Saturday, January 14, 2006

Top Ten TV Shows of 2005

I no longer have shame in admitting that I watch a lot television.
I used to try to disguise it with caveats like, “Oh, it’s only the HBO shows.”
But there is no hiding it. I watch NBC shows, ABC shows, HBO shows, Showtime shows. Lots of shows.

Shit, the reason this list is so late is because I was watching television.

Unless it’s a CSI: Idaho, OC (or any of the rich white kids with problems shows) or Law and Order: Arson Clean-up Unit.

Plain and simple, TV is better than it has ever been. If you know where to look.
Without further ado, here is Start Snitching’s Top Ten TV shows of 2005.

10) Over There – Season 1 (FX)
Do Americans want to watch dramas about real problems?
Not when they are about Iraq. After a strong debut this show fizzled out in ratings and quality. A few episodes were incredible, some were good and others were just painfully average. Character development was uneven and the balance between the homefront and the battlefield was tilted a little too much toward the U.S. Nonetheless, flawed shows with solid characters and promise deserve a second season. Shit, even Joey got a second season. I guess we'll have to watch the news to see how this one ends.

9) Daily Show – Season 235 (Comedy Central)
Still relevant, still witty, and still funny. Jon Stewart remains a bad interviewer but that won't stop the Oscars from being interesting.
Not to mention, "This Week in God" cannot be beaten.

8) Extras – Season 1 (HBO)
Ricky Gervais knows sad-sack losers. Whether working class drones or pseudo-industry types he gets the noble path of failure like no other. And watching Hollywood folk skewer their public personas is always enjoyable. Especially while laugh/crying at Gervais’ delusional losers. Season 2 seems to be a go.

7) The Office (U.S.) – Season 2 (NBC)

The original U.K. “Office” is a classic amongst those who know. When I heard of a planned U.S. version I screamed from the roof.

“How can they capture that suicidal British humor, the depressing locale and the quirky characters? Why can’t stupid Americans just watch the British show?”
Season 1 came and I was underwhelmed. It was amusing, sure, but something was off. The boss wasn’t as tragicomic, and characters were miming the original plots and Scranton, PA was nowhere as sad as industrial England. Then something happened.
Maybe it was the $170 million total gross of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” but Carell came back for Season 2 refreshed and the show finally set out on its own path. Deadend jobs never seemed so fun.

6) Nip/Tuck – Season 3 (FX)

Make me beautiful.
After the poorly written, badly characterized nonsense that mostly was Season 2, Nip/Tuck embraced its soap opera roots, didn’t overuse the Carver plotline, made some characters less hateable and some others more so.
I don’t know if they created enough momentum for Season 4, but they got through Season 3 with only a few of their typical plot holes and plenty of great moments.

5) Everybody Hates Chris - Season 1 (UPN)
This show is the movie Spike Lee wished he could have made. Taking the tapestry of 1980’s Brooklyn, with all its racism, crime and poverty and filtering it through the comedic lens of Chris Rock’s struggling family, we may have the realest black show since, um, ever?
Having grown up in 1980’s and 90’s Brooklyn, I repeatedly remarked, “That's so true.” And this was during a UPN show folks.
Any show with Pam from “Martin” selling food stamps, 50 cents on the dollar, outside of a train station that gets higher ratings than “Friends” spin-off “Joey” is OK with me.

4) Rome – Season 1 (HBO)
More sandals and togas? Didn’t "Alexander" fail badly enough?
After a slow start HBO’s $100 million gamble paid off. With its intricate set, epic scope, great acting and intriguing characters Rome got the ancient political soap opera vibe it was going for. Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus buddy flick was the heart of the show and because of them Caesar’s stabbing on the Senate floor had more emotional heft than it ever did in history class. Thirteenth!!!

3) Sleeper Cell – Minseries, (Showtime)
Showtime is stepping up to the plate. Relevant edgy social drama? Check.
Minority lead character? Who is Muslim? Double check. I may still write a review of this show, but all you need to know about this show is Donnie Brasco on TV, except about terrorist groups and undercover agents in America. An unflinching look at “modern” Islam, its perpetual collision course with America and how both sides keep getting it wrong.

2) Six Feet Under – Season 5 (HBO)
This was the most difficult season of television I have ever watched. Alan Ball tortured his audience with the devolution of his entire cast. Whatever they worked for in seasons 1-4 was torn apart with glee. Coming off of an aimless fourth season, I couldn’t find much to be excited for, but it was clear early on, that they knew exactly where it was going as it broke each character down and eventually set them free.
I only hope I can watch dysfunctional white California liberals destroy their lives and redeem them with such beauty again in the near future. “Narm!”

1) The Shield – Season 4 (FX)
Glenn Close came, she saw and she conquered. I couldn’t understand what the unattractive woman from Fatal Attraction was doing on The Shield. But it worked. Following the Armenian money train disaster of Season 3, Vic Mackey and his fractured strike team faced their first season-long villain in Anthony Anderson as well as their first captain with a backbone. Some characters got lost in the shuffle and some plot threads disappeared, but no show was kinetic, engaging and raw as The Shield.


1) Boondocks
2) Curb Your Enthusiasm
3) My Name Is Earl
4) American Dad
5) The Colbert Report

Shows that will make this list soon, or so I hear…

1) Arrested Development
2) The Wire
3) Deadwood
4) Weeds
5) Lost

Here's to another year of wasted hours!


  1. Thank you senor, for making me laugh in my time of need.

  2. i'm sure u already know that arrested development was cancelled, so i guess u can start mourning ur ex-post-facto list of faves in advance...

    but, this was an interesting list. i think i will finally check out sleeper cell.

  3. Actually Arrested may be picked up by another channel.

    It would fit in well with Showtime and wouldn't need the ratings network television needs.

  4. Arrested Development is the most overrated show since Chappelle. Objectively, I can appreciate that it's humorous, but it doesn't make me laugh.

    Nice list. I watch almost none of these.