I decided to write down the shows on television that is destination viewing for me. Here we go.
Deadwood- The best show of 2004, all the characters are beautifully developed, with dialogue to match, written by David Milch (NYPD Blue).
6 Feet Under- Looking forward to the new season of one of the best dramas in television history. Had some uneven moments in year two, but always challenging.
Curb Your Enthusiasm- This show would never work on network TV, as Larry David is the most unlikable, unattractive person ever to star in a sitcom. The episode this year where Larry hires a prostitute to drive with him so he can use the carpool lane to get to the Dodger game, was not only genius for humor, but also saved a man from a possible death sentence. http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/06/07/larry.david/
Penn and Teller’s Bulls***- Taking on many phony elements of society like psychics, organized religion, PETA, etc., this show is like the magazine Skeptical Inquirer come to life.
American Experience and Frontline- The two best documentary programs on television, PBS funding allows these shows to not cater to idiots, unlike the Dateline and 48 Hours style of making things a mystery to keep short attention spans involved.
Inside the Actor’s Studio- I don’t know why I love this interview show, hosted by the most pretentious man on the planet, James Lipton, but it’s always interesting, even when he’s chosen subjects like Jay Leno or Roseanne, who are not what I consider, Master Thespians.
Unwrapped- For some reason, I enjoy learning about how Twinkies or Cheetos were developed and made.
Arrested Development- The funniest new show on TV this past season, a great supporting cast led by something I thought I would never utter, the very dryly funny, Jason Bateman.
Gary and Mike- A claymation cartoon show, which appeared late-night on Comedy Central. Not many episodes and the show actually was produced in 2001, but I caught it for the first time, this year.
Cheap Seats- This ESPN Classic show is kind of like a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 show for sports. Led by the Sklar Bros., twin comics who I’ve never cared for before, Cheap Seats skewers archived footage from Pro Wrestling to Spelling Bees. Not all of it works, but when it does, it’s really great.
Trio Channel- A pop culture lovers nirvana, this channel shows old Late Night with Dave Letterman shows, Battle of the Network Star reruns, and documentaries on the greatest network flops of all-time. Had a special week celebrating the edgiest stand-up comics of the past, including a brilliant documentary on the late, great Bill Hicks.
What you will see from my list is that network television is not included, except for Arrested Development. Reaching the masses guarantees diluting the product, which is why I celebrate the segmentation of cable and satellite.