2010 Calvin Awards: Best TV Show

February 8, 2010

Half the Mad Men are hot women. Interesting.

With the announcement of last year's selections, I had mentioned that this particular category would be wide open in coming years. The explanation was that most of our favorite shows over the previous four years were all either canceled or coming to an end soon. That wasn't quite accurate as seven out of our ten favorites from the 2009 Calvins were also selections in 2010. The order was scrambled, however, as two new shows exploded into the top five while another shot up from seventh place last year to stake a claim as our favorite television program of the year.

The 2010 Calvin winner for Best TV Show is Mad Men. We had taken note of the show in 2008, when it finished just outside the top 10. Then, we gave the Matthew Weiner creation a seventh place nod last year before coming together as a group to award it as the best of the year with this vote. The shocking developments and sweeping changes that overwhelmed the staff of Sterling Cooper during Mad Men's third season wowed BOP's writers to the point that it became one of the most hotly debated topics for the staff. By the time the season had ended, the entire ad agency had been destroyed and the ground salted to prevent anything from ever growing there again. Within moments of the end of the season finale, we were left wondering how the show could possibly continue in the already announced season four since...well, lots of people have gone several steps beyond final written warning. I mean, if I have this right, Sterling and Cooper no longer own Sterling Cooper. How is that even possible? And that one person isn't even the name they've said they were the whole time! If we can't trust fictional ad agency employees, who can we trust ever about anything? "I don't believe in nothing no more. I'm going to law school." This is not just a Simpsons quote but also a potential story arc for Mad Men season four. Whatever happens next, we will never accuse the show of being too predictable. That much is certain.


Judging from the last few years of votes in this category, we are an intransigent bunch who are slow to adapt to new programming. That's what makes the performance of our second favorite show for the year all the more remarkable. Modern Family, the hilarious ABC sitcom, aired only 13 episodes during the qualifying period for our voting. In that time frame, it grew from becoming a show with a funny pilot to THE cannot miss comedy on the schedule. Featuring three generations of a family whose patriarch is Ed O'Neill, this is quite possibly the best television cast of the 2000s. You may not know all of the names inasmuch as you'd know some of their other work a la Carol Vessey on Ed, the babe on that show about robbing Mick Jagger, the dude who said the kid's mom freaked him out in Almost Famous et al. Okay, maybe you wouldn't even know them that way, but it's the incidental compositions of their various bodies of work that make all of these people ones whom BOP loved prior to being cast in this show. On this sitcom, they all blend together to offer some of the biggest laughs since the heyday of Must See TV yet they manage to do so in a manner befitting all the complexities of home life in the digital age. I could offer anecdotal acknowledgements of my favorite moments (the magic word is Fizbo), but that would be taking away from some of you. Instead, I will simply encourage you to go to Hulu or Amazon Unbox and immediately catch up on the episodes aired to date. Modern Family is not just our second favorite show of this year but also a likely contender in the category for the foreseeable future.

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