This TV season has been truncated by a writers’ strike, and filled with lots of crap that wasn’t particularly well-written to begin with (hint to the writers: get better at your jobs before demanding more money). That said, there were some gems, so here they are, my top 5 for this season (and to understand what Top 5 really means in this case, I’ve watched every aired episode of about 21 different shows this season... yes, I watch too much TV... I know).
5. 30 Rock
Talk about a show that took a quantum leap forward. Last season, this was just the kind of quirky show that no one really watched. This year its one of the funniest shows on TV (though, still, not enough people are watching). They decided to focus the show on Jack, Tracy and Liz, reducing the roles of everyone else (Josh is barely background fodder at this point) and it’s worked. Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy is probably the 2nd funniest character on TV (behind NPH’s Barney Stinson on “How I Met Your Mother” -- a show that would have cracked my Top 5 if not for a couple really bad episodes to start the season).
Holy too many characters Batman. My No. 1 show from 2006-07 suffered the same problem that “Lost” did last season -- adding characters and trying to make us care about them, while simultaneously screwing up the characters we already loved. Hero in feudal Japan would have been cool for an episode or 2, but not 7. Ditto Peter with no memory. I hated the Maya/Alejandro combo, and didn’t really care for Claire’s new boyfriend either. But the Parkman/Mohinder/Nathan story was solid enough, plus by the end, they seemed to have fixed all the storytelling problems, enough that I’m pretty sure Volume 3 will be back to normal.
3. Family Guy
Let’s be honest. The show has had it’s off-moments this year. But man, the season premiere (“Blue Harvest” aka the “Star Wars” episode) was fantastic. The Stewie Kills Lois/Lois Kills Stewie double episode was everything I wanted it to be -- even the cop-out ending was handled wonderfully. This is easily the funniest show on TV -- now we just need to get the writers back on it.
2. Gossip Girl
You might think I have this show too high. Hell, part of me even thinks that. But no show made me want to tune in on a weekly basis with as much regularity as “Gossip Girl”. Amazingly, I was more excited to hear Kristen Bell on “Gossip Girl” than I was to see her on “Heroes” (at least on “Gossip Girl” she didn’t seem out of place -- since she was just the voiceover). I know some people may disagree with me, but I’m a big fan of Leighton Meester (who plays Blair). She’s got a look to her.
What? You say they haven’t aired an episode yet? I don’t care. I’m 10000000% convinced that this season, even truncated, will be remarkable. I promise to revisit this ranking once a couple episodes have aired, but I see no reason it will change.