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TONY [320x200].jpgTime Out New York released their list of the top 50 TV shows of the decade. They pointed out that, although the decade was [expletive] for the auto industry and pager salesmen, “the aughts were remarkably kind to television…The small screen is no longer the ghetto for actors and production values that it once was.”
True enough: TV proved not just a starting point, but especially a destination for many top actresses: Kyra Sedgwick, Holly Hunter, Edie Falco, Glenn Close, Rachel Griffiths, and Sally Field may have launched big-screen careers, but their small-screen impact over the last ten years has been substantial. HBO and Showtime broke new ground with The Wire, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Weeds, and Dexter, among countless others. Battlestar Galactica made an enormous comeback fans of the original 70s show never would have predicted. Sitcoms succeeded, died because of reality television – itself a juggernaut – and then came back with 30 Rock, The Office (both the US and UK versions) and How I Met Your Mother.
If you’re like me, you’ll read this list, scan for your favorites, and then think, where’s Buffy? Where’s Angel? Well, TONY knows this about me (and perhaps you): “our only requirement was that the program made its biggest impact after the turn of the millennium (so calm yourselves, Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans).” OK, we’re calm. When you realize that both Buffy and Angel debuted last decade, then you’ll realize you’re old. And then, you’ll go back to the list and take another look. Firefly’s there, at least (#18). Phew – now the Whedonites can relax; Joss Whedon’s groundbreaking – and not conventionally embraced – space western is in the same ten as Freaks and Geeks, the Gilmore Girls, Six Feet Under and Lost.
Wait a minute…with its addictive, twisting plotlines and rabid fan base,”Lost” isn’t in the top 10? How is that possible? Perhaps it was edged out by “24,” which reinvented real-time programming? Nope. The top ten (numbering 1 to 10): are The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, The Wire, Friday Night Lights, Arrested Development, The Sopranos, The Office (UK version), Mad Men, Battlestar Galactica, Veronica Mars and 30 Rock. I love Veronica Mars, but did it change TV more than Lost? Not in my book, but then again, my book involves looking at Lost Season Six episode titles and imagining what those episodes are about based solely on the titles.
Lost ranks #13, and 24 is at #38. Even Glee (#32) and The Soup (#37) jacked a higher position than 24.
This just in, Jack Bauer is now rumored to be setting up a perimeter around the TONY national headquarters, and is cooperating with Widmore Industries and the Dharma Initiative to protest this list’s numbering.
Did your favorites make the list? What was left out? What’s your favorite/most inspiring show of the past ten years?

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