Empire Magazine recently published their list of the 50 Best TV Shows of All Time. Here are the results! Quite a few of my favorite shows are on here so I bolded them.
50. Quantum Leap
49. Prison Break
48. Veronica Mars
47. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
46. Sex and the City
43. Star Trek
42. Only Fools and Horses
41. Band of Brothers
40. Life On Mars
39. Monty Python's Flying Circus
38. Curb Your Enthusiasm
37. Star Trek: The Next Generation
36. Father Ted
33. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
32. Babylon 5
28. Fawlty Towers
27. Six Feet Under
26. Red Dwarf
24. Twin Peaks
23. The Office (UK)
22. The Shield
18. Arrested Development
17. South Park
16. Doctor Who
13. Battlestar Galactica
12. Family Guy
9. The X-Files
8. The Wire
4. The West Wing
3. The Sopranos
2. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
1. The Simpsons
The best new tv show is definitely AMC's Mad Men. I've been watching them ON Demand recently, and it's such a stellar show, definitely worthy of all its nominations and placements on various top critics' lists. The basic plot revolves around the ad agencies of the 1960s and the men who operate them. I enjoy watching the ruthless nature of the advertising agency, but the show delves deeper to explore the political and societal nature of the time period, and the characters are fascinating. I'd seen a few episodes during the first season run, but never caught it from start to finish--luckily they've been on demand so I'm catching up. Also... the show in HD looks amazing. Owning the series on Blu Ray would be wonderful. If anyone chooses to donate to the charity of "Get Gary a Blu Ray Player" fund, please send all donations to myself. :)
Here is a Mad Men review from the New York Times. They explain the great show better than I could.
Smoking, Drinking, Cheating and Selling
There were seven deadly sins practiced at the dawn of the 1960s: smoking, drinking, adultery, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and racism. In its first few minutes "Mad Men" on AMC taps into all of them.
This new drama set in the golden age of Madison Avenue serves as a bridge to a faded and now forbidden world.
Men wore white shirts, drank Manhattans and harassed compliant secretaries in the elevator. Everybody read Reader's Digest. Jews worked in Jewish advertising agencies, blacks were waiters and careful not to seem too uppity, and doctors smoked during gynecological exams. Women were called "girls." Men who loved men kept it to themselves.
The magic of "Mad Men" is that it softly spoofs those cruel, antiquated mores without draining away the romance of that era: the amber-lit bars and indigo nightclubs, soaring skyscrapers, smoky railway cars and the brash confidence that comes with winning a war and owning the world. It's a sardonic love letter to the era that wrought "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" and "The Best of Everything," but homage is paid with more affection than satire.
Matthew Weiner, who was a producer and writer on "The Sopranos," created "Mad Men" and lends it some of the HBO show's wit, apt music and sumptuous cinematography. Most of all the series walks the line between tongue-in-cheek knowingness and know-it-all parody.
The advertising executives, who called themselves "mad men," were at the front of the consumer rat race, hypnotizing the American buyer with huckster campaigns created off-the-cuff in smoky meeting rooms or on a cocktail napkin at El Morocco. The advertising business was flush, blissfully unburdened by aging readerships, failing newspapers, DVRs or the Internet, and only barely accountable to the federal government or public opinion.
And that kind of unbridled freedom is the series's one speck of sentiment, evoking nostalgia for a time before the current audience-knows-best rule of business, in which viewers vote on who gets to become a pop star, publishers ask readers to choose their authors, and politicians ask viewers to decide what issues they should discuss, as is the plan in next week's live Democratic debate, a joint project between CNN and YouTube. When Don Draper (Jon Hamm), the suave creative director of the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency, receives consumer data from the research director that suggests there is no way to avoid addressing Americans' concerns about the health risks of smoking, Don coolly drops the report in his wastepaper basket.
But Don knows he has a problem. Reader's Digest says smoking causes cancer, and the Federal Trade Commission won't allow tobacco companies to suggest there are "safer" brands of cigarettes anymore. Lucky Strike is one of his top accounts. "All I have is a crushproof box and 'Four out of five dead people smoke your brand,' " he complains to his mistress (Rosemarie DeWitt).
She goes by the quaintly dated name Midge, but has her own career as an illustrator and a modern view of love and sex. "You know the rules," she tells Don as she hands him his wristwatch after their postcoital cigarette. "I don't make plans, and I don't make breakfast."
Midge and the Lucky Strike account are just a few of the many challenges in Don's life, though his trusting wife and two children tucked away in the suburbs do not appear to be among them.
The boss, Roger Sterling (John Slattery), wants Don to handle a new client, Rachel Menken (Maggie Siff), whose Jewish family owns a department store. Before the first meeting Roger asks Don to bring in a Jewish colleague to make her more "comfortable." Don says there aren't any, and is surprised to enter the room and find himself being introduced to David Cohen. ( "I had to go all the way to the mailroom," Roger murmurs, "but I found one.")
Don is put off by Rachel's tony aspirations and high-handed manner. "I'm not going to let a woman talk to me like this," he says, before storming out.
The younger, hungrier junior executives who aspire to taking over his corner office are also a worry. The worst is Paul, a slimy 26-year-old account executive engaged to a rich girl and constantly looking for a chance to outshine Don. (The show also owes a lot to "What Makes Sammy Run?")
Roger, however, has so much confidence in Don he tries to enlist his protégé to work on a presidential campaign. "Consider the product: He's young, handsome, a Navy hero," Roger says. "Honestly, it shouldn't be too difficult to convince America that Dick Nixon is a winner."
Primitive technology is a running joke in "Mad Men," and so is the position of women in the era before the dawn of women's liberation and the widespread use of the Pill.
Tough, career-minded Rachel and Midge are the exceptions to the laws of the "Mad Men" jungle. (Exceptions, however, often rule: In real life two of the most legendary ad men of that era were actually women: Mary Wells, who had Braniff planes put in pastel and stewardesses in Pucci, and Shirley Polykoff, who asked, "Does she or doesn't she?" and made Clairol's fortune.)
On her first day Don's new secretary, Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), is hazed with leering comments by the young wolves in the company. "You got to let them know what kind of guy you are," one says to a meeker colleague afterward. "Then they'll know what kind of girl to be."
Peggy is shown the ropes by Joan (Christina Hendricks), a sexy redhead who advises her to shorten her skirts and keep a fifth of Scotch and a needle and thread in her desk.
"Try not to be overwhelmed by all this technology," Joan says as she removes a plastic cover from an IBM electric typewriter. "It looks complicated, but the men who designed it made it simple enough for a woman to use."
In recent years there have been a few movies set in the late '50s and early '60s and directed in that vintage style: before "Good Night, and Good Luck," there was "Far From Heaven" in 2002, a loving tribute to the full-throttle melodramas of Douglas Sirk. In 2003 Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor were paired in "Down With Love," a sendup of Rock Hudson-Doris Day comedies.
"Mad Men" is both a drama and a comedy and all the better for it, a series that breaks new ground by luxuriating in the not-so-distant past.
General Wesley Clark made statements recently regarding McCain's military service and how they don't automatically make him fit to be commander in chief: "I think that you can always cite a candidate's service in the armed forces as a testimony to his character and his courage. But I don't think early service justifies moving away from looking at a candidate's judgment," he replied.
I whole-heartedly agree. I very much admire and respect what McCain has done for this country; his courage and character are very admirable. I don't dislike McCain at all; in fact, I think he's a likable guy. The reasons why I choose not to vote for him in November have to do with personal views and values regarding multiple issues, including the war in Iraq. However, in my opinion, Wesley Clark's statements make very much sense. McCain's war record and his endured torture as a POW are a testament to his character and courage, but that does not necessarily mean his judgments regarding the Iraq war are sound and just.
Even Obama has disagreed with McCain's views regarding the Iraq War while saying he respects his service--this mirrors exactly what Clark has been saying all along--however, today Obama denounced Clark's comments. I realize he feels he must do this as a political move, though it does rub me a little raw.
Obama has changed positions on a variety of issues lately, and now more than ever, seems to be trying very hard to appeal more in the "center/moderate" territory. He even announced that he'd plan to extend Bush's religious faith based programs and funding. This clearly is an effort to appeal to voters that may be swaying towards McCain, but it also alienates many of his supporters who began rooting for him when he was farther to the left than Mrs. Clinton.
Now, I realize that much of Obama's actions lately are strategy; any politician running for President would behave the very same way. I'm not necessarily blaming Obama for anything. In fact, I don't blame him at all. I realize that certain steps must be taken and Obama's denouncement was considered necessary to save face for his campaign just like a serious candidate can only be as liberal and progressive as society will tolerate during the given time period. However, many of his supporters told me one of the chief reasons they are pulling for Obama is because he represents a different kind of politics--because he stands firm for what he believes and doesn't waver or manipulate just for political gain like so many other politicians; Obama himself has even proclaimed that he's different than the rest with a new brand of politics. Even then, I always called bullshit. His actions lately just prove to me that he's like them all. He's not above changing positions when they benefit his candiancy, and he clearly is not above making strategic moves to garner more votes as any other politician. So to those who criticized Clinton for switching, and modifying earlier stances just to garner win votes... well, clearly, Obama has been doing the same, and it's now clearer than ever. I'm not hating on Obama for doing what he's doing, but he's no better than the Clinton candiancy, unlike before where many arrogant Obama supporters would argue that until they were blue in the face. I called bullshit back then and even stated his brand was nothing more than fancy rhetoric to woo voters, and I still believe that and feel affirmed in that statement as he continues to change and make strategic moves to benefit his campaign. I don't bash his 'fancy rhetoric' as completely meritless, however, because it's essential in establishing human connections with voters. Hillary's speeches moved me profoundly and touched me deeply. But I didn't think Obama's platform for execution was any stronger than her's. He may speak brilliantly and resonate with millions, but he's also just like any other politician as I said above. When running against Hillary, he strategically placed himself to the left of her to state that he was moreso about 'change' than her. This helped to rally many younger voters and others disenfranchised with poltics; now that he's won the nomination and running against McCain, he's now trying to scoot towards the middle somewhat.
It's the nature of the political beast; it is what it is and how it will always be. Politics is about campaigning, making strategic moves to become elected, becoming slightly more progressive at each election. Yes, Obama is a hell of a speech giver, but that doesn't mean he's any different (or better necessarily) than the rest. He's demonstrated lately he's not really, and I've become somewhat annoyed that he's pretended to be such. Clearly, I will come together within my party and vote for Obama because I do believe he represents change far more than McCain does; in fact, I do like the guy and he being President could be very beneficial for the US. I just don't see him as the messiah that so many others do. And I'm not simply saying that because I'm "bitter that Hillary lost," which some will suggest. I see both of them as very similiar politicians in terms of execution and in personality (they both have the same views on most issues). Obama just outwitted and outplayed her in the political game and Hillary made a few crucial mistakes (focusing on big states only) and oversights (overlooking caucuses) along with her baggage of Mr. Bill, which all cost her, though I don't think any of that makes him a better person than her or one more capable of running the country.
I agree with and respect Clark's statements regarding McCain. I commend him for his honesty. McCain's service for this country is to be applauded and it's hardly comparable with anyone else (I could NEVER pretend to measure up to that level of courage and bravery as McCain); however, being a POW and fighting for your country does not necessarily mean you are in the best position to make commander in cheif positions. The fact that Obama has even criticized McCain's war stance directly coincides with what Clark has been saying all along, anyway. Clark is someone I definitely respect; he ran a failed presidential bid back in 2004, but I even liked him back then because he TRULY stated firmly what he's believed all along, even if his policies were far too liberal for the average American public, and he's never backed down from them or shyed away or apologized when asked like Obama has. But then again, that's why Clark's presidential bid didn't go far and why Obama's has.
And that's just my two cents.
I just finished watching "Atonement,"--a very touching film that begins with the promise of young love and ends with tragic loss and suffering for all involved due to a lie told by a 13 year-old girl.
The young girl, Briony, witnesses her sister Cecilia(Keira Knightley) and Robbie (James McAvoy) share an occasion, which ignites her inner jealousy. She decides to tell a lie that completely and drastically changes the course of their lives permanently.
This film operates on two levels for me--on one, you see the heartbreak and loss between Cecilia and Robbie. They love one another passionately yet this lie told by Briony has hampered their futures together. It's so easy to mourn and empathize with these two characters because both actors are phenomenally talented in displaying their love for one another along with the heartbreak and loneliness of separation.
On the second level, and perhaps the one that touched me the most, was centered on the character of an adult Briony, who is haunted by the immense guilt of her young lie. We all make foolish mistakes when we're young yet most of them are easily forgiven due to age and inexperience. But due to the damage brought upon by Briony' lie, she's plagued with horrible suffering. She is always aware of the lives she destroyed, and she's never able to overcome the bad feelings that coincide with preventing someone else's true happiness. The movie is essentially about her atonement.
At first, it's very easy to hate the 13 year-old for the lie she told. You simply want to smack her, but thankfully, this film is much deeper than that. Once she becomes of age, the movie really explores not only Cecilia and Robbie's suffering, but Briony's as well. It's not black and white; it's a very complex film about a decision and the dire consequences of that decision. You can see Briony's inner turmoil through the expression on her face, in her eyes. I found myself feeling very sorry for her because the guilt she must carry is enormous and unwielding. How would you feel carrying around (for the rest of your life) the fact that you destroyed the happiness of two people you cared about?
The ending is especially very touching and perhaps the most moving of all. I was mesmerized, for the lack of a better word. It's where Briony has finally reached her atonement, though it still didn't change anything. The complications of guilt and constant sadness is explored beautifully in this film. Again, I felt very sorry for both Cecilia and Robbie but also with Briony, who looked very lonely and spent from her suffering. I identified with that loneliness and even her guilt. One of the other scenes that touched me was Briony, a nurse at this point, holding the hand of a dying wounded WWII soldier. I won't spoil much, but it's very moving.
The director also did an excellent job with the way in which he told the story--from different perspectives and varying timelines, and the story isn't always told chronologically. It's definitely a must see. I'm very tired at this point so none of my words will give this film justice, but it really did touch me in a way no film has in quite a while. I'm not so sure I can watch it again in the near future though. It's one of those films that is unpleasant to watch at times (for necessary reasons), and it sticks with you long after the initial viewing.
I only have one criticism for the entire film--Keira Knightly needs a nice cheeseburger--make it a double. I mean, I know I'm thin also, but you can't see the sharp lines of my shoulder blades when I move my arms, either. Give the girl some food. Even with that aside, the girl is still overwhelmingly beatuiful and perhaps one of the most talented actresses ever. Great film, y'all. :)
Here is the list for Entertainment Weekly's best 100 tv shows from 1983 to 2008. After the list are two new pics of SMG from the mag. :)
The 100 best shows from 1983 to 2008
1. The Simpsons, Fox, 1989-present 2 The Sopranos, HBO (1999-2007)
So the man responsible for throwing a puppy off a cliff in Iraq and filming the whole ordeal was fired from the Marine Corps today.
Quite frankly, I think the fucking bastard should be thrown in prison and gang raped repeatedly before being castrated and thown off a cliff himself.
Ok, not really. I'd rather have my fingernails ripped from my digits, thrown into a pack of wild hyenas, or bathe in acid before I make that fatal mistake, but the link below is rather hilarious.
I've been watching a lot of old wrestling videos on YouTube lately--mostly from the WWF in the 90s, when I was a diehard and loyal fan. Watching the clips bring back much nostalgia. I lived, breathed, and ate WWF as a kid from 1994-1998. I didn't watch as much after that, and eventually I stopped watching altogether. Watching these old clips reminds me of how good wrestling used to be. Sure, you had your cheesy gimmicks and offbeat characters, but the in-ring skill of the wrestlers were much better in the WWF in the 90s, and even 80s, than now. Around '98, the WWF adopted the Attitude Era, and ever since the organization has relied more on talk and shock tactics rather than characters, real storylines, and wrestling. I understand that move was necessary for survival, as it help the WWF beat WCW in the 90s ratings wars, but I've just always preferred the old style.
I love WWF matches from the 80s, but especially the 90s. Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Razor Ramon, Diesel were all great characters but also great wrestlers. Both Shawn and Bret hate each other in real life (two super-sized egos are bound to clash), but put those two together in a ring, and you're going to get the best show possible. Their technical mat skills were excellent. During those days, storylines built up to big payperviews where the matches spoke for themselves. There still are storylines technically, but the matches are more of a shocking nature than about technical moves. That, and I care absolutely nothing about the skankazoid WWE Divas. Personally, WWE will always truly be WWF to me, and I'm still annoyed at the fact the name had to be changed as a result of the World Wildlife Federation being a bunch of pricks.
I still occasionally watch the current WWE (grr) just to see who's on there that I recognize from the glory days. I'm happy to see Shawn Michaels still wrestling, despite his multi-year hiatus as a result of his back injury in '98 against the Undertaker at The Royal Rumble. Wrestling definitely isn't the same in 2008, but I understand the organization had to evolve into what it is now due to demand, survival, etc. I probably only watch the current WWE maybe 4-5 times a year when I'm curious, but I also get nostalgic several times a year for the good 'ole days--the Razor Ramon v. Shawn Michaels ladder match at Wrestlemania X in '94 is probably my all time favorite match.
I used to think I stopped watching wrestling because I simply grew out of it and that I enjoyed talking about it now because of the feeling of nostalgia it brings. I think both of those reasons are partially true, but I also think I stopped watching due to the quality waning. Watching the matches now does bring back memories, but I am still very impressed by the technical skill that's involved in the ring.
And something else funny happened today--I mentioned to a co-worker that I stayed up too late last night watching old wrestling videos on YouTube, and her eyes lit up as she asked "who!? I love wrestling." Turns out, she loved the wrestling "back in the day" as well. It's exceptionally funny because she's an older black woman who listens to only christian music, and I'm a 24 year-old skinny white guy obsessed with pop culture and movies, and there both of us are discussing classic wrestlers from the 80s and 90s with such passion.
O well. I can't believe I'm writing an entire entry on wrestling, which 0 people will read, which I can't blame them, haha.
On another note, it's thunderstorming tonight. I'm just glad it cooled down, albeit slightly. Yesterday, the temperature, according to my car at 5pm said 108 degrees! Today, it was down to 99. I'll take what I can get.
You're driving along in your car when you see a short red-headed woman following her german shepard. She has a bowl in hand and seems eager. The dog squats to urinate, and the red-head quickly tries to catch the dog's urine in the bowl. What do you think would flash across your mind? I'm thinking most likely, "shit, I have to call the police 'cause some crazy woman is around town collecting dog urine!"
This is the scenario my co-workers and I were laughing hysterically over today. One of them has a german shepard, who's been urinating in her house a lot lately. The veterinarian seems to think something is wrong, causing the dog to frequently urinate. Well, he advises her to collect a urine sample. It is seemingly difficult to quickly catch your dog peeting in the act so you can collect a sample. Her idea is to give her dog excessive amounts of water followed by walking her around town with some sort of container to catch the urine before it hits the ground.
Oh well. I thought it was hilarious.
P.S. - Jessica Alba named her baby Honor. HONOR. Really!?
My mood swings are becoming more unpredictable. I'm my fine, goofy self whenever I'm around others, but when I'm alone (which is pretty much anytime other than work), I relapse into feeling forgotten and rejected. I thought I was over it all, but while reading books or watching films (even those that are rather fantastical), I'm somehow reminded of what I've lost or what is missing from my life that I've never had. It's worse some weeks than others. I don't quite understand why it feels so hard, only for myself to feel better later, only for the hard to return, rinse, repeat. It doesn't make much sense. I suppose I'm feeling sorry for myself, but I guess, on the other hand, it's healthy to let myself feel these emotions just as long as I don't take them to any extreme. Oh well. This certainly wins the Vaguest Paragraph Ever award. I guess if I ever feel like writing specifically about it, I could always write a personal entry. I don't think I feel like going that deep into it tonight, though, for my own personal inner sanity.
On a completely opposite note, I am rather exhausted by the Amy Winehouse media coverage. Really. I am so over this self destructive woman. I have rather enjoyed her music--her Back to Black album was very nice, though she's not the musical genius people portray her to be, either. On one hand, I feel incredibly sorry for her because her battle with drugs is plastered all over the media. I wish someone would get this woman some help, as she clearly can't seem to help herself at all. On the other hand, however, I am so sick of seeing it. I am sick of seeing her drugged out ass opening her front door to utter some unintelligible and strange statements to the paparazzi. I am tired of seeing her cracked-out live performances where she forgets her own lyrics or mumbles through them. I get it. She's bizarre. She is clearly killing herself. The woman needs serious help, and at this point, her drugged out media image is beginning to overshadow her music in the worst way possible. She's no Kurt Cobain or Freddie Mercury--two musicians whose music demanded to be heard despite their personal battles and bizarre lifestyles. I'm not swearing off Amy's music by any means, because I will listen to any song by any artist regardless of their personal lives as long as the song is decent. I am just so sick of seeing her continue to kill herself. She obviously can't help herself. And clearly, others can only do so much for you if you aren't willing to help yourself. So what's going to give? If she can't help herself, and if her family members can't help her because she herself is so unwilling, how long will it be before she overdoses for good?
Drugs are sad. I've gone through some very heart wrenching moments of my own, and I even started out this entry vaguely referencing some inner turmoil of mine. I'm just glad, though, I haven't ever resorted to drugs. No matter how depressed I've gotten, and believe me, I've been extremely, VERY low at times both in the past and rather recently, but I've never felt the need to resort to drugs. I don't know what that says, if anything, about me. Something internally always steps in and reminds me that they're not worth trying. And I've never been one easily suspectible to peer pressure. In fact, even in my most insecure moments, I've always kind of embraced the fact that I'm usually different from the in-crowds. I don't really mind being different. A night of alcohol, on the other hand, is not unheard of for me, but I know my limit... most of the time.