Opinion: Maurice’s Desert Island Picks of 2011 (Best Television)


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Not since the Seinfeld show has the ridiculous been so darn funny.

If you’ve experienced the absurd humor in the Danny Glover starrer Mystery Team then you have an inkling of what to expect from this situational comedy about a study group at a second rate community college.

The cast is great with comic genius like the aforementioned Danny Glover and Chevy Chase (Vacation, Fletch), along with Joel McHale (Talk Soup, Robot Chicken) and Ken Jeong (The Hangover).

This is the current king of comedy.

 

A Game of Thrones

I’m hard pressed to recall another fantasy television show that isn’t B grade.  Prior to this, I think the market was completely cornered by Rob Tapert (Xena, Hercules, Legend of the Seeker).  A Game of Thrones is decidedly better funded and produced.  Although season 1 was very heavily slanted toward the former in “Sword and Fantasy”, future seasons promise to introduce more of the dragon and monster goodness.

It’s hard to describe the show to the uninitiated, as there really isn’t, nor has there been anything quite like it on television.  The show has a little bit of everything on offer.  For the folks that fancy themselves above watching a “fantasy” show, there’s plenty of political intrigue and character studies to gorge on.  For those looking for a feast of the senses there’s ultra violence and debauchery (Conan style) enough to keep you company.  For the rest, well the Dragons are coming.

 

Blue Bloods

It seems like there are two types of shows on television.  Reality tv and Cop shows.  There have to be two cop shows per station.  Heck, even the animal channel has a cop show… that being the case, Blue Bloods manages to stand above them all.  The show is about a New York family in the law enforcement business.

Tom “Magnum PI” Selleck rounds out a top notch ensemble cast that includes Donnie Wahlberg (Kill Point, Runaway), Len Cariou (Law & Order, Murder She Wrote), Bridget Moynahan (Six Degrees, Sex and The City), and Jennifer Esposito (Law & Order, Rescue Me) as the partner that’ll make every man want to be a cop.

The excellent casting is only half the equation on this show.  The writing (plotting, dialog) are so well thought out and full of heart that you can’t help being riveted.  This is classic drama.  As strange as it seems, this show feels very much like a highly modern take on the Andy Griffiths Show.

 

Alphas

This is essentially the x-men.  The premise revolves around a scientist who’s discovered the existence of humans with superhuman abilities.  Said abilities may or may not be naturally occurring.  With the help of a team of super-powered recruits and funding from the government, they spend their time tracking down other mutants and frequently stopping those who abuse their capabilities.

Very much in the Marvel comics way — what makes this “superhero” show so special is how grounded it is.  The emphasis is not so much on the fantastical elements, but on the human dynamic.  We spend proportionately more time delving into the characters personal lives which in turn makes the action that much more involving.

If you’ve only brushed by this show, give it another go.  It’s strange to see something of this quality come out of the SyFy channel, but here we are.  Best Supers show.

 

The Mentalist

You know, it just occurred to me that this show is in fact the male version of Bones.  It’s cops instead of squints, but the comparison holds up pretty well.  I digress.  I’m partial to this series over Bones, however.  I find the characters to be more believable.  Bones has a little too big an air of soap.

Of all the detective shows that have attempted to riff on Columbo, this has been the most solidly successful.  Chief among those reasons is the perfectly cast and written role of Patrick Jane (Simon Baker of “The Guardian” fame).  Patrick is exactly like Columbo is one key way, he’s a brilliant deducer.  With his smug upturned smile, he double dares the audience to keep up with him; occasionally giving us hints along the way.  It’s what made Peter Falk so much fun to watch and likewise Simon Baker.

This show is an absolute joy to watch.  You are watching aren’t you.  Do it.

 

Maurice
Original surviving founder of Fanboy Confidential, the podcast, and this supporting website. This is the fruit of his labor, created while on his off days from saving orphaned children from forest fires.

Only some of this is true.

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