I'm not sure whether I watch a lot of TV or not. TV viewing time is something that everyone downplays when you ask them because our culture has decided that TV is less of an art form than the most others. I agree that the overall quality is low, but maybe its just because TV simply has too much time to fill. All those channels, all day long. Its bound to be pretty inferior for the most part.

Anyways, I've been trying to watch more TV recently because I don't have any desire to be a "i never watch tv" person. Turns out there are some good shows if you watch carefully (thanks, ReplayTV). This is a list of my favorite six shows of 2001.

6) Madonna concert, HBO. I didn't expect myself to be able to sit through an entire televised concert on TV, but Madonna kept me captivated. Her show was divided into four themes and was incredibly theatrical. Madonna can dance and sing live brilliantly, something that Britney and J-Lo couldn't pull off in their TV concert debuts this year.

5) The Sopranos, HB0. Same reasons everyone else likes it. I probably would have this higher on my list, but I can barely remember how good it is since the most recent season ended so early in 2001. New episodes coming soon...

4) Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO. At this point you're wondering if we watch anything besides HBO. CYE can be frustrating and annoying, yes. But when its good, its right on, matching wits with some of Seinfeld's classic moments.

3) SportsCenter, ESPN. I don't care about baseball or hockey, but I'll still watch any highlights on SportsCenter because of the writing and the delivery. These sportscasters are talented. They drop pop culture references like the USA drops bombs. Quickly and with little regard for hit-or-miss. Fortunately (in both cases), most are hits. Some favorites: "Tim-may" Brown/Hardaway/Couch. Chuck "New Kids On" Knoblauch. SportsCenter: that's levitation, homes.

2) The Daily Show, Comedy Central. Before 9/11, The Daily Show called themselves "the most important television show ... ever". They dropped that moniker out of respect (???), but its still the most important show to me. Cynical in all the right places and always hilarious. Jon Stewart gives the best interviews on TV. Pitifully, this American gets his news from Comedy Central, not NBC.

1) Six Feet Under, HB0. Have you seen this show? Watching is a privilege, like seeing your favorite movie continue to develop week after week. The characters are incredibly well conceived, the acting is fantastic, and the stories are, well, strange. But haunting and very real. If you don't like the first one you see, watch another episode. I guarantee you'll be obsessed in no time.

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