Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Top 14 Shows to Watch in 2010

I am a little late with the column this week… getting it on line in the post midnight hours of Saturday Night! It has been an incredibly busy week as I took on new responsibilities at my synagogue’s annual 12/24 event and I must say the hard work paid off as we sold out with approx 230 people attending an event that in past years brought in approximately 100-150. Nonetheless, my usual blogging time got pushed back and I spent Christmas Day sleeping and watching movies including of course ---- A Christmas Story!

Today, NWOW presents a list of the 14 must see shows for next year – 2 of them will not have new episodes next season but I decided to list them anyway because you can still watch the reruns…

Here they are listed by their 2009 watchability rankings

1. Jersey Shore – This show achieved immortality moments into its premiere episode when a young musclehead named Mike proudly proclaimed that his nickname.. usually a name that is shorter than ones real name… is The Situation! A few minutes later a crazy little Elvira lookalike munchkin arrived, announced her name was Snooki and instantly got plastered. Must see TV… but needs an announcement before each episode that these people are not true representatives of typical Italian NJ young adults.

2. 24 – Year in and Year out..24 hits it out of the ballpark with its unique format. Some exciting new characters were brought aboard this year and the show ended on a cliffhanger with Jack Bauer contracting some type of deadly disease. The problem with 24 and the next show on the list is their season only runs January through May and by the time the end of the year lists are written up, you have to scratch your head to remember what was going on several months ago.

3. Lost – Speaking of the Devil… last season Lost really hit a home run with its mind boggling time travel elements and bizarre twists about John Locke and his ability to come back from the dead. I just reread the May 19th column…(Rivers. Islands and Sun – see the archives) to remember all that craziness that was jammed into my head about the season. The show has a ton of fans as is evidenced by the day after recaps on various websites. Even the fantasy baseball q and a’s on involve a weekly column where characters ask their questions using the names of Lost characters. Hopefully they will run a last season recap before the season premiere to remind us of what happened in May.

4. Curb Your Enthusiasm – The 2nd to last episode may have been the most brilliant episode of a comedy show in TV history. The whole sub plot involving fictitious Groats disease invading the set of the Seinfeld reunion led to the long anticipated "meeting” between Michael Richards and Leon who is black. Just in case you forgot, a few years back while performing standup at a comedy club, Richards had a meltdown and went into a rather prejudiced rant when he was heckled at a comedy club by some blacks. However, Leon followed the stereotype of black people not knowing the Seinfeld characters and instead went into an adlibbed rant while posing as “Groats survivor Danny Duberstein” about how “Richards” could be cured of Groats disease. Purely hysterical and when the season comes out on DVD… probably in time for the holidays next year…it will be a must have for all Seinfeld/Curb fans. See #14 also.

5. Family Guy – Seth McFarlane is a genius and each week the show gets 9 out of 10 jokes off successfully in this crazy cartoon about a dysfunctional family from Quahog, Rhode Island. Nobody likes the daughter, one son is a moron and the baby boy is possessed. One of the neighbors is paralyzed, the other is perennially horny, and the dog and baby talk better English than anybody else… The pop culture flashbacks are just hysterical 9 times out of 10. Currently its funnier than The Simpsons, but it will not run for as many years.

6. American Dad – Show #2 of 3 from Camp McFarlane ( The 3rd is Family Guy spinoff The Cleveland Show which may be on next years list) focuses on your typical crazy right wing Republican Family with the rebellious daughter. This guy works for the government and has a fish that talks with a German accent and a flamboyant Paul Lynde sounding alien who has a penchant for dressing up in outrageous wardrobes. Don’t we all have an alien living with us? The show does not use the Family Guy flashbacks, so it depends more on character development to move the story along and some weeks is better than Family Guy. The Christmas episode with Michelle the angel….aka the hooker with wings was very well done!.

7. Big Bang Theory – How could you not like a show with characters named Sheldon and Leonard named after the legendary TV producer who is a distant relative of Trophy Wife? Sheldon steals the show and Kaely Cuoco is perfectly cast as the lovely neighbor who has the bizarrely odd relationship with Leonard. The relationship is not too realistic, yet it gives Sheldon some great opportunities and if this show has a long run like the other CBS Monday sitcoms, the story might evolve into a Penny-Leonard breakup followed by a Penny-Sheldon hook up which would be incredibly oddly funny. The best show on Monday Nights and the best sitcom on network TV

8. Better off Ted – A new addition to our list; I just started watching this workplace gem a few weeks ago and unlike The Office I really find it funny. (I don’t know why, but I just can’t get into The Office)… Nonetheless, Ted is surrounded by a nutty boss played by Portia de Rossi and two bizarre scientists who look like they belong on a Jeopardy Tournament! Last weeks episode where one scientist was sleeping with the mother of another was incredibly funny capped off by a sight gag where a scientist reveals his latest invention – popcorn that pops using the heat inside your mouth. You had to see this to really appreciate it. I hope this show sticks around… it’s got great potential.

9. Jeopardy – There doesn’t seem to be anything else on at 7pm – and I even catch the reruns on GSN. I am leaving off the other classic game shows on GSN because except for the last 2 shows here, I am only listing shows that are still producing new episodes. Even though I don’t know most of the answers, I do feel happy when I know some of them.. and in those rare situations when I get a Final Jeopardy answer that the three contestants all miss… then I feel like a million bucks.

10. Millionaire – After seeing Slumdog Millionaire I started watching it again… The Meredith Vierra version got a little more adventurous this year when they added a timer. They also recently got rid of “phone a friend” much to Google’s chagrin… since friends were just googling to get the right answer. They also did a million dollar tournament in the fall that with a few tweaks could be very entertaining and add an element of contestants competing against each other. Its an entertaining game and more my speed than the much more challenging Jeopardy. The Regis reruns on GSN are also entertaining.

11. How I Met Your Mother – The show trying to stake its claim as the follow up to the Thursday Night Friends/Seinfeld powerhouse. Five entertaining characters who hang out at a local bar – the stories are well told in a non chronological fashion and Neil Patrick Harris has totally reinvented himself post Harold and Kumar with the incredible Barney who has remarkable methods to meet chics… For those of us who are married and live vicariously through our single friends… Barney is a very entertaining character… especially when he comes out with some bizarre philosophies. Great acting job by NPH who is gay in real life!

12. 30 Rock – The behind the scenes look at an SNL type comedy show is quite amusing on a regular basis. Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey lead a strong cast as the network executive and producer of a show hosted by “Tracy Jordan”. The show has been consistently funny this season including a recent episode loaded with gags such as a bizarre look at how high def adversely affects ones appearance when looking at a person close-up. Another bit involved a character who I thought did an incredible Gilbert Gottfriend impression until I found out that it was actually the voice of…. Gilbert Gottfried! Alec Baldwin hasn’t made Thursday Nights this entertaining since he was on Knots Landing!

13. Monk Final Season – Technically not a show I will watch in 2010 but it gets an honorable mention because the final episodes were so brilliantly put together. Monk’s original assistant Sharona returned in one of the late episodes and her character got some closure by hooking up with bumbling cop Randy. And ultimately Monk not only solved the murder of his beloved wife Trudy but also found out that she had had a daughter. That reunion was amusing and very touching. Monk found a new purpose in life.. getting to know Trudy’s grown daughter. We also saw the final scene where Monk goes to a crime scene and finally unbuttons that top button and dresses a little stylish… making you realize that in the world of Monk… alot of the foibles had gone away and in his world everything was going to be ok. I’m sure they will bring the characters back for a reunion movie.. unless a Monk reunion becomes the new project for Larry David on the next season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.

14. Seinfeld reruns – It was probably the top show in those “Best of the 90s” columns in the pre-blogging era of a decade ago. However that show had a less heartwarming episode as the 4 main characters were sent to prison for not helping a mugging victim. For more than 10 years we have heard the debates of that finale, and the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme this season was an incredible “Seinfeld reunion” which had a new “ending”. George got married, made millions, got ripped off by Madoff and then got dumped by his wife.. only to reconcile with her as long as he would sign a pre-nup not touching his money that she got in the divorce and wisely did not invest with Madoff. Amazingly the first scene with all 4 characters in the “reunion” included just 2 words – Madoff? Madoff. It was all in the tone And after watching this season of Curb… I have started to revisit the Seinfeld reruns which air nightly at 1130 and 1230.

And if we must follow the rules of shows to watch for 2010 you can always substitute 13 and 14 with any of the many CSI’s and Law and Orders.


Pumpie tied last week to remain evened up at 7-7-1. This week we go to Cleveland the city where they filmed “A Christmas Story”. In a game only Pumpy cares about, the Browns are 3 ½ point faves over The Raiders. Sayeth the Pump: “MY buddy just went to Cleveland.. so take the Browns!”


Last week we dropped under .500 by going 1-2 to drop to 22-23. The Giants hold the tie breakers and need to win 1 more game than the Packers or Cowboys in order to make the playoffs. In the unlikely event that the Giants lose and the other 2 win… next week we will be picking bowl games!

GIANTS 7 faves over Carolina – The Panthers are coming off a big 4th quarter in the Sunday night win over Minnesota.. but it was late at night and past Brett Favre’s bedtime. Huge game for NY.. in their last game at Giants Stadium.

REDSKINS 6 ½ doggies over Dallas – The Skins should be quite ticked after last weeks Monday Night Debacle… and you won’t be seeing that crazy trick play again where all the players ran away so quick you thought the center farted.

Seahawks 14 doggies over GREEN BAY – Hopefully Seattle can sneak in and help the Giants… but they will probably just cover the spread.

NEXT WEEK: We welcome a new decade with our 200th column!

No comments: