Lets face it: most television is garbage. Sheila and I share a saying in our marriage that, in the interest of providing family-friendly content, I won’t repeat in its entirety. (Hint: two words; first word is “TV”; second word starts and ends with “s” and it isn’t “stinks”).
Every once in a while, though, a show that is worth watching comes along. Here is my short list of shows that have (usually) met/meet that description:
#1. The X-Files. This is a show that ended when it should have. I don’t wish it were still around, because it pretty much ran its course. But during its hey-day, I was captivated by the way it explored questions of the interactions between the rational and the supernatural. David Duchovney’s Mulder is probably my favorite of all TV characters. He is deep, complex, funny, tragic, goofy, and (occasionally) mildly perverse, all rolled into one. A very real character in a series that could sometimes explore the very un-real.
#2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There is no way to sum up this show in a few words. They did so many things well – characters, writing, comedy, tradgedy, horror. An episode like The Body just stuns you with its realistic depiction of shock and grief. The next one has your side splitting. Seldom did this one ever fail to disappoint.
#3. The Simpsons. Incredibly sharp, witty social commentary. Still going strong after all of these years.
#4. King of the Hill. I have this love/hate relationship with Hank. In some ways, I am soooo much like him. But he also annoys me because he just won’t accept cultural change. Still, this is a great show about all of the goofy characters that seem to be at center stage during this odd, cultural shift that we are experiencing.
#5. Thirtysomething. I realize it looks very dated now, but – even though I was in my early twenties when it aired – I became attached to the characters in this show. To this day, I continue to identify with so many of Michael Stedman’s struggles.
#6. Cowboys on Monday Night Football. What can I say? Its a weeknight. Its late. Its the NFL. Who cares if I have to go to work in the morning? For a few hours I can forget about the hassles of the new week and just get lost in a game.
#7. Seinfeld. I really can’t say exactly why I liked this, except that its willingness to be blatantly honest about what REALLY motivates us most of the time in the way we handle relationships was kind-of refreshing.
#8. Columbo. People ask me how I behave in depositions and in the courtroom, and I tell them that I probably come off more like Columbo than anyone else. That isn’t always a good thing, but I think that watching this show at 6-7 years of age must have ingrained his absent-minded, but relentlessly analytical approach into my personality. Plus, I’m always talking about my wife.
Here’s a few that others swear by that I never “got”:
– Friends. Not funny, very shallow, and continuously sex-obsessed. It seemed to me to be more about the telegenic cast than any meaningful stories or dialog.
– Cheers. I get the premise: people who are “losers” (in different ways) come together to drown themselves in their misery and have a few laughs. Its just to grim for me.
– American Idol. Never even watched one episode. I could care less what Simon or Paula think about anything.
– Happy Days. I tried to like this show, but couldn’t ever get past all of the corny humor.
– Anything that vaguely resembles reality TV.
Anybody else want to make their own lists?