I remember the day I realized. It was when I got home from the zillionth disappointing Woody Allen film and saw one of the better episodes from the first season of The Practice. It was hard for an unregenerate film snob like me to admit, but the best TV was -- on its own terms -- as good as the best films, and a whole lot more reliable.
Here's what I'm watching now:
Rome: I know it premiered a while ago, but I'm only now catching up to it on DVD. The period of Roman history beginning with Caesar's return from Gaul contains some of the most colorful narratives in all history. Shakespeare was able to squeeze not one but two plays out of it. Rome keeps its end of the bargain. Although some of the performances bug me a little bit -- James Purefoy as Mark Antony comes off as a bit too melodramatic for my taste -- it still works and it's as addictive as popcorn. Rome is crowding the top of my Netflix queue.
Entourage: I have a feeling it might have peaked in season 2, but these bad boys are still damn entertaining. Think Sex and the City with boys instead of girls and fancy cars instead of shoes. Smart, funny, and Jeremy Piven is in the role he was born to play.
Weeds: I have an insane crush on Mary Louise Parker, so I would probably see this show even if it wasn't brilliantly written. An ordinary suburban single Mom starts dealing weed to make ends meet. It's The Sopranos meets Desperate Housewives.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: I know it's not that good, but I keep watching anyway. Maybe it's because I'm hoping it will get good. Maybe it's because I miss The West Wing and still need my fix of Aaron Sorkin characters jousting verbally and occasionally pausing to remind each other of how smart they are.
Drawn Together: My friends Susan and Zach turned me on to this show. A bunch of cartoon characters, all parodying well-known animated figures, live together in a mansion so they can be filmed for a reality show. The episodes are a little uneven, but at its best this show is as maniacally inventive as The Simpsons at its peak and more outrageous than South Park at its wildest. Funny, funny, sick, sick.
What are you watching?