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Top TV Shows of 2003



Top Television Shows of 2003
It’s been a long year for television shows this season. Nothing new seems to be working. The big hit this season is a show that didn’t premiere in the traditional Fall time slot rather starting last Summer;”The O.C.” Failures seem to be more common than hits. (The US version of “Coupling”, I’m looking in your general direction.)

Still, some great television shows were out in 2003. You just had to know where to look for them.

Top Television Shows:
Best Show of the Year – The Office: To say that “The Office” is a “mockumentary” on the workings of the modern corporation would be a disservice to the show. The Office is so much more. One one level it’s one of the best written comedies to ever grace television screens. On another level it’s a study between the relationships between the management and worker class in today’s society. (Seriously.)

I discovered The Office last Summer on BBC America and then had to wait a few months for season 2. The weird nature of British sitcoms means that a full season of The Office is something like just six episodes long. (Six episodes of an American series is just a quarter or so of one season.)

Worst of all, season 3 of The Office is only two episodes long. (This season has already aired over in Great Britain.) The creators of the show, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, want to take it off the air while it’s still on top. And believe me, this show is ON TOP!

Now I just have to wait until Season 3 pops up on BBC America. It’s going to be a long wait!

The rest, in alphabetical order:
Arrested Development:
Who’d have thought that a sitcom from Ron Howard’s company would turn out to be the funniest new show on network television? I can’t say enough good things about this show. From David Cross (“Mr. Show”) having a supporting role in the show to breaking the standard three camera sitcom format. Best of all is the use of a Segway in comedic situations. I never thought an overpriced personal transport could be funny!

Coupling (UK): No, I’m not talking about the US version of this show. Whereas the US version was simply bad, the UK version was genuinely funny. Several times during each episode I find myself laughing out loud. It’s too bad that the best character of the series, Jeff, won’t be returning for the season 4.

Scrubs: The third year of “Scrubs” should have been the one where the show jumped the shark. That’s when series usually turn the corner from the original vision of the creators and become something different. Instead, the third season of Scrubs was the best yet. “Scurbs” follows the dev elopement of three doctors and their friends/co-workers in a Los Angeles hospital. In reality, Scrubs is really about is growing up. The characters introduced in the first season have grown into doctors of their own in season 3. That is what’s so different about this show. The characters grow, and change, as the situations they’re in change.

The Wire: After watching “Homicide: Life on the Street” this year on DVD, I can see how a show like “The Wire” really evolved from it. It’s the thinking man’s cop show. There aren’t too many shoot-outs or car chases. Instead we see the drudgery that often follows police work on long term cases and views from the “other” side of the law. The Wire focuses on the nuances rather than the big picture. It’s almost as if we’re watching some great chess match; the police make their moves which are followed by the criminals. Like chess, the show can run slow but it’s one heck of a ride.