OK, be honest: How many of you had low expectations for The Good Wife?
I know I did. I think I was just too cynical to hope for a successful, high quality network drama with a strong woman as the central character.
I have never been so happy to be so wrong. Not only is The Good Wife a solid ratings success, averaging 13.3 million viewers per week, but also is No. 1 on Entertainment Weekly’s list of the “10 Best TV Shows Right Now.”
What makes The Good Wife so, well, good is the aforementioned strong woman: Alicia Florrick, played by Julianna Margulies.
Margulies is pitch perfect in this role; her transformation from humiliated wife to independent career woman has been a remarkable journey — and an award-worthy performance. And her co-travelers make watching the journey even better, especially Archie Panjabi as maybe-lesbian Kalinda.
EW’s No. 2 is a bit of a mystery to me. Critical raves for Breaking Bad aside, I have found little to like about the series. I could justify my disdain by decrying the show’s glorification of a meth dealer, except that I adore Weeds, which glorifies a pot dealer. Is the difference the presence of a gorgeous Mary-Louise Parker? Am I that shallow? Is it time to stop with the rhetorical questions and look at MLP?
The next three on the list — Lost, Friday Night Lights and Fringe — are shows that I don’t watch episodically. In the case of Friday Night Lights, I can’t seem to find it. The whole business of showing it on DirecTV and then regular TV makes my head hurt, so I wait for the DVDs. Lost and Fringe are so compelling (and complex) that I simply have to watch several episodes at the same time. All three are excellent shows in their own right, but only Fringe stars Anna Torv and out actress Jasika Nicole.
No. 6, Modern Family, is one of the season’s best surprises. As Entertainment Weekly says, “There are so many comedy styles in play in this ensemble comedy that it’s a wonder the tone doesn’t wobble.” The show truly has something for everyone, from slapstick to irreverence to silliness to TV’s funniest gay couple.
In May, the whole family is going to Hawaii — assuming Manny can get there, since he in on the no-fly list. The islands will never be the same.
Glee finally appears at No. 7 — and 7 is lucky indeed. The musical-comedy-drama has captured the heart of America and, as EW notes, is so ingrained in pop culture that it’s hard to believe the show is in its first season. And, of course, Glee has Jane Lynch and other shows don’t. Automatic win.
Southland, EW’s No. 8, is a cop show that seems pretty much like other cop shows, from what I’ve seen. But I would be remiss not to mention the wonderful Regina King, who is part of the ensemble. She makes any show worth a look.
I’m happy to see Damages at No. 9, because the show is better than ever. This season is as dark and twisty as past seasons, but also has a sense of humor that was missing last year. Martin Short, Lily Tomlin and Campbell Scott are wonderful and, of course, Glenn Close’s Patty Hewes is as ruthless and irresistible as ever.
No. 10 is a personal favorite, Caprica. While I watched Battlestar Galactica, I was never as fanatical as many of my sci-fi loving friends. But Caprica is an addiction. The conflict between the Graystone and Adama clans is just a framework for exploring everything from theism to biotechnology to family dynamics. If you are as hooked as I am, be sure to catch Heather Hogan’s weekly recaps on AfterElton.com.
My own list would have to include Chuck, which is getting better with each episode — and not just because of Agent Sarah Walker. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
As a matter of fact, my list would include quite a few shows that aren’t here. But I would rather find out what your favorites are. What do you think of EW’s top 10 TV shows? What shows are missing that are on your personal list?