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15 December 2009 @ 07:10 pm
My Favorite TV Shows of 2009  
Last year, I did My Top 17 TV Shows of 2008. This year, I had a LOT of trouble putting my shows in any kind of numerical order, and I was a little heartbroken at how far some of them fell in just a year (I'm looking at you BSG...). So this year, I decided to forget the countdown and do awards instead. 18 shows made the cut this year and, thus, 2009's list was born.

As always, the descriptions may contain spoilers for all aired episodes. The pics are all promo shots so no worries there. If you don't want to be spoiled, just skip the descriptions of the shows you're worried about.


Laci's Awards for the Best of the Best and the Best of the Worst TV of 2009

Best Straight-to-DVD TV Movie
A Very Sunny Christmas

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Season 5 may not have been Sunny's funniest season, but the Christmas special did not disappoint. Hilarious revelations from childhoods past, a bloody encounter with Santa Claus, and a crazy gun-wielding ex-business-partner made this episode the perfect way to ring in the holiday season. Of course, I could have gone without seeing Danny Devito climb out of a couch naked, but Sunny wouldn't be Sunny without a dose of outrageously disturbing humor. Merry Christmas! Now go steal your neighbor's presents and wait for all the Santas to come bring your mom money and cheer her up in the bedroom.

Worst Straight-to-DVD TV Movie (ever in the history of the universe)
BSG: The Plan

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I honestly can't even really tell you what happened in The Plan, because I was too busy trying to stay awake. Note to writers: Retconning retcon is never a good idea. What I remember is that The Plan was a bunch of retroactive crap that the writers made up after Battlestar ended, and this fact was painfully obvious. I'm pretty sure it was supposed to shed light on that infamous "plan" the cylons had that we were consistently reminded of in the opening credits of BSG. I'm pretty sure it had something to do with Cavil being a dick and having some ridiculous elephant statue that switched sleeper cylons on and off. But after watching The Plan, the only thing I know for sure is that Ron Moore never had a plan. Note to writers: If you don't know what the plan is, you probably should tell the audience that one exists. The only redeeming quality about this movie was the fact that I got to see Trucco onscreen for a couple of hours. Aside from that, The Plan was a big waste of time. So say we all.

The Thin Mint Award
30 Rock

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30 Rock really surprised me this year. It's always been kind of like the vanilla wafer of my comedy shows. It amuses me, but it's certainly no Mallomar. Still, it's reliable, and I can always expect to get at least a few laughs per episode. This season, however, was chock full of funny, and I was quite pleasantly surprised. I loved the auditions (Kathy Geiss as Susan Boyle? GENIUS). I loved Kenneth. I loved almost everything about this season. It's still no Mallomar, but I think it's safe to say that 30 Rock has landed itself in with the thin mints of comedy. And that's no dealbreaker, ladies!

Best Worst Show (that makes you feel like a crack addict)

Make It or Break It

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Ok, let's first get past the elephant in the room. Yes, I watch ABC Family. No, I'm not ashamed. Okay, I'm a little ashamed. Why do I watch ABC Family? Because their shows are like crack. You know they're bad...terrible horrible no good might actually kill you bad...but you watch anyway. Because you need a hit. Because it's like crack. And ABC Family is your dealer. And then afterward, you go on AIM with your crackwhore friends (I'm looking at you [info]lollynyc) and write things like, "DJ TANNER IS MARRYING A GUY NAMED STEVE TANNER ON MAKE IT OR BREAK IT!" and then you laugh for an hour, because you're high on ABC Family, and you think it's literally the most ridiculous thing in the world that Candace Cameron Bure is on a new show, her boyfriend's name is still Steve, and her character is about to be named Tanner again. (Okay, other elephant in the room? I know pretty much every Full House episode verbatim). Though I think it's now painfully obvious, Make It or Break It wins the crack addict award for being so horrible that it's an absolute must-watch. Think there's a chance VH1 will do ABC Family Rehab with Dr. Drew?

Second Best Worst Show (that makes you feel like a crack addict)

The Secret Life of the American Teenager

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The original crack show may have been dethroned this year, but it's still an addicting hot mess. I mean, this season saw Grace think God killed her dad as punishment for having sex with Jack, the creation of a dead parents club, Ben's dad send him to Italy for a blow job, Ben's dad get engaged to an internet hooker, and Amy's mom get pregnant with Amy's dad's baby but think it's her sterile boyfriend's baby because Amy's dad lied about getting a vasectomy (though he did finally confess to Grace). I guess they needed something new since the whole teen pregnancy thing is so last season, and teen motherhood is apparently not nearly as compelling. In all fairness, Molly Ringwald was legit preggers so they didn't have much choice with her character having a baby a few months after her character's teenager daughter had a baby, but the whole thing about the real baby daddy's fake vasectomy and the fake baby daddy's miracle conception was just a bit over the top...even for this show. Thank you, Secret Life, for continuing to prove why ABC Family enables my addiction to so-bad-it's-almost-good TV.

Best Show Saved by You're Pretty Cosmetics
Weeds

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So it was pretty difficult to award anything to Weeds since the last few seasons have been, well, horrible. But this season, the writers laced our bland story with a little bit of funny, and I actually laughed out loud again so I figured that deserved something. I credit You're Pretty cosmetics for breathing a smidgen of life back into this cadaver, because Weeds is always at its best when Celia and Isabelle share the screen. Celia's romp as a lesbian, Shane's run-in with an STD, and the dick-in-a-drawer plot also deserve shout outs for being at least a little bit funny. Still, I'm glad you're ending Weeds, because you just don't get us high anymore.

Best New Show Where Important Things Only Seem to Happen in the Last 60 Seconds
FlashForward

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I immediately fell in love with FlashForward. The fact that I've had a secret crush on Joe Fiennes since I was in middle school probably helped a bit, but I really loved the plot and was excited to see where the writers would take it. Then, it developed this strange cliffhanger syndrome where nothing would really happen until the last 60 seconds of an episode when all of a sudden, crazy important things would happen: we'd see a video of a guy walking around during the blackout or Charlie would tell us "D. Gibbons is a bad man," or we'd find out that a bunch of crows and a mass blackout happened before in Africa. Yes, cliffhangers are awesome, but I think the writers missed the memo that episodes should be more than vehicles that take us to the cliffhanger ending. Still, it obviously worked, because I'm still watching, and I really do love the show even though most people I know gave up on it long ago. My biggest complaint at this point? The terrible (and conflicting) portrayal of a boy with autism. Still, I'll keep watching for the cliffhangers and the lolz. I actually know a D. Gibbons so I can't help but giggle to myself whenever they mention him. And the Lost references keep me entertained. (You saw that Oceanic Air billboard in the pilot, right? And you did notice that Sonya Walger's kids on Lost and FF are both named Charlie, even though they're different genders? Yeah, I thought so.) I like you, FlashForward, and I'm interested to see where you go.

Best Supporting Actors
Dollhouse

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It's no secret that I have long felt Dollhouse would be better if Echo and Ballard died and Sierra and Victor became the leads. The lead characters just don't work for me. Eliza can't carry the role and while I love Tahmoh, I always find his characters to be self-righteous and annoying. For that reason, Dollhouse wins the best supporting actors award. Enver is nothing short of brilliant. Dichen is great. And the dollhouse employees are all beyond fabulous. I'm not sure Dollhouse ever truly found its voice, but I'll be a little sad to see it go, if only because I'll miss watching the work of this great cast. Well, that, the Firefly guest stars, and the random BSG humor, of course.

Favorite Death(s)
Harper's Island

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It was a destination wedding turned murder-mystery. Sure, it was cheesy, semi-predictable, and pulled out every horror movie cliche known to man, from the creepy little girl to the red herring brother to the heroine who comes home to face her troubled past, but that doesn't mean my friends and I didn't spend hours theorizing about it. Harper's Island was fun, and when it came to gruesome deaths, no one was spared. People were hung, shot, cut in half, set on fire, stabbed, harpooned, headspaded, chopped by boat propellers, impaled, and decapitated, but the most emotional deaths were those of Cal and Chloe. In what was undoubtedly my favorite Harper's Island death scene, we saw Cal and Chloe meet their ends in a tearful, heartbreaking standoff with John Wakefield. So tragic. So well done. Such a bloody fun series.

Least Favorite Death
Torchwood: Children of Earth

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So I'm not quite sure why the Torchwood writers are so hell-bent on killing every character that matters, but they certainly continued that tradition with Children of Earth. While it was a nice scene, I'm still angry about Ianto's death. Aside from adding a heavily emotional element to COE, I don't really see the point of it. With Tosh, Owen, and Ianto now dead, Gwen pregnant, and Captain Jack always seeming to be on the verge of leaving, I'm not sure where the Torchwood franchise is headed. Children of Earth wins my least favorite death award because I fail to see how cutting the team down to two will be beneficial to Torchwood's future. Here's hoping the writers prove me wrong.

Worst Surprise Pregnancy
Dirty Sexy Money

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Season two promised to be dirtier, sexier and monier. It ended up being a little more scandalous, and a whole lot different. I didn't particularly care for most of this little show's final season because too much changed too quickly, but it started to win my heart back when Karen and Nick finally got together. That's why I was less-than-thrilled to find out that Karen was pregnant with Simon Elder's baby. We'll never know if she and Nick ever worked out their issues, but we can only assume Simon made that pretty much impossible. I will miss DSM, but the pregnancy was one scandal I could have done without.

Best Spy Show
Burn Notice

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Last year, I said that Burn Notice was my favorite show that I could safely watch without getting too emotionally involved. Well, this season changed all of that. The prospect of losing Fi was terrifying (even though I didn't think the writers would actually kill off their female lead). What can I say? I'm a sucker for meant-to-be-together-even-though-it-never-seems-to-work couples and right now, Michael and Fiona are at the top of that list. Loved this season. Love the show. Can't wait to grab some yogurt and see what comes next.

Best Use of Recurring Characters
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

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Let's face it. Sunny certainly wasn't going to win any comedy awards this year. I love the show, but season 5 saw some of its worst episodes ever. Luckily, every now and then, a hilarious episode would break up the overwhelmingly dismal array of stupidity. Usually, those episodes featured a recurring character who reminded us of seasons past: the Waitress, Artemis, Rickety Cricket, Mac and Charlie's mothers, that poor lawyer. While I hope Sunny re-finds its funny in season 6, I'm grateful for the glimpses of classic Sunny that season 5 brought, thanks in no small part to the recurring characters we know and love. Let's hope season 6 sees the return of our other favorite recurring characters: Mac's tranny girlfriend and the whole McPoyle clan!

Best Use of a Cylon Toaster (and super awesome sci-fi guest stars)

The Big Bang Theory

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What's funny about cylon toast?! Big Bang Theory bitches! Usually shows start to lose their appeal after a few seasons, but Big Bang just keeps getting better and better. Cylon toast, Summer Glau, Katee Sackhoff...the show is geek heaven. It gets funnier every week. It gets nerdier every week. I don't think I could possibly love Sheldon one iota more. And after the last few episodes, I'm totally starting to crush on Wolowitz....

...BAZINGA! Even I'm not that insane!

Most Dramatic Improvement
Dexter

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So I wasn't a fan of season 3. I found it to be repetitive and boring. I was expecting the same in season 4, but thankfully, I could not have been more wrong. I don't know what happened in the writers room this year, but it worked. Dexter reached a whole new level of brilliant. For the first time, I found myself truly engaged with the characters. I thought Dexter's inner monologues were great. I loved the plot with Deb, Lundy, and Christine. I loved watching Dex make mistake after mistake after mistake. I adored Laguerta and Batista. I thought Trinity (ironically) breathed a whole new life into the show. Basically, I found this season to be nail-bitingly nerve-wracking, and I cannot wait to see where the show goes next (though I fear for the fate of our dear title character). The finale was a brilliant end to a brilliant season, and I can only hope that next season brings the same intensity, humor, and suspense to Miami Metro PD.

Most Epic Downfall in the History of Television
Battlestar Galactica

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I didn't think it was possible for a show to fall so far in such a short period of time. Season 4.5 was seriously some of the worst television I've ever seen. The payoffs were weak, the plot had giant holes, and it ended with a message that tried to be philosophical and deep but came off as trite and hollow. I've never been so disappointed by a series finale (and I was a Will and Grace fan). Note to Ron Moore: It's not just the characters, stupid. Plot matters too. This season had two...okay, three...redeeming qualities. The Oath and Blood on the Scales, which were brilliant until their events were completely forgotten in subsequent episodes, and Kara and Sam. While I'm certainly not thrilled about Sam's goo-tub exit, my shipper heart was more than pleased with Kara's commitment to him (and watching Kara drag Sam down the hallway with a bullet in his neck is one of my favorite Kara/Sam scenes ever). Still, it wasn't enough to save the dying ship show known as Galactica. I wish 4.5 could disappear a la Kara Thrace, because this story, these characters, these themes deserved so much more.

Favorite New Show
Glee

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Hands down, Glee is my favorite new show this year. It's like someone took everything that was missing from my life and crammed it into a single show. It stars one of my favorite actors (yes, I've totally loved Matty Fresh since the first time I saw him in The Light in the Piazza, *sigh*), it's absolutely hilarious (I'm looking at you, Sue Sylvester), and it makes me nostalgic for my theater geek high school days. We didn't get slushied, but everyone did think we were giant losers when we randomly burst into our own renditions of La Vie Boheme and Defying Gravity. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry (oh Wheels, how you tug at my heartstrings), and it is everything I could want in a tv show and more. Thank you, Glee, for reminding me why I hated (and loved) high school. I hope you just keep getting better and better.

Favorite New-to-Me Show
Friday Night Lights

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I haven't burned through multiple seasons of a show this fast since I started watching Battlestar Galactica. My cousin lent me the season one box set this year, and I fell in love immediately (with FNL, not my cousin, you perv...gross). I'm not a football fan, but it doesn't matter because I'll watch football all day if Taylor Kitsch is on screen. This show breaks my heart in all the right ways. It has passion, great acting, and plots that keep me coming back for more. Season one was perfection, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Though it's not quite the same as it used to be, I still love my weekly dose of Dillon, Texas. Thank you, cousin, for shoving the box set at me and saying, "Watch!" and thank you Friday Night Lights for being so damn good. Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can't lose.

 
 
Feeling: nostalgicnostalgic
 
 
 
cujoycujoy on December 19th, 2009 01:15 pm (UTC)
You summarize BSG 4.5 very well. My issue with BSG isn't the last half hour of Daybreak. The finale was what it was. The problem is that 4.5 as a whole just stunk up the place, except for the two issues that you highlight and Kara/Sam. I've decided that in order to continue loving that show, I'm just going to let 4.5 haze out and think of all the characters in shiney EPIC AU's.

But I kind of like The Plan. Trucco alone is apparently all it takes to please me. ;)

The Big Bang Theory is also Awesome!

I wish that Fast Forward would get it's act together.
star_lace: BSG // Anders star_lace on December 19th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
LOL Icon love! :D

Yeah, in order to make peace with BSG, I've pretty much had to erase all of 4.5 from my fanon.

I wasn't really involved in fandom that much when The Plan came out, so I have absolutely no gauge on what the general consensus was. I could be the only one that hated it for all I know lol. Trucco definitely made it bearable for me though! ;)

FF has such a good premise, but there is something so strange in their execution of it. I like it and I want to see where it goes, but I wish they'd fix the pacing.