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Here's My Top 10 TV List of 2008 -- What's Yours?
December 26, 2008  | By David Bianculli

Before giving my list of the Top 10 TV shows of 2008, I'm asking for yours. The readers of this website are so discerning and tasteful (you're here, aren't you?), I thought it would be fun, maybe even enlightening, to ask for YOUR Top 10 lists.

You have until the end of the year to send yours as comments, and I'll begin 2009 by tallying a TV WORTH WATCHING Readers' Poll Top 10.

As for the worst of the year? We'll leave that to the staff of TV NOT WORTH WATCHING. Now for my Top 10... after which, please forward your own...

My TOP 10 for 2008:

1) The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Comedy Central

2) Mad Men, AMC

3) 30 Rock, NBC

4) Pushing Daisies, ABC

5) The Shield, FX

6) Boston Legal, ABC

7) Dexter, Showtime

8) Friday Night Lights, NBC and DirecTV 101 Network

9) 60 Minutes, CBS

10) The Wire, HBO

Non-TV VERY Honorable Mention: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, from the Internet


So what made YOUR list this year? For the next few days, YOU write, and I'LL read!...




Toni Bernhard said:

My Top Ten:

1) Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Comedy Central
2) Mad Men, AMC
3) Late Show With David Letterman, CBS
4) The Wire, HBO
5) In Treatment, HBO
6) Hopkins, ABC
7) The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, PBS
8) Dexter, Showtime
9) Breaking Bad, AMC
10) Real Time With Bill Maher, HBO

Comment posted on December 26, 2008 12:04 PM

Patrick Morris said:

1) The Wire, HBO
2) Colbert Report, Comedy Central
3) 30 Rock, NBC
4) Daily Show, Comedy Central
5) Mad Men, AMC
6) Dexter, Showtime
7) The Shield, FX
8) Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC
9) The Simpsons, FOX
10) Fringe, FOX

Honorable Mention: Conan O'Brien for his involvement in the Stewart, Colbert and Conan feud scene during the strike.

Comment posted on December 26, 2008 1:04 PM

deb said:

1. Burn Notice
2. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
3. The Colbert Report
4. Mad Men
5. 30 Rock
6. Lost
7. How I Met Your Mother
8. Summer Heights High
9. The Office
10. Breaking Bad

Comment posted on December 26, 2008 2:11 PM

jan said:

1. Brotherhood--I can't believe they're taking this show off the air. What a final episode! "Brotherhood" indeed. And none of my regular blogs ever discussed it.
2. Breaking Bad -- kept my interest all the way
3. The Shield -- what a finale
4. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart -- for puncturing all political pomposity
5. Summer Heights High -- I teach, and he nailed those three characters
6. Mad Men -- please let Matthew Weiner return for season 3. With his attention to detail, hard to imagine someone else having the same effect
7. Burn Notice -- Okay, it's lightweight, but I looked forward to it every week, especially Bruce Campbell whom I have loved ever since "Bubba Ho-tep"
8. 30 Rock -- NOT the guest stars so much as the regular cast. Some very funny bits.
9. Big Bang Theory -- Makes me laugh every time: "rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock."
10.Generation Kill -- a realistic depiction of the war in Iraq

It's really hard to stop at ten: I also loved "Pushing Daisies," and I will be very sad to see it go, and I developed a real interest in "Skins," although I think I missed some episodes because of incorrect labeling. I just wish they'd do another marathon. "Real Time With Bill Maher" always had good discussions. And as an individual show, I'd have to say the "Stephen Colbert Christmas Special" and "Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog" were my two favorites.

My personal really, really guilty pleasure is "The Graham Norton Show." I could never call it the best of much of anything, but it sure is laugh out loud funny, and the guests always seem to be having a great time.

Comment posted on December 26, 2008 2:31 PM

Mark said:

1)Pushing Daisies
2)Mad Men
3)Breaking Bad
4) Rachel Maddow-it's a funny way to present the news
That's all i watch so it's short.

Comment posted on December 26, 2008 2:56 PM

Angela said:

1. Boston Legal ABC
2. Friday Night Lights NBC
3. Mad Men
4. Life ABC?
5. Battlestar Galactica SCI-FI (was that O8?)
6. House FOX

That's all I can come up with as I don't get HBO etc.)
But if these were still around they would be in my top 10.
Six Feet Under
Joan of Arcadia
Third Watch

Comment posted on December 26, 2008 3:26 PM

Marlark said:

Marlark's Top 10 for 2008
(limited by his Comcast Basic Cable + HBO package)

1) Mad Men
2) Battlestar Galatcica
3) Daily Show with Jon Stewart
4) 30 Rock
5) The Office
6) Law & Order (classic form)
7) The Colbert Report
8) Fringe
9) SNL
10) NLDS, NLCS, World Series (hey, I'm from the Philly MSA)

Marlark's Top 5 regrets from 2008
1) Not committing time to The Wire
2) Not committing time to The Shield
3) Not committing time to In Treatment
4) Not committing time to Breaking Bad beyond 2 eps
5) Not having a Dexter-fueled Showtime subscription (it's in my NetFlix queue)

Marlark's Top 5 Predictions for 2009
1) TV will get suckier
2) NBC will create a program about lightbulbs, jet engines and upright MRI machines and call it, "GE Whiz" (see #1)
3) Analog signals will cease and no one will care except angered American consumers hoodwinked into buying TV sets they didn't need
4) David Bianculli will continue to pick out the few kernals of joy in the steaming pile of *&# that's dumped onto the TV landscape
5) Like hopeful fools we'll continue to watch TV aided by the advice of able-minded TV Critics

Comment posted on December 26, 2008 3:36 PM

henri said:

My Top Ten (listed in 3 tiers, too hard to decide which is "best")

1) Mad Men
1) Dexter
1) The Shield
1) Dr Who season 4 (BBC UK)
1) The Wire
1) Daily Show

2) Battlestar Galactica
2) Friday Night Lights
2) Top Gear (BBC UK)

3) The Middleman

Comment posted on December 26, 2008 4:14 PM

Dan Weinreb said:

Here's what I liked this year:

Mad Men
True Blood
Life on Mars
Pushing Daisies
John Adams (series on HBO with Paul Giamatti)
The Closer
Battlestar Galactica

Comment posted on December 26, 2008 5:29 PM

Pierre said:

I usually enjoy your comments on NPR, but I have to say that I'm totally confused by anyone caring about Pushing Daisies. The visuals feel like a warmed-over Tim Burton film. The narrative can barely contain its own self-amusement. I keep waiting for the narrator to groan at some of the cutesy script he has to read.

I think I'm in the minority here, but I can't contain my irritation.

Comment posted on December 26, 2008 7:08 PM

Esther said:

Remember that I'm a girl, but most of the things I enjoyed this year were thoughtful, visceral, and mostly easy to watch.

This list includes television events and not just series, necessarily.

1) Persuasion (PBS)
2) 30 Rock (NBC)
3) Sense and Sensibility (PBS)
4) New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS)
5) The Wire (HBO)
6) Project Runway (Bravo) but the spring season not fall
7) infoMania - Target Women (Current TV)
8) Hell Girl (IFC)

Comment posted on December 26, 2008 9:47 PM

Gregg B said:

1 Boston Legal, ABC
2 Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Comedy Central
3 Realtime with Bill Maher, HBO
4 Pushing Daisies, ABC
5 True Blood, HBO
6 Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC
7 Super Bowl XLII, FOX
8 The Office, NBC
9 Saturday Night Live, NBC
10 Family Guy, FOX

Comment posted on December 26, 2008 10:23 PM

David Rivera said:

1. Battlestar Galactica, SciFi Channel (the best frakkin' drama nobody watches)
2. The Shield, FX (whatta thrilling finish!)
3. The Office, NBC
4. Mad Men, AMC
5. 30 Rock, NBC
6. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Comedy Central (shining bright in its hilarious and insightful election year coverage)
7. Survivor, CBS (year after year, edition after edition, it never lets me down)
8. Late Night with Conan O'Brian (the funniest late-night personality was in top form for his upcoming tenure as Tonight Show host)
9. Late Show with David Letterman (his feud with John McCain was a highlight);
10. SNL (its impressive resurgance during this election year made it can't-miss TV).

Comment posted on December 26, 2008 11:43 PM

maggie in nj said:

Ah, David, this is why we need you---so we know what's WORTH WATCHING. My own viewing is considerably different, limited by the lack of premium channels and lack of time (as I've given more & more time to watching Japanese anime in the last 5 years due to the amazing writing).
1. Doctor Who, Sci-Fi/BBCA
2. Big Bang Theory, CBS
3. Gossip Girl, CW
4. Pushing Daisies, ABC
5. Life on Mars, ABC
6. Monk, USA
7. Mentalist, CBS
8. Fringe, FOX
9. Samantha Who, ABC
10. How I Met Your Mother, CBS
Thanks for a great blog, used to read you every day in the Daily News, you were responsible for starting me on BUFFY which I never would've watched otherwise (and boy was it great), and have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Comment posted on December 27, 2008 8:33 AM

Peggy said:

1. Boston Legal

2. Damages

3. Washington Week

4. Hardball

5. Rachel Maddow

6. House

7. Big Love

8. 30 Rock

9. Meet the Press (not as much w/ David Gregory so far)

10. This Week

Comment posted on December 27, 2008 9:34 AM

Robert said:

My favorites of 2008:

1. 30 Rock
2. Nip/Tuck
3. Real Time with Bill Maher
4. Late Show with David Letterman
5. The Big Bang Theory
6. Meet The Press
7. The View
8. Daily Show with Jon Stewart
9. Saturday Night Live
10. Miss Guided

Comment posted on December 27, 2008 11:10 AM

jan said:

I can't believe that I forgot "The Middleman"--that was one of my very favorite shows. Thanks, Henri. But I don't know which one on my list to replace, so I'll just have to have a Top 11.

Comment posted on December 27, 2008 1:01 PM

Sherman Lee said:

1. Mad Men -- Totally immersive television experience that not only avoided the sophomore slump, but demolished it.
2. Life -- Inspired balance of weekly stories, seasonal arc and characterization
3. Chuck -- Perfect blend of comedy, romance & geek culture
4. The Big Bang Theory -- Three camera comedy heaven
5. 30 Rock -- Single camera comedy heaven
6. Friday Night Lights -- We won't realize how special this was until it finally stops production
7. The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson -- Writes/jokes/interviews well, but his genuineness really sets him apart. His tributes to his mom (and dad in 2006) and becoming a U.S. citizen are must-You Tube viewing.
8. The Daily Show / The Colbert Report -- Although not my only news source, these shows were the only places that scathingly highlighted the huge political hypocrisies of 2008
9. Pushing Daisies -- Not perfect, but a bold experiment in storytelling. Even the most flawed episode gave me more enjoyment than the equivalent amount of network reality schlock (e.g. 10 episodes of Deal or No Deal). I only wish the strike had not interrupted this show.
10. Saturday Night Live -- Pitch-perfect political impersonations (which would be nowhere without spoofing C-SPAN), worthy Weekend Updates, and decent (overall) comedy sketches, which is par for the course doing live TV.

Runner-up: Bones -- which is a romantic comedy that happens to be set in a procedural. I would have ranked this higher except for the whole Zack snafu. That story line would have probably gone down a lot better without the strike interfering.

Best part of 2009: With less quality scripted fare I'll be catching up on other series (on DVD) that I missed when I was too busy to watch all the stuff from the second golden age of TV. E.g. Band of Brothers, on Blu-Ray.

Comment posted on December 27, 2008 1:30 PM

HarryK said:

In no particular order >

Daily Show
Washington Week in Review
Dr. Who
Family Guy
The News Hour
Law & Order - original
Charlie Rose
Fox Soccer Channel/GOL TV

I don't propose that these shows are the best, but they are what I turn the TUBE on to look at.

Comment posted on December 27, 2008 1:41 PM

Mark said:

Mea culpa-I don't do sci-fi and yet I devoured True Blood. I also miss Joan of Arcadia.
I disagree with Marlark, who stated " TV will get suckier." It can not. Saturday night on NBC they are replaying the opening Olympic ceremony and......Law and Order. God help us.

Comment posted on December 27, 2008 4:01 PM

gossamer said:

Really, everything else pales compared to Mad Men. #2 is In Treatment. Beyond that, little caught my eye.

Comment posted on December 27, 2008 6:35 PM

Mari Hulick said:

:My Top Ten:

1) Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Comedy Central
2) The Wire, HBO
3) 30 Rock, NBC
4) Mad Men, AMC
5) In Treatment, HBO
6) The Colbert Report, Comedy Central
7) The Shield, FX
8) Friday Night Lights, NBC and DirecTV 101 Network
9) Sixty Minutes, CBS
10) Generation Kill, HBO

Comment posted on December 27, 2008 8:47 PM

S. Hwang said:

Most of my top ten picks have already been mentioned, frequently, but animated television is sorely underrepresented:

Nickelodean's Avatar: The Last Airbender, the most perfect narrative creation on television I have ever seen. (Juries still out on wonderful unfinished dramas like Weeds and Lost.)

Comment posted on December 28, 2008 5:25 AM

Andy Lawler said:

My top ten and then a comment on your "Fresh Air" commentary.

1. Lost
2. Battlestar
3. Terminator: This show is so undervalued, but the way it tells a big-screen story on a television budget is amazing.
4. Burn Notice
5. Dr. Who
6. Chuck: High concept but anchored by moving human performances by its leads. I think it also has the best casting sense in TV.
7. True Blood
8. SNL Politics: The rest is crap, but the election stuff was Hartman level.
9. Dr. Horrible: Here's hoping for Dollhouse
10. Survivor: Still the best reality on tv, and fascinating.

A comment on your SAG/Strike opinion. You seemed a bit dismissive of the issues involving their compensation. I was an agent for ten years, and not for the Tom Hanks of the world, but for good midlevel TV actors. Each year producers would lower the salary that these actors would make, residuals became more and more essential to being able to stay an actor. When the original DVD deal was made, the Unions blew it, and now they just want a fairer piece of the pie, not for the Brad Pitt's, but so the rest of working actors can still afford to work. I could go on, but... (It's okay. I'm not so dismissive of the actors' wants -- the writers settled for too little -- but am completely dismissive of their timing. The worst financial crisis in 70 years is not the best time to go on strike for greater renumeration for playing pretend. -- David B.)

Comment posted on December 28, 2008 10:48 AM

Peggy said:

I forgot...

The Closer

Yankees baseball

Comment posted on December 28, 2008 11:14 AM

Nick said:

In no particular order:
1. The Office - Christmas episode was frightening hilarious.
2. Dexter - continues to impress
3. True Blood - I heart Sookie!!
4. Brotherhood - Is this show coming back?
5. The Shield - I'm going to miss Vic Mackey
6. Entourage - Ari is my hero.
7. Californication - I'd like to come back as Hank's libido
8. 30 Rock
9. ER - The show I've never missed. Sad that its leaving.
10. Sons of Anarchy - Love the Katey Sagal role. She' no Peg Bundy.
Hon. Mention: Curb Your Enthusiasm reruns on HBO OnDemand.

Comment posted on December 28, 2008 2:03 PM

Davey said:

In no particular order:

Boston Legal (ABC) -- ended at its peak. One of the last intelligent drama series.
House (Fox} -- probably time to finish this one, too -- getting repetitious and predictable.
Frontline (PBS) -- Uneven but essential.
Bill Moyers Journal (PBS) -- By far the best journalism/talk on TV.
Masterpiece (PBS) -- especially the Jane Austen series, the long political drama on spycams and corruption in Britain, and the last of Prime Suspect.
Daily Show (Comedy)
The Closer (FX?)
Terminator, Sarah Connor (Fox?)
Nova(PBS) -- When it's good it's great.
Breaking Bad(AMC) -- Best overlooked drama in years. (Thanks, David, for finding this.)

And then there were the mystery ones where you can't tell what year they should count in:

Lost, starting out fascinating but destroyed by ABC's incredibly inept scheduling.

Ugly Betty, starting great but running out of story.

Dr. Who had some of the best hours on TV, but between the BBC, PBS, and SciFi runs I don't know what year we're talking about.

Runners up, guilty pleasures: Monk, Family Guy, Robot Chicken, Testees, Sarah Silverman, Supernatural

Best new comedy show: Chocolate News. (Great comments all the way across the board -- especially about "Doctor Who" and "Ugly Betty." -- David B.)

Comment posted on December 28, 2008 4:27 PM

Patrick said:

1 Pushing Daisies
2 30 Rock
3 Psych
4 Mad Men
5 John Adams
6 The Daily Show
7 Dr Horrible
8 Nova
9 House
and Planet Earth (I don't remember if this came out this year or last, but I just saw it) (It came out last year, and made my Top 10 that year -- but it's so good, maybe it SHOULD be voted in every year. If you're still in the market for DVD buying, that's one of the few must-haves. -- David B.)

Comment posted on December 28, 2008 4:38 PM

Maureen bx,NY said:

My favorites for 2008 were:

Life on Mars
30 Rock
The Closer
John Adams
SNL (political humor only)
Ugly Betty

Comment posted on December 28, 2008 10:29 PM

Flash McDirt said:

1. The Middleman
2. The Closer
3. Saving Grace
4. Eureka
5. Fringe
6. Sarah Conner Chronicles
7. Chuck
8. Life
9. Numbers
10. House

Comment posted on December 29, 2008 9:49 AM

Noelle said:

1) Pushing Daisies
2) The Wire
3) Damages
4) Mad Men
5) Daily Show
6) Colbert Report
7) The Closer
8) 30 Rock
9) Rachel Maddow
10) Ugly Betty

Comment posted on December 29, 2008 1:35 PM

jim forkan said:

Hi David,
Here's my Top 10:
1. Lost
2. CSI
3. Damages
4. The Shield
5. The Mentalist
6. Numbers
7. The Closer
9. Beijing Olympics (esp. Phelps events)
19. Prison Break

Comment posted on December 29, 2008 4:51 PM

Sally W. said:

My personal Top TV list for 2008 (in no particular order and intentionally adding what others might not have mentioned, plus unnecessary commentary!):

1. Fringe (FOX) - I'm glad FOX is giving the series a shot; it seems to be getting stronger as the season continues - and I love the father-son relationship of Walter and Peter.

2. Lost (ABC) - what a season! Very interested to see what will happen when it returns.

3. How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - what fun was the end of last season, despite the strike! And this season has been some great laughs.

4. Life (NBC) - I was stunned that NBC renewed it after the strike-shortened first season, since I thought that series I liked wouldn't succeed (and I liked it in 2007). But, the couple of episodes I caught this season was great fun, even if I still don't quite appreciate the conspiracy storyline. Damian Lewis is great; and Adam Arkin and Sarah Shahi are underappreciated.

5. Eli Stone (ABC) - It was the fun series of spring 2008, and I was happy that ABC returned it. I missed much of this season, much to my regret; boo to ABC for cancelling it.

6. The Presidential coverage - for good or bad, this was quite a tv event of 2008; as I'm a PBS snob, kudos especially to Jim Lehrer and the Newshour crew for their work during this election year and Charlie Rose for his interviews and roundtables.

7. Aliens in America (CW) - sweet, short-lived series on friendship and family with good humor, and kudos for trying a little something different in the age of a more diverse America (when an American family hosts a South Asian Muslim foreign exchange student, things get amusingly complicated); I'll even give a little kudos to CW for Reaper, which was a bit more fun than I expected.

8. Again, I'm a PBS snob, so I'll also add Great Performances for its coverage of the NY Philharmonic's concert in Pyongyang, North Korea (I even blogged about it); and Masterpiece Theatre (for continuing to give quality drama, even in such troubling financial times, which began awhile ago for Masterpiece Theatre/Mystery when they had to be under one umbrella), especially for rescuing me during the strike.

9. Law and Order (NBC) (the original/the mothership) - the 18th season (starting in Jan. 2008-May 2008, due to NBC's scheduling shenanigans and then disrupted minimally by the writers' strike) - during the strike had me watching; the cast of new detectives and the new ADA turned out to be more fun than I thought - and less of the melodrama of SVU and Criminal Intent, which relieved me (if it's not obvious, I'm not a big SVU or CI viewer; just not my cup of tea). The 19th season of L&O so far has been also fun, keeping up with the quality of last season.

10. John Adams (HBO) - wow.

Extra credit to Letterman, Leno, O'Brien, and Ferguson for their efforts on late night tv this year.

For worst tv of 2008, I'll nominate "Knight Rider" (NBC) (I may have grown up with and enjoyed the campiness of the original "Knight Rider," but that doesn't mean it had to come back, and in such poor execution), and I'll also continue my disapproval of bad reality tv (of which 2008 seemed to have a lot). (Wow -- What an essay! Thanks for the time, and the thoughts, and the very good taste. - David B.)

Comment posted on December 29, 2008 8:53 PM

Steve Hayes said:

Agree with most of your list, but add a spot for BREAKING BAD, my vote for year's best new series.

Comment posted on December 29, 2008 9:58 PM

Steve Valentine said:

My top 10 for 2008:
1. True Blood
2. Mad Men
3. Big Bang Theory
4. The Shield
5. Breaking Bad
6. A Daily Show with Jon Stewart
7. John Adams
8. Battlestar Galactica
9. Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
10. Californication

Comment posted on December 30, 2008 2:13 AM

Ann said:

1) Barack Obama's Election night speech in Grant Park
2) True Blood - what a pleasant surprise!
3) Lost
4) Battlestar Galactica
5) Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson - his opening monologues are the best on late night TV
6) Daily Show
7) 30 Rock
8) SNL - will miss Amy and Tina
9) Dexter
10) Kitchen Nightmares

Comment posted on December 30, 2008 8:48 AM

R. Orr said:

My top favorites:

1. Lost
2. Battlestar Galactica
3. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
4. The Big Bang Theory
5. The Office
6. The Closer
7. Chuck
8. Burn Notice

Comment posted on December 30, 2008 12:33 PM

Christina S. said:

Personal favorites: (Not necessarily in any particular order)
1. Life
2. Eli Stone
3. Pushing Daisies
4. Damages
5. Masterpiece
6. Big Bang Theory
7. Burn Notice
8. Monk (I can't help it)
9. Psych
10.Dexter (if I actually had Showtime)

On a different note, I just wanted to say that I have visited this site everyday since the day it began. David, not only are you a treasure, but so are your readers. I greatly enjoy the comments posted after your blogs and I am so thrilled to see intelligent, literate, discerning people discuss television. With the incredibly hideous reality programs out there and the (often)poor judgment of the networks - it's like a ray of sunshine to know that people really want TV WORTH WATCHING. You are the best! (You too. I'm loving these lists, and both the individual and aggregate good taste that's shown here. Thanks! -- David B.)

Comment posted on December 30, 2008 1:30 PM

djr said:

Top Ten For 2008

#10- Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson- first host since Letterman to show humanistic attitude esp during his shows regarding exploitation of Brittany Spears, death of his mother.
#9- Pushing Daisies- best new show w/o the formulaic hero/heroine plot. Like Little shop of Horrors meets Heroes.
#8- Weeds- Continually suprises with plot, MLParker and great appearance by Albert Brooks.
#7- Californication-- continually makes me laugh out loud even if I am alone. Duchovny brilliant.
#6- Family guy-- Topical humor combined with past TV and life references, irreverant material make it tops for animation.
#5- True Blood- Best nailbiter since Dexter- Ball does it again after 6 ft under.
#4- Daily Show- brilliant political breakdown, oft quoted, great editing, guests are weak point, John Oliver also great along with S Bee.
#3- Dexter- Not as strong as previous years but still very watchable; unmissable every Sunday
#2- The Office- excellent cast led by Correl, Raines, and excellent writing staff.
#1- Mad Men- All 60's all the time. Character developement best of all shows. superb acting. Not to be missed.

Comment posted on December 30, 2008 2:43 PM

Peter said:

How about shows that are well-acted and/or entertaining?

1. Battlestar Galatica: the most non-sexist, thought-provoking show on TV.
2. Damages
3. House: the old cast is getting in the way, and the workplace romances are lawsuits waiting to happen - but it still is among the first things watched on TIVO.
4. Burn Notice: light, but fun.
5. Dr. Who
6. Torchwood - as if a US show would ever exploit its casual bisexuality among all characters.
7. Law & Order: CI. Vincent D'Onofrio is just as intense as ever.
8. Law & Order: How do they keep this show fresh decade after decade?
9. NFL Matchup: It convinces me that watching the coaches' tapes of games would be more interesting than the games themselves.
10. BBC World News America: substance, unlike CNN.

Comment posted on December 30, 2008 4:09 PM

alfornos said:

Still miss your daily columns, David; glad we've got you here. TV Worth Watching is an apt blog name because your reader lists are definitely worth following. [A writer always gets the audience he deserves ;) ]

My picks:

Mad Men
Real Time with Bill Maher
The Rachel Maddow Show
SNL political skits
Eli Stone

Trying my patience - I really really want to like them
Grey's Anatomy
Private Practice

Resolution - watch all the True Blood eps on my DVR

Guilty pleasures
American Idol
Top Chef

Non-guilty pleasures
all those crime procedurals - the CSIs, the L&Os, Cold Case, Without a Trace, Numb3rs, The Mentalist, Medium, Criminal Minds, The Closer

Comment posted on December 30, 2008 6:54 PM

Jamie said:

My top 10 for 2008:
1. My Name is Earl
2. The Office
3. A Daily Show
4. Colbert Report
5. Entourage
6. Californication
7. John Adams
8. The Tudors
9. Amazing Race
10. Survivor

Comment posted on December 30, 2008 7:55 PM

Jamie said:

10 wasn't enough... here's 5 more

11. House
12. Lost
13. CSI Miami
14. Fringe
15. I Survived a Japanese Game Show!

Comment posted on December 30, 2008 7:59 PM

Lois Waldron said:

My top ten plus one:
1. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
2. The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert
3. Mad Men
4. Damages
5. Torchwood (BBC)
6. Waking the Dead (BBC)
7. Dr. Horrible
8. Rachel Maddow Show
9. My Family (BBC)
10. The Layer Cake (BBC)
11. State of Play (BBC mini series)

Comment posted on December 31, 2008 12:52 AM

Angela said:

Great idea to ask for Viewers Top 10 lists! I see some shows I need to try, hopefully via Netflix.

I forgot:
6. The Closer
7. The Mentalist
8. House (is now #8 and not #6)
9. Hopkins-(Scheduled to run again. Hopefully David will let us know when and where.)

Is broadcast TV going by the way-side with Internet streaming (my un-techno term) taking it's place?

Comment posted on December 31, 2008 12:57 AM

Eileen said:

I'm in between cable providers, so I'm somewhat limited, but:
1. American Masters-PBS - In particular, "Warner Bros. You Must Remember This".

2. Late Show with David Letterman - Always smart humor and great writing.

3. 30 Rock - What can I say but it's the funniest show on tv, and continues to maintain a high standard.

4. Mad Men - Growing up in the 60's the attention to detail is amazing. The writing and acting -- WOW.

5. Breaking Bad - Bryan Cranston proved that good guys can finish first. Ignored for an Emmy for years for his hilarious performance as Malcolm's dad, his Emmy win must have been so sweet!

6. Big Bang Theory - How can you not laugh? They are all adorable, and I love when Sara Gilbert guests.

7. Law & Order: SVU - I know, I know. It's been on forever, but I think Mariska is the best actress on commercial tv. Actually, Ice T is an amazement, but Chris Meloni and Richard Belzer continue to get the job done.

8. How I Met Your Mother - Barney, Barney, Barney...

9. House - I work in a hospital, and there's no one here like House or we'd surely all run for cover.

10. CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood - Such a mixed bag of information, entertainment, trivia, celebrities, non-celebrities, heartwarming stories. Restores your faith in mankind. Charles Osgood is an American Treasure.

Comment posted on December 31, 2008 9:01 AM

Neil said:

My Top 10 list (using Base 11 numbering):

1. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
2. A Daily Show (Jon Stewart keeping the show alive during the writer's strike, showcasing much more of his own personal warped sense of humor)
3. Real Time with Bill Maher
4. 30 Rock (LOL funny)
5. 60 Minutes (especially the episodes trying to make sense of the financial debacle)
6. Pushing Daisies (I'll miss this show about as much as I miss Arrested Development)
7. SNL (but just the "cold open" skits and the Weekend Update faux newscast)
8. Big Bang Theory (Chuck Lorre working his warped sense of humor on Geek culture)
9. The Simpsons (best viewed by recording it and playing back the recording, because invariably you spot a bit that whizzes by too quickly, and you go, "Was that what I think it was?" and want to rewind and see it again)
10. Two and a Half Men (when firing on all cylinders, this is a VERY funny show if you're on Chuck Lorre's wavelength, though I miss April Bowlby playing Kandi)
11. Frontline [PBS] (the last regularly scheduled documentary series standing, and usually fascinating) (I, too, am a major April Bowlby fan. Didn't know anyone else even knew her name yet. -- David B.)

Comment posted on December 31, 2008 12:51 PM

Sarah said:

I agree with The daily show,Mad Men,Pushing Daisies and Boston Legal. I would add...

Torchwood-My favorite show on right now.

House-The only medical show I watch,love Wilson

The Cobert report-Wrist strong

How I met your mother-The cheesebuger episode was the best so far

The big bang Theory-cute geeks-surpise


NCIS-I got into this show after a few seasons and ended up loving it,which proves that networks need to give good shows a chance.

Comment posted on December 31, 2008 1:05 PM

John Walter said:

The Wire - best show ever?
The Office
30 Rock
Sarah Conner Chronicles - Summer Glau
South Park
The Shield
Mad Men
Breaking Bad
Colbert Report
The Daily Show

I thought Boston Legal got too ridiculous and I stopped watching it.

Comment posted on December 31, 2008 2:38 PM

Jamie Wolf said:

I agreed with your list but would have had a few additions--almost all mentioned by others, so I don't have to, except "Flight of the Conchords" for some reason and "Extras" and although I think one person may have said something about it, "Skins". I was especially glad to see a couple of other people bringing up "Brotherhood," which I think has been absolutely wonderful, not-miss television for its whole run...to my mind it's had the most fantastically realistic portrayal of politics of anything on television except "The Wire."(Both of them, by the way, leaving "West Wing" in the shade...) In this riff on the real-life Bulger brothers of Massachusetts..one of them, William, the long-time president of the State Senate and the other, Whitey, a fugitive gangster on the FBI's 10 most wanted list... the three-year-old Showtime series set in Rhode Island combined nail-biting suspense and violence with subtle almost Chekhovian observation of family life...definitely worth watching all three seasons on DVD, even if there's a fourth season, which isn't clear at this point whether there will be or not.

As for " Mad Men," although it's not quite as wonderful in its 2nd year as in its first, you have only to see "Revolutionary Road" to realize that one of the reasons the film seems so coarse and empty and unsatisfying is what a stunning, enveloping and complete an experience you've gotten used to having, by contrast, every week in watching the television show-- it's truly set
the template for what our contemporary sense of that period feels like, and anything short of its lapidary quality feels second-rate.

Comment posted on December 31, 2008 6:24 PM

Kristi and Jason said:

1. Friday Night Lights
2. Battlestar Galactica
3. 30 Rock
4. Boston Legal
5. Damages
6. The Closer
7. Fringe
8. Lost
9. Prison Break
10. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Jason's pick)

Comment posted on January 1, 2009 12:30 AM

Phil said:

1. Boston Legal
2. Charlie Rose
3. NBC News with Brian Williams
4. The Graham Norton Show
5. Live from Lincoln Center
6. Turner Classic Movies
(At age 73, don't find most TV programming all that interesting so my list is short--although the TV is on quite a lot here.)

Comment posted on January 1, 2009 7:55 PM

David Bianculli said:

Voting for the official tally for the 2008 TV WORTH WATCHING Readers' Poll is now closed. But feel free to keep voting, for the record. Your two cents are always welcome. Please send them to... -- David B.

Comment posted on January 1, 2009 11:15 PM
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