If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Remember the golden age of the 1990's when animation was appealing to both kids and adult? I'm sure all those over the age of twenty will bust out in saying "why in my day we had cartoons that weren't just kiddy cotton candy". Justice League is that one cartoon that still had that golden age magic. While Super Friends introduced a generation to the light and fluffy antics of the DC superheroes, Justice League put a modern make-over on the DC universe that expanded the demographic to a much older audience. This was more than just a great cartoon for kids, it's a great cartoon period. The fact that such a show could have such a large cast (at least ten times that of Super Friends), so many celebrity voices, and still have many serial-based sub-plots is quite an achievement of writing and direction. It's also one of the most gorgeous looking animated series of the decade.
Of all those unlucky television shows that got canned in their first season, none has developed a more hardcore following than Firefly. And why shouldn't it? Firefly is the kind of science fiction everybody loves, but rarely views: a group of misfits and outlaws running about the galaxy in a starship. Sure, I could name a few other shows like that now (Farscape anyone?), but Firefly sticks out because of it's exciting lore, great characters, and, more importantly, it's a fun show. So much fun that it's fanbase was powerful enough to push for Serenity, a sequel movie. That's the power of Firefly fans, baby!
Satire can be very funny if utilized correctly, but sometimes its not enough to hold a show. Wonder Showzen took the concept of a warped children's puppet show and said 'no, that's not enough'. What was created was a show that delivered rapid fire surreal humor that never takes a moment to slow down and isn't afraid to anger the audience with their annoying gags; their season finale episodes will REALLY try your patience. A warped puppet show with twisted animation from Augenblick Studios (Superjail), Wonder Showzen was 16 episodes of some of the smartest, fastest, raunchiest, and most surreal comedy ever produced. It's just too bad it was buried on MTV 2.
If you're a retro geek, The Venture Brothers is quintessential viewing. Initially a satire of Johnny Quest, the show has expanded into a full-blown action comedy taking cues from comic book culture, pop music, movies, television, and whatever else is funny enough to work into the script. More importantly, the show has a great theme to it's writing: the joy of failure. It takes the action packed elements inherent in action movies, superhero movies, and anything else bad-ass and gives it a harsh coat of reality. This gives the show that certain charm that makes you laugh...and cry.
Sasha Barron Cohen surprised the Brits with his politically incorrect characters Ali G, Borat, and Bruno that subtly mocked society. When his characters crossed into American territory, it made for perfect chemistry. Da Ali G Show not only mocked our heavily PC society, but exposed the ignorance and tested the tempers of many Americans. This show was more than just a social experiment; its a real eye-opener about our culture and how we may have let a little too much slide. Oh, and it's wicked funny. Respek.
The concept of an action-thriller in real time (barring commercial breaks) makes for an interesting concept. Okay, it's more of a gimmick, but, hey, at least we know ahead of time how many episodes are in each season. Honestly, though, in terms of action and cinematography, 24 is one of the most bad-ass series of the decade. There is a reason it went for seven seasons. Even though 24 seasons would've been cool (okay, I'll stop).
There are plenty of angry commentators out there to bitch about religion, politics, ethics, and culture. What makes Bullshit so unique and so different from the other guys is that they actually do their homework. They send out their crew to interview people on both sides of an argument and form their own assessment on a topic being full of you-know-what. All this while trying to mix some entertaining bits into their ranting. Despite both being autodidacts (self-educated AKA no college), Penn & Teller make valid points that they backup with evidence. It's not enough to just say something is Bullshit; you have to figure out the why. And Penn & Teller do so in style.
After years of hokey Western series The Adventures of Brisco County Junior (no offense, Bruce), Deadwood finally beefs up the genre with a gritty, violent, and extremely well-written show. Not to mention it has a perfect cast featuring Timothy Olyphant, William Sanderson, Jeffrey Jones, and the tough as nails Ian McShane (who you may remember as the villain from Kung-Fu Panda). Deadwood is a well-written western that isn't afraid to throw in some disturbing imagery or kill off a few characters every season finale. Oh, and the cussing. Lots and lots of cussing. Hey, might as well get your money's worth with an HBO production.
As much as I hate the uneventful second season, the show has done more for network television standards in its first season than any other show. Even if you lost interest as the show went on, you can't deny that pilot episode was the most kick-ass spectacle ever seen on ABC. It shocked the hell out of me for the first 15 minutes and had me hooked for the rest of the season. The character interaction and intrigue was pitch perfect. And even though it suffered from a pointless second season, it rebounded quite quickly. It's an awesome character drama the builds intrigue. But despite it's levels of awesome-isity, it's not quite as cool as...
Yes, it's a remake of a cheesy sci-fi series from the 1970's, but it does what no other TV remake has ever done. Series producer Ron Moore took all the good elements of the original series, disposed of the bad, revamped the look, and made it the best damn show possible. Essentially a well-written character drama at heart, the special effects and epic space battles were some of the best I've ever seen on television. Looking back on this decade, I can't think of any other show I was more excited to watch. After season 4.5's The Oath ended, I was incredibly impatient to find out what happened to Adama and Tigh as they were about to fight against their own crew. And as far as a series finale, the show delivered a lot more than most series do (I'm looking at you Star Trek TNG). The most appealing element of the show is that it never feels like its conforming to the network's wishes. This is a dark, DARK show that doesn't compromise and isn't afraid to deal with touchy subjects like religion or suicide bombing. And considering this show was on the air for a total of seven years, that's saying something.