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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Barack Obama was sworn in as president. King of Pop Michael Jackson passed away. The second-greatest film in cinematic history, Crank 2: High Voltage, was released. Now-decade-old 2009 was an auspicious AF year.

TV had a pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good 2009 as well. Here are nine iconic-to-obscure shows that debuted 10 years ago to stream while pondering what in the hell you’ve done with your life.

Parks and Recreation (Seasons 1-7 on Prime Video and Hulu): Community—which also premiered on NBC in 2009—may carry more cred with smug culture nerds, but Parks and Recreation is as warm and timeless as a Li’l Sebastian snuggie. Leslie Knope, Ron Swanson and the rest of Pawnee, Indiana’s finest created a bottomless pit of quotable memes over 125 perfect episodes, which are best enjoyed with a chilled tumbler of Snake Juice.

Archer (Seasons 1-8 on Hulu): There’s no tighter animation voice cast than that of Archer—though star H. Jon Benjamin’s other cartoon, Bob’s Burgers, is close. As international super-spy Sterling Archer, HJB has swaggered/drunkenly stumbled through the hilariously profane and shit-talking series with no lessons learned, except for maybe phrasing (wait, are we still doing that?). Better than Bond.

The League (Seasons 1-7 on Hulu): Fantasy football leagues are monumentally stoopid—and addictively bonding. The League illustrated this over seven hysterical seasons, following a group of pals who’ll stop at nothing to win The Shiva, the league’s trophy. Sportsball knowledge isn’t required; The League is all about pranks, one-upsmanship and brazenly un-PC insult tsunamis. Could not be made in 2019.

Dollhouse (Seasons 1-2 on Hulu): An underground company rents out the services of persona-imprinted “Dolls” whose brains are wiped clean after every escort/mission … or are they? Creator Joss Whedon and star Eliza Dushku never quite found a clear path for Dollhouse, but it’s fun to watch them sell complex identity sci-fi on TV nearly a decade before Westworld. Somebody give Dushku a new show now.

Eastbound and Down (Seasons 1-4 on HBO Go): Washout former Major League Baseball pitcher Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) plots a comeback on the diamond—rules, logic and fashion be damned. Eastbound and Down rides on the glorious mullet of Kenny Fucking Powers (full name), whose narcissistic journey back to glory is as quasi-inspiring as it is profanely funny. Could the roots of #MAGA be traced to E&D?

Nurse Jackie (Seasons 1-7 on Netflix): During the heyday of the male antihero (think Breaking Bad, Californication, Rescue Me, etc.), ex-Sopranos star Edie Falco came out of nowhere as a pill-popping, adulterating, morally ambiguous New York City nurse spinning more sketchy webs than Tony Soprano. It’s a tense drama, but Nurse Jackie also delivers laughs (thanks to breakout co-star Merritt Wever).

Hung (Seasons 1-3 on Prime Video and HBO Go): Down-and-out high-school basketball coach Ray (Thomas Jane) needs a second job—and fortunately, what he lacks in luck (his ex-wife is Anne Heche; ’nuff said), he makes up for in dick. Soon, well-endowed male escort Ray, and his pimpstress Tanya (Jane Adams), are in business, and Hung turns out to be a surprisingly heartwarming comedy—with mucho banging, or course.

United States of Tara (Seasons 1-3 on Hulu): Writer Diablo Cody (Juno, Jennifer’s Body) took a swing at TV with 2009 Showtime dramedy United States of Tara, starring international treasure Toni Collette. Tara (Collette) is a suburban mom with dissociative identity disorder, a condition that leaves her randomly switching between four wildly different personalities. One of the kids: future Captain Marvel Brie Larson.

Party Down (Seasons 1-2 on Hulu): It’s a cult favorite today, but comedy Party Down, about a group of nobody L.A. actors and writers (including Lizzy Caplan, Adam Scott and Jane Lynch) working for a catering biz, was an initial fail. Starz, the “Is Pepsi OK?” of cable, canceled Party Down after 20 episodes, but it holds up far better today than its polar Hollywood opposite, Entourage. Seriously—fuck Entourage.

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Maron (Thursday, May 8, IFC), season premiere: IFC no longer stands for Independent Film Channel; it’s just IFC—not Insanely Funny Comedy, not I’m Feeling Crampy, just IFC. After a handful of false starts (remember Food Party? Z Rock?), Portlandia and Comedy Bang! Bang! (the latter of which premieres for Season 3 on Thursday, May 8) established IFC as a viable original-comedy destination, but it was 2013’s debut season of Maron that lent the channel some real weight. Despite outside appearances, Maron isn’t exactly Louie, just as Louie isn’t Curb Your Enthusiasm; the fictionalized “Marc Maron” rings truer—and often funnier—than “Louis C.K.” or “Larry David.” In the Season 2 premiere, Marc has an uncomfortable time on Talking Dead with geek-media “enemies” Chris Hardwick and Michael Ian Black. Making the world of Twitter, podcasts and nerd-analysis shows play like high drama—that’s comedy.

Rosemary’s Baby (Sunday, May 11, NBC), miniseries debut: What’s a movie star like Zoe Saldana doing here? She’s acting what little ass she has off here, trying to save a needless remake of Roman Polanski’s 1968 quasi-classic film about The Lil’ Antichrist. Reset from New York to Paris—because, free vacation?—this version finds young-couple Rosemary (Saldana) and Guy (Patrick J. Adams, Suits) moving into a swank but “haunted” apartment and promptly getting pregnant—but did Guy make a pact with “devilish” neighbor Roman (Jason Isaacs, various Harry Potters) to trade his unborn baby for a writing career? And why a writer? Why not “Google CEO” or “Clippers owner”? Saldana’s impressive array of bad wigs, shape-shifting preggo-bellies and off-putting cryfaces aside, Rosemary’s Baby is a hysterical mess. So why isn’t it on Lifetime? The miniseries concludes Monday, May 12.

Penny Dreadful (Sunday, May 11, Showtime), series debut: The Only TV Column That Matters™ doesn’t believe that premium-cable levels of language, violence and nudity help every series … but they sure don’t hurt. Nor does star power: Penny Dreadful leads Eva Green (as medium Vanessa Ives), Josh Hartnett (American adventurer Ethan Chandler), Timothy Dalton (the mysterious Malcolm), Billie Piper (the mysterious-er Brona Croft), Reeve Carney (Dorian Gray) and Harry Treadaway (Dr. Victor Frankenstein) form an instantly engaging cast in this Victorian London horror series that strings together classic literary monster tales into a slick, steampunk (and, as per Showtime, adult) X-Files. If Penny Dreadful can maintain the quality and dark intensity of the pilot episode, this should be an American Horror Story-sized hit; if not, it’ll end up like NBC’s already-forgotten Dracula.

24: Live Another Day (Mondays, Fox), new season: Other than trimming the length from two dozen episodes to 12 (it’s not a season, it’s an Event!) and setting aside any pretense of being a serious drama (this has won Emmys—Emmys!), 24: Live Another Day is yell-y, explode-y business as usual for Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland, holding up better than expected) and keyboard-clacking sidekick Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo drag). The “plot” this time around: Jack re-emerges to save the president (William Devane) from terrorists in London. Why can’t the CIA handle it? There’s no time to explain! Send the coordinates! With this new shorter, faster and— foremost—cheaper format, expect Fox to bring back 24 every year until Kiefer looks like dad Donald in a flak jacket.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Tuesday, May 13, ABC), season finale: It only took 20 or so episodes to start getting good—even though it’s become pretty obvious that a Bill Paxton-led Marvel’s Agents of Hydra would be a much more fun series. Anyway, here’s to a smoother Season 2 this fall … right, ABC?


DVD ROUNDUP FOR MAY 13!

Eastbound and Down: Season 4

Retired pitcher Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) breaks into the world of sports-talk TV, becomes a superstar asshole all over again and makes a new enemy (Ken Marino). Is it too late for the world to finally recognize the genius of KFP? Yes. (HBO)

Her

A lonely guy (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with “Samantha” (Scarlett Johansson), an intuitive computer operating system. If you thought iTunes’ terms and conditions were complicated, wait until you see her pre-nup. Ba-dum-bump! (Warner Bros.)

Orange Is the New Black: Season 1

From Weeds creator Jenji Kohan: An engaged New Yorker (Taylor Schilling) turns herself in for a past crime and ends up in a women’s prison—and then all of a sudden, it’s not just about some blonde white girl anymore. Very sneaky, Jenji. (Lionsgate)

That Awkward Moment

Zac Efron, Miles Teller and other pretty 20-somethings star in Dating Is So Hard for Pretty 20-Somethings Movie No. 584—except this time, it’s from the guys’ point of view, so there are more dick jokes than shopping montages. Yay? (Sony)

More New DVD Releases (May 13)

Afterlife: Series One, Camp Harlow, Crook, Deadly Code, Easy Money: Life Deluxe, Generation Iron, Genius on Hold, I Frankenstein, Kendra on Top: Season 2, Longmire: Season 2, Magic City: The Complete Series, Poseidon Rex, Special ID.

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The Crazy Ones (Thursday, Sept. 26, CBS), series debut: In his … triumphant? … return to television, Robin Williams (over)plays advertising exec Simon Roberts, a whacked-out genius who’s as difficult to tolerate as he is, of course, brilliant. His daughter and partner, Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar), is his uptight polar opposite; forced dramedy ensues. Like another new—and funnier—CBS comedy, We Are Men (premiering Monday, Sept. 30), The Crazy Ones is a single-camera, no-laugh-track outing, which means it’s ultimately doomed: The Eyeball Network’s viewers need to be told where the punchlines are—and there ain’t none here.

Homeland, Masters of Sex (Sunday, Sept. 29, Showtime), season premiere, series debut: Alleged bomber Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) is laying low in the Season 3 premiere of Homelandpretty damned low. Meanwhile, things are going from bad to worse to supremely eff’dup for Carrie (Claire Danes) during the Senate investigations into the “Second 9/11” bombing that killed more than 200, and Saul (Mandy Patinkin) takes some seriously un-Saul-like actions to distance the CIA from the whole mess. The tense “Tin Man Down” goes a long way toward getting Homeland back on track after some sub-soap distractions last season—and the sure-to-be-huge ratings should deliver a lot of curious eyes to the fantastic new Masters of Sex, the dramatized story of 1950s sexuality-research pioneers Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) that’s more about human relationships and academia (and, yes, gorgeously-detailed Mad Men period style) than sex and nudity—but there’s plenty of that, too. Go, Showtime!

Eastbound and Down, Hello Ladies (Sunday, Sept. 29, HBO), series premiere, series debut: At the end of Eastbound and Down’s third and intended-to-be final season last year, baseball-legend-in-his-own-pants Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) quit the game and faked his own death to be with his true love, April (Katy Mixon). Season 4 (the real final chapter, if you trust HBO this time) opens with a sadly domesticated Kenny working in rental-car hell and denying his lust for the spotlight—until he’s tapped to guest on a popular sports-talk TV show by its host (Ken Marino); within two episodes, KFP is back in all of his obnoxious glory. New companion comedy Hello Ladies, starring and almost entirely carried by Stephen Merchant, is far more low-key and dry: Brit Stuart (Merchant) and a staggeringly awkward crew of fellow singles look for love in Hollywood, with staggeringly awkward results. It’s the anti-Entourage.

Breaking Bad (Sunday, Sept. 29, AMC), series finale: The final episode of Breaking Bad is titled “Felina.” It’s 75-minutes long; there’s still an hour of dead air called Low Winter Sun between it and Talking Bad; and … that’s all The Only TV Column That Matters™ knows. AMC isn’t sending out preview screeners to TV critics or real people—and why would they?

Super Fun Night (Wednesday, Oct. 2, ABC) series debut: Don’t dismiss a TV-subdued Rebel Wilson with an American accent: Super Fun Night works hilariously, largely due to Wilson’s (relative) underplaying as Kimmie, a junior attorney whose recent promotion is moving her up the social ladder. Will she abandon her equally geeky best friends (Liza Lapira and Lauren Ash) and their standing Friday shut-in “Super Fun Night”? It’s an odd pairing with Modern Family, but Super Fun Night shares the same underlying sweetness and bonding. It’s also saltier and edgier than the rest of ABC's Wednesday—and look where that got Happy Endings.


NEW-RELEASE ROUNDUP FOR OCT. 1!

Awkward: Seasons 1 and 2

Jenna (Ashley Rickards) narrates/blogs about the perils of being a teenager and dealing (awkwardly, duh) with cute boys, mean girls, dumb parents and wasting her child-bearing years on high school and learning—according to MTV, at least. (Paramount)

Beauty and the Beast: Season 1

A detective (Kristin Kreuk—yes, really) fights her attraction to a horribly disfigured monster (Jay Ryan—playing “horribly disfigured” with a wee scar on his face) as they solve her mother’s murder in an appropriately sexy manner. (Paramount)

Fright Night 2: New Blood

In the sequel to the 2011 remake, a professor (Jaime Murray) who also happens to be a vampire prepares to feed on American idiot high-schoolers in Romania. Can the vamp-hunting host of Fright Night (Sean Power) stop her? Should he? (Fox)

New Girl: Season 2

Jess (Zooey Deschanel) gets fired from her teaching job, then spends 25 episodes on temp gigs (model, shot girl, general quirkstress, etc.), wacky misadventures and falling for roommate Nick (Jake Johnson). In other words, Comedy Gold! (Fox)

This Is the End

Five Hollywood pals (Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and James Franco) and one asshole (Danny McBride, of course) get high and wait out the Apocalypse. Will they burn in L.A. or be Raptured to Heaven? Yes. Comedy Gold! (Sony)

More New DVD Releases (Oct. 1)

Bob and the Monster, China Beach: Season 1, The Croods, Dead Before Dawn, Ferocious, The Frozen Ground, Glee: Season 4, Hallow’s Eve, How I Met Your Mother: Season 8, Morning, Treasure Guards

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