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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

July 7, 2005
A lot has happened this television season: Everybody stopped loving Raymond ('cause it went off the air), ABC shocked the country with surprise new hits, 30 million people still regularly view American Idol and middle America welcomed horny morally bankrupt housewives into their living rooms, despite voting Republican. Time to cut ties the previous season and look onwards in anticipation for whatever the networks are throwing on this summer.

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The 10 Best Shows of the Season

10. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon.- Thur. at 11:00 P.M. on Comedy Central
Everybody loves Jon Stewart! Except for uber-conservatives who can't take a joke that is. This season he seems to have mellowed out a bit, and his open support of John Kerry admittedly took part of the sting out of his political punches, but where the hell else am I going to get my news?

09. The Simpsons Sundays at 8:00 P.M. on FOX
Yeah, yeah, yeah glory days are over blah blah blah. The bottom line is though, that The Simpsons is still funny (most of the time anyway) and still makes me anxiously await for the next week's episode. Even if the gay wedding one was so, what's the word, disappointing, when considering all of the hype it was getting as was the season finale. Still, Homer riding an inflatable octopus is classic Simpsons in its most pure form.

08 Unscrewed with Martin Sargent Tech TV
One of the former Tech TV's best kept secrets was this late night talk show that explored the 'dark side of internet culture.' Whereas as your Jay Leno's and David Letterman's would have the stars of an upcoming Hollywood movie, the innovative (or cheap depending on how you look at it) Unscrewed (with its geeky-smart host Martin Sargent and stoic-cool co-host Laura Swisher) would welcome conspiracy theorists and hackers. Pity then that when the G4 network bought out Tech TV, Unscrewed was one of the first to be sent to the gallows.

07. Veronica Mars Tuesdays at 9:00 P.M. on UPN
We need shows like this; A breezy well-written drama with just the right amount of comedy featuring admirable leading lady (Kristen Bell) flanked by an assortment of equally loveable supporting cast members (including Just Shoot Me's Enrico Colantoni as her detective father). The producers handle the series well (a slow start lead to a gleaming finale), and it endures better than any other drama on television. Kudos to UPN, who renewed the series despite abysmal ratings, who are apparently going to hang on to the series as long as fiscally possible as a sort of pride piece.

06. Gilmore Girls Tuesdays at 8:00 P.M. on The WB
All right then, now its time to move from the good shows to the truly great ones. The line starts here: Perennial darling of the critics, Gilmore Girls rises triumphantly back onto its feet (after a somewhat inconsistent fourth season) and once again into my heart. Not that this was the most bright and carefree season of the shows run or anything. At some points it was even dark; Watch as Rory (Alexis Bledel) pisses on her innocent good girl image by destroying ex-boyfriend Dean's marriage (by means of affair of course) and deciding to steal a yacht, with new beau Logan, landing her in the slammer. And even though bohemian mother Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and semi-angry loner Luke (Scott Patterson) are still the show's lifeblood, the real standout this season proved to be Kelly Bishop as Lorelai's WASP mother Emily, flawlessly covering desperate to sinister and any and every emotion in between. Let's she gets an Emmy nod for troubles.

05. Peep Show Thursdays at 9:30 P.M. on BBC America
Just because the Brits no longer have the best comedy on television didn't keep them trying. Behold Peep Show, a delightfully twisted sitcom that carries with it the same 'too-painful-to-watch' mentality of its fallen brethren The Office. Flatmates Mark (David Mitchell) and Jeremy (Robert Webb) clearly have the awkward physical comedy aspect of the show down to an art form but that doesn't keep them from complaining about their misshapen testicles (Mark), trying (unsuccessfully) to become the next Chemical Brothers (Jeremy and pal Super Hans) and delivering such immortal lines like "It's not piss!" If only we yanks could pull off sex comedy with just half the amount of wit Peep Show regularly displays, then the American Sitcom probably wouldn't be a dying breed...

04. Lost Wednesdays at 8:00 P.M. on ABC
Despite the fact that we didn't get any of the answers promised (go to hell J.J. Abrams, you lying son of a swine!) Lost successfully captured our collective imaginations (and frustrations) as it wove its intricate and vaguely SF-ish (that's what the snobs call Science Fiction in case you don't know) character study with new mysteries always on the rise. A word of advice to the producers though; Maybe it's time to answer some of the innumerable questions raised before introducing any new ones because lets face it, you've already lost your best writer (David Fury) and the reruns aren't as engaging as they should be.

03. Black Books Thursdays at 9:00 P.M. on BBC America
Another brilliant Britcom. This one about a disgruntled book shop owner? Fantastic! Okay, so technically it isn't eligible, Comedy Central aired its first season, ahem I mean 'series' (you Brits and your crazy lingo), a few years back. Still, I was so ecstatic to see it return it would be a crime if I didn't give it some much needed American love. Dylan Moran (that guy who got his guts ripped out in Shaun of the Dead) plays Bernard Black, an angry and overtly hostile owner of a book store who loathes nearly each and every human being on the planet (especially his customers). Providing him with what little human contact he can stand are Manny (Bill Bailey) and Fran (Tamsin Greig). The comedy is very simple, much of the humor comes from the words that leave Moran's mouth, so explaining to someone as to what exactly makes this show so hilarious is a difficult thing to do. So whenever BBC America decides to cut back on the Monty Python repeats and put Black Books back in its Thursday lineup (possibly with the second 'series'?) give it shot, Dylan Moran is god you know.

02. Scrubs Tuesdays at 9:00 P.M. on NBC
Scrubs is the only non-British/ non-cartoon comedic series in the 21st century to question Arrested Development's borderline undisputed dominance. And with its fourth season, it shows few signs of giving up the fight. Opening the season with an episode featuring the Sugar Hill Gang and ending with one of the interns leaving for a new job at anther hospital (and in between, featuring Heather Graham in her underwear, not that it's anything you haven't seen before), Scrubs once again proved why no show in recent memory, or perhaps ever, mixes comedy, drama and the surreal so effortlessly. It's one of the few shows that can make you laugh till your face turns red, make you think you may have accidently swallowed a tablet of acid and bring you tears all in a span of 22 minutes. Though not a ratings winner, I have a strong feeling that Scrubs will be remembered as one of the most influential and groundbreaking series' of its time.

01. Arrested Development Sundays at 8:30 P.M. on FOX
No big surprise here, this is the most acclaimed show on T.V. for a reason. Season 2 progressed in fine form with eldest brother Gob (Emmy worthy Will arnet) taking over the family business from show star Michael (Golden Globe winner Jason Bateman). Tobias (David Cross) becoming a stand-in for the Blue Man Group while his wife Lindsay (Portia De Rossi) pursues their 'open' relationship. George Michael (Michael Cera) getting over his crush on cousin Maeby (Alia Shawkat) with his (scripted) bland girlfriend Anne. Sheltered Buster (Tony Hale) losing his hand after a seal bites it off. And wanted (for light treason) felon George Sr. (Jeffery Tambor) hiding out in the model home's (a house the family lives in that is merely intended to show the company's housing units) attic while his identical twin brother Oscar (Tambor again) puts the moves on his wife (the brilliantly dry Jessica Walter). And somewhere among all the chaos lurks the best written sitcom of its generation. Brilliance defined.

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Worst Show of the Year
Drawn Together Wednesdays at 9:30 P.M. on Comedy Central
This is why prime-time animation has a bad name. This trepid, disgusting, stereotypical and truly terrible animated sitcom makes American Dad look like The Simpsons and The Swan look like a night at the opera.

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Most Overrated Show of the Year
Desperate Housewives Sundays at 9:00 P.M. on ABC
Yeah the first few episodes were good, but the series soon became lost in its web of (noticeably) forced outlandish plots, devised by the producers to keep viewers' attention. I know it's a soap, but without any major repercussions for the characters' actions (Bree poisoning her husband for instance) the show feels all too safe. It might work in a more straight-up comedic environment but certainly not in any serious context.

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So that's that then. The best T.V. shows the 2004-2005 season had to offer, and providing I'm alive next year, I'll do the same then. In the meantime, why don't you have yourself an orange. They're nutritious and orange and have little bumpy places on them.

--
Tim Smith
LAS' resident television expert.

See other articles by Tim Smith.

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