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2005 Year End Best Of

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I am a bad minion.

Not only did I have a horrible lack of reviews this year, but I am slacking on my year-end responsibility.

Usually this is the time of year where I write about the news stories of the past year that made me the happiest. Since there was an amazing lack of happy news last year, I am writing about what I did to avoid most of the year's bad news: Watch TV.

Here is my list of the seven best shows I watched this year, in no particular order. Most are new, but not everything was released this year. I know that there are fantastic shows out there that probably belong on this list (I have heard House is great) but these are things that I watched and enjoyed. You can scoff at my taste in television shows if you wish, but trust me, it is so much better than my taste in music.

Why just seven? I told you. I am a bad slacker minion!

I have never had a show consume this much of my life before. I am sure that it is payback for years of laughing at my Star Trek or X-Files loving friends. The show follows the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 after they crash on a deserted tropical island. On the island is a monster, a deranged French chick, a strange underground hatch with a button that could or could not end the world as we know it, and it just gets weirder from there. What really makes this show is that like the great shows with sci-fi themes it puts the people involved and their stories first and then weaves in all the weird shit going on around them. People first, weird shit second -- it's an important rule to follow. The show has amazingly complex storylines and theories galore to chew on over trivia at the bar or online on 1,001 different message boards. My friends wish I would shut up about this show, but I love it.
  How I Met Your Mother
On the surface, this sitcom looks like it has little to offer. Some guy tries to find a girl to love. However, it's all in the delivery. This show does a great job of finding funny ways to highlight the challenges of trying to find yourself in your late 20s or early 30s, whether you are looking at your love life, your career, or your marriage. The show has a terrific supporting cast, managing to turn ex-Doogie Howser star Neil Patrick Harris into a loveable sleaze ball with fabulous one-liners trying to hold on to his hipster status and ex-Buffy cast member Alyson Hannigan into a beer-chugging wild child turned kindergarten teacher. I was sure that the narrative structure (a man telling his kids about how he met their mother) could only last one or two episodes, but the writers have strangely enough found a way to make it work.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I work for a company that is involved in this show and a friend of mine does a voice on the show. Call me biased if you wish, but I think that this show is amazingly well done. The show follows the story of the comic strip -- two boys who are being raised by their grandfather are moved out of the south side of Chicago into the suburbs. Culture shock and hilarity ensues. I believe that putting the characters in an animated format and giving them more than three frames to tell a story allows for even funnier story archs than those found in the comic strip. I have to admit though, as someone who is half "common white girl," I sometimes wonder if I should find it as funny as I do. But I have permission from some of my black comedian friends to laugh, so I do.
  My Name Is Earl
This is one of those shows that every time I watch it, I wonder why I don't watch it more often. A low-life picks a winning lotto ticket, but loses it and gets hit by a car. While in the hospital, he is introduced to the concept of karma. He then makes a list of all the bad things that he has done and tries to put them right. Again, it is all in the delivery. Jason Lee (a former pro skater and Kevin Smith film alum) does a great job in making Earl likeable, and it is fun to watch him "put things right" in the most round about way possible.
  Arrested Development
Why, oh WHY is this show being canceled? There are rumors that it will be picked up by Showtime or another network, and I hope that the rumors are true. Fox is letting go of another terrific series (see: Family Guy). The show follows the story of the members of the Bluth family who lead privileged lives until their patriarch is hauled off to jail Enron-style. George Bluth, the good son, has to hold the family business together and take care of his selfish and extremely odd family. The show, almost shot like a reality show with producer Ron Howard narrating, does a great job of taking its time to build the funny. It will set up small bits throughout the show or season that combine into one colossal laugh later on. A throw away line in one episode comes back three episodes later to payoff in a big way.

Family Guy
A few years ago, Fox canceled a show called Family Guy. Fans were outraged and wrote petitions. The show's reruns got picked up by Adult Swim (Cartoon Network's after hours animated slot) and was a huge success. DVDs of the show's existing seasons were released and sold like hotcakes. Fox realized their mistake and put the show back on the air. Though not all the episodes live up to what the previous series was, it is still a damn funny show. It's meandering storyline and random references make me laugh. It is not the 7 sponges that The Simpsons was in its glory days. But then again, nothing really is.

Any show that can teach you something while blowing stuff up gets top grades in my book. Mythbusters takes old myths and urban legends and tests them out. This is the type of show you talk about at parties. "Did you see the one when they tried to burry that guy alive or the one where they tried to prove whether toast always lands butter-side down?" I never thought I would be this entertained by the Discovery Channel.
Related Links:
  Return to the End Of Year Lists menu.
Read Fyno's list from 2003.
Read Fyno's list from 2004.

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