Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top 50 films of the decade

My list:
1. City of God, Fernando Meirelles (02)- Alexandre Rodriguez, Leandro Firmino, Phellipe Haggensen
2. Gladiator, Ridley Scott (00) Russell Crowe, Djimon Hotsou, Joaquin Pheonix, Richard Harris, Connie Nielsen
3. Seabiscuit, Gary Ross (03) Tobey Maguire, Chris Cooper, Jeff Bridges, William H. Macy, Elizabeth Banks
4. Little Miss Sunshine, Valerie Harris and Johnothan Dayton (06) Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Steve Carrell, Abigail Breslin
5. Cold Mountain, Anthony Minghellia (03) Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Rene Zellweger, Brendan Gleasson, Jack White, Ethan Suplee, Giovanni Ribisi, Natalie Portman, Phillip Seymour Hoffman
6. Gangs of New York, Martin Scorsese (02) Leo DiCaprio, Brendan Gleason, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis, Liam Niesson, John C. Reilly
7. Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood (08) Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Auhney Hor
8. Wonderboys, Curtis Hanson (00) Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Rob Downey Jr., Frances McDormand, Katie Homes, Rip Torn
9. Royal Tannenbaums, Wes Anderson (01) Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Gwenyth Paltrow, Gene Hackman, Owen Wilson, Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray
10. Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle (08) Dev Patel, Frida Pinto, Anil Kapoor
11. Blood Diamond, Ed Zwick (06) Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, Djimon Hotsou, Arnold Vosloo
12. Pirates of the Carribean, Gore Verbinski (03) Jonny Depp, Geoffery Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly, Jonothan Pryce, Jack Davenport
13. Departed, Martin Scorsesee (06) Leo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Vera Farminga, Ray Winstone
14. Life Aquatic, Wes Anderson (04) Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon
15. New World, Terrence Malick (05)-Colin Farrell, Christian Bale, Quiriana Kilcher, Christopher Plummer, Noah Taylor
16. Last Samurai, Ed Zwick (03)-Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Koyuki, Billy Connelly
17. 3:10 to Yuma, James Mangold (07)-Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Ben Foster, Alan Tudyk, Gretchen Mol, Peter Fonda
18. Michael Clayton, Tony Gileroy (07)- George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Sidney Pollack
19. Sideways, Alexander Payne (04) - Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandrah Oh
20. Road to Perdition, Sam Mendes (02)-Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law, Daniel Craig, Tyler Hoechlin
21. The Aviator, Martin Scorsesee (04)-Leonardo DiCaprio, Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsdale, John C Reilly, Ian Holm, Alan Alda, Gwen Stefani
22. Frost/Nixon, Ron Howard (08)- Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Oliver Platt, Sam Rockwell, Kevin Bacon, Rebecca Hall, Tobey Jones
23. Catch Me If You Can, Stephen Spielberg (02) - Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, Amy Adams, Jennifer Garner
24. Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe (00) - Patrick Fugit, Frances McDormand, Zoe Deschannel, Kate Hudson, Jason Lee, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jimmy Fallon
25. Wall-E, Andrew Staunton (08) - Ben Burtt, Sigourney Weaver, John Ratzenberger
26. Master and Commander, Paul and Chris Weicz (03) - Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany
27. X-Men 2, Bryan Singer (03) - Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellan, Famke Jameson, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, Halle Berry, Rebecca Rojmain, Brian Cox, Kelly Hu, Shawn Ashmore
28. Ghost World, Thora Birch (01)- Thora Birch, Scarlett Johannsen, Steve Buscemi, Bob Balaban, Illieana Douglas
29. Hollywoodland, Allan Coulter (05)-Ben Affleck, Dianne Lane, Adrian Brody, Robyn Tuney, Bob Hoskins
30. House of Sand and Fog, Vladim Perelman (03)-Jennifer Connelly, Ben Kinglsey, Ron Eldard, Shoreh Aghdoshloo, Johnothan Ahdout
31. About a Boy, Paul and Chris Weicz (02) - Hugh Grant, Rachel Weicz, Toni Collette, Nicholas Hoult
32. Up in the Air, Jason Reitman (09)- George Clooney, Vera Farminga, Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Danny McBride, Amy Morton, Jason Bateman
33. Prairie Home Companion, Rob Altman (06)- Garrison Kiellor, Meryl Streep, Lilly Tomlin, Virginia Madsen, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Klein, Woody Harrelson, John C Reilly, Lindsay Lohan, Maya Rudolph
34. Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Joel and Ethan Coen (00)- George Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson, John Turturro, Holly Hunter, Stephen Root, John Goodman, Chris Thomas King
35. Anchorman, Adam McKay (04)- Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Steve Carrell, Chris Parnell, Christina Applegate, Vince Vaughn
36. Dreamgirls, Bill Condon (06)- Jamie Foxx, Beyoncee Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Anika Rose Cairo, Jennifer Hudson
37. Finding Nemo, Andrew Staunton (03)- Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Geoffery Rush
38. 25th Hour, Spike Lee (02)- Ed Norton, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson, Brian Cox, Anna Paquin
39. Sunshine State, John Sayles (02)- Angela Bassett, Edie Falco, Mary Steenburgen, Timothy Hutton, Alan King, Jane Alexander, Clifton James, Amanda Wing, Miguel Ferrer
40. Manchurian Candidate, Johnothan Demme (04)- Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Liev Schreiber, Jon Voight, Vera Farminga, Kimberly Elise, Jeffrey Wright
41. Burn After Reading, Joel and Ethan Coen (08)- Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, John Malkovitch, J.K. Simmons, Richard Jenkins
42. Junebug, Phil Morrison (05)- Allesandro Nivola, Embeth Davitz, Amy Adams, Ben MacKenzie, Celia Weston
43. Doubt, John Patrick Shaney (08)- Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Viola Davis, Scott Wilson
44. Up, Peter Dreco (09)- Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai
45. Great Debaters, Denzel Washington (08) - Denzel Washington, Forrest Whitaker, Denzel Whitaker, Nate Parker, Jurnee Smullett
46. Lost in Translation, Sophia Coppola (03) - Bill Murray, Scarlett Johannsen, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris
47. Stephen Soderbergh, Good German (06) - George Clooney, Tobey MaGuire, Cate Blanchett, Leland Oser, Beau Bridges
48. Finding Neverland, Marc Forrester (04) - Jonny Depp, Kate Winslet, Freddy Highmore, Julie Christie, Dustin Hoffman, Radha Mitchell, McKenzie Crook
49. Be Kind Rewind, Michael Gondry (08) - Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover, Muriel Hemmingway
50. A Mighty Wind, Chris Guest (03) - Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Bob Balaban, Jane Lynch, John Michael Higgins, Christopher Moynihan, Ed Begley Jr., Paul Dooley, Fred Willard

Judging best directors in the off-years

A quick informal post judging the merit of directors who got nominated for directorial nods without a Best Picture Oscar Nomination:

1998-Peter Weir: The Truman Show-I tend to think of Weir's strength as delicately structured epics with sweeping visuals. "The Truman Show" was certainly a shift for Weir but he's a great director, brought great performances in his cast, and this is one of the best films of 1998 period. With snubs for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress, I'm glad this film got rewarded somewhere.
Grade: B+


1999-Spike Jonze: Being John Malkovich is more of a Charlie Kaufman film than a Spike Jonze film. This was earlier in Kaufman's career, so the Academy probably wasn't aware that Kaufman was the genius who made it happen. It's also unfortunate that Frank Darabont got snubbed here for a film that's still highly regarded and when one considers that he also got snubbed for "The Shawshank Redemption." If they were going to snub "Green Mile", I would have preferred the Academy have gone with "Talented Mr. Ripley" and Anthony Minghella.
Grade: C-

2000-Stephen Daldry: Billy Elliot- I'm not too opposed to Lasse Holstrom getting snubbed since he got nominated the year prior and "Chocolat" is very much Oscar-bait film of the least deserved BP nom of the decade. But why Daldry? Rob Zemeckis, who's always quite innovative even if he's not recognized very widely for it, made "Cast Away" ring with great intensity despite the fact that it was a one man show. Cameron Crowe made a very personal picture in "Almost Famous" as well. The Oscars love Daldry as evidenced by "Hours" and "The Reader"'s accolades. On the other hand, "Billy Elliott" wasn't yet at a point where Daldry started getting overly sappy.
Grade: C+


2001-David Lynch: Mulholland Drive and Ridley Scott: Black Hawk Down: Both great directors who deserve nods so no complaints here. Still, it's too bad Todd Fields wasn't nominated for "In the Bedroom."
Grade: A-

2002-Pedro Almodovar: Talk to Her: This nod baffles me the most. First, I would have thought foreign film enthusiasts might have gravitated toward Alfonso Cuaron's "Y Tu Mama Tambien" or "Monsoon Wedding" or at the very least, there would have been a foreign film bote split. However, Alexander Payne, who was 3 for 3 with critical hits at the time, however should have been a strong contender for a directorial nomination, Then there's Todd Haynes' Sirk send-up "Far From Heaven", Sam Mendes' "Road to Peridtion" or critical darling Spike Jonze's juggling of two Nicholas Cages with a great ensemble in "Adaptation" and Alfanso Cuaron himself. I might be able to imagine Pedro Almodovar's body of work being rewarded but it was such a competitive year. The nomi
Grade: B

2003-Fernando Meirelles truly deserves a nomination but I was just baffled by the year in which it came. "City of God" was nominated for the Golden Globes, a BAFTA and the Broadcast Film Socety in 2002. How many voters would even assume it was still eligible the following year?
Grade: B+

2004-Mike Leigh already had a nomination for "Secrets and Lies" and while "Vera Drake" had a deserving accolade it seemed like not much more than a biopic. In the meantime, Bill Condon (Kinsey), Michael Mann (Collateral) or Mike Nichols (who's Closer was somewhat of a comeback) were waiting in the wings
Grade: D

2006-Paul Greengrass: United 93: This was was a pretty good pick for the alternate slot since he's Australian (not exclusively foreign-language), chopped his teeth with the Bourne Supremacy and made a hit picture out of an ensemble (not a single star in the United 93 cast)
Grade: B+

2007-"Julian Schnabel for the Diving Bell and the Butterfly": Another instance in the 2000's where the last slot went to a foreign director. This is a fairly good entry for a genre that's vastly overrewarded (see: "My Left Foot", "The Sea Inside", "Elephant Man", "I Am Sam"). There were a few other directors like Sidney Lumet, Ridley Scott, and  Tim Burton who would have been nice to see in this category as opposed to Schnabel who was essentially a newbie.
Grade: B-

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Being familiar with old music vs. old movies

This is a great article:
[url]http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/thelife/news/story?id=4474313[/url]
Also, great articles can be found here so please click (which gives me my revenue):
[url]http://www.examiner.com/x-3877-dc-film-industry-examiner[/url]

The article is by Paul Shirley. If no one knows who he is, he spent the last 6 or 7 years on 15 different professional basketball temas ranging from defunct minor league basketball teams in Bismark, North Dakota and Idaho to Siberia, Greece, and 3 or 4 s...tints on professional basketball teams as the 12th man where he's scored a total of 37 pointsin his entire career. he started blogging from the bench out of boredom about 4 years ago and became an instant internet sensation and has his own best-selling book about being on the fringes of fame. anyway, that's a long intro and he's not talking about basketball, but check out paul shirley sometime for some interesting reading.

In the above-mentioned article he talks about music (he's been writing about that a lot lately) and makes the case that the Beatles can't possibly be experienced by today's generation the same way as it was for people who grew up during that time, simply because we didn't experience it historically. He says that therefore: "I understand that The Beatles are culturally significant and important in the historical progression of rock music. And I understand that they're talented. But unless you were locked in a time capsule like Brendan Fraser in "Blast From the Past," they cannot be your favorite band. If you're younger than 50 and you do make such a claim, you're either (A) trying to impress someone with what you think will be received as good taste, or (B) woefully behind in your consumption of music. If it's A, I'm disappointed in you. If it's B, there's hope -- we only have to help you find the good stuff"

I think this is absolutely true. One example that comes to mind is that a lot of people in the 7th grade went through a sudden Beatles phase because the "cool kids" liked the Beatles and 7th grade is a most contagious time for peer pressure. I think with music, it is culturally unacceptable to be unfamiliar with a number of bands that have been around since before we were born. I didn't know who Niel Young was once when I was about 20 and people found that very strange. A couple years later I got blank stares from my friends when I expressed to them as we came across the Val Kilmer biobic "The Doors" on TV, that I had no idea who that band was. In the meantime, I am moderately sure I have never listened to anything by the Rolling Stones, if only by accident and I know only a handful of songs by Bob Dylan, mostly through the TV or music soundtracks they have appeared on. In the meantime, my head is full with bands that are currently on the radio.

At the same time, I think with movies it's the exact opposite. There's absolutely no shame in not seeing any film before 1970 and most people are very loosely familiar with films before 1960. I wonder why that is.

Top ten tv shows of the year

1. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, FX-No comedy had me flat-out marvelling at the directions it dared to take their characters. Although it's been five seasons, the show has really hit its stride and what I love is that it seems like the characters have evolved and the writing has gotten even better. You could take practically 75% of the scenes and set them alone as comic set pieces which would be funnier than most skits on SNL. The show's characters have truly become fleshed-out and differentiated from each other at this point, yet they all share that singular humor that makes them so off-center from the rest of the world. It's like these guys are Abbott and anyone who comes into their circle of insanity is Costello.

2. In Treatment, HBO-The raw drama, the power of the performances, the insight into the human psyche is, to quote Shawn Stockman on NBC' The Sing-Off (and if you saw his critique of Committed on that show you'd know what I was talking about), "What it's all about, man." The root of what makes drama good is right here. There's nothing but a room, a couch and a chair with a patient who we slowly learn about as the weeks go on and a psychiatrist who's pretty damn good at his job. More specifically, we're watching a guy who's pretty damn good at his job go to work in four out of every five episodes. On every 5th episode, we learn how much of a basket case he is when he visits a psychiatrist of his own (Editorial note: I have restrained myself from watching the "Paul goes to therapy" episodes because I find it ruins the illusion).

3. The Office, NBC-The first half of season 4 once Ryan got fired and Pam and Jim started becoming more insular in coupledom was somewhat disappointing, but the writers took us for a massive twist or two that threatened to destroy the safe confines the sitcom had built up for four years. Michael quits the company and competes against his own business and hires Ryan and Pam. It was both an entirely game-changing development in the Office universe and also one that stayed as true to the characters as we come to expect from a show that creates such a sesne of realism. The show was also improved by the addition of three great additions: Idris Elba, Amy Ryan and Ellie Kemper as guest stars (the third now a permanent cast member).

4. Breaking Bad, AMC-Holy crap, this show really became intense in the second season. The show erased any moral limits to Walter White and while it might not be realistic (although the show tries within limits to make moral decay realistic), there is a palpable sense of suspense over how far removed from his original moral center White will get. In the meantime, Jessie has become a voice of reason and the uneasy alliance between the high school dropout and his former teacher really has taken on another dimension of instability. Beautifully shot backdrops, drugs, violence, sex, and lots of high school chemistry, what more could you ask?

5. Better off Ted, ABC-Very few shows get as good mileage out of just five characters and that's all the more impressive when you consider that they fit into such classic stock conventions: the straight leading man, the two bickering nerds, the beautiful girl-next-door whose free-spirited personality often tips the scales towards looniness, and the sexually threatening boss without a conscience. Maybe that boss figure (Portia de Rossi) truly is an original with the way she can say the most inhumane things with a wink and a smile. Better off Ted, technically in its second season, is a workplace comedy that satirizes the nonsensical social norms and mores of the modern workplace better than anything I've seen in a while

6. Glee, Fox-Like an old MGM musical where you're just as intrigued by the dance numbers as you are by the story, Glee has some fantastic song-and-dance numbers that make hypocrites out of us all for going gaga over the show's mp3 downloads when we were being so condescending to our younger cousins and siblings when they did so with High School Musical. The characters are also absurdly caricatured but real enough to keep us tuned in. Some acknowledge that Glee is kind of weak on consistency and stretches believability but the show is widely watched and spurs a lot of water cooler talk, a lot of which centers on just how to interpret the show and its flaws therein. The bottom line is that it's entered the cultural conversation.

7. Royal Pains, USA-There are a million shows about doctors on TV but this is the only one that intrigued me enough to watch in the first place and there was a lot to keep me going once that happened. In the same way that something like Touched by an Angel and Joan of Arcadia serves as entertainment that reaffirms our faith in the world, there's something in Royal Pains that also does that in a very topical way. In the midst of this health care debate, Hank symbolizes what we all need: A doctor who is fully committed to doing good and is willing to put his career on the line for it. Hank is insistent on treating people whether they can pay for it or not despite the musings of his accountant brother who is concerned about the bottom line. The show paints its characters in pretty broad strokes (Hank's medical assistant is part of that glamorous world with her exotic accent and expensive dresses) but it's somewhat satirical of that world as well.

8. Dollhouse, FOX-Joss Wheedon's appeal at creating thought-provoking feminist dramas shines once again in his latest series which takes us into a futuristic world where Eliza Dushku is one of several vagabonds who signed away their free will to a shady underworld company that practices its own rules of ethics. The show features a arcing storyling in the style of Lost but the episodes also stand alone well. Bonus points for the casting of Rushmore's Olivia Williiams.

9. Flight of the Conchords, HBO-This New Zealand import wrapped up its second (and possibly last) season just in time for me to stumble upon this gem. Because both styles of comedy center around the pathos of the mundane, Flight of the Conchords initially struck me as a Ricky Gervaise comedy (particularly Extras) with songs. However, the show grew on me rapidly for its unique spin on the regular-guys-eeking-it-out-en-route-to-stardom premise: Flight of the Conchords is about two guys who are successfully being deluded by the people around them into thinking that their sad, aimless existence is actually some micro-form of stardom. Compliments for pulling of this premise hillariously go to the deluders: Rhys Darby as their clueless pushpin manager and Wendy Schaal as the borderline psychotic fanbase of one.

10. Sit Down Shut Up, FOX-The show from Mitch Hurwitz started out terribly, but really found its strides in its "second season" (technically, this was just the network burning off the remaining nine episodes of the first season). Whatever problems the show had, it had a great cast that never let the show down and created interesting characters out of the lines that were given to them. The basis of any good comedy is good characters and Sit Down Shut Up had that base so when the plots were clicking (as what happened more often in the season's second half) the show really came on fire. I also loved how unapologetic the show was about never involving the students into the picture.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Top 40 TV shows of the decade

I'm sorry, I haven't been posting much. Recently, I started realizing that I have to be consistent with all the things I could do and that i can't slack off. I should be able to put at least 5 posts a month on here. So here's post #1.

40 Best TV shows of the decade. This is one of those things where I see a list somewhere else and feel a need to imitate it. In this case it was the AV Club's list followed by Alan Speinwall's list and EW's list.

Here's my opinion of what have been the most significant and well-received shows of the decade. It's not my opinion of what's been the best. Shows that came really late or really early in the decade don't count here.
1. Wire, HBO-I've never seen it but all the other lists say it's the best show of the decade and the best thing since sliced bread. And a show exploring the issues of drugs and Baltimore sounds a lot more intriguing than that other show I've never seen that's considered the best thing of the decade as well....
2. Sopranos, HBO-Never seen it. Doesn't even sound intriguing. Like that SNL parody points out, Sopranos is too critically loved to death for me to put it anywhere else
3. Deadwood, HBO-Just like MASH was based on a Rob Altman movie that turned the war genre upside down, I feel like Deadwood is the successor to Altman's 1971 masterpiece McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Kind of an improved version of that film.
4. Arrested Development, FOX-It is truly a blessing that now everyone loves AD. There are a number of great series this decade but no other show had such intricate layers of humor, a cast that we'd grow to love so much and root for in their future careers, and moments of warmth that are given with an ironic wink because we know that this temporary happy ending is going to fall apart so quickly.
5. Lost, ABC-Added points for influencing other shows such as Heroes and Flash Foward
6. Office, BBC-Doesn't compare with the American version in terms of quantity, but it rarely ever missed a note.
7. Colbert Report, Comedy Central-People criticized me for not adding the daily show if I'm adding this, but Colbert is playing a character so this is a fictional TV show.
8. Mad Men, AMC-Revisionist 60's series treats the decade as a pretty hellish place to live if you're female or a minority. Don and Peggy are really the only two characters that give me reason to anxiously tune into this series. They're the heart of the show. There's also the appeal of watching the masters of spin in action as they take on a client's mundane product and turn it into something appealling before your very eyes.
9. 24, Fox-It's just a matter of watching it yourself and seeing how intense it is in a way that spells quality.
10. The Office, NBC-The last season in which Michael Scott quit and started a rival company (among other things) shows that the writers room isn't one of laziness. When things get dull, the writers have the ability to take these very real characters and take them in unlikely directions. They pull it off in flying colors.
11. Tudors, Showtime-John Rhys-Meyers has long been a star in the making. It was quite an epiphany to whomever noticed that all the scandals in the Tudor Dynasty of England would make for a sexy cable series
12. Battlestar Gallactica, Sci-Fi-Created by a Star Trek scribe who was responsible for the intricacies of DS9 and who quit Voyager. Battlestar Gallactica took the possibilities that sci-fi had to offer and gave it to a larger audience.
13. Practice/Boston Legal, ABC-I've never seen the Practice but my understanding is BL spun off from the Practice, so I'll place them both here. Just like Aaron Sorkin, David E Kelly has a unique style that has it's appeal.
14. 30 Rock, NBC-If nothing else, when the show's characters start to get sloppy, 30 Rock never lets the brilliant level of dialogue slip. The show's jokes are so well-crafted that you want to stop and dissect them before moving onto the next one. The cast is excellent in Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski and Alec Baldwin and while some complained that in season 3, they became a little sloppier, the actors have always been excellent.
15. Damages, FX-I hear it's comparable to the Sopranos. Never watched it
16. Breaking Bad, AMC-The photography is amazing. The premise was a winner from the start and the show occurs at a pace that keeps you glued in through the whole hour. And that was before things started to get really interesting and really messy. The show keeps you at the very edge of what might be plausible for this man to descend to.
17. Desperate Housewives, ABC-There are a number of female-audience centered shows that have hit it big this decade and in distinguishing from fluff (i.e. Grey's Anatomy) verses something like Desperate Housewives, the latter doesn't aim to sensationalize. Desperate Housewives aims for quality.
18. Firefly, Fox-The western meets sci-fi had a cast of characters that enjoyed relatively good post-sitcom success and a fanbase that spurned a movie.
19. CSI, CBS- How many other shows have sparked people to choose their college major. CSI has coincided with a rise in forensics science majors all over the country. It's got good ratings largely because it's not dependent upon continuity but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
20. Futurama, Fox- I used to think Family Guy was the definitive animated show of the decade but I think it's declined in recent seasons and hurt its legacy, whereas Futurama won't yet have the opportunity to ruin its legacy until next season so it's a toss-up. Futurama is infectious. Groening has stated that as a kid who used to draw spaceships and futuristic contraptions in class and now he can't believe he's getting away with it. The fun of using the future as a playground for Greoning's wacky ideas is very easy to join in on.
21. House, Fox-I tended to think of House as the Ray of TV. Starring Jamie Foxx, Ray coasted to a best picture nomination solely on the basis of the lead actor's performance. Over time, House has developed a supporting cast to the point where it's not just about House and that's quite a strength that Hugh Laurie doesn't jsut overshadow the cast.
22. Pushing Daisies, ABC-The tone of the series was truly unique. It was a world you wanted to live in. It was also quite a creative achievement that although the pie maker had the power to solve all murder myteries in 60 seconds, no caper was ever that simple.
23. West Wing, NBC-Sorkin also had Studio 60 which was a fairly admirable failure
24. Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS- I feel like it's less pretentious and snotty than Curb Your Enthusiasm and if I had to pick a traditional tv sitcom that aged well into this new era of handheld camera comedies, it would be this one. I also didn't feel it started getting popular until halfway through its run as the ensemble chemistry started to gel
25. Flight of the Concords, HBO-Like Glee (which would've made the list if it came out a season or two earlier), the music is part of the fun.

26. Big Love, HBO-An intimate look at a corner of society that's certainly frowned upon.
27. Extras, HBO-Poignant and poetic, it certainly picked up steam in the second season with the true moral of the series: once you get fame, it's no picnic either, if you can't still be an artist
28. Friday Night Lights, NBC-I'm not much of a football fan (even fictional football) so I haven't watched this but I keep hearing it's quite good. It's placement on this list is a rough estimate. It's high on critical acclaim and low on cultural buzz.
29. Prison Break, FOX-Certainly one that I've been addicted to. When you think about it, Wentworth Miller ins't that charismatic of a lead but maybe that's kind of the point.
30. Family Guy, Fox-Unapologetically disjointed and unabashadly hillarious most of the time, Family Guy has its fans and detractors. One can't argue that their fans have been effective, since it's come back from the dead twice. Personally, I'm a fan
31. How I Met Your Mother, CBS-This decade's equivalent of Friends.
32. Six Feet Under, HBO-Don't get much HBO so I haven't seen it. In my first draft of this list, the omission of this drew the most protests.
33. Joan of Arcadia, CBS-Touched by an Angel meets the high school melodrama. For the first year, it was both acclaimed and popular and it featured two vets in Mary Steenburgen and Jason Mantenga doing good work.
34. Heroes, NBC-As far as I can remember, I don't remember sci-fi ever becoming so mainstream as when Heroes took over the waves it's first season. Comics often try to portray their heroes as ordinary Joes, but this really resonated in that respect.
35. Monk, USA-Inspired a number of copy-offs from USA. One criticism is it's a little too safe but it infused comedy into the murder mystery genre in a way that consistently worked week-in and week-out. The chemistry between Monk and Sharona followed by Monk and Natalie was also one of the best couples on TV.
36. My Name is Earl, Fox-Jamie Pressley, Nadine Vasquez, and Ethan Suplee had some of the most memorable supporting roles I can remember in this allegorical series of a lowlife trying to make good. There was something uplifting about this series that made it grow on me. One of the high points of NBC's schedule for a good four seasons.
37. Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO-Although, I personally hate it
38. South Park, Comedy Central-It started in the 90's and while it's crude, it's become very relevant in pop culture the way the Simpsons was in the 90's. It is an equal-opportunity offender and offends in a way that shows that while its creators might be rediculously immature, they have their pulse on the zitgeist and know how to exploit it
39. Weeds, Showtime-It can be unpleasantly dark in the way American Beauty was, but it's earned accolades for a great cast and the show knows how to build suspense
40. SNL, NBC-It had it's good years and bad years and while the Bad Boys came out of the early 90's, there's the case to be made that there was a more solid chemistry to the cast in this decade
Let me see if I can make it all the way to 50:
41. Ugly Betty, ABC-Definitely a chick-flick of a TV show but one that has more cross-gender appeal than say, Sex in the City. Like Pushing Daisies it definitely has a unique surreal tone it establishes. It also is a celebration of multiculturalism and deals with issues of illegal immigration, preteen homosexuality and more without ever making an issue of any of those things.
42. Malcolm in the Middle, Fox-The family sitcom on crack. A precursor to shows like Grounded for Life, Everybody Hates Chris, The Bernie Mac Show (even though it only predates that show by 2 years, I believe) or American Dad
43. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, FX-A personal favorite of mine.
44. In Treatment, HBO-Gabriel Bryne stars as a shrink who needs one of his own. The series focuses on interactions between Bryne and four of his patients as well as the doctor with his own head doctor.
45. Veronica Mars, UPN-A Nancy Drewish series with heavier plots that was a perfect fit for UPN.
46. Studio 60, NBC-A very noble failure featuring some of the best actors assembled for one show. The show's biggest flaw was that the writing was too idiosynchratic and the characters all sounded alike, but the show had it a certain electricity to it that made it so effortlessly watchable at times.