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Josie’s Best of 2009

If I just did a Best Shows of 2009 list, it would be Lost all the way down. I love it, I obsess about it, I theorize and ponder and squeal with every new episode. All else pales in comparison.

But there were some other, non-Lost moments on TV in 2009, and so I offer a highly personal and impressionist list of Best TV Stuff. (And yes, I know that “Best” means just one. But I don’t want to play favorites, so a few of these are ties.)

Best Show: Lost

Best Episode:
1. The Incident
2. The Incident (it deserves both spots)

Best Lines:
1. “Bloop” (Hurley, Lost, The Lie)
2. “Chuck me” (Casey, Chuck, Chuck vs. the Ring)

Best Actor/Actress:
1. Michael Emerson
2. Jorge Garcia
3. Elizabeth Mitchell
[4. Edited to add Enver Gojak--how could I forget him?]

Best Guest Star:
1. Scott Bakula on Chuck
2. The Man in Black on Lost

Best Score
1. Fringe
2. Lost

Best Soundtrack:
1. Chuck
2. Glee

Best Surprise Couple:
1. Sawyer and Juliet (Lost)
2. Sayid and Ben (Lost)

Best Action Sequence: Gimme Some Truth (FlashForward)

Best Hand-to-Hand Combat
: Sawyer and Jack (Lost, The Incident)

Best Sight Gag: Astrid and Walter in the tinfoil hats (Fringe, Of Human Action)

Best Sex Scene
: Chuck and Sara (Chuck, Chuck vs. the Colonel)

Best (I certainly hope it isn’t a) Death Scene: Juliet (Lost, The Incident)

Best Surprise: The Vampire Diaries aren’t awful once you get past the first few episodes.

Best Canceled Show: The Unusuals and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (I’m not counting Dollhouse, since it will run a few more episodes on 2010)

Most Improved: Dollhouse (and TTSCC, too—it got really great at the end)

Worst Series Finale: Battlestar Galactica

Worst Pilot I Actually Bothered to Watch: The Forgotten

Stuff I Watched and Loved in 2009, even though it aired earlier: I finally watched Rome in 2009, and loved it. I really enjoyed the first season of True Blood, and I’m excited for the next season to come out on DVD. I’ve started watching Supernatural, and it’s pretty good so far (I’m still on Season One).

Best Book
: Stephen King, Under the Dome

(Screencap courtesy of fringefiles.com. Thanks, guys!)


  1. Hi Josie,

    I just finished "Under the Dome" a few nights ago and was a little disappointed by the ending. The rest of the book was marvellous... though, all told, I think I preferred Duma Key. Not a bad effort though. That's two great stories from King in a row.

    Just started Stieg Larsson's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo". Not usually my cup of tea... but friends won't stop banging on about the "Millenium" trilogy, so I'm jumping on the bandwagon.

  2. Great list, Josie.

    I tried really hard with Vampire Diaries. Honestly, I did. I simply couldn't handle the marathon, though. It felt like I had to go to the dentist every night. But if you say it's not bad, I'll give it another shot when it comes back.

  3. Oh, and Dan gave me "Under the Dome" for Christmas. I haven't started it yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Even though it's so huge that it's hard to lift onto one's lap to read.

  4. I like your inclusion of things that didn't necessarily come out in 2009 that you got to enjoy for the first time. For me, that list would include "Freaks and Geeks" and "Deadwood" (working my way through Season 3 now).

    I would choose a different best episode of Lost. There were several episodes I consider a 4.5 (including 'The Incident'), but the only episode I'd give a 5 was 'LeFleur.' I guess that means I agree that Sawyer and Juliet were the best surprise couple. :)

    I'm surprised you went with The Man in Black over Jacob for your guest star list. It's like the Oscars, where mere minutes of screen time can net you a Best Supporting Actor/Actress trophy. :)

    I think I may have gone with Bruce Boxleitner as Awesome's dad on Chuck as a favorite guest star (second to Scott Bakula, of course). I'm intensely amused by the irony that Chuck is obsessed with 'Tron,' but fails to notice that Awesome's dad looks like one of the main characters from that movie. Or have I just missed some subtle references?

  5. Paul, I agree that the ending of Under the Dome was a bit lackluster--going with the allegory theme, it certainly didn't have the emotional force of Obama's election night, which made me cry like one of those Beatle-mania girls in the 60s. But it was so scary for non-horror reasons that I sometimes had to put it down...

    I really enjoyed Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the follow-up. The plot could be standard airport-novel pablum, but the characters felt really alive to me, and I'm eagerly awaiting the third book, which comes out in the US this summer.

    Billie, the trick is to think of it not as a book, but as a smallish side table that can, conveniently, be read for fun.

    Jess, I dropped Deadwood in the middle of Season Two: I thought it was getting a little too caught up in its own Shakespeareana. Should I resume it? I do have a passion for the Wild West.

    LaFleur is really good, too. I even considered doing Some Like It Hoth, because I love Hurley episodes and think Miles is pretty nifty. But The Incident felt like such a gut-punch: I guess season finales have an advantage.

  6. Josie, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest doesn't come out until summer, 2010 in the US? Wow! It's been out since October here. That's harsh :o(

  7. "I like your inclusion of things that didn't necessarily come out in 2009 that you got to enjoy for the first time."

    On that note, let me state my obsessive viewing habits this past year. If I have to recommend just 5 old shows that I watched last year, I will say:

    Babylon 5, because it is a cool science fiction show with a big 5-year-long story arc that was designed before the show ever aired. It has the realistic down-to-earth feeling that Firefly and Battlestar Galactica later improved upon (as opposed to the more stylized utopian view portrayed by Star Trek).

    Kitchen Confidential, because it is a really funny sitcom set in a restaurant, starring some of our favorite actors:
    - Bradley Cooper (Will from Alias)
    - Nicholas Brendon (Xander from Buffy)
    - John Cho (he's the asian guy in FlashForward)
    - Michael Vartan (Vaughn from Alias, recurring)
    Sadly, it was canceled after 13 episodes.

    Jericho, because it's a suspenseful show about what happens to life in a small town when the USA has been nuked so much that only small areas are habitable and the government has fallen. It was canceled after one season, and then got an additional 7 episodes.

    ER, because it's a good drama. It spans 15 years and I've grown to love some of the characters. The show isn't necessarily revolved around one character; they come and go. Some great people in the beginning were doctors Greene, Ross (played by then-unknown George Clooney), Carter, Weaver. Later on we got the Croatian dr. Kovac, evil Romano, and nurse Lockhart. There were some great episodes set in wartime Africa. And there have been a huge number of spectacular accidents in and around the hospital. County General is not a very safe hospital. ;)

    Connections. This is actually a documentary series. It's about how all the technological advancement in history is connected in the strangest ways. When you look at history, you wonder why it's so easy to see cause and effect when it's so hard to keep up with technology in modern times. The thing is, it wasn't easy then either! You think James Watt ever knew he was about to kick off the Industrial Revolution? Think again. It was every bit a mess of failures and unexpected successes as it is today. James Burke always starts an episode with some mundane or extraordinary invention and then shows you how exactly it was possible that it came into existence.

    But I watched much, much more. I watch so much television that I have actually begun developing television watching jargon among friends! ;) When you finish a show, you "watched it to death" and when you watched all episodes of a running show, you "got current".

    I watched the following shows to death:

    Star Trek: TAS, DS9, VOY, ENT, The Dresden Files, Tru Calling, Eyes, The Inside, Jericho, Babylon 5, Babylon 5 Crusade, Haunted, Pushing Daisies, Connections, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Brimstone, Blackadder, The Office (UK), Extras, Kitchen Confidential, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Paul Merton - The Series

    I got current with the following shows:

    Bones, Heroes, True Blood, The IT Crowd, Scrubs

    And I watched but did not kill or get current:

    Five seasons of ER (only 2 left!), Dark Angel, How I Met Your Mother, Gargoyles, The Office (US), Family Guy, The Simpsons, Becker

    Oh, and some 'new' projects for this year will be (some based on recommendations by you):

    The West Wing, Farscape, The 4400, The Unit, Numb3rs, X-Men, Quantum Leap, The Wire, The Pretender, Spiderman, Six Feet Under, Castle, Invasion, Lie to Me, Supernatural, South Park

    As you can see, I'm using my student years very well. ;) I can't imagine being able to do this when I have a full-time job.

  8. Re: Deadwood. As I'm only a few episodes into Season 3, I can't say if it is really worth your while to push to the end. So far, I thought Season 1 was the best. Season 2 had its moments, including some strong material at the end, but overall wasn't as good as Season 1 for me. I've heard mixed opinions on Season 3. Some say it was strong, others say it wasn't up to Season 1.

    I will say, that even though I get a bit lost in the language sometimes (the Shakespeare, not the profanity), I'm very addicted to the various characters, what happens to them, and how they interact. So I eagerly look forward to each new episode (even knowing that the series doesn't exactly end with closure). I find the overall arc of the show pretty engaging.

    Remco, you really do watch a lot of TV. You make me feel better about my own addiction, because I don't think I could even come close to consuming that many shows in a year. :) Looks like you've got some good stuff on tap for 2010. What is your secret? Do you skip class? Do you not sleep?

  9. I thought season one of Deadwood was the best. The series unfortunately got canceled before it ended -- it was supposed to come to a conclusion in season four -- because its creator David Milch decided he wanted to do another series (the name of which I can't remember) and HBO wouldn't pay for both. Or something like that.

  10. Jess,
    Well, first and foremost: I don't pay for everything. That's just impossible, especially if you don't receive American television. I did just buy complete sets of Friends, The Office (UK) and Blackadder, and I bought season 1 of Dollhouse a few months ago. But when you watch 90+ seasons of television shows in a year, you can't buy it all. (Besides, some stuff isn't even released on DVD at all.)

    And the rest is up to how much free time you have. I'm keeping some statistics, and it's now at a mean of 6 episodes per day. It takes an hour by train to get to the university, and then an hour back, so I can watch 2 episodes there. And then it's not too much trouble to watch another 4 episodes in the evening.

    It's still a bit much, and because it's a lot easier to watch another episode than -say- start computer programming, it gets in the way of some other goals. So my New Year's resolution is that I will reduce watching TV to a mean of 3 episodes a day. (seriously though, I came up with that a few months ago)

    What are your new year's resolutions? :)

  11. Above comment should have been adressed to Josie, not Jess. I have gotten lost in all the individual goodies. Sorry.

  12. Peter -- so sorry to have to delete your comment, but it contained possible a spoiler (that will hopefully turn out to be false) about the final season of Lost.


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