Tonawanda News

Night & Day

December 17, 2009

TELEVISION: Best of the Decade

by phil dzikiy

Television programming may have changed more in the 2000s than it did in any other decade. It was the decade when reality TV became a part of the landscape. More sitcoms pushed the envelope. And dramas — especially on the premium cable channels — reached new peaks.

We’ll be taking a look at some of the best shows of the past decade, making six picks in four separate categories. Yes, six is an arbitrary number, but hey, so is 10.


“Big Love” (HBO) — A family drama on par with “The Sopranos,” with about a tenth of the hype.

“Dexter” (Showtime) — Making a serial killer into a sympathetic anti-hero is no small task, and this series knows how to ratchet up the suspense.

“Lost” (ABC) — Just when you thought the major networks had given up on making intelligent, original dramas, along comes this mind-bender.

“Six Feet Under” (HBO) — Just another world-class ensemble drama from HBO.

“The Sopranos” (HBO) — An epic saga that helped establish television as art in the 21st century.

“The Wire” (HBO) — Even more ambitious than “The Sopranos,” and another contender for best television drama of all time.

It was certainly popular, but ...

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (CBS) — Heavy on flash and contrivances, the success of “CSI” begot the creation of many other worse spinoffs and knockoffs.


“Arrested Development” (Fox) — Notoriously low ratings, famously devoted fanbase. A tremendous show that was probably too clever for its own good.

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO) — “Seinfeld” or “Curb” — which Larry David comedy is better? It’s a lot closer than you might think.

“Da Ali G Show” (HBO) — Ali G. Borat. Brüno. They’re all here, before they hit the big screen. The funniest of the guerilla-style unscripted shows.

“Futurama” (Fox) — Just like “Family Guy,” it has a dedicated fanbase that eventually cajoled new episodes out of the studio. Unlike “Family Guy,” “Futurama” has a heart, and is far more than an assembly line of unrelated, random gags.

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