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Herc Picks The Best TV
Of 2009 and The Decade!!

I am – Hercules!! BEST SCRIPTED HOURLONGS OF 2009 1. Mad Men (AMC) The least predictable show on television, and one of the hardest things to predict is when it’ll make me yelp with alarm or laughter. This season gave Sterling Cooper the John Deere account and took us back into that faraway world of Hiltons, Rockefellers and Kennedys. Can’t get enough of Sterling, Draper and the newest big addition, the wily Britisher Lane Pryce. New episodes return this summer. 2. Lost (ABC) A contender for the best season to date, thanks in part to the franchise’s full-on embrace of all the nifty sci-fi at its core. Loved the look on Richard Alpert’s face when Jim LaFleur greeted him by name. Loved Hurley’s conversations with the Changs. New episodes return Feb. 2. 3. Battlestar Galactica (SciFi) I judge the ending wildly unsatisfying, but the events precipitated by Tom Zarek’s biggest move yet made for some of the year’s most thrilling TV. DVD prequel movie “Battlestar Galactica: The Plan” hits Syfy Jan. 10. Prequel series “Caprica” launches on Syfy Jan. 22. 4. Breaking Bad (AMC) Loved Fatboy Mohawk and the bicycle kid, loved the hottest landlord on the planet, loved Walter’s parking-lot staredown with the rival meth kings, loved the fate of Danny Trejo’s Tortuga, loved loved loved crooked lawyer Saul Goodman. New episodes return March 7. 5. Dollhouse (Fox) Did you think I would leave a Joss Whedon show off my top ten list? Because that’s what I was thinking for a while there! This crazily unconventional hunk of sci-fi weirdness got off to a terrible start, but it’s currently on a way-too-late crusade of redemption. (If you haven’t ponied up $2 for “lost” episode “Epitaph One,” get on that already.) If the series continues to improve at this rate, expect to see the final three installments on my top 10 for 2010 as well. New episodes return Jan. 8. 6. 24 (Fox) A return to form that brings Jack Bauer back to my top 10 after a multi-year absence! I thought storming the White House through its basement absurd till I found out all the terrorists really needed for access were a tuxedo and a pretty blonde wig. Following a nasty late-season stumble, Kim Bauer’s return simultaneously redeemed the franchise and the character. New episodes return Jan. 17. 7. Friday Night Lights (DirecTV) Hot new girls from the bad side of town were brought in to replace college-bound Tyra and Lyla. Williams, Riggins and Saracen sought lives beyond the Panthers. Eric and Tami (again) went to work for different schools. Julie went to a gay bar and began to suspect Jesus is a lie. Not only do DirecTV subscribers get to watch the Sugar Bowl on Fox tomorrow, they get to watch primetime’s best soap without commercials. New episodes return Jan. 6. 8. Big Love (HBO) The family dated a foreigner, Bill masterminded a casino, Roman went on trial, Nicki worked in the D.A.’s office, Sarah and Heather went to the prom, everyone visited the Joseph Smith shrine in New York, Wanda’s brother turned up, Margie launched a TV career, Barb found herself on the outs with the Mormons, Bill found a possible Mormon smoking gun, Bill & Roman teamed up to fight crime, and the Greenes and their Moe-like henchman remained needle-pegging creepy! New episodes return Jan. 10. 9. True Blood (HBO) This show is no “Buffy” and it’s no “Six Feet Under,” but it’s leagues better than “Vampire Diaries” and it’s growing on me. Godric was a terribly cool character. Let’s hope they put some Frankensteins in the mix this year. New episodes return in June. 10. Fringe (Fox) We finally got to meet William Bell, who turned out to be Leonard Nimoy. I liked that bowling alley guy, Sam Weiss, and the episode about the rogue Observer was plenty keen. Let’s hope “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Office” and “CSI” don’t wipe it off the schedule this spring. New episodes return Jan. 11 and 14. Best Scripted Hourlongs of 2008

1. The Wire 2. Mad Men 3. Battlestar Galactica 4. Lost 5. Fringe 6. Pushing Daisies 7. Breaking Bad 8. Friday Night Lights 9. True Blood 10. The Shield

Best Scripted Hourlongs of 2007

1. Battlestar Galactica 2. Veronica Mars 3. Lost 4. Pushing Daisies 5. Tell Me You Love Me 6. The Sopranos 7. Mad Men 8. Heroes 9. Rome 10. Brotherhood

Best Scripted Hourlongs of 2006

1. Veronica Mars 2. The Wire 3. Heroes 4. 24 5. Studio 60 6. The Sopranos 7. Lost 8. Battlestar Galactica 9. The OC 10. (tie) Brotherhood 10. (tie) Kidnapped

Best Scripted Hourlongs of 2005

1. Battlestar Galactica 2. Veronica Mars 3. Gilmore Girls 4. Lost 5. Rome 6. 24 7. Six Feet Under 8. The Inside 9. Everwood 10. The OC

Best Scripted Hourlongs of 2004

1. Angel 2. Lost 3. Wonderfalls 4. 24 5. Gilmore Girls 6. The Wire 7. The Sopranos 8. The OC 9. Veronica Mars 10. The L Word

Best Scripted Hourlongs of 2003

1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer 2. Alias 3. Gilmore Girls 4. Angel 5. Karen Sisco 6. The OC 7. 24 8. Line of Fire 9. The West Wing 10. (tie) Carnivale 10. (tie) Six Feet Under 10. (tie) The Wire

Best Scripted Hourlongs of 2002

1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2. 24 3. Gilmore Girls 4. Firefly 5. The West Wing 6. Alias 7. Angel 8. (tie) Oz 8. (tie) Six Feet Under 8. (tie) The Sopranos 8. (tie) The Wire

Best Scripted Hourlongs of 2001

1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer 2. Gilmore Girls 3. 24 4. The Sopranos 5. Alias 6. The West Wing 7. Ed 8. Six Feet Under

Best Scripted Hourlongs of 2000

1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer 2. The West Wing 3. Gilmore Girls 4. ER 5. Angel 6. Roswell 7. Ed 8. (tie) Boston Public 8. (tie) Gideon’s Crossing 8. (tie) Oz 8. (tie) The Sopranos

(NOTE ON THE YEAR TWO-THOUSAAAAAAND!! Judd Apatow’s “Freaks and Geeks” and Glenn Gordon Caron’s “Now and Again” were both 1999 launches that aired episodes in 2000. I’ve no real memory of my thinking at the time, but I assume they’re not on my 2000 list because they were long cancelled by the end of 2000. As our minds drift to the decade’s best, I now acknowledge their absences as ridiculous and glaring omissions and beg the forgiveness of the readership.) 30 BEST SCRIPTED HALF-HOURS OF THE DECADE

1. TV Funhouse (CC) 2. South Park (CC) 3. The Venture Bros. (CN) 4. Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO) 5. The Office (NBC) 6. Weeds (Showtime) 7. Futurama (Fox) 8. Lucy, The Daughter of the Devil (CN) 9. Andy Barker, P.I. (NBC) 10. Important Things With Demetri Martin (CC) 11. Undeclared (Fox) 12. The Tick (ABC) 13. The Sarah Silverman Program (CC) 14. Home Movies (UPN/CN) 15. King of the Hill (Fox) 16. SNL Thursdays (NBC) 17. Justice League Unlimited (CN) 18. The Life And Times Of Tim (HBO) 19. Andy Richter Controls The Universe (Fox) 20. Wonder Showzen (MTV2) 21. Entourage (HBO) 22. The United States of Tara (Showtime) 23. 30 Rock (NBC) 24. Norm (ABC) 25. Flight of the Conchords (HBO) 26. Arrested Development (Fox) 27. Secret Diary of a Call Girl (Showtime) 28. The Comeback (HBO) 29. The Office (BBC America) 30. Better Off Ted (ABC)


1. Big Brother (CBS) 2. Survivor (CBS) 3. Project Greenlight (Bravo) 4. The Comedians of Comedy (CC) 5. The Real World/Road Rules Challenge (MTV) 6. My Life On the D-List (Bravo) 7. The Amazing Race (CBS) 8. The Bad Girls Club (Oxygen) 9. To Catch A Predator (NBC) 10. Fear Factor (NBC) 11. Kill Reality (E!) 12. The Real World (MTV) 13. Beauty and the Geek (WB/CW) 14. Wipeout (ABC) 15. Last Comic Standing (NBC) 16. WifeSwap (ABC) 17. Can’t Get A Date (VH1) 18. Celebrity Mole (ABC) 19. Celebrity Apprentice (NBC) 20. Blind Date (syndicated) 21. The Adam Carolla Project (TLC) 22. The Osbournes (MTV) 23. Kid Nation (CBS) 24. The Bachelor (ABC) 25. Shipwrecked (BBC America)


1. Dinner For Five (IFC) 2. The Howard Stern Show (E!/On Demand) 3. Too Late With Adam Carolla (CC) 4. Da Ali G Show (HBO) 5. Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher (CC) 6. The Charlie Rose Show (PBS) 7. Sit Down Comedy With David Steinberg (TVL) 8. Shatner’s Raw Nerve (Biography) 9. Iconoclasts (Sundance) 10. Inside The Actors Studio (Bravo)


1. Late Night With Conan O’Brien (NBC) 2. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (CC) 3. The Late Show With David Letterman (CBS) 4. The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien (NBC) 5. The Al Franken Show (Sundance) 6. Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC) 7. Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn (CC) 8. Late World With Zach (VH1) 9. The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (CBS) 10. The Colbert Report (CC)

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