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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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Mad Men (Sunday, April 13, AMC), season premiere: The seventh and final season of Mad Men, the series that made AMC legit years before the money-printing machine of The Walking Dead fired up, will split 14 episodes over this spring and next, because why not? You put up with it for Breaking Bad, so AMC assumes you’ll do the same for ad man Don Draper. The network has requested the omission of certain plot points in reviews; The Only TV Column That Matters™ requested review materials in a timely manner, and we all failed. Season 7 opens in January 1969, two months after last season left off, and the series’ long-dreaded pre-’70s fashion catastrophes are in full effect (the horror, the horror). Don (Jon Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) are now in California, as is Pete (Vincent Kartheiser), while Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) is still in New York, banging her head against the glass ceiling of SC&P (now minus the Draper “D”). The stacked-deep storylines of “Time Zones” suggest no obvious conclusion for which Mad Men is headed, other than the trip being more important than the destination. God, that is sooo California.

Nurse Jackie, Californication (Sunday, April 13, Showtime), season premieres: Edie Falco’s Nurse Jackie has now run as long as her previous series, The Sopranos—six seasons, with a seventh already announced—and we still don’t know if it’s a comedy or a drama. Californication, on the other hand, has always been squarely about the funny with a small side of serious, and Season 7 (the last—they mean it this time) brings it back to Santa Monica Cop, the film Hank (David Duchovny) wrote for hip-hop superstar Samurai Apocalypse. He’s hired by a TV showrunner (another Sopranos alum, Michael Imperioli) to turn it into a series—and after books, music, movies and theater, how can Hank possibly blow a television gig? Obviously, he finds a way. (Other) critics be damned—I still love Hank and Californication, and it’ll suck to see ’em go after 11 more episodes. Here’s hoping for some final appearances from Lew Ashby (Callum Keith Rennie) and Eddie Nero (Rob Lowe).

Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters (Sunday, April 13, Animal Planet), series debut: Why is this new reality series about human rednecks on Animal Planet? Because “when fugitives disappear into the immense wilderness inhabited by predators like black bears and mountain lions, it takes a special type of hunter to bring these fugitives to justice.” And one of the bounty hunters’ nickname is “Animal.” That’s it. Thus concludes today’s lesson in Why All Cable Channels Will Soon Be the Same Cable Channel.

Fargo (Tuesday, April 15, FX), series debut: This show offers the same setting and tone as the 1996 movie, but a different story and characters. And what characters they are: Lorne (Billy Bob Thornton), a manipulative drifter who has his own definitions of “law,” “order” and “fun”; a put-upon insurance-salesman schlub (Martin Freeman) whom Lorne introduces to the Dark Side; a recently-widowed ex-Vegas stripper (Kate Walsh) who’s just now realizing what a terrible idea it was to move to Minnesota; local cops of varying intelligence (Bob Odenkirk and Colin Hanks); hitmen Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench (Adam Goldberg and Russell Harvard); a local supermarket magnate (Oliver Platt) with a secret; a dim personal trainer with crime in mind (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Glenn Howerton) and more—yes, more. At 10 initial episodes, FX’s Fargo will tell a more expansive story, but the overly accented, near-cartoon acting and clever cinematography and dialogue are pure, old-school Coen brothers (who are onboard with this TV adaptation as executive producers). In other words, it’s okey-dokey.


DVD ROUNDUP FOR APRIL 15!

Better Living Through Chemistry

A dull pharmacist (Sam Rockwell) is drawn into an affair of meds, martinis and sex with a sultry prescription addict (Olivia Wilde)—until the Drug Enforcement Administration comes around. If you buy Rockwell and Wilde as bored suburbanites, you’ll buy this. (Universal)

Date and Switch

High school buds Michael and Matty (Nicholas Braun and Hunter Cope) make a pact to lose their virginities by prom night—then Matty announces he’s gay. If you buy these two (and Dakota Johnson) as teens, you’ll buy this. (Lionsgate)

Flowers in the Attic

A flighty widow (Heather Graham) leaves her children (including Kiernan Shipka) with her crazy mother (Ellen Burstyn), who abuses them and locks them in her attic for years. Based on the “gothic teen incest classic” (!) of the same name. (A&E)

Ride Along

A police academy newbie/Chris Tucker impersonator (Kevin Hart) goes on a ride-along with his girlfriend’s veteran cop brother (Ice Cube) to prove his worth, and all the crazy shit you’d expect happens over the next 24 hours. (Universal)

Trap for Cinderella

After awakening from an accident with amnesia, a woman (Tuppence Middleton) tries to piece her life back together with the help of a childhood friend (Alexandra Roach); deception and psycho-sexual lesbian obsession ensue. Of course it’s French. (MPI)

More New DVD Releases (April 15)

Anger Management: Vol. 3, Camp Dread, Confine, Copperhead, Death Do Us Part, The Formula, Great Expectations, Interior. Leather Bar., Legend of the Red Reaper, Mobius, Not Safe for Work, The Nut Job, Philomena, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

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House of Cards (Friday, Feb. 14, Netflix), season premiere: Falling between Arrested Development (“It’s back! But … huh?”) and Orange Is the New Black (“OMG! The greatest thing in the history of things!”) in the Netflix hype of 2013, the uneven debut season of political drama House of Cards was more fun if you didn’t think about it too hard. Some whined about star Kevin Spacey’s talk-to-the-camera asides as magnetically evil congressman Frank Underwood—but they provided many of the series’ best moments (and one provides one of the Season 2 premiere’s funniest moments). The less time you spend pondering the actions of Underwood’s power-couple counterpart (Robin Wright) and D.C. journoslut Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), the better, because the weirdness is escalating now that he’s vice president. (Veep, this aint.) All 13 new episodes go live at midnight, but pace yourself—it is Valentine’s Day, after all.

The Good Mistress (Saturday, Feb. 15, Lifetime), movie: If the political machinations of House of Cards seem farfetched, just hose out your brain with The Good Mistress, the latest in Lifetime’s ongoing—and, so far, impressive—campaign to become the No. 1 vendor of WTF? movies on cable. The setup: “A young woman (Annie Heise) struggling to recover from alcoholism moves to a new town, where her high school friend (Kendra Anderson) has offered her a job. After becoming involved with a mysterious gentleman (Antonio Cupo), she soon discovers that he is actually her friend’s husband, a candidate in the county elections and a suspect in a murder investigation.” So she’s the good mistress; he’s the bad guy; and he never gets the chance to simply look into the camera and explain himself. Not cool, Lifetime.

Star-Crossed (Monday, Feb. 17, The CW), series debut: It’s been a sucktastic launch season for The CW, as none of its new 2013-2014 series have caught on: Reign, The Originals and The Tomorrow People are barely being propped up on their respective nights by relative vets The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural and Arrow, and the midseason replacements look about as viable as a Sex and the City prequel ... what, that happened? Upcoming March premiere The 100—about pretty future space kids exiled on abandoned Earth with, like, no Wi-Fi—at least has a semi-original concept, but Star-Crossed is really just Roswell: The Next Generation, wherein a group of E.T. teens are being integrated into a high school with human teens as a “social experiment” that neither side likes. Does an epic Romeo and Juliet romance unfold between earthling Emery (Amy Teegarden) and space-boy Roman (Matt Lanter)? Duh—it even says “an epic Romeo and Juliet romance unfolds” in The CW’s press release.

Tubbin’ With Tash (YouTube.com/Natasha): As 2014 shapes up to the year of Natasha Leggero—the tiny comedienne best known for guesting on Chelsea Lately, roasting James Franco on Comedy Central, and a current surreal arc on ABC’s Suburgatory as a normal, appropriate human not prone to discourses about her vagina—The Only TV Column That Matters™ recommends checking out her YouTube series Tubbin’ With Tash before she blows up. It’s the celebrity interview show as it should be: in a hot tub and less than five minutes long, with cheesy ’80s graphics, hysterically invasive questions (“Do you not want to have babies because of your career, or because it’d be a mess?” she asked Sarah Silverman; of Jeff Ross: “Do you think you’ll die alone, or next to an 18-year-old?”), a “medical cocaine license” and a sidekick named Pig Bottom. When The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon crashes and burns, NBC, call Tash.


DVD ROUNDUP FOR FEB. 18!

Afternoon Delight

A bored Silver Lake housewife (Kathryn Hahn) hires a homeless stripper (Juno Temple) as a live-in nanny and friend, and everyone learns Valuable Life Lessons. Well, the stripper doesn’t learn anything, because strippers have it all together. (Docurama)

Game of Thrones: Season 3

Robb Stark continues his battles beyond the wall; the wildings are still southbound; Daenerys Targaryen and the Dragons remain adorable; and, all anyone really cares about … The Red Wedding! (HBO)

Jailbait

“In the vein of Orange Is the New Black,” in that it’s about women in prison and … that’s it. Sara Malakul Lane stars as a new inmate sentenced for killing her abusive stepfather in self-defense; the usual violence and lesbian stuff ensue. (Asylum)

Nurse Jackie: Season 5

Now out of rehab, Jackie (Edie Falco) jumps into the new world of sobriety and, even worse, dating. Is she headed for a relapse? Like Aerosmith and Jane’s Addiction, Jackie’s only tolerable when on drugs, so (spoiler) yeah. (Lionsgate)

More New DVD Releases (Feb. 18)

Apocalypse Pompeii, Battle of the Damned, Deliverance From Evil, Don’t Pass Me By, Fists of Legend, The Ganzfeld Haunting, Hellbenders, The Invoking, Mad in Italy, Mortal Enemies, Random Acts of Violence.

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