TV

The Best TV Shows of 2010

Running the gamut from the ever-present to the new and novel, PopMatters' TV picks prove that, as a medium, the small screen challenges the big at every entertainment (and aesthetic) level.

TV Show: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Network: FX

Cast: Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olson, Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, Danny DeVito

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/i/its_always_sunny_in_philadelphia3.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 35

Display Width: 200It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
FX

Though difficult to top the viral sensation known as “Kitten Mittens”, the sixth season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia still provided plenty of dark-hearted laughs for devout followers of Dennis, Dee, Mac, and Charlie. Kicking off the year on the right foot, “Mac Fights Gay Marriage” was one of only a few spoof episodes in 2010, a year in which Sunny was mainly character driven. The show has always balanced social satire with the gang’s personal squabbling, but recently the FX program seems to be becoming more and more fascinated with their character’s wild, often offensive, antics. No complaints here. After 58 episodes, the audience knows these characters well enough to follow them anywhere. Whether it’s Sweet Dee’s mystery pregnancy, Mac and Dennis appearing in black face for Lethal Weapon 5, or Charlie cracking under the strain of his rat-bashing job, Sunny proudly retains its title as the best adult program on television. Ben Travers

 

TV Show: Tosh.0

Network: Comedy Central

Cast: Daniel Tosh

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/t/tosh.01.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 34

Display Width: 200Tosh.0
Comedy Central

Cable has been trying to tap into the whole "viral" video phenomenon for a few years now, with everything from VH-1 excellent Web Junk 20 (only when the equally brilliant Patrice O'Neal was host) to the lesser E! sensibilities of G-4's Web Soup. Thankfully, Comedy Central has decided to go more dark and biting, bringing on acerbic host Daniel Tosh to mock everything YouTube generation holds dear. Riffing unrelentingly on the stupidity of those who would risk life and limb for a few moments of Internet fame, he always finds the right combination of ridicule and rationalize to win over the viewer. That Tosh is also laugh out loud funny helps as well. As long as there are adolescent lunkheads injuring their testicles for the joy of others and fame starved no-talents in need of a reality check/"redemption", this show will continue to soar -- and so will it's hilarious host. Bill Gibron

 

TV Show: Sons of Anarchy

Network: FX

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Ron Perlman, Mark Boone Junior, Dayton Callie, Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/s/sons-of-anarchy.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 33

Display Width: 200Sons of Anarchy
FX

Fully embracing its Shakespearean roots, Sons of Anarchy boldly forced familial secrets and lies to the forefront of Kurt Sutter’s brilliant biker gang drama. Featuring brilliant guest performances by the likes of Hal Holbrook, Paula Malcomson and others, the show’s third season brought most of the cast (including Ron Perlman as the Sons’ pater familias) to Belfast in search of Abel, the abducted son of club Vice President Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam). The series’ unique use of cover songs, most notably series star Katey Sagal’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire”, continued to hammer home the dire straits these characters find themselves in week after violent week. Ryan Hurst, as the second-generation Son Opie, shined brightly, especially in the season finale, finally achieving what fans can only hope is a small amount of peace and personal forgiveness. Sagal, as the blunt matriarch Gemma Teller, continues to give the best performance on television. Kevin Brettauer

 

TV Show: Supernatural

Network: The CW

Cast: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/s/supernatural-season_6.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 32

Display Width: 200Supernatural
The CW

Supernatural successfully swerved away from the X-Files pitfall, concluding its five-year, Apocalypse-themed story arc without unnecessarily stretching it out (along with the show’s credibility). The Season Five finale saw the Winchester brothers staving off the end times at the cost of younger sibling Sam’s life. Season Six picked up with a new show-runner (Sera Gamble in place of still-Executive Producer Eric Kripke) and a new story arc. The once-grizzled Dean has become a harried suburbanite while formerly sweet Sammy has embraced soullessness upon his surprise return from the dead. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki display fine acting chops, retaining five seasons’ worth of characterization, while convincingly adapting the brothers to their new life roles as they unsteadily trying to find their way back to who they used to be and deal with the supernatural fallout of an averted Apocalpyse. Despite the change in storyline dynamics, at its core, Supernatural remains centered around the “for-better-or-worse” relationship of two brothers. The well-researched demons, angels, and occasional “monsters of the week” are just an added benefit to drive this relationship forward. Lana Cooper

 

TV Show: Conan

Network: TBS

Cast: Conan O'Brien, Andy Richter, Jimmy Vivino

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/c/conan2.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 31

Display Width: 200Conan
TBS

Yes, for a few weeks there were lots of jokes, self-deprecating with more than a hint of genuine anger, about our man losing The Tonight Show and shuffling over to the basic-cable home of Family Guy reruns and edited broadcasts of American Pie movies. But something happened as compulsive talk-show host Conan O'Brien adjusted to his new TBS show: he only got looser, funnier, and weirder. A scaled-down set, a more involved audience, and the invaluable improvisations of Andy Richter have given the new show a more intimate, comedy-club atmosphere that leaves Jay Leno's needy lameness in the dust. Don't be surprised if the networks start calling back in four or five years -- or if O'Brien stays put in his welcome new home. Jesse Hassenger

 

Next Page

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image