The spectrum of this list is going to include Summer '06 and Fall '06 TV shows. I wanted to include Spring '06 to give Arrested Development and The West Wing one last chance, but the quality of of TV changed dramatically over the summer making it hard to rank them. I'll leave it to the Emmy's to give those shows their dues. (I doubt they will)
The main things looked for in the shows when determining their ranking:
entertainment! - including the guilty kind
10 - Project Runway: This was actually the hardest choice because it came down to kicking other shows off the list, specifically Gilmore Girls, The 4400 and Nip/Tuck. But they respectively lacked plot, acting and entertainment. I know people get appalled at the very existence of reality TV, but good realty TV requires a much higher quality of production and creativity to keep the viewers interested and make it decent, compared to TV drama.
9 - The Amazing Race: I promise that this is the last realty show on the list. The rough draft didn't even have two realty shows on it. This show made the list because of the great job done in casting, editing, creativity and execution. Oh, and the fact that you can't help but get completely engulfed into the show.
8 - ER: I miss the theme song, but the addition of John Stamos' character has given new life to this TV classic. I see it finishing this season strong and don't worry about its next season, which was originally thought to be its last. If they can continue to bring in a couple of solid new characters and get rid of a couple of old/tired ones (KOVAC!) then I don't see why it can't go on for another 2 or 3 seasons. Michael Crichton's the man.
7 - LOST: If you're saying "OMG LOST IS #7! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!?!?!?" then you obviously haven't watched this season. Seasons one and two would have easily been in the top two of this list, but this season came to a screeching halt. There has been very little plot development, and no major character development. The show is still very well made and still has a tight hold on its fans, but it definitely seems to be struggling to find ways to keep the story going.
6 - Heroes: This is just a plain cool, fun show. The number of characters that it has really helps it because you get an excellent variety people to relate to, love or hate. The plot is pretty solid too, again because there are so many story lines going on at once. Once all the characters start mixing together it'll be interesting to see what happens with the show. It'll either bomb or become huge. Right now the show approaches the season in segments, using commercials to keep the audience in suspense on how things will turn out. (i.e. "Save the cheerleader, save the world" "Are you on the list?") It's all very comic book-esque, (including very little happening in each episode) but it could work as long as they don't make the stories too weird. (DC World...)
5 - 30 Rock: Funny, funny, funny. I feel like maybe the whole NBC Thursday Comedy Night should be here. But I'll use 30 Rock to represent them all since it's the only one I watch and the one I find the funniest. Tina Fey has a good mix of the observational humor that can be seen in The Office, but also will include funny jabs at current events. PS - did anyone know how funny Alec Baldwin is?!?!? The only thing I'd like see change is Tina Fey's performance. She reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld when reading her lines. She laughs during them...
4 - Grey's Anatomy: Sex and medicine. Could it get any better? At first the season didn't really go anywhere, but then it picked up. The show still has a great combo of humor and drama, the acting is solid, production is high quality and story line started looking at characters other than Meredith, which helped a lot.
3 - House, M.D.: Okay, there is something better than sex and medicine. Medicine, pain killers and sarcasm! Gregory House is the best character on television and Hugh Laurie the best actor. Dr. House is hilarious, the show keeps your attention with the medical mystery du jour and the show has developed a decent long term plot.
2 - Brothers and Sisters: Brothers and what??? What is this show that came in second? Yes, true, this is not the most watched show, but that doesn't change the fact that it's excellent. I may be slightly biased because I too come from a larger family and can easily relate, but I think most people can see their own family dynamics in this show. This is also the main reason why the show is number 2 because of how real the drama is. You may watch it and think that it's unbelievable, but I assure you it's not all that crazy. The inner workings of a family are generally much deeper and secret than the public knows, but this show does a good job of showing the tension that only exists within a family.
1 - Battlestar Galactica: Again.. What is this dork-ary? This show is by far the best show on TV. I don't know when this story was written, but it feels like they had everything planned out 4 seasons ahead of time, which is ironic cause it started as nothing more than a mini-series. I shouldn't forget that this is actually a remake of the original, but this has become far more developed. The story is non-stop. You can't find another show where you see such major developments in each episode without it going on crazy random tangents. And the show also has so many different aspects to it. You could watch it to see if they make it to Earth, or to see what the cylons really are, or how character relations develop. It's very much like LOST where two people can be into very different parts of the show. The show has a complete mythology that could have a class dedicated to it. The acting is also above average, which is surprising since it's on the Sci-Fi channel. The thing that surprised me the most though was the production value. You honestly feel like you're watching a big budget movie with every episode. (A good big budget movie.) All of you right now should legally or illegally download the mini-series, season 1, 2 and 3.0. Season 3.5 starts soon!!!!
Funny thing to point out after all of this. My number 1 and 2 shows have been scheduled against each other for the spring half of the season. I need to get a TiVo... and maybe a life.
I'm sorry to Gilmore Girls and CSI:, I still love you. Prisonbreak, we may give you another chance if I can find the time. 4400, you'll always be my #1 summer hit guilty pleasure.