My Favorite TV Shows of 2009

Battlestar Galactica (Syfy):
This reboot of a short-lived 1970s NBC Star Wars rip-off set the bar as high as its ever been set for science Fiction on TV. Beginning with a mostly unknown cadre of talented Canadian and English actors, BSG marked its final year and wrapped up some of the story-lines this year. Even though I liked the series finale, BSG did miss the mark with it. But the last few episodes leading up to it provided several moments of almost unbearable tenderness and poignancy. BSG shone when it forced us to look at ourselves. It touched on Bush era themes of terror, faith, and free will and played those themes out in the far distant galaxy that its rag-tag fleet inhabited. The SFX budget sometimes didn’t equal its bold vision, but BSG more than made up with a stable of amazing writers, directors, art designer, and composers; all of whom thoroughly understood their subject. BSG was my second favorite show of 2009, but easily gets my vote for best show of the Decade. Yes, even over The Wire, The Sopranos, Deadwood or The Shield.

Read more after the jump...

Chuck (NBC):
I can’t express how great Chuck was this year any better than the critic who “Saved Chuck” last year. Alan Sepinwall of NJ.com.
“The second half of the spy comedy's second season inspired its fans into such a frenzy that they bought Subway sandwiches (a notable "Chuck" sponsor) en masse the night of the finale to prod NBC into renewing it. And it's not hard to understand why, as "Chuck" was firing on all cylinders, be it action (a kung fu fight inside a tiny sports car), farce (two of Chuck's co-workers form a heinous, wedding-crashing prog rock band known as Jeffster!), guest casting (Scott Bakula as Chuck's dad, Chevy Chase as his sarcastic nemesis), or romance (Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski camethisclose to finally hooking up). A joyful, exciting, hilarious confection, and the sandwich-buying paid off: the new season starts on January 10.”
Modern Family (ABC):
Just a wonderful take on the modern sitcom. It owes much to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Office and Arrested Development. It’s the best comedy on TV since Arrested Development. How great is it that 20 years after Married With Children we have Ed O’Neil playing such a great, deeply fleshed out Dad/Grandad here and Katie Segal’s amazing performance week after week as the biker gang matriarch on FXs Sons of Anarchy.

Torchwood: Children of Earth (BBC America):
As an ongoing series, Torchwood (a Doctor Who spin-off) at times tried to be a monster of the week scifi sex romp with salty language. Reinvented as a five-night miniseries about alien invaders wanting to take 10 percent of Earth's children, this narrow-focus caused the series to became deeper, scarier and vastly more thrilling. It was some of the most compelling television I’ve watched in a long, long time.

Dollhouse (Fox):
Why, why would Dollhouse come back for its second season with two fairly lackluster episodes, get canceled by FOX and then...then air 6 episodes in two hour blocks on consecutive Friday nights that were purely amazingly, mind-bendingly, action-packed pieces of Whedenesqeue awesomeness? Why!? It’s both fun and frustrating to watch. I can’t wait for the series finale, Epitaph II (with Felicia Day) set in the same post-Dollhouse apocalyptic dystopia as the DVD only season one finale, Epitaph One.

True Blood (HBO):
This is my guilty pleasure. It’s a mess story and plot wise but it makes up in the talent of its actors and just pure fun. Where BSG was often guilty of taking itself too seriously, True Blood definitely doesn’t. It’s just a bloody fun vampire soap-opera. I turn my brain off, and just enjoy.

In its penultimate season, LOST finally and firmly embraced science fiction. The island (and/or its inhabitants) traveled in time, with the bulk of our Losties eventually winding up stranded in the 1970s, living undercover in the hippie golden age of the Dharma Initiative. Its talk of destiny, philosophy and temporal loops probably scared off some viewers, but it also had some of the series' best action, acting (not only from Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn as Ben and Locke, but also from Josh Holloway as Sawyer) and comedy (Hurley and Miles moments) all while filling in huge gaps in the show's mythology. I can’t tell you how many times I watched LOST this year literally on the edge of my seat (or on the floor, or standing up, or pacing…) the finale was heartbreaking and powerful. I mean, seriously, how do you beat a manual detonation of a Hydrogen bomb by one of the shows main characters? I can’t wait for the 6th and final season to begin this Feb. 2nd. LOST was my favorite show of 2009 and has my vote as the most ambitious show of the decade. As NPRs entertainment blogger said recently about LOST:
"If TV shows are compared to toys, LOST had the big sticker that said "ALMOST ALL ASSEMBLY REQUIRED."

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