The Best Shows on TV

TV’s Moments of Joy – The Summer Honor Roll

The end of summer is nearly upon us, and with that, our summer programming is just about ready to wrap up. Do you remember back when we were all much younger, and summer TV just flat-out sucked? It was terrible! Mostly repeats, and occasionally the networks would run pilots that weren’t picked up, and we’ve never figured out why that was once a valid programming strategy. “Hey, do you like this show? Really? Well, there is no chance that you’ll ever see it again, because there are no more episodes.”
On the bright side, this meant that we got to see a pilot called Where’s Rodney? when we were in our formative years. This was a failed series about a teenager named Rodney who had the power to summon Rodney Dangerfield whenever he wanted. And it was the actual, physical Rodney Dangerfield, who would be magically plucked from wherever he was at that moment. It is unclear exactly how often that ability would be useful. But this is what we used to watch in the summer.
Cut to 2010, and it’s a whole different story. We get legitimately good reality shows (and also Big Brother, which we love, but we do not mistake it for something that is good), quality dramas like Mad Men and Rescue Me, and nightly doses of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. HBO’s hit True Blood aired a new season this summer, while Futurama made its triumphant return. Cable dramas flourish in the summer, and a lot of them are pretty darn good. The major networks aired new scripted series, some of which were fairly successful (Rookie Blue), some were interesting failures (Persons Unknown), and some of which were relentlessly awesome and taught us how to love again (The Good Guys). Wipeout melted our TV snob hearts, as it does every year. And this year, summer brought us one of the most interesting and ambitions comedies in recent memory in FX’s Louie.

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