It's all been leading up to this! I complete my Emmy Wish List with this year's best shows on television. These comedies and dramas are unlike anything else on TV. They utilize fantastic actors to create unique characters with their genius writing. Every element is in the right place. These shows are the reason I love television so much.
Outstanding Comedy Series
30 Rock - Anyone who says that this was a bad year for 30 Rock clearly stopped watching about halfway through the season. "Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001," "Anna Howard Shaw Day," "Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter," and "The Moms" were some of the show's greatest episodes. Despite a rush of strong comedy newcomers, the series was able to maintain the level of greatness it's established the past three years.
Better Off Ted - Never heard of it? That's too bad. But it's probably because Ted was barely noticed while it was on the air. The ridiculous workplace comedy makes me laugh more than any other show on this list and features a hilarious ensemble, including Jay Harrington, Portia De Rossi, and Jonathan Slavin (who unfortunately didn't submit himself for Emmy consideration).
Glee - To be quite honest, this season's most hyped comedy almost didn't make my list. The writing is inconsistent, the characters are flat, and the continuity is nonexistent. The freshman series had a whole slew of problems with its first season that I will most likely save for another blog post. But when Glee is good, it's great. The show's best episodes deliver with strong comedy, touching drama, and fun musical numbers. No other show on television can do the same.
Modern Family - This year's best new show may also be the best comedy of the year. Many have claimed that Modern Family redefined the traditional family sitcom and brought it to the 21st century. There isn't a single weak link in the show's large ensemble cast, and sub-par episodes were few and far between.
Parks & Recreation - Parks surprised everyone by becoming one of this year's funniest shows. It surpassed The Office this season in terms of quality and comedy. As the second season progressed, the characters began to take form, and comedic stars like Nick Offerman and Aubrey Plaza were born.
Ugly Betty - The series experienced a creative resurgence during its fourth and final season. Betty has always been a little different, but that's what makes it so great. The series ended on a high note with several strong episodes that left me in tears week after week.
Honorable Mention: Party Down & The United States of Tara
Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad - As I've said several times, I haven't gotten to see season three, so Breaking Bad's inclusion on my list may be a bit premature. But the first two seasons are incredible, and apparently the show just keeps getting better. Even if season three was half the quality of season two, it would still earn a spot here.
Damages - No season can match its first, but the legal thriller is still amazing. With time jumps and plot twists like nothing else on television, Damages knows how to deliver drama. Plus, it doesn't hurt to have incredible actresses like Glenn Close and Rose Byrne headlining the series with Lily Tomlin and Martin Short as guest stars.
Friday Night Lights - Only nine episodes have aired so far on NBC, but I can already tell that season four is my favorite season since the first. The move to East Dillon High was a refreshing change that the show needed. Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, and the rest of the cast continue to deliver with the intense realism they've had for three years.
Lost - The final season didn't give all of the mythological answers viewers were looking for, but the show's final two and a half hours were emotionally satisfying. The series became less about science fiction and mysteries and more about the characters and the love they experienced with one another.
Mad Men - Just when we thought the two-time Emmy-winning series couldn't get any better, season three delivered drama on a completely different level than the years before. Jon Hamm and January Jones gave their best performances of the series, and the writing (as well as everything else) was truly excellent. It's hard to imagine anything else topping that.
Parenthood - When casting Peter Krause and Lauren Graham, it's hard to go wrong. This Spring's new show gave an interesting look into family life and found an amazing actress in the young Mae Whitman. The series has the potential to do great things in the years to come.
Honorable Mention: Southland & Big Love
Coming Soon: My predictions for the 2010 Emmy nominations!
Six Feet Under Season 3
Episode 9 - The Opening