Ranking the Shows I Watch – 2012 edition: 21-19

11 Feb

The 2012 ranking of the shows I watched (well, 2013 ranking of the shows I watched in 2012) is on – check out the intro here for the rules, 21, 20, and 19 below.

21.  Wilfred

Which one is Wilfred?

With two main characters who are a man and a man in a dog suit, this is a show whose set up could easily get tired. A couple of times it seemed like it was about to, before the writers pulled a trick or an episode out of their bag that again reveals there’s plenty more material to work through.  The premise relies on a little bit of possible mental instability, or possible magic realism, as Elijah Wood’s main character Ryan sees  his attractive neighbor’s dog, Wilfred, as a living and talking human.  Is Ryan crazy, or hallucinating, or is that just how it goes?  Wilfred the show occasionally tries to explore the origin of Wilfred the character, something I”m less interested in; I’m generally content to not care why Ryan sees Wilfred as a human in a dog suit, and just go along for the ride.  That said, some of the best episodes tend to be the strangest which actually delve into the Wilfred situation, without actually providing so far any real answers, which I’m thankful about.  After a couple of episodes at the beginning of the series which didn’t thrill me, I caught on to one which featured the idea that Wilfred potentially had the power to kill suffering elderly patients at a nursing home.  It was weird, and in this case, weird meant good.  The show can get a bit repetitive at its worst, with Ryan slavishly following Wilfred’s terrible advice after objecting time after time, and it’s insistence on opening with a quote which attempts to focus the episode is misguided, but the show has smartly evolved and changed up the procedure and the outcomes.  I like it more than I thought I would from the beginning, and while it could use work, it always seems like right after a lackluster episode, the show delivers a winner.

20.  It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

 

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been going on from a damn long time now, and while maybe it’s still a cult show in some sense, the cult has gotten a whole lot bigger over the years, with green men showing up at sporting events as the best outside manifestation of Sunny’s popularity.  Every year I think the show has run out of material, and while every new season is hardly constructed of 10 consecutive all time classics, by now I’m come to expect a few absolutely excellent episodes and the rest to be at least pretty decent, with a fair amount of laugh lines.  I largely thought they would run out of material because many early episodes seemed to rely on the gang’s zany take on contemporary issues – how would the gang deal with abortion, or homosexuality, or any number of different drugs.  The show smartly now relies less on specific issues than on finding fun ways to butt the characters’ personalities against one another.  The best episodes of the show, like one of the best last season, in which the gang in separate groups visits a nice Italian restaurant, rely on exploiting the different characteristics of each member of the gang which have been built up over so many seasons, and playing them against one another.  The super high concept episodes aren’t my favorite – the flashback episode, or the revolutionary war one, but I can appreciate that they’re trying.  Either way, after slightly souring on the show after the third or fourth season, the show has nicely plateaued into reliable laughs, and I’m pretty pleased about that.

19.  NTSF: SD: SUV

NTSF

It’s important to note as I go further, and I should have already, and will again, that the rankings are more useful in tiers, than they are in regard to exact placement.  For example, I’m pretty confident in picking my #10 show above my #22 show, but the distinction between #19 and #20 is pretty useless.  NTSF is the first of three eleven minute live action Adult Swim shows to appear on this list, and was the last one I got into.  I watched the first episode long before I watched any others, and it didn’t thrill me; I didn’t expect to keep watching.  However, as the show featured a number of actors I like (Paul Scheer, Martin Starr, and Party Down and New Girl veteran June Dianne Raphael), and appeared right after personal favorite Childrens Hospital, I decided, wisely, it turns out, to give it another chance.  NTSF: SD: SUV is a perfect fit with Childrens Hospital and with Adult Swim in terms of sheer absurdism of the type not often seen in live action television.  Nothing, wonderfully, has to make sense.  Each episode has a plot featuring the members of NSTF: SD: SUV trying to prevent some sort of scheme to destroy their beloved San Diego, but beyond that, everything’s fair game.  My likely favorite episode of the most recent second season featured time travel, as the agents, guided by the Time Angels, take a time slide back and forth to prevent a nuclear explosion and capture evil time slide-creator Leonardo Da Vinci.  It is ludicrous, filled with nonsensical time paradoxes, and wonderful.  When I first watched, I viewed NTSF as a poor man’s Childrens Hospital, and while I still regard Childrens higher, I now believe NTSF can be in its class.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: