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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 7:59 pm 
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Highway 61 wrote:
My personal taste may be coloring my opinion somewhat, but I'd maintain that The Shield is easily the rival of The Wire and Arrested Development for the best of the decade. It suffers from some of the pitfalls of TV, like an ensemble that gets stretched too thin and b-stories that get repetitive, but I think the narrative arc across all seven seasons is as strong as anything television has ever given us. Plus, Michael Chiklis's performance is certainly among the greatest in TV history, if not the greatest. Walton Gogins is equally amazing, though only in the later seasons.

The reason that show is so great is that the characters were still feeling the consequences of choices they'd made even as far back as season 1. I have never seen a show so refuse to let its characters off the hook.


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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 8:31 pm 
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Highway 61 wrote:
That said, if The Simpsons had ended after season eight or nine, there's no doubt in my mind that it would have gone down as the greatest television show of all time. Its fall has been agonizing to watch. It's certainly one of the most precipitous artistic declines across any medium.


I just don't get this. I'm watching season 20 right now and it's as good as the best of them.


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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 8:49 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 1:18 am 
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Mr_sausage wrote:
The reason that show is so great is that the characters were still feeling the consequences of choices they'd made even as far back as season 1. I have never seen a show so refuse to let its characters off the hook.

It's funny that you should say that because I've always had qualms about Mackey getting off the hook (I don't see losing his wife and kids as much of a punishment for murdering Terry Crowley in cold blood) and those have only grown in the time since the show wrapped.

It was a terrific production, one that ran second only to The Wire for it's time on the air, but I think they dropped the ball, just a little, with that finale.

Recent history has been very good for TV drama. Just in the last decade or so, there was that string of superb shows that HBO threw at us, especially The Wire and Six Feet Under, but also Deadwood (before it did the inevitable Milch faceplant), The Sopranos (although I still feel that show was overpraised) and even relatively unlamented productions like Carnivale, which raised a great deal of questions and outlined a truly epic canvas to work upon (like Lost), but was able to do so in a more gutwrenching and stark way than anything airing on American commercial TV would have been able to.


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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 4:45 am 
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Polybius wrote:
Mr_sausage wrote:
The reason that show is so great is that the characters were still feeling the consequences of choices they'd made even as far back as season 1. I have never seen a show so refuse to let its characters off the hook.

It's funny that you should say that because I've always had qualms about Mackey getting off the hook (I don't see losing his wife and kids as much of a punishment for murdering Terry Crowley in cold blood) and those have only grown in the time since the show wrapped.


But this isn't all that happens to him. He is also forced into a professional station which he sees as a humiliating demotion and should see that way as that was what was intended. Beyond that, he also has to face the fact that it is due to a series of his own actions that his former loyal friends and team members are either dead or incarcerated while he managed a deal for himself--the ultimate sell out. His final action works as a definition for his entire identity: a flailing out of force in the face of half comprehended impotence and futility. His "heroic" persona will not be impeded.

Robin Davies wrote:
How did we get from "best TV shows of the decade" to "best TV shows of all time"?
Anyway the answer to the former is The Wire.
The answer to the latter is The Prisoner (the original of course. Dammit, I hate the fact that I now have to say that every time I refer to that mighty series. A pox on the pallid "remake"!)


The answer to the former is ZK's Chromiumblue.com or Mann's Robbery Homicide Division.

But, yes, the answer to the latter is probably still the original Prisoner (the "remake" is numbing and vacuous), though I have tremendous enduring respect for both Peaks and Vice.


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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 5:00 am 
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John Cope wrote:
But this isn't all that happens to him. He is also forced into a professional station which he sees as a humiliating demotion and should see that way as that was what was intended. Beyond that, he also has to face the fact that it is due to a series of his own actions that his former loyal friends and team members are either dead or incarcerated while he managed a deal for himself--the ultimate sell out.
I really don't see him losing a second of sleep over any of that. Shane and his family, Ronnie in prison, Lem dead in as grisly a manner as anything he could have ever imagined...all just a part of doing business the Vic Mackey way.


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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 10:43 am 
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Polybius wrote:
John Cope wrote:
But this isn't all that happens to him. He is also forced into a professional station which he sees as a humiliating demotion and should see that way as that was what was intended. Beyond that, he also has to face the fact that it is due to a series of his own actions that his former loyal friends and team members are either dead or incarcerated while he managed a deal for himself--the ultimate sell out.
I really don't see him losing a second of sleep over any of that. Shane and his family, Ronnie in prison, Lem dead in as grisly a manner as anything he could have ever imagined...all just a part of doing business the Vic Mackey way.

Vic's end is the end I always predicted for the show. His whole personality is based around paternalism, of having a large circle of people close to him and under his wing who he can protect and rely on as one large family. He defines himself mainly by way of this paternalism. The series had to end with him losing everyone and everything that he defined himself by and fought so hard to preserve; but it also had to remain true to the fact that a guy like Mackey will fight to the very end to save himself.

Polybius wrote:
It's funny that you should say that because I've always had qualms about Mackey getting off the hook (I don't see losing his wife and kids as much of a punishment for murdering Terry Crowley in cold blood) and those have only grown in the time since the show wrapped.

"Punishing" Mackey for his sins would be a moralistic intrusion on behalf of a show that was always content to let its characters play out their own hands. Mackey got away with things because he is a great strategist and always manoevering himself into advantageous positions. Yes, the series didn't hold Mackey to the consequences of his actions in the sense having him dragged down to hell at the end, Don Giovanni style; but it did something much more effective and realistic: it never allowed Mackey to forget his bad choices. They haunted him and kept at him all the way to the very end where they finally caused him to lose everything he valued. This, to me, is one of the best elements of the show, that it didn't ignore Mackey's crimes or brush them away season by season, which would truly have amounted to allowing him off the hook. For a show in which so much injustice took place, it had an immense conscience.


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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 11:02 am 
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I really stopped watching TV after the 90's, but of the the last decade, I liked these for dramas:
The Wire/The Corner
The Sopranos
Swingtown


Comedies:
That 70's Show (the first 4/5 seasons)
Freaks & Geeks
Curb Your Enthusiasm
(the first 2/3 seasons)
Futurama
Grounded for Life


I could say more about the 90's where I also loved Newsradio, Homicide, The Tick, Daria, Larry Sanders, The Simpsons (seasons 2-9), Charlie Rose...


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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 11:11 am 
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denti alligator wrote:
Highway 61 wrote:
That said, if The Simpsons had ended after season eight or nine, there's no doubt in my mind that it would have gone down as the greatest television show of all time. Its fall has been agonizing to watch. It's certainly one of the most precipitous artistic declines across any medium.


I just don't get this. I'm watching season 20 right now and it's as good as the best of them.


I agree with you and it's something that has been bothering me for a while. Yes, there are several bad seasons of the Simpsons (mostly, 12-18), but the past couple of seasons have been really good. I loathe people who say the Simpsons are awfull and should be cancelled/end when they haven't seen a show in the past 5 years. In a medium that is really hard to stay relevant, the Simpsons still show they can be entertaining, greatly written and good. Give me a Simpsons episode any day of the way over all the reality show crap, Seth McFarlane cartoon or Desperate Housewives stupidity any day of the week.


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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 12:24 pm 

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dx23 wrote:
Give me a Simpsons episode any day of the way over all the reality show crap, Seth McFarlane cartoon or Desperate Housewives stupidity any day of the week.

Well, yeah, but just because the show is still pretty decent doesn't mean there isn't an enormous drop-off in quality between Seasons 3-7 and the show's current incarnation. I agree with H61 -- The Simpsons in its prime was pretty much the best show I've ever seen; the current show is just okay.


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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 10:16 pm 
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I've been watching a lot of Six Feet Under reruns on Universal HD, and even watered down it's still mesmerizing to watch. During it's original run, I probably caught half of the third season so I didn't have the good fortune to catch it while it was on the air. I think it's the best show HBO has produced (with The Wire an extremely close 2nd), and Alan's masterpiece. It really blew down the door that The Sopranos nudged open as far as how to produce this kind of television drama.


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 4:34 am 
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Mr_sausage wrote:
"Punishing" Mackey for his sins would be a moralistic intrusion on behalf of a show that was always content to let its characters play out their own hands. Mackey got away with things because he is a great strategist and always manoevering himself into advantageous positions. Yes, the series didn't hold Mackey to the consequences of his actions in the sense having him dragged down to hell at the end, Don Giovanni style; but it did something much more effective and realistic: it never allowed Mackey to forget his bad choices. They haunted him and kept at him all the way to the very end where they finally caused him to lose everything he valued. This, to me, is one of the best elements of the show, that it didn't ignore Mackey's crimes or brush them away season by season, which would truly have amounted to allowing him off the hook. For a show in which so much injustice took place, it had an immense conscience.
Well, I wasn't really looking for the Mayor or a US Attorney to call a press conference and have him brought onstage in chains like King Kong, but something more than what happened would have been more to my liking.

The loss of all of his family and crew never struck me as something that would really break him. I took from that final scene that he was going to do whatever he could, albeit from a new and disadvantaged position, to recreate that world or at least a simulacrum with new people and circumstances, and go right back to the same self-justifying, amoral garbage he did week after week during the show's run.
flyonthewall2983 wrote:
I've been watching a lot of Six Feet Under reruns on Universal HD, and even watered down it's still mesmerizing to watch.

It really blew down the door that The Sopranos nudged open as far as how to produce this kind of television drama.
All so very true.

And kudos to bearcuborg for mentioning The Tick and Daria. Two of the brighter spots of '90's TV.


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 5:38 am 
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How disappointed I was when I discovered this thread wasn't about Adam West's Batman, Jack Webb's color episodes of Dragnet or Bob Ross' The Joy of Painting.


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 7:05 am 
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flyonthewall2983 wrote:
I've been watching a lot of Six Feet Under reruns on Universal HD, and even watered down it's still mesmerizing to watch. During it's original run, I probably caught half of the third season so I didn't have the good fortune to catch it while it was on the air. I think it's the best show HBO has produced (with The Wire an extremely close 2nd), and Alan's masterpiece. It really blew down the door that The Sopranos nudged open as far as how to produce this kind of television drama.


Personally, I felt Six Feet Under was fantastic television done right (and probably Alan's masterpiece, as you so eloquently put it), but I didn't feel that it was in the same league as The Wire. The Wire is quite possibly the greatest show ever made in my mind (at the very least of the decade).


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 12:38 pm 
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Polybius wrote:
The loss of all of his family and crew never struck me as something that would really break him. I took from that final scene that he was going to do whatever he could, albeit from a new and disadvantaged position, to recreate that world or at least a simulacrum with new people and circumstances, and go right back to the same self-justifying, amoral garbage he did week after week during the show's run.

But Vic is not the kind of person that gets broken, although these kinds of losses no doubt take a lot out of him considering how much value he placed on them. You're right that he'll trying to get back everything he had before (doubtful whether he'll succeed), but what else could we have expected of him? Vic's the kind of person that always manages to survive in the worst circumstances, and it's a credit to the show that it stayed true to his character instead of going out of its way to contrive a punishment for him.


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 2:41 pm 

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TV comedy never got any better than Cheers. Year for year, seldom a lag in quality. And it certainly had one of the classiest exits ever.


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 4:48 pm 
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eros, agape wrote:
The Armando Iannucci Shows, anyone? Curious at its absence.

It's paper! It's all made of paper!

Although if we're talking Ianucci, The Thick of It is the real contender.


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 5:22 pm 
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Sloper wrote:
eros, agape wrote:
The Armando Iannucci Shows, anyone? Curious at its absence.

It's paper! It's all made of paper!

Although if we're talking Ianucci, The Thick of It is the real contender.

Nah, The Day Today. I think Iannucci and Morris had such complementary strengths that nothing they've done on their own since has been quite so perfect (great as it was). Depressingly so: you have to keep reminding yourself that television news actually wasn't quite like this when it first came out.


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 7:04 pm 
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Oh absolutely, but that was the '90s. I remember discovering The Day Today when I was ten years old (the Fur Q episode - 'these killings are obviously ironic'), and introducing schoolfriends to it; watched it till I was thoroughly sick of it. Brass Eye was fun but made me feel a little queasy, and (Blue) Jam was even more alienating. I think the great thing about The Day Today was not just the collaboration between Morris and Ianucci, but the presence of so many other talents at the top of their game: Patrick Marber, Doon MacKichan, Rebecca Front, David Schneider - and Coogan, obviously. The Morris insanity was very palatable when mixed with those more 'comfortable' comics, but he was unnervingly dominant in some of the later stuff.

For me, '90s British comedy doesn't get better than Knowing Me, Knowing You,* which I never, ever tire of revisiting. No one else seems to like it as much as I'm Alan Partridge, though I always thought that was rather patchy. Like Morris, it seemed as if Coogan was increasingly hogging all the good jokes, and the supporting cast never had much room to develop.

*Well, actually it doesn't get better than People Like Us, but that's even more obscure - all the more so since Chris Langham's fall from grace.


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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 5:41 pm 
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Polybius wrote:
And kudos to bearcuborg for mentioning The Tick and Daria. Two of the brighter spots of '90's TV.

I forgot to mention Bakersfield PD, a show so good they didn't feel the need to add a laugh track.


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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 1:55 pm 

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One of my favorite TV shows ever was Night Music. For two years(1988-90), syndicated TV had some of the most uncommercial music programming ever. Hosted by David Sanborn, the show had the balls to put on Sun Ra, Diamanda Galas, Ivo Papasov and like everyone who's seen the show likes to mention, Conway Twitty with the Residents! It sure meant a lot to have a piece of New York reach you through the airwaves.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:07 am 
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That was a fine show.

I always enjoyed David Letterman's ragging of Sanborn when he sat in with the band on the original Late Night while he was hosting that show. "I see Mr. Big Shot has decided to grace us with his presence..."


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 5:57 pm 
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BBC's Office is my favorite show of the decade and ever. I've been opening and closing school years with it for the past five. Ricky Gervais is up there with Woody Allen and Harpo Marx for me as one of the great comedic-performance one-note wonders.

I love the first three seasons of NBC's Office. After that it's pretty hot and cold for me.

I'm pretty consistently Curb-ticklish. Makes me twist right up into a ball every time.

HBO's Ali G Show was pretty great but it's the only one of these that I haven't replay-tested, so we'll see how it fares.

I guess I need to get caught up on dramas. My friend dragged me through the first two seasons of Lost but it wasn't my thing and couldn't get through the first episode of Six Feet Under. The Wire looks intruiging but from what I've seen I'm not a fan of the way it's shot. I should probably look into The Sopranos.

Does anyone else find Arrested Development doesn't hold up to replay very well? Most people I know say the opposite.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:33 pm 
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So I watched the first four episodes of Lost and can see it's narrative appeal. But I'm not sure it convinced me to continue. Does it get better?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:58 pm 
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Continue until you're a few episodes into Season 2. Although, if you weren't enchanted by "Walkabout"...

Oh, continue. A bit into Season 2. See how you're feeling. If only to be able to experience the cliffhanger at the end of Season 1 and the mindblowing reveal at the beginning of Season 2.


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