Best Second Tier TV Shows

I have to admit that I've only seen a few episodes of Bones. The few episodes I saw were thoroughly enjoyable (I also saw first season episodes; I hear it has steadily improved since then), but I didn't love it enough to add it to my list of "must see every single episode or I will die" list of TV.

Today, I read an interesting article which classified Bones as among the best of second tier television. I had never really thought about labeling it as such (second tier TV), but I feel like that's a pretty accurate classification; you need not see every episode, but if you're looking for something to watch one evening, you can catch-on easily enough and will find yourself entertained.

This got me thinking about what I classify as my own "Best of the Second Tier", and here is what I've got:

1. Without a Trace - I normally hate procedurals, but I've always found Without a Trace to be one of the more inventive ones, with interesting stories that occasionally mix up a standard formula, as well as a good balance of the 'crime of the week' interspersed with tidbits about the personal lives of the characters.

2. Las Vegas - I will come right out and say that I was actually kind of sad that Las Vegas received its abrupt cancellation after the strike. Las Vegas was always harmless fun, never taking itself too seriously, consequently making it an enjoyable diversion if you ever happened to be in on a Friday night.

3. My Name Is Earl - Earl was actually Top Tier for me in its first season, but as the show has started to age, the premise has started to wear a little thin. Of NBC's Thursday night comedies, it is definitely the weakest one. That being said, Earl still has a lot of heart to it; you could do a lot worse on a Thursday night - it just isn't necessary to watch every single week.

4. Supernatural - This will make many of you Smallville and One Tree Hill fans angry with me, but I am going to come out and say that after Gossip Girl, which I view as Top Tier, I think that Supernatural is the next best show offered by the CW, and is definitely located at the top of the Second Tier. Whereas Smallville and One Tree Hill are aging, Supernatural is still relatively young and fresh. The lead actors (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki) have great chemistry with one another and are, shall we say, pleasing enough to look at...The writing is smart and funny and there are normally weekly self-contained mysteries for the casual viewer such as myself to appreciate, but larger, long-term themes so as not to bore the every-episode kind of a viewer.

Now it's your turn. Tell me what your favorite Second Tier TV Shows are. Also, don't forget that Bones is back tonight at 8PM on FOX!


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Apr 15, 2008 2:21PM EDT

All primetime and late-nite animated shows ([Simpsons], South Park, Family Guy, Adult Swim, etc.) have become Second Tier TV for me. The novelty of "grown-up cartoons" has worn off and I no longer seek them out but whenever I happen to catch one I find that they are just as terrific as ever.Also Second Tier, because there are far too many to care anymore, are franchises like the Law & Orders and the CSIs. While they've been dabbling with continuing character arcs the scripts are still primarily story-driven. This means you don't need to know who's sleeping with who to enjoy the crime procedural at the heart of every episode.Finally, although I haven't seen an episode since last century, I suspect that ER must ride high on the Second Tier as it continues to attract great talent and large audiences. In fact, I think I'll put that theory to the test now.

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