seemed rather boring, but over the weeks new layers were discovered for all of the patients including Paul himself and the show is become more fascinating. The best part: Blair Underwood’s commanding role as an arrogant jet fighter pilot has been one of the best acting performances of the year on television.
# 6 Prison Break
After three seasons, it looked like Prison Break had lost some of its vigor. But this year, with Michael Scofield and his team recruited by the government to take on the company, the tables were turned and Prison Break returned as one really big action series. The public took turns guessing that Scofield had managed to steal the company’s Little Black Book, but the chase started again when their government manager, Don Self, turned on them. The best part: Cress Williams played a terrifying company agent named Wyatt who killed Mahone Jr. in the premiere, and the two clashed in a cat-and-mouse game that ended in justice. in an extremely satisfying manner.
# 5 The Big Bang Theory
I love comedies like The Office and 30 Rock, but when I thought of the sitcom that made me laugh louder than any other this year, the surprising answer was The Big Bang Theory. It has a laugh track and is co-created by the man behind painfully funny sitcoms like Dharma and Greg and Two and a Half Men, but the show’s four adorable nerds sort of deliver some of the dialogue and situations. the smartest and funniest on TV. Part: As socially inept but supremely intelligent Sheldon Cooper, Jim Parsons is arguably the funniest man on TV, and if he continues to be ignored by the awards show, this will be one of the biggest injustices of television.
# 4 The intermediary
Taking an ironic comic and turning it into a TV show can’t be easy, but former Lost writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach did just that, and The Middleman had such a quick and intelligent sense of humor that it translated beautifully. Often blurring the line between self-parody and lame nerdy, The Middleman was a sheer delight to watch from start to finish. The best part: Hopefully star Natalie Morales will have a long and successful career. Looking, looking and acting like Tina Fey’s younger sister, Morales is sexy, smart, funny, and every other positive adjective you can think of.
# 3 The Shield
In its final season, The Shield delivered on all fronts, providing just the right amount of closure for renegade cop Vic Mackey. While he came out free and unscathed despite his many crimes, he lost his friends and family in the process. The show really picked up on the home stretch, pitting Vic and Shane (and their wives) against each other in an intricate chess match that ended in tragedy. Crimes, starting with the murder of fellow police officer Terry Crowley, was a sublime acting game that, in a perfect world, would earn Michael Chiklis another Emmy to go along with the one he won for the first season.
# 2 Supernatural
The supernatural can be hysterically funny, deeply emotional, horribly scary, and whatever it wants to be. Thinking back to 2008, just look at the wide array of brilliant episodes Supernatural has given us. There were fun movies like “Ghostfacers” and “Monster Movie”, action-packed movies like “Jus in Bello” and revealing movies like “Lazarus Rising” and “In the Beginning”. Additionally, the introduction of religion when an angel brought Dean Winchester out of hell was a stroke of genius that added even more weight and relevance to the series’ adventures. “Mysterious place.” Beginning as a tribute to the movie Groundhog Day, Sam relived the day his brother Dean died over and over again with hilarious results. Then the show took a darker direction showing us an alternate future where Dean is truly dead. It was fun, scary, dramatic and innovative storytelling at its best.
# 1 the thread
The best show in television history ended this year as The Wire’s fifth and final season aired on HBO. The expansive look at the Baltimore War on Drugs spanned everything from drug dealers and cops to politicians and the media to educators and children, no area has been left unexplored. The Wire was not easy to watch with its dense and complicated storytelling and huge ensemble (the official HBO site lists 84 actors in the cast). But the final season provided a fascinating and terrifying look at how the media influences politics while ignoring the real story. The best part: Creator David Simon’s past career as a reporter was clear in his description of a beleaguered Baltimore Sun editor who was told by his boss to do “more with less,” which is a phrase as silly and meaningless as it gets. Simon’s contempt for anyone who didn’t want to be challenged by the sheer complexity of society was the perfect argument for brilliant television like The Wire over the glut of simplistic criminal proceedings that dominate the airwaves.