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The Best Television Shows of 2007
By Bert Ehrmann
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Fort Wayne Reader
The best show of the 2006-07 television season was the AMC series Mad Men. Set in the early 1960s after the boom of the 1950s but before the rise of the counter-culture later that decade, Mad Men shows us in so many ways that while the “good old days” might have been “good” for a segment of the population, it certainly wasn’t so good for everyone. The center of the show is Don Draper (Jon Hamm), an advertising exec that seemingly has it all and is living the “American Dream.” None-the-less, Draper is living a lie and finds it hard to believe in anything, even himself. Draper’s wife Betty (January Jones) is living the life she always yearned for yet worries that she’ll spend the rest of her days at home alone smoking her life away.
The most grounded character of the series seems to be Rachel Menken (Maggie Siff) who does things that no woman of the era was supposed to like run a business or talk back to men.
Created by Matthew Weiner who had a hand in shows as diverse as The Sopranos and the woefully underrated Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Mad Men is a rare show that portrays a real-life vision of America that these days seems as alien as the Martian landscape to anyone who didn’t live it.
The rest, in alphabetical order:
Andy Barker, P.I.: Andy Barker P.I. was doomed right from the start as NBC only ever ordered a paltry six episodes of the series. In this show, Andy Richter plays and accountant turned part-time investigator when his new office turns out to have originally occupied a P.I. and clients just assume that Andy’s a P.I. too. In one particularly hilarious episode, Andy investigates a chicken consortium that threatens its customers if they ever dare to use another vendor. Does it get any better than that?
Battlestar Galactica: Season after season, BSG delivers. The only negative I can see about this series is that next season is the last. What will I do without my BSG fix?
The Black Donnellys: In yet another series that was canceled far too quickly, The Black Donnellys aired only a few short weeks on NBC before being unceremoniously dumped and replaced by the reality show The Real Wedding Crashers. Seriously, is there a TV fate worse than being replaced by The Real Wedding Crashers?
Burn Notice: I would have never guessed that a seemingly by-the-numbers show like Burn Notice would be something so good – which shows you how good I am at guessing.
Damages: I only happened upon this show at a friend’s house over Labor Day weekend. What I assumed was going to be another FX show that I kind’a-sort’a liked turned into one of the most gripping series of the season. Not only that, but Damages had one of the best season finales in recent memory, somehow solving the mysteries of the first season while cleanly opening the door to the second. If only last season of Lost were this good.
Dexter: I liked the first season of Dexter (aka America’s favorite serial killer) but positively love the second season of the show. Actor Michael C. Hall has the ability to play Dexter as nice-guy “let’s go bowling” one minute, and scary as hell knife wielding the next.
Flight of the Conchords: If a comedy series about two New Zealand musician transplants to New York that break out to song at any moment doesn’t sell you on Flight of the Conchords, then maybe lyrics like “You could be a part time model – but you’d probably still have to keep your normal job” will.
My Name is Earl: What can I say about My Name is Earl other than lately it’s my favorite thing about Thursday nights, and that’s saying a lot considering The Office also airs Thursdays.
The Office: And speaking of The Office…This season it seems that The Office has been suffering from Lost-itis – or a show that goes from being one of the best things on TV to one of the not-so-best things (driving into a lake–seriously?!). Still, it’s hard to overlook how positively brilliant The Office has been the last few years. Here’s to hoping the return of brilliance.