To celebrate the end of the year, BuddyTV has put together our list of the best TV shows of the year. Five of our top writers each made their own personal lists of the seven best programs of the year, and here you will find all the shows we’ve chosen as the best of the best.
Though the five writers each chose seven shows, we only have 21 total programs, as there was quite a bit of crossover. Clearly some shows were the absolute best of the season. On the other hand, our staff also showed an eclectic range of tastes. Some are reality heavy, some focused on comedies, some on dramas. There are some hugely successful and popular shows like Grey’s Anatomy on the list, then there are also smaller gems like FX’s Damages.
Of the 21 shows we’ve selected, eight appeared on multiple. Those include exciting new shows, long-running comedies, and beloved dramas. But the clear winner, the ultimate show of the year, had to be Lost. Not only did four of our writers select it as one of the best shows of the year, but three of them ranked it second, while the final writer placed it at number one.
Did your favorite show of the year make one of our lists? To find out, click below to take a tour of our 21 best shows of the year, listed alphabetically, with accompanying explanations from the BuddyTV writing staff.
Best Shows of 2007
Oscar Dahl ranked 30 Rock 3rd. He says…
The beauty of 30 Rock is in the diversity of its humor. The three main players all have distinctly different, equally funny ways of making the audience laugh. Alec Baldwin has his deadpan, arrogant scumbaggery, Tina Fey has her self-deprecating neurosis, and Tracy Morgan has his Tracy Morgan (which is, to say, pure insanity mixed with unintelligible gibberish…and that’s a high compliment). While most TV comedies often come from one clear comic voice, 30 Rock is able to balance the humor thanks to Tina Fey and her experience with Saturday Night Live.
During her time as head writer on SNL, Fey wrote extensively for Baldwin, Morgan and herself. She didn’t need much time to “find” her characters’ voices. She knew how to utilize each of her main characters and, ever since the mid-way point of the series’ first season, you can make a sound argument that 30 Rock has been the funniest show on TV.
Don Williams ranked 30 Rock 5th. He says…
It’s a shame that so few people watch 30 Rock, despite its critical acclaim and its Emmy win for Outstanding Comedy Series. Tina Fey’s brilliant brainchild, set behind the scenes at a fictional Saturday Night Live-style variety show, is easily one of the most hilarious shows on television. No matter what style of humor you find funny, 30 Rock has it. There’s a mixture of slapstick, dry wit, referential gags, skits, puns, and inside jokes, all written with a sharpness that has rarely been seen in the half-hour comedy realm.
Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin garner much deserved acclaim for their superb performances, but the supporting players of 30 Rock provide many of the laughs. Tracy Morgan is excellent as Tracy Jordan, the big star who is so completely detached from reality that he once tried to make mashed potatoes with laundry detergent. Jane Krakowski plays Jenna Maroney, the self-obsessed starlet whose biggest trauma was gaining 20 pounds while starring in “Mystic Pizza: The Musical.” And Jack McBrayer plays Kenneth, the NBC page who is such a nice Southern boy that he studied TV Theory at Kentucky Mountain Bible College. They often steal every scene they’re in, which is no small feat.
With its spirited mix of comedy styles, superb writing, great guest stars, and its endless skewering of NBC, 30 Rock easily beats out all other live-action comedies on television.
John Kubicek ranked Battlestar Galactica 6th. He says…
2007 didn’t provide a whole lot of new content for Battlestar Galactica fans. The final nine episodes of season 3, a couple of webisodes, and the two-hour TV movie “Razor.” But in that short time, it knocked our socks off time after time: killing characters, bringing them back, previewing the ultimate fate of mankind, and confusing everyone by revealing four major characters as Cylons.
Yes, the third season of Battlestar Galactica had some definite low points (“The Woman King”). In fact, the entire middle portion of the season was a bit of a stall. But the final four episodes were four of the greatest hours of TV produced all year. From Kara Thrace’s untimely “death” to the trial of Gaius Baltar, there was plenty for fans to sink their teeth into.
Then came “Crossroads, Parts 1 and 2,” when creator Ronald D. Moore decided to confuse the hell out of everyone. Chief Tyrol, Colonel Tigh and Sam Anders were the three leaders of the resistance, fighting the Cylons by any means necessary. So it was a huge blow to them and us when the final moments revealed that they, as well as President Roslin’s aide Tory, were four of the Final Five Cylons.
It’s hard to even comprehend such a fact. Clearly, they’re a different kind of Cylon, one that can age and bear children. On top of it all, they were awoken by the strains of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” only this version is perfectly re-imagined by BSG music guru Bear McCreary. This added yet another question: does Bob Dylan exist in the BSG universe?
Those final moments were bone-chilling, edge-of-your-seat insanity, and then an undead Starbuck rolled alongside Lee Adama, and uttered the now famous: “I’ve been to Earth. I know where it is, and I’m gonna take us there.” In many ways, this season 3 finale fundamentally changed the entire series as much as Lost’s season 3 finale.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Battlestar Galactica TV movie “Razor” provided a continuity-heavy parallel to the Galactica as we saw what the Pegasus went through, while also finding the Cylon hybrid “God” who informed us that Starbuck is not a savior, but the harbinger of death. For all those stunning revelations done with the typically brilliant acting, writing and directing BSG fans have come to expect, it’s no surprise Battlestar Galactica is one of my top 7 shows of the year.
The Biggest Loser
Gina Scarpa ranked The Biggest Loser 7th. She says…
When reality shows get past their second or third season, they start to become pretty predictable. Try as Survivor may to change things up by adding an island for exiles or hidden immunity idols that aren’t really hidden at all, we still know how it’s all going to go down. We can recite the speeches that Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum give at judges’ panel each week on America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway. When The Biggest Loser returned for a fourth season promising big changes, I was naturally skeptical. However, their fourth season proves to be their best with a revamped show and surprises to boot.
The fourth season of The Biggest Loser kicked off in September of 2007, with a new host and a twist. Daytime star Alison Sweeney (Days of our Lives) took over for Caroline Rhea, who was never a very strong host to begin with. Sweeney brought a sincerity that the show truly needed, as she herself has struggled with weight issues in the past. The show also had a secret third team, a group of contestants that were supposedly eliminated on the first day. They trained in secret with season 1 trainer Jillian Michaels and have dominated ever since they officially joined the game in the second episode.
Players in the past have intentionally gained weight to push a teammate below the yellow line and blindside them after a weigh in. However, none have gone to such great lengths as Neil. In the sixth episode, the teams were switched up into trios, mixing the blue, red, and black teams. In an effort to get rid of Jez, a black team member who posed a threat, Neil intentionally gained 17 pounds and let his blue team members vote out Jez. If any of his competitors wanted to vote him out the next week, they were out luck, as Neil dropped 33 pounds!
The black team, a group of people that no one wanted on the first day, ended up dominating the game from the halfway point in the show on. Contestants have lost more than previous seasons’ contestants and have broken lots of Biggest Loser records. There isn’t a better reality finale on television than a Biggest Loser finale. Nothing is better than seeing contestants dropping 100 pounds and 200 pounds and achieving their dream of having the body they always dreamed of. If we’ve learned one thing from the fourth season of The Biggest Loser, it’s that change is good. Very good.
John Kubicek ranked The Closer 7th. He says…
I can explain why The Closer is one of the best shows on TV: Kyra Sedgwick. Television is full of procedural cop dramas in which the police solve the case by the end of every, but what makes TNT’s The Closer the best of breed is Sedgwick’s funny, serious, brilliant performance as Brenda Lee Johnson, an Atlanta woman who finds herself heading up Priority Homicide in te LAPD.
The third season of the series aired over the summer, and every week TNT hit new ratings records, pulling in more than 9 million viewers for the season finale. Those are numbers many major network dramas would love to have.
Sedgwick was created a character so likable and real that it’s easy to see why Brenda Lee is a closer, someone who always gets a confession. Her Southern charm and clumsiness makes her seem like a clown, an inept Barney Fife, but really, it’s all part of the act.
While the procedural drama works incredibly well, the show also taks time to explore Brenda’s home life and her engagement to boyfriend Fritz (the underrated Jon Tenney). In season 3, Brenda became sick, and while the common TV cliche forced viewers to suspect she might be pregnant, the show surprised everyone because the real cause was menopause. That’s right, the show dares to tell an age appropriate story, unafraid to cast it’s female lead as an older, mature woman.
In addition, season 3 brought the return of Brenda’s mother, Willie Ray, played by the brilliant Frances Sternhagen. It’s a fun guest performance, and was aided immensely by the appearance of Brenda’s father Clay,played by veteran character actor Barry Corbin. Together, these two played up the old-fashioned Southern family values that made audiences laugh while at the same time smiling at the ultimately loving relationship of the Johnson family.
The Closer is a procedural series, but it strives for so much more. It can be laugh-out-loud funny one week, deadly serious the next. It can focus on the strengths of one leading lady, while at the same time giving the entire ensemble little moments in each episode to show that they are fully realized people, even if we don’t get to see the true depth of their characters.
There’s a whole lot of television out there, and most of the great shows are the ones with involved, serialized storylines like Lost or Battlestar Galactica. But amid all that excellence, it’s nice to see that the procedural drama isn’t all about forensics.
The Colbert Report/The Daily Show
Gina Scarpa ranked The Colbert Report and The Daily Show 4th. She says…
It’s been said many times that The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are where many college students go to get their news. Well, I’m not in college anymore but I still get my news from them. Jon Stewart has been giving me my news since 1998 and I’ve never looked back. You can’t pay me to watch MSNBC or FOX News.
In October of this year, Stephen Colbert pulled one of the greatest publicity stunts ever: he announced that he would be running for president. He got himself a sponsor (Doritos) and launched a website, colbert08.org. On Facebook, he had over one million supporters for his presidency. It all came to end when the state of South Carolina, Colbert’s home state, rejected his application by a vote of 13-3 and refunded his $2500 filing fee.
The best part about these shows is that they’re ones that politicians and influential businessmen have decided to take seriously and get on in order to let their voices be heard to a young generation of voters. Everyone from Bill Gates to Bill Clinton to General Wesley Clark has graced the desks of Stewart and Colbert. These two shows are the ones I miss the most as the WGA strike continues with no end in sight. Without a new episode since November, the end of my year is very much lacking “truthiness.”
John Kubicek ranked The Colbert Report 3rd. He says…
There are many, many reasons The Colbert Report was one of the best shows of 2007. Stephen’s failed presidential run, sponsored by Doritos. Wrist strong bracelets. The train wreck interview with Richard Branson. But really, there are two memorable segments that made me laugh harder than anything else all year, and for those two reasons alone, it’s one of the best.
The first came when Stephen did a story on a monkey that had broken free and escaped police capture. And thus, “Monkey on the Lam” was born. The comic genius comes from the graphic the show puts up every time Stephen uses this phrase: a monkey, on the back of a lamb, is shooting back at the cops chasing him.
The second reason came on June 13, 2007, during the nightly Threat Down. Number five was robots, a typical entry for the Threat Down. Four was bears, another common enemy. Three was robots, again. Two was bears, again. This led to the ultimate battle: which is worse, robots or bears? That night, the number one threat was…ROBOT BEARS! If that doesn’t make you laugh, you may be dead inside.
Debbie Chang ranked The Colbert Report 5th. She says…
I find Stephen Colbert insanely hot. And how can I not? He’s a true American: tall, proud, with truthiness to spare.
One of my favorite interviews he had this year was when Jane Fonda came on the show in May to promote her movie Georgia Rule. Usually, Colbert stares his guests down with a steely gaze, daring them to lose their cool. But Fonda turned the tables, and ended up making Colbert squirm in his seat. She climbed into his lap, where she stayed for the entirety of the segment, even kissing him on the lips. It’s nice to see that despite being a relative of the bald eagle, he’s still human too.
John Kubicek ranked Damages 2nd. He says…
No one is more surprised than I that when I put together my top shows of 2007 list, the FX drama Damages not only made it, but came in as the second best show of the year. When I first saw the pilot, I was instantly in love with the complex tale of a ruthless corporate lawyer named Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) trying to take down rich CEO Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson). From the start, the two were engaged in combat, a real life chess match in which their friends, families and associates are all merely pawns.
The brilliance of the first season came in the way it played with time, telling Hewes’ battle while also flashing forward six months when meek, fresh-faced associate Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) is accused of murdering her fiancée. The mystery of who killed him, why Ellen is covered in blood, and what this all has to do with Hewes and Frobisher is one of the many joys of Damages.
As vindication of my love for the show, Damages recently became the most nominated television series at this year’s Golden Globe awards, scoring nominations for Drama Series as well as individual acting honors for Close, Danson and Byrne. Indeed, Close gave yet another brutal and raw performance, as she did when she appeared on another great FX series, The Shield. Danson, most often associated with his great comedic work, gave the performance of his career as a desperate man eager to hold onto his glory. The fact that the show ran at the same time as the newest season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which Danson played a comedic, exaggerated version of himself only served to prove how great his work in Damages really is.
The ultimate reason Damages was one of the best shows of the year was the finale. It wrapped up all the major storylines, provided answers to all the big questions raised, but at the same time, it set up a fresh and intense dynamic for the future, which was later sealed when FX picked the show up for not one but two additional seasons. And if those two are anything like the first season, Damages is well on its way to become one of the all-time great shows on TV.
Flight of the Conchords
Oscar Dahl ranked Flight of the Conchords 4th. He says…
It’s business time!
I still can’t believe HBO green lit Flight of the Conchords. It wasn’t that long ago that HBO green lit another show about a two-person folk duo who played funny songs during their search for fame. It was called Tenacious D and, not long after their HBO comedy series was unceremoniously canceled, the D became famous. What made HBO think that another folk duo, this one from New Zealand, would do better than Tenacious D? Perhaps it was the pilot. Flight of the Conchords, which stars Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie as the sole members of a two-man band who move from New Zealand to New York in search or fame and fortune. Over the season’s twelve episode’s, they receive neither, but they do a hell of a lot of singing along the way.
Comedy has never been more deadpan at one moment, then so ridiculous the next. Emotionless, yet hilarious dialogue between the two leads often segues directly into expertly staged, exceedingly clever songs covering all ranges of musical genres. The duo are both solid musicians and good singers, but mostly they are funny as all hell. Hip-hop, Bowie tributes, ballads, robot techno – none of it is off-limits.
Flight of the Conchords is one of those shows where, if you aren’t in the right frame of mind, you could watch an episode and think, “What the hell is this? This is the dumbest show I’ve ever seen.” The silliness factor occasionally becomes a little much (see the full episode Bowie tribute), but if you’re game, Flight of the Conchords is a rewarding gem of a show, unique and full of surprises. Bret, Jemaine, and Murray will be returning to HBO in 2008 (hopefully, if the writers’ strike can end soon), seeing as HBO as renewed the series for a second season.
Friday Night Lights
Don Williams ranked Friday Night Lights 1st. He says…
Despite the monumental critical acclaim, I avoided watching Friday Night Lights for the entirety of its first season. I’m not into football, I’ve never stepped foot in Texas, and I’m usually not big on family dramas. I figured this show just wasn’t for me. Boy, was I wrong.
When I finally gave Friday Night Lights a chance, all of my expectations were subverted. This show wasn’t really about football, but about characters with a singular, driving passion in life. This show didn’t deal in the cloying clichés that most family dramas delve into, but instead handled each situation with a messy sort of honesty found only in real life. What I discovered wasn’t just the best show of the year, but one of the best shows ever to air on television.
Friday Night Lights transcends the trappings of most television shows, capturing the heartbreaking minutiae of everyday life in a near documentary fashion. It’s achingly real, with expert performances from a top notch cast. It also features, hands down, the best couple currently on the air in Eric and Tami Taylor. Their marriage has a passion, a playfulness, and a sincerity that is sorely lacking from most TV couples. Like everything else on this show, they feel real.
The people who populate the fictional town of Dillon, Texas inspire me, touch me, and break my heart every single week. They feel like some of my best friends. That’s what easily makes this the best show of the year. Nothing else can compare.
John Kubicek ranked Friday Night Lights 4th. He says…
While the second season of Friday Night Lights has paled in comparison to the first, the second half of that first season offered so many brilliant episodes that warrant the show’s placement on this list. The first season dealt with racial issues in a smart two-parter that didn’t shy away from tough subject matter, but handled it with great writing and acting. The finale was uplifting and had me on the edge of my seat rooting for the Dillon Panthers to win the state championship.
There was Tami Taylor giving her daughter the speech about sex in what is, for me, the single best acted scene all year thanks to Connie Britton, who was robbed of an Emmy nomination and win. And above all else, Friday Night Lights gave us “Mud Bowl,” one of the best episodes of television all year in which Eric had his Field of Dreams moment getting back to basics in a dirty, exhilarating game of football that was masterfully intercut with the gruesome attempted rape of Tyra, a scene that still gives me chills every time I think about it.
Debbie Chang ranked Friday Night Lights 6th. She says…
Friday Night Lights was hands-down my favorite show of the 2006-2007 season. It had everything: heartwarming drama, hot boys and funny Texas accents. But above all, it had an unmatched purity in its portrayal of normal life.
Take Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford), the painfully shy young boy who is thrust into the spotlight against his will when he must take over as first-string quarterback. He navigates through other landmines of high school life, such as asking out the girl of his dreams Julie Taylor (Aimee Teegarden), all the while taking care of his increasingly senile grandmother. The episode “I Think We Should Have Sex” was the most honest portrayal of teen sex that I have ever seen on television. In fact, every single episode of the first season was stellar and deserves mention.
Also, can this show possibly have a more appealing cast? Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler), the glue who holds the town of Dillon, Texas together, is such an inspiring leader to his young athletes, but is never portrayed one-dimensionally. His relationship with Tami Taylor (the fantastic Connie Britton) gives me hope that marriage isn’t the death sentence that I often fear it will be.
The reason why Friday Night Lights isn’t higher up on my list is because of the spate of melodrama that the beginning of the second season brought. From the murder plot involving Landry (Jesse Plemons) and Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) to the burgeoning sexual relationship between Matt and his grandmother’s hot Latin nurse, it’s clear that the writers were trying to up the soap operatics to angle for more viewers. It’s understandable, considering that the series has flirted with cancellation more times than is comfortable, but it’s jarring when juxtaposed with the stark beauty of the first season. Still, the amazing cast continues to act the hell out of their scenes, even if the direction of the stories take an unrealistic turn, and I’ll continue to tune in.
Debbie Chang ranked Gilmore Girls 2nd. She says…
Gilmore Girls ended its seven-season run in the spring of 2007. The show’s quality dipped precipitously in the sixth season, mostly due to the character assassination that Luke Danes (Scott Patterson) suffered with regard to his long-lost daughter April. Lorelai (Lauren Graham) also had the misfortune of losing her signature spunk, piling on more things for us viewers to complain about.
However, the seventh season of Gilmore Girls was able to turn it around. Whether it was because of the change in leadership, when David Rosenthal took over the reigns after creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s departure, is not clear, but the characters became closer to what we had always known them to be. Perhaps not quite up to the level of the first three seasons, but it was enough to remind us of its previous greatness.
The latter half of the seventh season, beginning in January of 2007 began the deterioration of Lorelai’s and Christopher’s (David Sutcliffe) marriage, bringing order back to the universe. The show is supposed to be about how nontraditional family structures are sometimes the better choice than strictly adhering to the mommy-daddy-2.5 children rule, and having Lorelai marry Christopher, without even telling Rory (Alexis Bledel) about it, was a huge affront to that.
The end of the series also brought to television some of the best musical moments of the year. At the memorial service of Michel’s (Yanic Truesdale) dog Chin Chin, Zach (Todd Lowe) played an unplugged version of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” that was sentimental and just ironic enough to be brilliant. Plus, there was Lorelai’s karaoke debut, in which she sang “I Will Always Love You,” first for her daughter, and then for Luke as he walked in. I gasped at the raw talent and pure emotion that Lauren Graham brought to her performance. As Zach said, “She sure has a set of lungs on her.”
The season also brought Lane (Keiko Agena) and Rory back together and actually acting like BFFs again. They even acknowledged that they hadn’t been all that close these past couple of years. Female friendships, along with complicated mother-daughter relationships, are what make the show, and Gilmore Girls brought Lane and Rory back for us this year.
I am not ashamed to admit that I openly wept during the entirety of the series finale, in which the twee town of Stars Hollow throws Rory a huge going-away party. Rory had just broken up with her long-time boyfriend Logan (Matt Czuchry) because she could not commit to marriage with him quite yet. Lorelai just realized that Luke might be the one for her after all. And so the series ended, with each Gilmore girl making her way through life, feeling out her next move, one at a time. Likewise, we all must move on with our lives, without our Tuesday night girl-power fix.
Don Williams ranked Gossip Girl 7th. He says…
You might think that, as a guy, I’d feel somewhat guilty about loving Gossip Girl as much as I do. Luckily, the fact that I’ve had a soft spot for every well-made teen drama from Degrassi to The O.C. has made me immune to such guilt. Gossip Girl continues in the tradition of these shows, with teenagers who are rich, stylish, snarky, and delightfully bitchy all at the same time. Watching them deal with their problems with each other, as well as their parents, while looking impeccable is a wonderful escape each week.
Escapism aside, what really makes Gossip Girl memorable is a standout cast coupled with a beautiful location. Unlike a show like 90210, the cast is all age-appropriate, and there isn’t a weak link to be found in the acting department. Throwing all these pretty people into a city as gorgeous as New York, where the series is actually filmed, really makes a difference in the atmosphere. You don’t realize how fake New York looks on most other shows until you see Dan and Serena walking down the real streets together. It’s the secret key to the show’s success.
Of course, no mention of the series would be complete without praising the voiceover work of Kristen Bell. As the “gossip girl” of the title, she vibrantly brings to life all the witty narration, adding a zest of cattiness to each episode. It’s almost enough to make you forget that Veronica Mars was canceled.
Debbie Chang ranked Gossip Girl 7th. She says…
Veronica Mars may be gone by the wayside now, but Kristen Bell’s snark lives in through my new favorite Wednesday night hobby, Gossip Girl. Gossip Girl, I know I love you! XOXO.
What I like most about Gossip Girl, besides being a sudsy primetime drama about super-rich prep school New Yorkers, is that, not only does it have an impossibly beautiful cast—Blake Lively who plays Serena van der Woodsen made it to BuddyTV’s list of 2007’s hottest actresses—but it is just so delightfully blasé about things that would make even Jen Lindley from Dawson’s Creek go blushing to her Grams about. It’s wonderfully freeing to watch a show in which the girls actually want to have sex just as much as the boys do, and indulging in vice never results in afterschool-special sap. We never have to suffer through any tedium in the form of lesson-learning. The St. Jude’s boys are constantly shown smoking fatties in the middle of the day in Central Park, with nary a police officer or meddlesome busybody in sight. The Constance Billard girls sip martinis in hotel bars with all the sophisticated boredom of 47-year-old divorcées.
The drama is intentionally over-the-top, sometimes with seduction involving Dangerous Liaisons-style masks. And just like in The O.C., every fancy dress ball invariably ends in a brawl. But Gossip Girl is much darker and more cynical that its Californian predecessor, and it never talks down to its teenage audience.
So take a whiff of the rarified air that permeates the Upper East Side and indulge your inner gossip-monger. You won’t regret it.
Gina Scarpa ranked Grey’s Anatomy 3rd. She says…
I’ll admit that Grey’s Anatomy has made some blunders this year. They gave Meredith a near-death experience where she saw dead people and they created the worst couple with the worst name ever: Gizzie. However, having been a fan of the show since the moment they said “McDreamy,” I can be forgiving of such things. What annoys me about the show is also what drives me to watch it. I’m invested in these characters, I care what happens to them, and I share their emotions week after week on Thursday nights.
One of the best storylines of the year came from Dr. Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) and the woman he took care of after she was severely injured in a ferry accident. He became invested in Jane Doe, who eventually became Ava and then, Rebecca (Elizabeth Reaser). The two have had an amazing chemistry with one another and have given us the opportunity to see Alex’s softer side. Reaser was not the only memorable guest star of the year. Diahann Carroll, Mare Winningham, and Jeff Perry all brilliantly portrayed their characters Jane Burke and Susan and Thatcher Grey.
The year 2007 gave us the exit of Isaiah Washington, who provided drama both in his personal life and as his character, Dr. Preston Burke. Kate Walsh headed for her own spinoff as her character, Addison Montgomery, decided it was time to start over and perhaps even raise a baby on her own. New cast member Chyler Leigh joined the series full time in season 4 as Meredith’s half-sister, bringing us fresh storylines and new sides of Meredith to explore.
Because of the ongoing writer’s strike, the last new episode aired on December 6th and as 2008 approaches, we have many questions on our minds. Is Derek dating Meredith or starting a new relationship with Rose? Will George and Izzie’s pitiful attempt at a relationship pull them apart? Can Bailey balance her position as chief resident with her duties at home as mother and wife? Finally, will Cristina find someone new to cuddle up with? It’s been an exciting year for Grey’s fans and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2008.
How I Met Your Mother
Debbie Chang ranked How I Met Your Mother 1st. She says…
I originally thought it was really strange that I should have a half-hour multi-camera sitcom at the top of my list of 2007 shows because it’s been a long while—before Monica and Chandler got engaged on Friends, when Michael J. Fox was still on Spin City, when Donna was still a redhead and Hyde was still a slacker on That ’70s Show—since I’ve loved a sitcom this much. After these other shows started to go to pot, the airwaves were suddenly filled with such dreck as Becker or The King of Queens. I’m sorry, even Everybody Loves Raymond was unbelievably tedious to watch.
How many times can you watch poor Ray caught between his wife and his mother?
How I Met Your Mother came down as if manna from heaven to save us all from complete boredom. The show has a stellar cast, which includes the voicework of Bob Saget. Bob Saget is not as wholesome as his single-dad stint on Full House would lead you to believe. His extended monologues in The Aristocrats prove otherwise. But I digress. Back in college, Ted (Josh Radnor) met Marshall (Jason Segel), who met and fell in love with Lily (Alyson Hannigan), and all three became best friends. Now, ten years later, they still all live together, and have added Robin (Cobie Smulders) and the inimitable Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) into the mix for some legendary good times. Not that this show is all—or even a little bit—about me, but this is almost straight out of my life! Watching the show feels like watching a more attractive version of my friends and me in easy-to-digest, 30-minute portions.
The characters on HIMYM are real people whom you can really imagine having beers with. While still being fun with silly tics and catchphrases, they are real and not caricatures of what some struggling, unfunny writers might think “wacky” characters should be like, cf., Two and a Half Men.
But most importantly, How I Met Your Mother brings funny back to TV. The characters may be written in a genuine and perfectly relatable light, but they are also genuinely hilarious. They spread out the funny so that every single character gets a chance to make us laugh, and the show certainly steers clear of the usual gender stereotypes that men are the funny, goofy ones while women are the pissy, hormonal creatures who must put up with their antics. Oh no, there’s none of that in HIMYM. When asked if she partook in one too many champagne-soaked strawberries at her wedding, Lily unashamedly belches out a yes. Marshall tells her, “You could have burped or said yes, but the fact that you did both reminds me of why I married you.” That also reminds me of why I love this show.
John Kubicek ranked Lost 1st. He says…
In 2007, a miracle happened: Lost became cool again. After a long period during which my initial affection for the show wore off, the second half of season 3 delivered in a big way, restoring my faith in Lost. Yes, that show-changing revelation in the finale that the flashbacks were actually flash forwards was a stroke of genius, giving the show new life. But long before that finale, Lost was already my top show of 2007.
“Flashes Before Your Eyes” cleverly used time travel to tell a complex story almost entirely off the island. There were also a number of great episodes highlighting the dynamic between Emmy nominee Michael Emerson as Ben and Emmy winner Terry O’Quinn as John Locke. Arguably the two best actors on the show, and certainly the two best characters, these two imposing men faced off in a battle of wills for supremacy over the island. Season 3 was better than good, and Lost was certainly the best show of 2007.
Oscar Dahl ranked Lost 2nd. He says…
After a dark, slow-moving six-episode run in the fall of 2006, Lost finished off its third season with a vengeance in 2007. The final episode was perhaps the best episode of television in all of 2007. It was so good it felt like a movie, and this is all before the gut-punch of a twist that has changed the entire landscape of Lost moving forward. But, besides the twist, there were many other great things about Lost in 2007 – the Others camp, Jacob, Locke’s father, the van, Juliet’s journey, and the list goes on. Anyone who doubted Lost’s staying power after a sometimes underwhelming second season should have no doubts now – Lost is the best drama on network TV.
Gina Scarpa ranked Lost 2nd. She says…
The Lost writers and creators are ballsy. There. I said it. They decided that, in the third season, they could introduce us to a totally new group of people and get us to be interested and care about them. They thought that they could answer SOME of the questions we’ve had since the beginning, yet pose new ones, and have us not get frustrated. They were right.
In 2007, Desmond’s visions, Locke’s father, and the appearance of the mysterious Jacob left us screaming for more. I never thought I’d cry over Charlie’s death but I couldn’t help it as he gave his life to save his friends. Season 3 ended with the possibility that we’re going to jump into the future in season 4 as we saw Jack and Kate off the island. The show never runs out of ways to shock us or reel us in. January 31 can’t come soon enough!
Oscar Dahl ranked The Office 1st. He says…
The Office, despite being a hit just the way it is, decided to not be scared of change. Jim and Pam are a couple, Ryan is now Michael’s boss, Jan turned into a psychopath, and Dwight killed Angela’s cat. The season 3 finale delivered on all levels, and finally appeased “Jam” hopeful across the world. But, most importantly, the series remains laugh-out loud funny at every turn. The Office has already established itself as the best network comedy of the decade and has only gained steam throughout its four seasons. 2007 may have been its best year yet.
Gina Scarpa ranked The Office 1st. She says…
I have no problem admitting it: I am addicted to The Office. I look forward to every Thursday night whether it’s a new episode or a repeat. I own all the seasons on DVD and quote it every opportunity I get. Yes, I’m a superfan. Since the beginning, the show’s plot has relied heavily on Pam and Jim – a will they or won’t they sort of thing. When the two got together in the beginning of season 4, The Office proved that they didn’t need to regurgitate Ross/Rachel to us to keep us interested.
New relationships formed that provided plenty of laughs from Dwight and Angela to Kelly and Darryl. The background characters have gotten more screen time and some of the show’s most classic moments have come from them. Andy realized he was dating a high school student, Kelly moved on from Ryan, Angela dealt with the murder of her cat, Phyllis got married, and Ryan became Michael’s boss. The last new episode made before the writers’ strike was “The Deposition” and it is Steve Carell’s finest performance. Give him the Emmy – and give me more episodes of The Office!
Debbie Chang ranked The Office 4th. She says…
The Office is definitely the funniest thing on TV today. Everyone in the cast consistently brings a perfectly tuned performance, each playing off the other. The Office has some of the most underrated actors in its cast, each consistently bringing perfectly tuned performances every week.
One of my favorite moments was when Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) sings ABBA’s “Take a Chance on Me” to Angela (Angela Kinsey), accompanied by his Cornell a cappella group on speakerphone. And how can I forget Stanley, who counters Dwight’s (Rainn Wilson) offer of Shrute Bucks with a billion Stanley nickels if he never talks to him again. Or how about anytime Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling) opens her mouth? In fact, almost every moment of The Office is so memorable that it’s hard not to go on and on and on about it.
Gina Scarpa ranked Prison Break 5th. She says…
Prison Break got back to its roots in 2007, throwing Michael Scofield into prison once again and needing to break out. Breaking out of any prison once seems pretty unbelievable and twice is almost incomprehensible. Somehow, the show comes off in a way where we can imagine a guy like Scofield being able to pull off this feat twice.
In the beginning of 2007, Michael was captured by Panamanian authorities and thrown into Sona prison along with T-Bag, Bellick, and Mahone of all people. A group known only as The Company kidnapped LJ and Sara, telling Lincoln to make sure his brother breaks a very valuable prisoner out of Sona. In the process, Sara was killed and Michael stopped playing by their rules.
New characters Susan B. Anthony and Lechero have added to the show’s already full and talented cast. Michael and Lincoln can’t trust anyone around them. Susan is a tough-as-nails agent for The Company and delivered Sara’s head in a box to the brothers. Lechero will just as soon send his men to kill Michael as help him further himself in his prison.
As 2007 comes to a close, Michael was pulled out of Sona after the Panamanian authorities found him to be too much of a disruption. He’ll be put into solitary confinement where he’ll have to talk his way out. Mahone got a free pass out of Sona in exchange for his testimony back in the States but he was so strung out that he’ll be heading back to Panama and the deal is off. LJ is still alive but his life is in the hands of his father and his uncle. The show has kept fans on the edge of their seats and wanting more for the last two years. No doubt 2008 will bring more shocking events, deaths and escape plans.
Don Williams ranked Pushing Daisies 4th. He says…
Pushing Daisies isn’t a show for everyone. It’s like CSI set in a fairytale land, with bright colors, quirky characters, and whip-smart dialogue distracting from the grisly murders on display. It’s jam-packed with so much whimsy and style that I can easily see why some people would be turned off by it. However, those people are missing out on what is easily one of the most original, wonderful shows to hit the airwaves in years.
The thing that makes the series a can’t-miss experience, aside from the visual splendor and amazing writing, is the cast. There isn’t a funnier ensemble on television. Kristin Chenoweth is a comedic force as the plucky, lovelorn Olive Snook, and Chi McBride is great as Emerson Cod, the one character who seems to resent living in such a bright and sunny world. They nearly steal the show every single week. Pushing Daisies is full of heart, humor and just the right dash of delicious darkness. It’s a perfect concoction.
John Kubicek ranked Pushing Daisies 5th. He says…
The genius of Pushing Daisies can be summed up in two words: Bryan Fuller. The man has a unique voice and imagination that allows him to create new, fantastical worlds that he invites us into. It began with Dead Like Me, a darkly comic series about a group of deceased souls who continue walking the Earth serving as grim reapers. It continued in Wonderfalls, another quirky dramedy about an intellectual slacker who sees and hears inanimate objects come to life and give her missions.
The streak is maintained with Pushing Daisies, the unendingly charming show about a man with a gift to bring dead things back to life. Common themes abound in all of Fuller’s works, and while some people may see it as lazy, I see it as a maturation of his skills. Fuller has a fondness for sassy, smart ladies with boys’ names: Ellen Muth’s George, Caroline Dhavernas’ Jaye and now Anna Friel‘s Chuck. (For that matter, Fuller also worked on Heroes, which featured a plucky waitress named Charlie.) He also loves to pose larger, existential questions about life. Who are we, why are we here, what is our purpose? I may not be sure what the Piemaker’s purpose is, but I’m certain mine is to continue enjoying this delightful show.
Oscar Dahl ranked Pushing Daisies 6th. He says…
Never has darker subject matter been wrapped in such an attractive package. Solving murder mysteries for cash rewards by momentarily bringing the murder victims back to life does not sound like a quirky, comic premise. The Tim Burton/fairy tale visuals are among the most stunning on television and the cast is impeccable. The peripheral touches are what make the show, however: the witty throwaway lines of dialogue, the excessive female cleavage, bizarre guest stars, the make-up on the dead people, the silly business names and the out-of-nowhere musical numbers. Pushing Daisies is the most unique show to come onto network television since Lost, and the best new series of 2007.
So You Think You Can Dance
Gina Scarpa ranked So You Think You Can Dance 6th. She says…
Here’s why I think So You Think You Can Dance is about a million times better than American Idol and one of the best shows of 2007: The finalists all deserve to be there. There’s no Sanjaya or Kevin Covais in their top 20. You get the sense that these people not only love to dance, but worked their butts off to get where they are. The show does a brilliant job of bringing in a diverse group of dancers from hip hop to contemporary to ballroom. They introduce us to songs and styles of dance we may not have learned about had it not been for this amazing show.
The show doesn’t bother with celebrity mentors who have no business teaching anyone anything. Instead, they rely solely on the talent of their resident choreographers, like Mia Michaels and Wade Robson, who both won Emmys this year for their work on the show. Memorable routines were created that we’re still talking about today from Hok and Jaimie’s hummingbird piece to Neil and Lacey’s contemporary routine to Pasha and Lauren’s Transformers-inspired dance.
Cat Deeley, who joined the show as host in season 2, is so good that FOX asked her to ring in the New Year for their annual televised event. We love to hate Mary Murphy’s screaming as she carries on every week and boo Nigel when he gets tough on our favorite dancers. Contestants from the show have previously appeared in or go on to perform in everything from movies, off-Broadway and Broadway shows, performances with renowned dance companies, and special events with musical superstars.
Last month, the top ten dancers wrapped up a 40-city tour and are currently pursuing professional careers in the entertainment world. The show returns for a fourth season in 2008 with more talented dancers and new routines to call our favorites!
Don Williams ranked South Park 3rd. He says…
It’s unfathomable to me that, after being on the air for 11 seasons, South Park is still able to make me cry from laughter almost every week. This year, Trey Parker and Matt Stone ruthlessly skewered the Easter holiday, The Da Vinci Code, Tourette’s syndrome, Guitar Hero, 300, Hillary Clinton, and Bono, amongst other things. The series is still as cutting edge, topical, and hilarious as it was back in 1997.
However, South Park’s biggest accomplishment this year has to be the “Imaginationland” trilogy. These three episodes added up to 90 minutes of everything that makes the show the best comedy on television. The epic event revolved around Muslim extremists attacking Imaginationland, which is the magical place where every fictional character ever dreamed up resides, from Yoda to Freddy Krueger. This allowed Parker and Stone to mercilessly mock the War on Terror, the clichés of action films, characters from their own series, as well as numerous pop culture creations. The result was the funniest thing seen on TV all year.
Oscar Dahl ranked South Park 5th. He says…
At this point, you’re either on board or you’re not. If you’re not, then that’s just too bad for you. Underneath the crass humor South Park is famous for (and that I unconditionally love) is some of the smartest social commentary you’ll find today. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have gotten to the point where they can do whatever they want with South Park, and this freedom has created a show that, from episode to episode, can go anywhere and talk about anything. 2007 saw the 11th season of South Park and the show has shown no signs of slowing down.
Topics such as head lice, giant craps, Tourette’s, lesbian bars, the true meaning of Easter, the suppression of homosexuality, and Guitar Hero were the focus of various episodes, but often the silliest of topics are symbolic of larger issues, and from there comes the satiric genius of South Park. Of course, the occasional episode will have no meaning other than to be funny, like the episode ‘More Crap’ which is about, yes, a giant crap. But, again, South Park’s genius shines through. ‘More Crap’ is hysterical on its own accord, but is also a loving beat for beat parody of the recent indie documentary King of Kong. Only South Park would symbolically replace the original arcade game of Donkey Kong with a giant turd, yet do so lovingly.
Oscar Dahl ranked Survivor 7th. He says…
When a series has been on for as long as Survivor, it starts being taken for granted. The fact remains, though, that Survivor, the original reality-competition series, is still television’s best. Other series can talk about being important social experiments, but Survivor is THE social experiment, stripping away everything from the castaways and forcing them to survive amongst strangers. The reason Survivor hasn’t gotten stale after fifteen seasons is simple – the show is about the people. Relationships will always be different and Survivor features human drama in its purest form. For Survivor to go out of style would be to say that drama is done for.
Survivor: Fiji and Survivor: China graced our screens this past year and both deserve spots in the upper echelon of Survivor lore. Fiji saw Yau-Man Chan and China saw James Clement, two of my favorite players ever on Survivor. Dreamz stabbing Yau-Man in the back will likely go down as a top 10 most memorable moment in Survivor history. China’s landscape and scenery brought something new to Survivor, which doesn’t often happen in a show’s fifteenth season.
It might be time for long-time fans to start appreciating Survivor while it’s still around. While the show still receives very good ratings, the best host in the business Jeff Probst has only signed on through season 16. There’s a solid chance he won’t be back after that, which might signal the end. I hope not, and if I’m Jeff Probst, I stay on Survivor as long as I can, because it’s the best job in the world. But, you never know.
Survivor 16, which premieres in February, will mix new players with all-stars. It’s been eight seasons since the first all-star edition, and the time is ripe for another. Bring back Yau-Man! Bring back Yul Kwon! Bring back James Clement!
Don Williams ranked Ugly Betty 6th. He says…
While certain shows about people dealing with superpowers earned a lot of press this year for skidding into miserable sophomore slumps, Ugly Betty entered its second season with all the poise and grace of a high fashion model. I’ve rarely seen a show that successfully blends so many different tones in each episode. From scene to scene, the series jumps from uproarious comedy to campy soap to emotionally touching character drama. Despite these wild tonal shifts, somehow it never misses a beat.
The glue holding it all together is America Ferrera’s performance as Betty, which deservedly earned her an Emmy this year. Betty is surrounded by some of the most colorful supporting characters, as well as some of the most colorful sets, on television, and it would be easy for her to be overshadowed. Thankfully, Ferrera brings a down-to-earth charm and irresistible sweetness to her character, making it impossible not to root for her even as you laugh madly at the villainous characters attempting to bring her down.
Speaking of villains, Ugly Betty features some of the best on network television. Vanessa Williams gets most of the bitingly catty quips as power-mad fashionista Wilhelmina Slater, and she delivers each with a casual venom that stings even as it makes you laugh. Michael Urie is a nonstop force of hilarity as her eternally loyal assistant Marc, and the plotline this year that gave his snobby character a schlubby boyfriend was particularly inspired. Mark’s number one gal pal Amanda, played by Becki Newton, rivals only Wilhelmina with her bitchy zingers. I crack up just thinking about her performance of Kelis’ “Milkshake” song at Bradford and Wilhelmina’s aborted wedding.
Aside from the flawless cast and addictive, soapy plotlines, the other thing that makes the show a must-see experience is the inspired direction. Not only does each episode move at a gloriously fast pace, but the scene transitions are always extremely clever and well done. Even if you somehow don’t enjoy the sharp dialogue and wonderful performances, you’ll never get bored looking at the screen as the eye-popping visuals fly by.
The show also features a hidden sex dungeon, a frozen sperm scandal, paternity problems, nerd love, a woman who used to be a man, and the occasional talking head in a refrigerator. Really, what more could you ask for in a series?
Debbie Chang ranked Veronica Mars 3rd. She says…
Veronica Mars is smarter than me. It’s true. She is. And that is why I must place Veronica Mars near the top of my list of best shows of 2007.
The year 2007 brought us the second of the third-season mini-mystery arcs on Veronica Mars, this one involving the murder of Dean Cyrus O’Dell (guest star Ed Begley, Jr.). Though not as meticulous or satisfying as the amazing 22-episode-long mystery of who killed Lilly Kane (Amanda Seyfried) in the first season, Dean O’Dell was still a sympathetic enough character to make the mystery of his death compelling.
And while Veronica Mars took a turn towards the bubble gum in its final season, shedding much of the dark, ethically ambiguous noir landscape of seasons past, it still had the quintessential snarkiness and one-liners that I so love.
The series ended with a bang with the last three standalone episodes. Veronica passes her exam to be an official private investigator—although she doesn’t quite beat her dad Keith’s (Enrico Colantoni) score—and finds herself at odds with her current boyfriend Stosh “Piz” Piznarski (Chris Lowell) because of her inability to commit to him completely. She distracts him from their relationship drama with a cheerleader-themed session of hanky-panky, which unfortunately gets leaked onto the Internet. Now things are personal, and Veronica Mars is always at her best when things are personal. Reminiscent of “A Trip to the Dentist” in the first season, in which she discovers who raped her at Shelly Pomroy’s party before the start of the series, Veronica investigates the Hearst College campus with a vengeance, eventually finding and sticking it to the culprits.
Although it was a disappointment to all when Veronica Mars wasn’t renewed for a fourth season, it went out on a perfect, dark note in the series finale, “The Bitch is Back.” The finale brought the show back to its noir roots, with the two Mars protagonists perpetrating shady acts and once again becoming Neptune, California’s least favorite duo.