Best Television Shows of 2008

Here are the shows I enjoyed the most in 2008.

THE BEST TELEVISION OF 2008

1. THE SHIELD – The last season of this brutal cop drama was rivetingtelevision. Right up to the jaw-dropping finale, where Vic Mackey(Michael Chiklis), confessed his sins under the cloak of immunity. Anamazing show, and an amazing final season.

2. MAD MEN – this show about advertising men in 1960 kept its high level of quality for its second season. A real highlight of 2008.

3. TRUE BLOOD – I hated the first couple of episodes of this HBO vampire drama based on the books by Charlaine Harris. Or, at least, I thought I did. By episode 3 I found myself getting hooked on this show, and by the end of the season, it had become one of my favorite new shows. If you missed it, check it out on DVD when it comes out. Excellent new show by Alan Ball, the guy who also gave us Six Feet Under.

4. LIFE – my favorite new network show. Damian Lewis plays Charlie Crews, a cop who got framed and spent 12 years in prison. Now he’s been vindicated and he’s a detective, solding crimes in a weird Zen way, while he also tracks down the men who framed him. One of the best cop shows on network television in years!

5. DEXTER – Michael C. Hall’s sympathetic serial killer (he only kills bad guys) maintains the greatness of previous seasons. This time around, it kind of lagged in the middle, but by the end, all of the storylines paid off, and my faith was renewed. With an always great performance by Jennifer Carpenter as Dexter’s sister Deb (and now Mrs. Hall), and a great guest turn by Jimmy Smitts as an assistant D.A. who befriends Dexter and thinks he’s above the law.

6. THE BIG BANG THEORY – this sitcom renews my faith in the medium. Four super-smart nerds live next to a hot chick. That’s all the plot you need. And it’s funny as hell, especially Jim Parsons as the most hilarious of the geeks, Sheldon Cooper.

7. FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS – this anti-sitcom from HBO gives us two geeks from New Zealand who play guitar, can barely get gigs, and have just one fan. This is the kind of low-key show that really grows on you. It’s no wonder it has a big cult audience already, after just one season.

8. LIFE ON MARS A modern day cop gets hit by a car and finds himself as a cop in 1973. What the hell is going on? Based on a British show with the same name, and with a cast that includes Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli (Christopher from the Sopranos), and Gretchen Mol. How can you go wrong?

9. FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS – I hate football. Friday Night Lights is all about a high school football team in Texas. But somehow, it’s one of my favortie shows. FNL kicked ass in 2008, and just returned to network TV (after airing its new season on satellite TV first) for a new season, for those of us who don’t have a satellite dish.

10. LOST – this show is still amazing. The best thing ABC could have done was let the creators set up a definite time frame of when the show would end. After some bumpy seasons where it seemed to flounder, the show now has focus again as it hurtles toward the big finale. It ended on a powerful note in 2008, and the new season begins next week. Still a heavyweight contender.

Let’s hope 2009 is half as good.

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