Lie to Me - a half step above most other procedural/crime shows. I typically only figure out whodunnit and why about half to 3/4 of the time. But Tim Roth has some serious gravitas and acting chops. Carrying the show to a slightly higher plane.
The facial recognition/microexpressions stuff is kind of fascinating, but I'm of mixed minds about it. Much like I am the CSI genre. On the one hand, it's just cool. And appeals to the 13 year Sherlock Holmes/criminology fanboy inside me. On the other hand, it paints the cops and the side of law enforcement - like most TV does - as nigh infallible forces of righteousness, doing "whatever it takes" and almost always justified. And on the other other hand, one thing CSI has done is brainwash the gen pop, the folks who serve on juries, to expect CSI levels of forensic evidence, which just doesn't happen. I consider that fair play in helping to level a playing field overwhelmingly biased for the prosecution.
[The show that really pisses me off is The Closer, a show Sandy digs. And it's well done, produced, written, acted, etc... but every damn week the cops - "the good guys" - lie, deceive, manipulate and basically do whatever they can to circumvent and disregard people's civil liberties and Miranda rights. And it's "okay" on TV because you know who the "bad guy" is. But what these shows do, subconsciously, is train the general populace to be cowed by authority and give up their constitutional rights. Pisses me off. There's a line from the very cool film the Untouchables, where Costner as Ness says
"I have foresworn myself. I have broken every law I have sworn to uphold, I have become what I beheld and I am content that I have done right!"In my youthful naivete, I used to think that was kinda cool. Now I think he was kind of a hypocritical douche who was rationalizing the hell outta what he'd done. Not that I'd do better, mind. But still. Nothing in the world more dangerous than a true believer.]
A couple episodes of The Daily Show - almost always amusing, but Stewart's takedown of the talking heads at CNBC this week bordered on sheer brilliance.
The Office and 30 Rock. Two of the best comedies on TV. Best network comedies, easy. [Cartoon Network's The Venture Brothers and Boondocks, FX's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia are both way, way up there too.]
The Office -
"Really Jim, on Cupid's birthday?"- because I would say something dickish like he did.
30 Rock -
HARRY. AND. THE. HENDERSONS. - "I just need somewhere I can socialize where women aren't an issue... hey now..." - "I buy myself all the presents I need and because of my drinking they're often a surprise." - "We both have recurring dreams about being overpowered by a female bodybuilder." - "Fine Lithgow, I'll do the right thing."
Skins is not as good as the first two seasons - the cast is all new, and not quite as good as the old crew, but they're building - but still an interesting show about a group of damaged kids.
I was thinking just today, watching my kids in Jr High, but there is no way I had my shit together nearly as well as they do. At that age, no way. Didn't help I was a late bloomer and didn't start to figure things out till something like JR year of high school. But Jr High/High school kids in 2009 seem a lot more together and mature than I ever was. I blame the internet. The internet when I was a kid? I'd a been dangerous. But I'm probably just projecting... Anyways, Skins is a good show.
"Look at these!" - "All those things you want, you don't ask for them. Why don't you just ask?"
Burn Notice - cotton candy for the mind, but way fun. Besides, anything with Bruce Campbell = WIN.