Stay Tuned
Reviews, previews and much more on "The Real Housewives," "How I Met Your Mother," "NCIS" and many more of your favorite shows. This is the place to talk about all of the things that make us "Stay Tuned"…

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Best of 2009

Seeing as how this is January 2nd, I’m clearly a few days late with my annual list of the best shows of the year. But I hope you’ll find it in your hearts to forgive me and read on anyway…

As you may recall from last year, I follow the “All Madden Team” rule, which means I can only list shows I have actually seen. That’s why you won’t see “Mad Men” or “True Blood” on the list…

Just missing the top 10 are “Leverage,” “Million Dollar Listing” and “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List.”

Now without further ado, here are my choices for the 10 best shows of 2009…

10) (tie) “Modern Family,” “Glee” and “Lie to Me”
In doing this list, I discovered something about my viewing habits: I am apparently losing patience with scripted series. Even though I was very excited about “Glee” and I thought “Family” was hysterical, I only saw one episode of each of them. I didn’t even bother to tape them. I loved “Lie to Me” last season but I didn’t see a single episode this season (I blame Bravo.). Still I felt that my list wouldn’t be complete without each of them.

9) “Men of a Certain Age”
I know that some critics think this show is too whiny but I think it is just real. Ray Romano is pretty much playing the same part he always does, but he does it well. Andre Braugher is the real reason to watch though as he is just as talented as ever playing the overworked car salesman Owen.

8) (Tie) “Flipping Out” and “The Soup”
This season of “Out” was not quite as strong as the last but it’s still worthy of the list. And just for the record, I am on Jeff’s side all the way. I really think Ryan did all those things. And how could I not include “The Soup” which is one of the few shows I try to never miss. In most cases, it’s the only way I see anything about some shows.

7) “How I Met Your Mother”
If I was judging strictly on last season (at the beginning of the year) this show would be near the top as it was at its creative peak. But the first handful of episodes from this season killed that momentum. Thankfully the show appears to be back on track with the return of the Barney we know and love.

6) “Football Night In America”
It probably seems strange to have a football pregame show on this list but it’s one of the few shows I tape on a weekly basis—even when I already know all the scores. This show has finally found the right formula with Bob Costas live at the game site and Dan Patrick running things back at the studio. Patrick and Keith Olbermann are at the top of their game doing the highlights. And Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison provide informative and interesting commentary. Plus Cris Collinsworth is still a part of things at the game site. I really hope NBC sticks with this combination for next season as well.

5) “Lost”
I was always confused but I was never not entertained. This show is steamrolling into its final season on a major creative high as it provided us with the best cliffhanger of the year. Where (or when) it goes this year is anyone’s guess.

4) “24”
After a year absence, this one returns to the list. Season seven was nowhere near the quality of season five but it was a HUGE improvement over the dreadful season six. And Kiefer Sutherland gave his best performance yet even though the Emmys, the SAGs and the Golden Globes completely missed it. Plus the show finally found a female character worthy to fight alongside Jack Bauer.

3) “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover”
Feel free to tell me I’m crazy ranking this show so high, but I can’t help it. It’s that good. Some minor tweaks to the formula improved the show dramatically over last season and Tabatha Coffey is as awesome as ever. But surprisingly the best episode of the season was the one where Tabatha actually failed even if it was a little painful to see.

2) “The Big Bang Theory”
Some critics would tell you that “Theory” has lost some luster ever since it got Penny and Leonard together. But after a slightly shaky start I believe the show got back on solid ground by focusing on the one thing we all want to see more of—the great Jim Parsons as Sheldon. How funny was it when Sheldon was revealed to be a football expert? Or when he was forced to take care of Penny? “Theory” is still the funniest show on TV and I will be taping it when it goes opposite my beloved “24” beginning later this month.

And my choice for the top show of 2009…

1) “Top Chef: Las Vegas”
For me, this list is about the shows that meant the most to me and that I never missed. So there is no way that I could put any other show in this spot. After all, it’s because of this show that I only saw one episode of “Glee.” I was so consumed with “Chef” reruns that I just didn’t bother. It was that good. The show may have focused a little too much on the Voltaggio brothers, but who could blame it? The sibling rivalry helped create the best season of “Chef” ever.

So what shows would you put on your list? Feel free to start the debate by posting your comments…

Photo Credits: Matthias Clamer/FOX, Danny Feld/TNT, Vivian Zink/Bravo, Eric McCandless/FOX, NBC Sports, Florian Schneider and Bob D'Amico/ABC, Michael Muller/FOX, Mitchell Haaseth/Bravo, Sonja Flemming/CBS, Justin Stephens/Bravo