This one would run a bit long due to accompanying videos, so I’m including the rest of my picks in an extended post after the jump. I found this one the hardest to pick so far, as I buck just about every trend there’s been when it comes to TV in the past ten years. I couldn’t even bring myself to pick five shows, as I guess I just don’t watch that much TV.
The Hot Water Heater Myth is probably my favorite they ever did on the show. It’s such an awesome and unexpected explosion, but it teaches you some real science that you can put to use to make sure that this doesn’t happen in your house. I can’t think of any other show ever that both entertains you and educates you so much at the same time.
The Simpsons were awesome in the 90’s, and Futurama was awesome in the 2000’s. In my mind, there hasn’t been a more funny or more original show on in the past decade. I can see why some people would think that Family Guy would be the better animated comedy of the past ten years, but it’s just not my kind of humor. I don’t really care for the “let’s see how far we can take this” sort of mentality, nor the humor that basically riffs off of unfunny pop culture references. Futurama on the other hand was almost always wholly unique, original, and never relied on gallows humor to get a laugh.
2. The Office
I have to be honest, I like the show just a little less in the past year or so. I still love it, but it’s become a little unrelatable, and some of the humor has gotten a little too surreal and unrealistic as of late. That sort of firm grasp that it had in real life was what made the show the best on TV in it’s first three or four years. It was already funny, but hilarious and just a little unsettling because you almost felt as if you knew these people in real life. You knew a Dwight in your office or had a Michael as your boss. It was unsettlingly funny because it was real. That show may have been replaced by one that’s a little more unrealistic lately, but that doesn’t take away those three or four years of the best comedy / satire ever on TV.
1. Battlestar Galactica
I never watched a second of the original show. I also picked up on this a bit late, but I’m glad I did because I never would have been able to handle the huge gaps that this show sometimes had between each season. Earlier in the 2000’s, I really wanted to like shows like 24 that had an overarching narrative. But for a number of reasons, it just never worked out. Either I just lost interest halfway through, or perhaps watching it just eventually felt like a chore no matter if it was on air or through DVD. Early this year I gave BSG a shot by watching the original miniseries, and I haven’t been able to let go. I’m now a third of the way through season four of BSG, and I haven’t been bored by it for a second.
It’s impossible to point out any specific point in citing why I’ve fallen in love with this show. It has the best Sci Fi narrative since the original Star Wars trilogy, it has relatable and fascinating characters, it’s a wonderful parable perfect for the times in which it aired, it has some of the best music ever aired on TV, some of the coolest space dogfights in any movie or TV show, you can go on forever. Sometime way down the road, there’s going to be times when I start introducing my future kids to a lot of properties. When they get a bit older and after I’ve introduced them to Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, I can’t wait for the time to be right to introduce them to Battlestar Galactica and see again what it’s like to experience it for the first time.
Honorable Mention: Conan O’Brien, John Stewart, and Stephen Colbert
I debated on which of these I wanted to include on this list, or even to include them at all. Both of Conan’s shows over the past ten years have been my favorite of the three, perhaps because I’ll never grow up or stop finding his kind of writing and delivery so funny. Stewart and Colbert have been really great too, and it’s hard to ignore the sort of contribution to satire that they’ve had over that time as well. But it was Conan who has been continually awesome over the past decade, and strangely enough was at his best during the writer’s strike a few years back. Perhaps that goes to show that it’s the man, not the writing, that really has put his shows over the top.