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From Aintitcool.com


Aintitcool.com’s Top Ten Scripted Hourlongs of 2004 !!

Thursday 6 January 2005, by Webmaster

“He’s not my boyfriend! I mean, I certainly didn’t betray you!”
“Drop the act, Harm. I knew you’d turn on me. I just didn’t know when.”
“What do you mean you ‘knew’?”
“Loyalty? Really isn’t high on your list.”
“Oh, is that right? I’ll have you know I am damn loyal, dumbass!”
“You betrayed me. You are betraying me now even as we are talking.
“Because you never have any confidence in me!”
“Nooo. Because you have no soul.”
“I would, if you had confidence in me!”
“Get out of the building.”
“Are you firing me??”
“Among other things? Yes.”
“Do you think I could get a recommendation?”
“Yeah, okay.”
“But, you see, if you don’t so much live as the other thing, how ... ?”
“It’s already on the desk.”
“You’re the best! Good luck. Um, may the best man win?”
“Did that hurt at all?”
“Little bit. But it’s all part of the job. The senior partners spent an awful lot of time and resources on you. Personally, I would have told them not to bother. You’re gutter trash. That’s where you should have stayyyyed. Drinking and whoring your way through an unremarkable life. But the fates stepped in and made you a vampire. With a soul no less. Champion. Hero of the people. And yet you still managed to fail everyone around you. Doyle. Cordelia. Fred. They’re all gone. It’s time you followed.”

1. Angel (The WB)
“Why can’t I stay?”
Fourteen episodes of “Angel’s” best and final season aired in 2004, including four astonishing five-star episodes: “A Hole in the World” (Fred bids Wes goodbye), Underneath (Hamilton, the new Wolfram & Hart liaison, arrives), “The Girl in Question” (Angel and Spike learn Buffy Summers has moved on) and “Not Fade Away” (Wesley Wyndam-Pryce shuffles off his mortal coil). Cordelia Chase departed for good, Harmony fretted, Connor redeemed, Gunn sacrificed, Knox was vanquished, Andrew and an army of slayers descended, Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan became this enormous badass and there were puppets, lots of puppets. “Angel” was the only Mutant Enemy series in production last season and it benefited mightily from creator Joss Whedon’s less-divided attention, to say nothing of the additions of Ben Edlund (“The Tick,” “Firefly”) and Drew Goddard (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) to its writing staff. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, the spinoff’s fifth season rivaled in terms of quality even the best seasons of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (I have no greater compliment to bestow). The entire final season is available Feb. 15 via amazon.com for $38.99, and would be worth that price for “Not Fade Away” by its lonesome. It even sees the return of the peepee demon. Trust me when I tell you this: the Whedon owns all our asses. Even yours.

10. The L Word (Showtime) If it starred Rosie O’Donnell instead of Mia Kirshner, I’d probably hate this show with a red-hot fiery anger of a thousand suns. But in the “L Word” universe all the lesbians are skinny, young, pretty, horny, vulnerable and prone to ready nudity. Even the butchest of the lot wears a lot of eye make-up. It’s created in part by the same lesbians who gave us “Go Fish.” Does it offer a realistic depiction of American gay women? I. Don’t. Care.

9. Veronica Mars (UPN) ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (minus the supernatural nonsense) crossed with “Karen Sisco” by way of “The Rockford Files” multiplied by “The OC.” But darker. Veronica was raped, her beloved mom disappeared, her beloved dad lost his job, her beloved boyfriend dumped her and her beloved best friend was brutally murdered. You wouldn’t think a show with this kind of backstory would yield such solid comedic footing, but lo! We must learn the truth behind Lianne Mars’ departure. We will learn the truth behind Lilly Kane’s demise.

8. The OC (Fox) Endlessly entertaining verbosity and romantic antics of comic-loving super-nerd Seth Cohen keeps the guilt out of the “OC” pleasure - but one does tend to cry almost as much as one laughs at this SoCal Angst-a-thon, and by “one” I do mean me. Having admitted this, I’ll say we’ll likely learn precisely how important Adam Brody is to the franchise when Josh Schwartz finally launches his second Fox hourlong, “Athens,” come summer.

7. The Sopranos. (HBO) “Do you think you’re alone in this??” A series that gets better with every new season cablecast. Adriana La Cerva, essayed by the great Drea De Matteo, died in one great episode. Tony Blundetto, essayed by the even greater Steve Buscemi, died in the next. It also brought us the execution of Lorraine Calluzzo, Carmella boning TJ’s teacher, the betrayal of Feech La Manna, the crash of Phil Leotardo, and the fall of Johnny Sack. Only 10 episodes left ...

6. The Wire. (HBO) The best crime drama on American television was largely ignored this year because America was too busy enjoying the ABC “comedy” “Desperate Housewives.” With any luck, however, DVD (and Blu-Ray and HD-DVD and Super-Extra-HD-DVD) will ensure the third-season saga of Hamsterdam will endure long after its competition’s plotlines are as forgotten as those of “Dynasty” and “Melrose Place.” Mouzone returns, Barksdale gets boned, Stringer gets dead, Herc summons the Sun, Prez get indicted, Bunny gets fired, Pearlman and Daniels succumb, and McNulty might find salvation yet in young Beatrice Russell. How many movies were as good as “The Wire” this year? Not so many!

5. Gilmore Girls. (The WB) “Oh my God, what have I done?” What’s funnier than Kirk’s naked night-terrors? His demeanor during a “Pippi Longstocking” unspooling! There’s a lot of talk about how the show has rediscovered itself this season, but I think fans are just relieved that Rory dumped Jess and Luke finally got Lorelei. For my money, “Gilmore” has always been, year in and year out, one the most consistently brainy and hilarious filmed entertainments ever engineered.

4. 24 (Fox) The third season got off to a rickety start as it awkwardly wrapped the strange tale of Nina Myers, but the final nine hours of the season, all aired in 2004 after Gael got gassed, were gripping gold. Michelle proved her willingness to execute disobedient civilians, an infected civilian escaped anyway, David Palmer ordered Bauer to kill his boss, Tony betrayed CTU to save Michelle’s life, Bauer used Saunders’ daughter as grim leverage, Sherry Palmer got her desserts, and Bauer rediscovered the usefulness of dismemberment. I even liked the bits with Kim. The fourth season starts in one week, when Fox devotes all of its Sunday and Monday primetime schedule to the first four of the next 24.

3. Wonderfalls (Fox) Souvenirs begin telling a cranky, Ivy League-educated slacker retail clerk named Jaye Tyler to do odd things to further mysterious agendas. She reasonably suspects she’s gone insane, but it seems she might be an unwilling tool of higher powers. Jaye is likeably misanthropic, has cynically likeable friends and hails from a family that has produced far more successful individuals than she. It was last season’s best new show, a deep-thinking enterprise that routinely elicited an improbable number of laughs. Fox pulled the plug on the thing, created by comedy genius Bryan Fuller (“Dead Like Me”) and overseen by comedy genius Tim Minear (“Angel,” “Firefly”), in early April after airing only four episodes. Most won’t understand the full impact of the loss until all 13 produced episodes are finally released on DVD Feb. 1.

2. Lost. (ABC) It’s not just the best new show of the season, it’s the best show in production, period. This baby’s got everything: sci-fi, comedy, adventure, romance, high drama, suspense, violence, mysterious monsters, big twists and great characters. Evangeline Lilly, who plays fugitive Kate, is an amazing find, and should play Wonder Woman. Jorge Garcia, who plays Hurley? Equally amazing find, but should steer clear of Amazon princess roles. David Fury deserves an Emmy for writing that fourth episode centering around John Locke. And as much as I love the pilot J.J. Abrams wrote and directed for “Alias,” the pilot he co-wrote and directed for “Lost” is even better. Had it been released in cinemas, it would have been one of the five best movies of the year, right alongside “Kill Bill 2,” “Spider-Man 2” and “Life Aquatic.” And the best series (by far) of 2004 ...

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