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TV Junkie: The Top 10 TV Highlights of 2008

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George Bush ducks shoe thrown by Iraqi reporter
2008 was a year where TV saw viewership decline for at least the 8th straight year. We saw even more film stars make their way to basic cable (USA, TNT, TBS, FX, etc.) to star in their own series and we saw the big three networks make even more forays into the realm of cheap reality TV at the expense of scripted programs.We've made a list of moments and programs in 2008 that made themselves known above the fray. This list is in no particular order but we did split it between "scripted" work and news-type events. In terms of the scripted work, it looks like a lot of programming from HBO has made the list, which perhaps isn't fair, but they really seem to be taking the job of creating innovative and interesting programming seriously:

- The "John Adams" mini-series on HBO - so accurate and patriotic
- The segment on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" during the writers' strike with associate producer Jordan Schlansky NBC - so good that they brought him back for a follow-up segment
- The "Generation Kill" mini-series on HBO - based on the book, the Marine's eye-view of Iraq
- The launch of "True Blood" on HBO - got vampires down better than any of the "Twilight" garbage
- Sarah Palin/Tina Fey on "Saturday Night Live" NBC - so perfect, cemented the comeback of "SNL"
- "The Wire" series finale on HBO - end of an era for HBO, somehow it escaped the critical awards it deserved
- "The Shield" series finale on FX - this is the show that brought unflinching, hardnosed TV to basic cable

For news and events-related items, the following 3 stood out:

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- Beijing Olympics Men's 4x100m Freestyle Swimming Relay Gold medal - mainly because it was the "old guy", Jason Lezak, who did the swim of his life to bring the team gold, and not the performance of Michael Phelps. The Olympics were impressive but overshadowed by China's authoritarian and anti-free speech tactics, the pollution, suspected age falsification of the Chinese women's gymnastics team, the general lack of access to live broadcasts via NBC, and horrible commentary on the NBC channels, including, but not limited to: Al Trautwig, Mary Carillo, and Cris Collinsworth.
- Barack Obama's acceptance speech
- The President Bush/Iraq-reporter shoe-throwing incident. Thankfully the TV Junkie didn't write this a week ago or we would have missed this. The fact that this bit of footage was captured, showing some foreigner-type person, throwing his shoes at our American President, and that there weren't protest marches even in the reddest of states, is the evidence of how low the current administration has sunk.

What were the top TV moments of 2009 according to you?