TV.com Top 100 Everything of 2008: 11-20

In this gargantuan Top 100 list, we go a little out of the box by looking at specific elements of television--both on-screen and off-screen--that we thought were the most memorable this year. We'll put up 10 more each weekday through January 2nd, so be sure to check the site often. Until next year, Happy Holidays!

20. Flash forwards

Lost has always been known for its flashbacks, but season four (well, technically season three) introduced a new twist for ABC's drama: the flashforward. Suddenly Lost became about the castaway's post-island life, and we decided that was awesome. The tactic even reinvigorated Desperate Housewives, which gave us a peek five years into the future of Wisteria Lane.

19. Zeljko Ivanek

Our favorite actor of the year has made several small appearances in shows over the past few seasons, but his turns as a pair of blood-sucking creeps really caught our eye. As a head vampire in True Blood, he sent shivers down our spine, and in his Emmy-winning performance as the ultimate evil--defense lawyer Ray Fiske in Damages--Ivanek is flawless.

18. TV's presence at Comic-Con

If you are a fan of television, there's no better place to be than the annual Comic-Con International conference in San Diego in July. The convention gets bigger and bigger each year, and television's role at Comic-Con is growing at an even faster pace. Where else can you see Damon Lindelof, Hayden Panettiere, Katee Sackhoff, and the guy who played Chewbacca over the course of a few days? Plus it's open to the public, so start putting together that Viper pilot costume and buy your tickets early.

17. The fun of Top Gear

I'm not a car enthusiast, but I can't get enough of BBC's Top Gear--the perfect example of what an informative show should be. With a trio of hosts who work together like magic, a group of producers who refuse to let the show go stale, and a knack for being technical without insulting our intelligence, Top Gear is the best non-fiction show on television.

16. Sheldon's nerd-tastic dialogue in Big Bang Theory

We don't know if the technical gobbledygook that spills from Sheldon's mouth in Big Bang Theory is accurate, but we do know it's absolutely hysterical. Actor Jim Parsons has proven himself to be one of sitcom's brightest new stars, and it's because he nails his dialogue.

15. Simon Baker

The fall 2008 season has given us a grand total of one big new television star--The Mentalist's Simon Baker. The Australian actor has finally found his groove as the extra perceptive Patrick Jane, and is well on his way to becoming a household name.

14. The Taylor's family values in Friday Night Lights

Watching Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton as Eric and Tami Taylor in Friday Night Lights is spectacular, and the family dynamic created in their home seems more real than real life.

13. The Daily Show/Colbert Report's election coverage

This Comedy Central faux-news tandem once again proved themselves to be the go-to source for information this past election, informing, educating, and entertaining viewers day in and day out. On-location episodes, a Daily Show interview with Barack Obama, and Colbert's run for president were just some of the highlights.

12. Bryan Cranston in his underpants in Breaking Bad

We have one image from the 2008 television season burned into our brains, and it happens to be of a middle-aged man in his tighty whiteys. The pilot episode of Breaking Bad wasted no time in giving us a half-nude Walter White, and we were hooked on this gem from AMC.

11. The quality of basic cable

We find ourselves staying out of the low numbers on our television sets a lot now, opting instead to watch basic cable networks. That's where the god stuff is, as evidenced by awards shows and critics' favorites. FX, TNT, USA, TBS, and Comedy Central are churning out great original programming without the boundaries of major networks. Easily worth the $50 cable bill.

Check out more TV.com lists here, and be sure to check back tomorrow for numbers 1-10!

Comments (40)
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Jan 14, 2009
Yeah! 100% agree on Top Gear! Simply the best!
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Jan 07, 2009
Go Sheldon! and the cast of the big bang theory
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Jan 05, 2009
I loved Lost's flash forwards too.
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Jan 04, 2009
I know you guys aren't big on including anime, but come one, Shippuuden's animation upgrade should definitely have been included, and I know it won't, and shouldn't make top 10. But it started to get extremely sad and then they return in a blaze of glory and extremely detailed animation sequences. Not sure what happened but it definitely raised my interest yet again.
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Jan 03, 2009
love top gear
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Jan 03, 2009
Yay Flasforwards and Sheldon!
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Jan 03, 2009
Top Gear is an awesome show!
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Jan 03, 2009
I'm still bitter that Colbert wasn't allowed to run for president!
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Jan 03, 2009
Jim Parsons as Sheldon on Big Bang is so great he always leaves me rolling around on the floor laughing!
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Jan 03, 2009
Libra113 says: Ummm, what about all the millions of times that Byan Cranston appeared in his undies on "Malcome"? Why is it SUDDENLY getting attention I wonder. :) Oh and HOW is the "Mentalist" not a rehash of "Psych"?

For one thing, Patrick Jane doesn't pretend to be psychic. It is interesting hearing Baker come out of character to say "Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode."

And can't you do your hedging and hawing before you start typing?
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Jan 03, 2009
Zeljko Ivanek is joining Heroes in the new volume "Fugitives"! :)
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Jan 02, 2009
Top Gear: Another BBC (ie: British) program that's liked just the way it is, by the Americans.
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Jan 02, 2009
Flashforward was made popular last year by One Tree Hill.......
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Jan 02, 2009
Simon Baker and Top Gear. Agreed.
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Jan 02, 2009
Ummm, what about all the millions of times that Byan Cranston appeared in his undies on "Malcome"? Why is it SUDDENLY getting attention I wonder. :) Oh and HOW is the "Mentalist" not a rehash of "Psych"?
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Jan 02, 2009
OK, another great '10' and the frozen donkey wheel is still nowhere in sight. My order woule be from 20-11: Top Gear (fun but Top 20?), Big Bang (hard to have a top 20 on a show that is far from it), Bryan Cranston, Election Coverage, Comic-Con, Zeljko Ivanek, basic cable (I do love my USA, FX and now TNT shows), Simon Baker (what a great Aussie catch), FNLs (still one of the best written shows on TV) & the Flashforwards (what can season 5 bring us?) on Lost.
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Jan 02, 2009
Breaking Bad is good and Zeljko Ivanek is so good actor i see it better on True Blood than in Damages but still good



:):)
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Jan 02, 2009
OTH started the fast foward trend!
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Jan 02, 2009
Sheldon can't be #16... nonono.. he should be at least in the top 10!
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Jan 02, 2009
Top Gear. Just one word: w0000t :P
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Jan 02, 2009
top gears is definitely awesome
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Jan 02, 2009
Agreed that Ivanek was amazing on DAMAGES -- haven't seen TRUE BLOOD but have to remind you of his one-show performance on HOUSE. What made Fiske such a memorable character is that Ivanek made him both evil and 'human.' His actions are never 'sympsthetic' but they are at least understandable. (I say this as a gay man who at one time had thoughts of being a lawyer. I like to think I wouldn't either have been in the closet or so desperate for the rewards that I would have been tempted to protect my closeted status to this extent, but who can say for certain how they'd deal with this strong a temptation.)



Ivanek's Fiske was almost both likable and pitiable, much more so than the obvious 'real-life mode' for the character, Roy Cohn. I understand why the show played out the way it did -- I won't ruin it for someone who is still getting up on it -- but it is a shame that it is impossible to bring Fiske back.
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Jan 02, 2009
WOW so many good things here: flash fowards, specially seeing take raising little Aaron, GULP! I don't get to see BBT that much, but Sheldon's ratings are awesome. Last but not least, Simon Baker, he's really pulling off the part
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Jan 02, 2009
Thanks for giving a shout out to Top Gear; I hate cars, I hate speed, I really hate driving and still I never miss the show. It's very intertaining and the hosts have such great chemistry ... who knows, maybe I'll end up liking cars after all!
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Jan 02, 2009
Flashbacks are already confusing enough sometimes. Flashforwards? No thanks! The Big Bang Theory was a pleasant discovery, and I really like the show and Parsons (Cuoco more, actually...). The same goes for Simon Baker and the Mentalist. Zeljko Ivanek is a very good actor. I'm sorry I missed Cranston in his undepants...
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Jan 02, 2009
In number 11 you said God instead of Good. Also DH didn't give us a sneak peek into the future it moved the whole bloody show to the future lol ;).
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Jan 02, 2009
Zeljko Ivanek is a good actor. And Simon Baker rocks!
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Jan 02, 2009
Jon Stewart, sigh, Stephen Colbert... their shows are a daily highlight.
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Jan 02, 2009
Defenetly Sheldon's nerd-tastic dialogue on TBBT. The "The Pancake Batter Anomaly" = Funniest Sheldon episode!!!
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Jan 02, 2009
Sheldon is the best thing on Big bang! I am glad you guys see it as well.
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Jan 02, 2009
WTF??? How is Sheldon #16?? Sheldon??? Have you even watched that show? hes the worst thing on it!
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Jan 02, 2009
Technically One Tree Hill performed a permanent one-off jump forward to skip those awkward "college years", so it's not really the same thing as a flash-back or -forward.
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Jan 02, 2009
In all reality, what the Daily Show and Colbert Report provide is the sharp-tongued political barbs of the court jester, setting image and soundbite against record for everyone to see, and also putting our own misperceptions in stark relief. They make fun of everyone, including themselves, and it makes for excellent commentary. Top Gear kicks ass, basic cable is generally better every season, and Breaking Bad kicked so much ass it was, well, addictive. Zelijko Ivanek was amazing in both shows and, well, I'm sorry, but "The Mentalist" hasn't in any way convinced me it's a real show, so boo on that one.
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Jan 02, 2009
Who's watching One Tree Hill? :P
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Jan 02, 2009
boo on them for not mentioning one tree hill to be the first show to flash forward. it didnt happen this year but they should still have at least been given credit for proving its success.
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Jan 02, 2009
Information from a faux-news show? No wonder people are so woefully informed. Too many people think that what Jon and Stephen are doing is real.
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Jan 02, 2009
i love simon baker! and the only networks i watch unless there is a big event on the big networks r USA and TNT... finally they r being praised :P
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Jan 02, 2009
Anything Related to Lost is great!!
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Jan 02, 2009
Flashforwards- Guarenteed to confuse.
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Jan 02, 2009
The Taylors ftw!!
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