Alton Brown’s Feasting on Asphalt- Alton Brown is a certifiable genius. Just watch any episode of Good Eats . I feel smarter every time I watch his show, so to combine that knowledge with a wonderfully-shot and incredibly interesting motorcycle trek across the backroads of America in search of local specialties is extremely compelling, especially in the last episode when Brown suffers a broken collarbone in a nasty wipeout in the Nevada desert.
Craig Ferguson interviews Lauren Graham ” I’ve lost my love for Conan O’Brien’s show for some reason. Not that it’s not a good show, I just can’t take it every night of the week. He just seems too wooden and it’s like he’s always forcing his conversations with the guests. Craig Ferguson however is naturally funny and conversational, even if nowhere near as slickly-produced. The opening monologues are probably the most obvious example of the difference, with Ferguson’s stream of consciousness rant, as opposed to Conan’s formulaic one line setup followed by one line punchline. Anyway, this interview is the best example I’ve seen of why Ferguson ‘s show has become more entertaining, even if the production values are about one-tenth of Conan’s.
Tim Russert interviews Barrack Obama on “The Tim Russert Show”” An hour and a half with the biggest “rock star” in politics, and probably the most universally admired since Kennedy (maybe?)” interviewed by Tim Russert? How can it go wrong?
Red Sox win the World Series on LOST- With all the Red Sox won the World Series. Way back in the first season, Jack had explained that his dad had always said the Red Sox would never win a championship, as a way of saying that things could never change because fate ruled everything. Henry knew Jack wouldn’t believe him, so he played the footage of Joe Buck calling the last out of the final game. In addition to proving that the “others” have contact with the outside world, this is incredibly important as to Jack’s outlook on the world, and watching this magical sports moment (one from another network, no less) again just gave me goosebumps.
Edgar Dies on 24- In a year where killing off characters for ratings has become vogue (something that 24 managed to do countless times), this one is probably the second most shocking and well-done. (no, I’m not talking about the LOST deaths, see below). Granted, the guy who played Edgar had a clunky acting style, but the network handled it without blowing the surprise (something that promotions departments have forgotten how to do lately…. cough, cough, Heroes…cough), and it was emotionally resonant. The problem with it, like with all things that happen on 24, is that four weeks later in our time, it’s only four hours later on the show, and while we’ve totally put the death behind us, the people on the show shouldn’t have, but do, even though it’s not realistic”. Not that anything else on the show is realistic.
Zayra Performs on Rockstar:Supernova- I couldn’t decide whether to put this in the good section or the bad one, so I did both. I wrote about her in my review of Rockstar:Supernova, and placed video links in my worst 15 moments list. Just incredibly strange, yet compelling television.
Claire wakes up on the morgue table on Heroes- On a show known for its shocking endings, this was the best. A character who can heal herself fell and landed on some spike or something, and died temporarily. At the end of the episode, somebody takes the spike out of her head and walks away. Her eyes open up and the camera pulls out to reveal that she’s on the autopsy table with her chest cavity wide open. Great visual, and stunning end to an otherwise mediocre episode.
The Office- Jim kisses Pam- After more than a year of building to it, it was the moment we all were waiting for. This season, however, even though they handled the post-kiss stuff well, I find myself rooting for the other girl instead of Pam.
Lem Dies on The Shield- the single best death on TV this year. Hands down. Under investigation by the Internal Affairs Dept. and the crazy/awesome Forest Whittaker, one of Michael Chiklis’ team members goes into hiding, and eventually meets his tragic end. I won’t spoil how, but suffice it to say, Vic Mackey is gonna be on a rampage this season.
Colbert interviews Washington D.C. representative- Stephen Colbert interviews the D.C. congressional representative and proceeds to tell her that D.C. doesn’t count because it’s the United STATES of America . This segment is a fantastic example of how quick and brilliant Colbert is, and what makes this show so great.
30 Days goes to Mexico and India- The only socially conscious reality show out there (I don’t give credence to the manipulative Extreme Makeover: Home Edition), one episode had a border patrolling minuteman live with a family of immigrants. At one point he went to Mexico , to see where the family “lived” before they moved. Neither side was unlikable, and they both learned from each other and created a fantastic friendship. In another episode, a laid-off telemarketer travels to India to work there for a month. What makes this episode so unique is that they were there during the riots that ensued when an extremely popular actor died, a big story that nobody reported here in the states.
Fear Factor is cancelled ” the most despicable show on TV (aside from Nancy Grace) finally saw the end of its run. Don’t fear, you fans of people eating horse anuses; you can still watch it in syndication somewhere.
Bill O’Reilly town hall on Oprah-It’s interesting to see Bill O’Reilly in an environment where he’s not just yelling at everyone, and where people aren’t rightfully attacking him. Intelligent discourse is absent from his FOX NEWS show, and he’s always calm and on the defensive when on Letterman, but can barely get a word in edgewise. When put in a townhall setting on Oprah (there were actually men in the audience), he actually had a few valid points, as did the audience members who disagreed, but most of the time it didn’t devolve to a shouting match. I think that’s because when he’s out of his element (“on the attack” on his show) he knows that the best way to come out of an interview is to be low-key and let the other people look like idiots for their unwavering attacks on him. He’s still a blowhard and sees everything in black-and-white, but it was actually interesting to see people in her audience (and not elite and/or trailertrash white people) agreeing and defending him against others in intelligent ways.
“Scrubs”- “My Lunch“ I was gonna put the “Mac Bangs Dennis’ Mom” episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, but then I remembered that my favorite episode of “Scrubs” aired this year. As a testament to how good this episode was, it has the highest amount of reviews of any “Scrubs” episode, on tv.com, and the second highest overall rating. The end of this episode just floored me, and it makes me wonder even more how John C. McGinley has never gotten ANY award nominations for the show.
Grammy Performances- Absolutely stunning performances at this years Grammys. From a brooding Springsteen, to Mary J. Blige somehow upstaging Bono in their duet, to Christina Aguelera proving why Britney will never be number one, the Grammy Awards managed to deliver the musical moments once again”. If we forget the awkwardness of seeing Paul McCartney perform with Linkin Park and Jay-Z.
South Park Cartoon Wars- South Park shows why it’s the best and smartest animated program on TV. In a forty-minute span, the show takes on Family Guy’s writing, the Muslims who got pissed off at those cartoons from Denmark, the people who got pissed off at the Terrence and Phillip special from 1998, the networks’ refusal to air anything that might offend somebody, the Hollywood types, the people who like family guy, and the fact that Bart Simpson used to be considered “edgy”. And they do it all with a completely organic story, and characters that react as they normally would in the situation. Oh” and manatees.