The exciting sequel to my best of the decade listing and tomfoolery. Read on for my top TV shows, films and more!
PDD’s Top 15 Television Shows of the 2000s
30 Rock (NBC; 3 seasons, 2006-present)
In a lot of ways, 30 Rock is great for all the small reasons. I mean, I don’t really care about Liz Lemon’s love life (in fact, those episodes are usually the worst, unless they involve Dean Winters); I care about what the fake movie posters in Tracy Jordan’s dressing room say. I care about Kenneth’s weird off-hand comments about knowing Jesus or being molested by his redneck uncles. I care about Jenna’s non-sequitur flashbacks to her early acting days … oh God, if this is why I like this show, why don’t I just go ahead and watch Family Guy? Maybe I’m secretly the world’s biggest Family Guy fan even though I think it stinks! O dios mio!
Aqua Teen Hunger Force (Adult Swim; 6 seasons, 2000-present)
The ultimate stoner show? That’s what I think! Think about it! I mean, the main characters are a talking box of french fries, a talking milkshake, and a talking meat patty! Only a stoner would come up with that!
Arrested Development (FOX; 3 seasons, 2003-2006)
One of the most rewatchable shows ever in my book, probably because the jokes they keep coming and coming and coming …
Battlestar Galactica (Sci-Fi; 4 seasons, 2004-2009)
Wow, a show with an overt Iraq War subtext that didn’t annoy the crap out of me? It’s an achievement, and so is the spectacular B-flick cast that makes you actually care about why these fictional humans trapped on a fictional spaceship in some endless and dire journey need to survive.
Breaking Bad (A&E; 2 seasons, 2008-present)
When I heard the premise — middle-aged chemistry teacher dying of cancer flips his lid and decides to cook crack to earn some cash for his family before he buys it — I had uneasy visions of an American Beauty — The TV Show. But I was happily relieved. Breaking Bad doesn’t cheer on Walter White’s nutty decisions so much as indifferently chuckle at them. And as White, Bryan Cranston plays a desperate suburbanite father way better than the smug Kevin Spacey.
Da Ali G Show (HBO; 2 seasons, 2003-2004)
I’m told the Channel 4 version is even better, but the version I’ve watched and loved aired on HBO. The fact that Sasha Cohen brought his extremely Brit-coded Ali G character to America to interview the very (real and) American figures Newt Gingrich, Dr. C. Everett Koop, Buzz Aldrin and Andy Rooney is bizarre, ballsy and amazing.
Deadwood (HBO; 3 seasons, 2004-2006)
This may well have turned out to be my favoritest show ever had it not ended abruptly on a cliffhanger that pitted Gerald “Major Dad” McRaney’s George Hearst against Timothy Olyphant’s future Rough Rider Seth Bullock. If they would’ve lasted a couple more seasons they could’ve brought Teddy Roosevelt into the show! And they could’ve got someone awesome like Scott Caan to play him! How super sweet would that have been?? Aw, screw you guys!
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace (Channel 4; 6 episodes, 2004)
Somewhat of a precursor to the bad TV-spoofing Tim and Eric: Awesome Show, Great Job!, this show is premised as a forgotten 1980s BBC show produced by the titular protagonist, a sub-Clive Owen horror novelist who has authored books such as Slasher, R.I.P.P.E.R. and Juggers. The sci-fi/horror-themed show is of course (yes, here’s that meme) hilariously awful, and “interviews” with the cast after-the-fact reveal their idiocy and pompousness.
Lost (ABC; 5 seasons, 2004-present)
There’s a line being walked between the show’s suggested sci-fi premise, its soap-opera dramatics and its hinted fantastical elements that should’ve been worn threadbare by now. Why do viewers continue to be “lost” in the show’s rapturous gaze? Ha ha, oh man, that was too easy. Where was I? Yes. I like to watch Lost. It’s going to suck at the end, but what fun …
Mad Men (A&E; 3 seasons, 2007-present)
It’s got the best set design of any TV show or maybe even film ever ever, and that’s only the half. Don Draper’s ability to con the 1960s consumer into buying the American Dream and always failing to quite achieve that for himself is the other. And why does Peggy just do it for me? Oh man, season 4 …
The Office (BBC; 2 seasons, 2001-2003)
More for posterity’s sake do I have this on here; it’s clearly the granddaddy of all these “mockumentary” shows, and it’s still the best. Plus I definitely watched the hell out of it on DVD.
Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (Adult Swim; 4 seasons, 2007-present)
Are they sending up bad television? Cable access? Commercials? Are they spoofing the YouTube Generation™? Are they being weird for weirdness’ sake???
Who cares. Not the point. This is a funny, funny show. Watch the final season this next year and you’ll see.
The Sopranos (HBO; 7 seasons, 1999-2007)
Salon’s Heather Havrilesky said it best when summing up The Sopranos: “We never, ever got tired of seeing James Gandolfini’s grim mug on our TV screens.” I also never got tired of Paulie Walnuts, Carmela, Christopher, Adriana, Uncle Junior, Ralphie, Furio, Phil Leotardo, etc., etc., bada-bing, bada-boom and all that …
The Wire (HBO; 5 seasons, 2002-2008)
No dragons, orcs, vampires or wizards here: no, this show was the real thing. It was really real! And that may be why so many people liked it. No show had ever been so real before. Maybe no show ever will be this real, or even close …
Yacht Rock (Channel 101; online, 2005-2008)
What with the cyber punks and the foofaraw, all these televisions will be online in the decade to come, so why not include one here? This was the best of several brilliant shows to “air” on Channel 101, a website and collective of filmmakers who battle it out to get their shows featured on a monthly screening in Los Angeles. Yacht Rock, for ye neophytes, is a fictional recreation of the stories behind such smooth rock tunes as “What a Fool Believes”, “Rosanna”, “I’m Alright” and “Human Nature”. It’s comic gold that got a whole new generation discovering really really bad Doobie Brothers records.
PDD’s Top 20 Films of the 2000s
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Larry Charles, 2006)
People read too much into this. It was really, really, really funny, and that about does it.
Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)
All I need is a tightly scripted genre flick. Throw in some amazing trick shots and some of the most tense scenes ever filmed and it’s gonna have me drooling. The focus is never on the vague sci-fi premise — it’s just a thriller that focuses on a dejected, conflicted man who’s pretty familiar to moviegoers. I love Daniel Craig as James Bond in the new films, but wouldn’t it have been great if Clive Owen had a shot at 007 too? He’s a bad dude.
City of God (Fernando Meirelles, 2003)
The Brazilian Goodfellas meets Kids? Something like that. And after watching this, I’m going to think twice about one day visiting Rio …
The Departed (Martin Scorcese, 2006)
Read first sentence of my Children of Men blurb. Plus this one had Marky Mark.
District 9 (Neil Blomkamp, 2009)
And again — a tight little genre flick with bonuses, those being awesome and gross effects a la producer Peter Jackson’s early horror flicks. With this and Invictus this year, I’m hoping more movies start being based in South Africa.
Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)
It’s not a nature film, that’s for sure. From Herzog himself: “And what haunts me, is that in all the faces of all the bears that Treadwell ever filmed, I discover no kinship, no understanding, no mercy. I see only the overwhelming indifference of nature. To me, there is no such thing as a secret world of the bears. And this blank stare speaks only of a half-bored interest in food. But for Timothy Treadwell, this bear was a friend, a saviour.”
A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005)
Viggo Mortensen plays man with hidden past. That’s all you had to say to get me in on this one. Plus that past is violent. Sweeeet …
Idiocracy (Mike Judge, 2006)
Oh what a mess of a movie. It looks a little odd rubbing shoulders with some of these picks, but hell, I’m sure I’ve watched it more than all of these others. The sick dystopia that Judge creates and riffs on over and over and over in this movie is more than enough to make up for its failed social commentary.
Inglorious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009)
Quentin Tarantino makes up for the overblown Kill Bill and the fun but underwhelming Death Proof. And he makes up big. I loved everything about this one, the seemingly different movies taking place and how they all wrap together and fuck with history in a triumphant comic bloodbath. Here’s to Tarantino’s next historical romp!
Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)
A coming-of-age tale about vampire love — and it’s a far, far cry from Twilight. This little Swedish indie beats the crap out of Twilight and True Blood for that matter. Can’t remember the last time I was simultaneously creeped out and heartbroken by a movie …
Man on Wire (James Marsh, 2008)
I was nearly brought to tears by a movie that focuses on a single event for which there exists no video record, only still photographs. That says it.
No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (Martin Scorcese, 2005)
I could watch Bob Dylan talk about stuff all day. In fact, Bob Dylan Talks About Stuff would be a great sequel to this, which is great BT-dubs.
Pineapple Express (David Gordon Green, 2008)
A stoner movie made by stoners, who usually love comedies and action movies. That’s why the end is so over the top. Stop whining. And the diner scene is great.
The Prestige (Christopher Nolan, 2006)
Another thing that will always gets me: people’s crazy obsessions (see Grizzly Man, Man on Wire). And this movie depicts in the most surreal manner two dudes in one of the most obsessive pursuits you’ll find: magic! Plus David Bowie on-screen always equals magic.
Rescue Dawn (Werner Herzog, 2007)
A real personal triumph of the will kinda story, and perfectly acted by all involved. I love a story about a guy who is just really positive and focused. Can’t go wrong.
The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001)
Still haven’t seen Fantastic Mr. Fox; it’s possible that’d trump this. But I’d feel like a liar leaving Wes Anderson off this list; his movies are incredibly enjoyable and I really dug this one when it came out.
Shaolin Soccer (Stephen Chow, 2001)
A truly one-of-a-kind film (unless you count Chow’s other bizarro action comedies such as Kung Fu Hustle and The God of Cookery), where the heroes must use their apparently magical kung fu skills to defeat a genetically engineered super evil team in a soccer tournament. Watch it with the old DVD import with the barely legible subtitles; the good subtitles take something away from the experience.
There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
Not a whole lot of blood in this one. In fact, there was more oil than blood. They should’ve called it There Will Be Oil, right? Still good though.
Wall-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008)
Some things that give me hope for the next decade: Although it looks like fucking every movie will soon be partially or wholly animated in some fashion, at least animation doesn’t always have to suck. In Wall-E’s case, it might actually rule.
Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)
Again: obsessions and genre flicks. Plus cool retro set and costume designs. And that Jake Gyllenhaal is dreamy!
Top 10 Viral Videos of the 2000s
Bubb Rubb, Lil’ Sis and Whistle Tips
Christian the Lion
I Can Haz Saxophone
Jan Terri - “Get Down Goblin”
Lil’ Markie Sings
Play Crying Kid Off, Keyboard Cat
Slap Chop Rap
Things to Look Forward to in Coming Decade
+ The Hilarity of Sarah Palin as President (2012 and/or 2016)
+ Flying skateboards
+ A cure for male-pattern baldness? Come on, Science!
+ Playstation 7: The Nanostation
+ The Singularity
+ The Great Pacific Garbage Patch finally being colonized
Things Not to Look Forward to in Coming Decade
+ The Horror of Sarah Palin as President (2012 and/or 2016)
+ The noxious sequel to the blockbuster hit 2012, entitled 2012 II: 2012 Forever
+ Ubiquity of “Flying Skateboards Are Not a Crime!” stickers
+ Cheap “I survived the Singularity and all I got was this lousy bio-suit” merchandise being sold at every cyber-bodega in your neighborhood-dome
+ Predominant nostalgia for the aughts