New to me category (meaning I just watched every episode sometime this year even though it has been around for at least 2 years):
The Wire (HBO)
I try to tell everyone I meet to watch this gritty Cop/Drug dealer Dramedy. I watched all five seasons in the matter of 3 months I think (I would have finished it quicker but I had to wait for season 5 to come out on DVD). It was, by far, the greatest ensemble cast I have ever seen. A lot of unknown actors and a lot of great writing. It details the drug trade in the projects
of Baltimore. It takes a frank look at the dealers, the cops and the users. You find yourself somehow cheering for all interested parties. You simultaneuosly want the users to get clean the cops to catch the dealers and the dealers to keep dealing and getting away with it. Each season takes on a different facet of the problem of American inner cities. From education to politics to the press to legalization of narcotics. Every time I see an actor from the Wire on a different show I cringe because it makes the whole thing feel less authentic. I don't know what else to say about this show...absolutely amazing. The writers create a whole city of characters in all walks of life.
Mad Men (AMC)
I begrudgingly give this show its propers because I railed against its endless ads on
AMC interrupting The Godfather Trilogy. It takes place in Madison Avenue advertising agency in the early 60's. Its a strange show because every time I watch it I wish they would just get to making the ads...this is strange because I originally hated the show because of the ads now all i want to see in the show is the ads they produce. The style of the time represented in the show is something worth noticing and watching for. Its also fun hearing them addressing issues like Feminism, Race Relations, Smoking and why Kennedy will never be president because he doesn't wear a hat. Again there are a lot of good characters in here including the mysterious main character Don Draper. But there are some absolutely hate-able characters. Pete Campbell, for one, is a character i want to punch every time he is on screen. Mrs. Draper is a confusing character....I want to hate her but she is continually lied to...she is a victim but she is also incredibly immature...it might be a case of bad acting but I can't tell the difference. There is a lot of drama and mystery in this show. It is not just ad pitches and beehives.
Old to Me and hopefully to you:
30 Rock (NBC)
It finally got the praise it deserved this year. This show has 3-5 great, hilarious charcters. Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan each get to deliver amazing lines that are so good and so quick that you have to rewind and watch again to make sure they said what you thought they said. Tina Fey is one of the funniest women ever! she is like 10x Roseanne Bar (not in size but in comedic talent).
The Office (NBC)
Still love the UK version more but this American caricature just keeps on going. The Jim and Pam story line has gone a little too "Ross and Rachel" for my taste but Dwight, Andy and Michael keep me coming back week after week.
Kenny Vs. Spenny (Showcase)
2 best friends compete week after week in silly, childish competitions that you wish you had the time to undertake. Some of the best include: first to laugh loses, who can gain the most weight, who can stay nude the longest, first guy to get a stain loses, who do gay guys like the most and it goes on and on and on. Spenny thinks every competition is a chance to learn more about the world and educate the viewers about "important issues" while Kenny sees every competition as an opportunity to cheat and mess with Spenny's fragile grasp on sanity. This show is not for the faint of heart. every episode has at least one gross out moment that should not be allowed on TV. Luckily for you they make every episode available on Youtube...If you are not my mother and don't mind some "toilet" humor start here at their absolute tamest...it just gets funnier from here.
anyway those are my favorite shows I have been watching for the past year. I hope you watch just one...maybe two. if you already watch all of these shows we should like hang out or something.