Top Whatever List of as Many Good Shows as I Want

Today's cuppa: French vanilla coffee

20081226_img_0008 'Tis Boxing Day, and I find myself unable to engage in the traditional St. Stephen's Day activity of rising before dawn, downing a hot rum punch and riding to the hounds across grassy fields silvered with hoarfrost in the early morning chill.

Bummer.

Instead, I'm in cool, windy but very sunny Los Angeles, thinking up a list of my favorite TV shows of the past year. Well, as I'm unable to remember exactly what I was watching in February and whether I liked it better than I like the shows I'm watching now, to heck with that.

So, here's my first annual Hot Cuppa TV List of All the Shows I Liked in 2008 That I Can Remember Right Now (feel free to play along at home; your results may vary, especially if your memory is better than mine). These are presented in the order that I think of them. No further ranking is intended nor should be inferred.

"The Shield" (FX): See here and here and here. 'Nuff said.

"The Wire" (HBO): Yeah, I know hardly any of you saw this excellent urban drama, but all five seasons are available in one honking big DVD set, so get on it. You'll feel better and smarter for it, not to mention able to negotiate West Baltimore with your eyes closed (but, considering the area, not recommended).

"Lost" (ABC): Started out last fall kind of meh, then turned awesome. Hoping for more awesome when it returns.

"Dirty Jobs" (Discovery Channel): Still dirty, still starring Mike Rowe (who suffers in a more entertaining way than anybody I know in current television), still consistently gross and hilarious.

"The Middleman" (ABC Family): Click here and here. Took a long time to come to TV then left far too soon. If only they'd gotten the Middleman half-undressed earlier, it might have helped.

"Chuck" (NBC): Clever, fun, heartfelt and cute as all get out, this comedy-drama sparkled last year and is positively coruscating this year (and you thought George Lucas made up the name of the city-planet Coruscant. Not exactly.). And I adore John Casey (Adam Baldwin), especially when he salutes his photo of the Gipper.

"NCIS" (CBS): Then, now and likely in the future, one of my (and 18, 19 or so other million people) favorite shows. Never miss it.

"Groomer Has It" (Animal Planet): Proof that any show can grab your interest if you let guard down. Heaven help me, I'll probably watch the second season, too.

"Deadliest Ice Road Ax Men" (Discovery & History Channels): Hard-working men on boats, in trucks and running through the woods. As long as they keep working, I'll keep watching.

"Bones" (Fox): I still can't bring myself to love the character of Temperance Brennan -- though the actress who plays her is just charming -- but this intelligent, witty procedural is a must-watch. And David Boreanaz is the prettiest -- or so all of you told me. Still hoping for the "Bones"/"House" crossover with Stephen Fry. I've done my part.

"Dancing With the Stars" (ABC): Grumpy about the ending again this year -- my guy didn't make it -- but it still makes me happy.

"CSI: Miami" (CBS): Don't ask. Can't 'splain it. Can't stop watching.

"Supernatural" (The CW): Several seasons in, this one just gets better and more ambitious. And click here to see why it features my current favorite angel.

That's all I've got right now. Apologies to everyone I've forgotten, no doubt I'll do an addendum before the year ends.