The only shows I watched at the time were "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" because I thought David Spade and James Garner were both pretty interesting additions, "Arrested Development" which was constantly on the verge of being cancelled and "Conan O'Brian" because, hey, I was in college. Occasionally I caught "CSI: Miami" and "Monk" and that was about it.
2004 was a year in which "Friends" and "Frasier" went off the air with "Everybody Loves Raymond" on the way and the attempts to replace it were pretty lackluster with the exception of programs on HBO. Nowadays, when a great show ends there's hardly reason to worry as there are dozens of great shows right around the corner. The last time I mourned a show's departure was "The Office" but "Sillicon Valley," "Go On," "Review" "Broad City" and "Archer" quickly filled that void.
When "Frasier" and "Friends" went off the air, NBC filled the void with "Joey" and the animated "Father of the Pride" both of which were terrible. Nowadays, Matt LeBlanc's comeback vehicle is "Episodes" (nurtured on a network like Showtime which allowed for the proper creative freedoms) and comedies thrive on networks such as Adult Swim, FX, and Fox's animation block where they are encouraged to be offbeat and quirky.
2004 was a year in which reality TV was threatening to take over programming. "The Apprentice," "Survivor" was as strong as ever, "Fear Factor" had been added to the mix, and there were dating shows galore. Behind the scenes, the WGA was pushing for more inclusive credits for writers on reality TV shows as if those writers were never gonna get their names on scripted shows and it was the best they can do.
These days, reality TV is an afterthought except for a few established brands. There's little fear of good TV being programmed out.
Pretty soon, things would change as a couple of the 2004-2005 hits started to grow "Entourage" "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" and this was followed by great shows. "Desperate Housewives" the ratings darling of 2004-2005 might not be that memorable in retrospect but it did have a star-studded cast and was jumped time shifts.
Also of note, the talent is going to television now. In 2014 alone there were 17 Oscar-winning actors and actresses who had won the highest honor filmdom can bestow and were acting on TV in either a recurring guest role, a miniseries, or a full-fledged credit. They are: