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Fischer’s Friday Five

Thanks for the good feedback on the first Fischer’s Friday Five (Top 5 Movies of 2000s). Can’t believe how many people were disappointed that I didn’t include The Departed on the list. I will say that if there was a second tier honorable mention list, it would have made the cut, along with; Best In Show, The Queen, The Bourne franchise, Ocean’s 11, Inglourious Basterds, Traffic, Meet The Parents, Minority Report and Lost In Translation. Sorry Gladiator fans, the movie just hasn’t held up for me over the years.

Speaking of movies, if you haven’t yet voted for the first round of the Funniest Movies of All-Time, um, I guess go vote would be the general point I am trying to make here.

Last week I gave you the best movies of the past decade, so it’s only fitting to move to the small screen and give you the best television shows the past decade had to offer. I have a strong feeling that Joey, According to Jim and the show about the Geico Cavemen are just gonna miss out on cracking the five best.

I’m Fischer, it’s Friday, and here’s my five for the week…

FIVE BEST TELEVISION SHOWS OF THE 2000s

Before anyone yells at me for this, just know that I am only counting those television shows that debuted in the past decade. So my apologies to fans of The Sopranos, Family Guy and Dawson’s Creek – although you would have each made my top five shows debuting in the 1990s. Doesn’t the term “1990s” sound so ancient now? If I said, “I was playing Sonic the Hedgehog on my Sega Genesis while listening to Nirvana on my portable CD Walkman drinking my Crystal Pepsi and wearing my MC Hammer pants while watching Jean-Claude Van Damme movies on my VHS player waiting for my friends to page me,” wouldn’t you just think I was from a different world? And no, not the TV show with Dwayne Wayne.

So here’s what was the best the 2000s had to offer…

Honorable Mention: American Idol, 30 Rock, Prison Break, Modern Family, Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad, Glee, The Shield, House and Damages.

Special note: Two shows that I hear people rave about constantly did not make this list: Dexter (which I have yet to watch) and The Wire (which I watched the first two seasons and did not really like).

24

It was a close call between this and Friday Night Lights for the last spot in the top 5. FNL has had two out of three tremendous seasons (and since I don’t have DirecTV, I haven’t seen any of season 4 yet), and the relationship between Coach Taylor and his wife is the most realistic acting I’ve ever seen. However, even with a few struggling seasons, the overall impact 24 has had since it first debuted is too hard to ignore. As I wrote in my TV recap blog from last week, I knew 24 would be great before it even aired thanks to the Johnny Depp movie, Nick of Time (go Netflix it, if you haven’t seen it already). That first season with all the shocking twists and turns and suspenseful drama is probably my favorite overall season of any show of all-time. With the real-time aspect, you knew every second was going to be nail-biting (except for the commercials, because that’s when Jack Bauer goes to the bathroom, takes naps or drinks coffee). While each season that followed wasn’t as good as the previous one, and became a little more predictable, the show still continued to deliver some good twists that kept you guessing. The character development of recurring people that aren’t Jack Bauer also added to the show’s success. People like Tony Almeida, Sherry Palmer, Chloe O’Brien, Michelle Dessler and Bill Buchanan were characters whose fate you cared about, whether you were rooting for or against them. Also, let’s not forget, Senator and President David Palmer, still the coolest and most believable president ever portrayed in TV or movies. Obama wasn’t the first African-American president, David Palmer was. The show has struggled some the past few seasons and is nearing the end of its run, but it’s been a great ride, and if you ever have 18 hours to kill, I challenge you to stay awake and watch the entire first season again, all the way through, without taking any breaks (except for coffee and going to the bathroom).

Mad Men

I’ll admit, I didn’t give this show a chance when it first debuted. Why would I care about any original shows that AMC was airing since all the major networks passed on it. Not only was I foolish, but have since trusted AMC to deliver great original programming (Breaking Bad). I am willing to bet that a relatively large percentage of people reading this haven’t seen Mad Men, and if you’re in that majority, please start watching immediately. Forget all the medical or investigative dramas that flood the networks nowadays, what you should be watching is a great, dark drama about life in the advertising world in the 1960s. Brilliantly directed, you feel as if you’re watching something that was actually filmed 40 years ago. To see what life was like back then, before the electronics boom, before women were treated as equals and when EVERYONE smoked, it’s almost like watching a documentary on the History Channel. You get to see how business was handled back then and how the relationship between men and women functioned both in the office and in the home. More importantly, you also get to see the progression of how business changes over time, and how women become more important and independent both in the office and in the home. Then there’s Don Draper, who’s complete personality and overall whole being is a giant enigma that’s wrapped in many layers that have very slowly, yet deliberately, unravelled over the course of the show’s existence. Unlike 24, which has slightly regressed each season, Mad Men has only gotten stronger in each of the first three seasons and has been worthy of all the Emmys and Golden Globe awards it has received. Personally, I cannot wait for the fourth season after the game-changing way the third season ended.

Six Feet Under

I give full credit to Maggie here. Before I ever met her, I never watched a single episode of this HBO drama about a dysfunctional funeral parlor family. I guess I thought it would be too corny in some way. She said it was one of, if not her favorite show ever. My first birthday I spent with her she bought me the first two seasons on DVD and we started watching immediately. Then we kept watching. Every night, we would watch the next one or two episodes and when we chugged through the first two seasons, we bought the third season right away and watch that in no time. Actually before we even finished season three, we already had put season four into our Netflix queue. This was not a corny show, it was dark, it was funny at times, and it had characters worth investing in. Nate, David, Ruth, Claire, Brenda, Billy, Rico, Keith, Lisa, etc., not many shows can juggle that many characters equally and have all of them be memorable and entertaining. Every episode of SFU (not to be confused with SVU), started out the same way, showing you a random death that happened to someone that would eventually tie into the rest of the episode. This show made you think (not as much as #2 on the list), between all the visions and the overall existence of death and the impact it has on our lives. Most importantly, the final episodes of the series are by far and away the best ending/finale of any show of all-time. If the first season of 24 is like Roger Clemens at his best, then the last episode of SFU is the Mariano Rivera of television. An insanely remarkably, and fitting conclusion that cannot leave you with dry eyes.

Lost

If I thought that Six Feet Under excelled in caring about multiple characters and making you overuse your brain, then times that by a hundred for Lost. No show has ever had an immediate impact as the first few minutes of this one, and no show has had as many on the edge of your seat moments either. Actually more importantly, no show has had such a cultural impact, that millions of websites and blogs have been set up so people can analyze every inch of the show from both an aesthetic angle and an educational point of view. Every character has been meaningful (except Nikki and Paolo, but we won’t talk about them) and the writers have done a brilliant job of intertwining all of them. Every episode has been laden with inside historical references to keep even the Mensa crowd busy. This is not a show where you can watch an episode and then turn your brain off and go to sleep (that’s what Prison Break was for). This challenges you to think, challenges you to go back and find clues and meaning in every word of dialogue and every bit of scenery. It has revolutionized the bad vs. good dilemma and keeps you guessing as to who is on which side. It saddens me to think that Tuesday is the beginning of the end for the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815, Ben, Widmore, the Others (both past and present), Desmond/Penelope and everyone else who’s been a part of the greatest suspenseful TV drama of all-time (again, except Nikki/Paolo). However, what I am looking forward to is owning the entire box set when it is released and going back and re-watching all over again from the beginning and seeing the genius behind the show as I am certain that I missed a lot the first time around.

Arrested Development

COME ON!!! Was there ever any doubt? I did not make a huge mistake here, this is not an illusion, this is easily deserving of the number one spot. If you have not watched this show before, do yourself a favor, buy the DVD (don’t wait for Netflix), stay inside and stay warm this weekend and just watch all three seasons. If you have watched this show before, and weren’t a fan, well then I just feel sorry for you, because apparently you’re a robot. Never have I laughed so hard, so much at anything, and I am willing to be daring and say that I never will laugh this hard again (except hopefully at the Arrested Development movie coming soon, yay!). Whereas I had never seen Six Feet Under, Maggie had never seen Arrested Development when we met. Sure enough, our first Memorial Day weekend together, while we were staying at a beach house with nice weather, we stayed inside the whole weekend watching the DVDs! Everything about this show works to perfection. There are no weak characters, everyone has great funny lines and moments, and all the guest stars are hilarious (Ben Stiller, Martin Short, Super Dave Osbourne, Carl Weathers, Charlize Theron, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Judge Reinhold to name a few). Funny moments that occur in one episode can re-appear in hilarious fashion in another episode. There are so many subtle jokes, that if you blink, you’ll have to go back and re-watch so you don’t miss a single funny second, which is just about every second of every episode (which may seem like a nuisance, but it’s worth it to appreciate the writing and acting). I could write forever about George Sr., Michael, Lucille, Buster, Gob, Lindsay, Tobias, George Michael, Maeby, Ahnyong (hello!), Kitty, Lucille 2, Stan Sitwell, Oscar, Barry Zuckerkorn, Lupe, and STEVE HOLT! Oh, and I left off Egg, I mean Ann (her?). This show has taught me so much too, like the real definition of “hermano,” how to dance like a chicken (several different ways), never touch the Corn Baller and ALWAYS leave a note when you run out of milk. I could go on and on, but writing about all this makes me want to go pop the DVDs in and watch now. It still makes me sad that this show suffered from poor viewership each week which ultimately led to its unfortunate early cancellation. We should file a class action lawsuit to get it back on the air. We can even hire Bob Loblaw, and contact him on his Bob Loblaw Law Blog. Just remember, Bob Loblaw no habla espanol.

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11 Responses

  1. How did you not include Jersey Shore?

  2. Good, you have Lost. That means you know what you’re talking about. I just couldn’t get into Six Feet Under. Oh well.

  3. how do you not have The Sopranos on here? Paully Walnuts? Getting “Leotardo’d”? Damnit I’m angry now..

  4. Couldn’t agree more on Arrested Development grabbing the top slot. Two of my favorite moments (one NOT subtle, one very subtle): (1) Tobias explaining his failed attempted business venture as a cross between Analyst and Therapist (and they flash his business card); (2) how they sneak the blue smears into background scenes when Tobias is a member of Blue Man Group.

  5. 1) Arrested development-Nice! I didn’t see that coming. But i will seek out this show again!
    2) I did in fact take a sick day about 7ish years ago(Really was sick) and do the entire first season of 24 in about 19 hours. I got up to change the disk, bathroom, and retrieve the pizza from the front door. I really wouldn’t recommend doing this.

  6. THE WIRE!!!???!?!?!?! I think one of the best shows of ALL-TIME! I am tempted to say that I liked it even more than the Sopranos. Well, i don’t know. That’s a tough one. But not even an honorable mention?

  7. Sorry, didn’t see the special note. At least you tried it, but I guess I can’t expect much from someone who put Step Brothers at #2 of the decade 🙂

  8. I am actually a little surprised that Dexter, The Wire and The Shield aren’t even in the discussion…. The Wire was the #1 show of the 2000’s according to AOL.

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