It’s time for the second half of the TV shows post! Doesn’t need a lot of intro. If you don’t know what this is all about, check out last week’s TTT. I know this isn’t the prompt for this week, but I don’t have time to come up with a list of the characters I’d want on a deserted island with me (Peeta would probably be there – that’s all I know).
This may seem like an out of left field choice if you read last week’s list, but this week’s list is way less sci-fi based. I refused to watch GG when it was on tv. I caught one episode once, by accident, late at night when I couldn’t sleep. It was the dance marathon episode. It seemed stupid and like it was trying too hard. Many years later, a friend said it was awesome. He insisted on it. He agreed to watch Buffy if I watched Gilmore Girls. It took most of the first season, but by the end, I was hooked. The writing is clever and funny – even if the trying too hard thing is true in some episodes. The dance marathon episode is still stupid. Lorelei and I share a coffee obsession. And the Luke obsession. Maybe Luke would be on my island. Is that cheating? He’s not from a book but he’d be so… helpful to have around.
Queer as Folk (US)
This is one of those shows that was originally British and ended up with the dreaded American version. In this case – success! The American version is awesome. Admittedly, I’ve never seen the British version. I tried once, but because I saw the US one first, those are the characters I know. I can’t see them as other people. If nothing else had hooked me on the show, I would have watched it just for Gale Harold. I’m sad he doesn’t do more stuff. Unapologetically selfish, Brian is one of the best tv characters ever. The shows music is amazing. The stories are heartbreaking/warming in turn. There are certain episodes I can’t watch without crying and others that make me laugh until it hurts. The episode where they go to Toronto (where the show was filmed) makes me chuckle every time. It deals with a lot of serious issues, and even though it’s been off the air for almost ten years, they are still relevant. QaF is near the top of my list of favourite shows.
American Horror Story
How on earth is this show done by the same guys that do Glee? Do they really think so little of teens that they write that garbage for them when they can clearly develop intricate, complex plots and characters? I don’t know for sure if AHS was the first tv show to use the format where everything changes from season to season, but it was the first show I saw doing it. I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about that, but it’s actually working. I liked the first season a lot. I decided to start watching it late one night, home alone, in the dark. How bad could it be? It’s on tv. Then that damn theme music started and I knew I was in trouble. I had to watch another episode and stop it somewhere in the middle at a totally non-scary section so that I could go to bed. I’d heard a lot of bad things about the second season, but I don’t hate it. I love shows about of these church run asylums. And it’s got so much Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe. Yes, please! I wish they had just dropped the whole weird alien sub-plot and concentrated on the leatherface story. That was good and creepy. The addition of Kathy Bates in Coven was genius. Next season is Freak Show. I’m actually dancing in my chair in excited expectation!
BBC cop drama. A mystery in a small town. Honestly, I watched this because David Tennant was in it and I like him (even if he’s not my doctor). The show is excellent. Like a lot of BBC shows, it’s a short season – only eight episodes – and it’s a slow burn. This isn’t full of action and car chases and stuff. Sure, those things happen, but it’s mostly sad and depressing. It’s just the way I like my dramas. This town is suffocating under the weight of its despair. There are the exact right number of red herrings. And when the town turns on the wrong man because of irresponsible news media, you genuinely feel for him. If you’ve watched a lot of British programming, you’ll recognize a lot of the faces in the show.
House of Lies
Sometimes, you just want to immerse your brain in a world of totally unlikable characters. House of Lies does this in a way no other show does – at least for me. Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell seem like they would be really nice people in real life, but blech, they are awful in this. Awful in the best possible way. The show highlights the worst possible parts of the capitalism. They’re consultants who work for rich, awful clients, and bilk them for all they can. And they don’t do it for altruistic reasons. They do it because they want to make money and be the best. I don’t know why I like it but I do. It’s just good. And funny. And awful. All wrapped up in an awfully pretty package.
Pretty Little Liars
I honestly can’t tell you what it is that I love about this show. The stories are kind of repetitive. Aria’s having family/boy trouble. Hanna’s getting in trouble and having family drama. Spencer’s sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong and also with the family drama. Emily is having an identity crisis and wait, yup, family drama. And they’re always on the verge of getting killed/caught doing something illegal. Admittedly, I’ve only seen the first three seasons, and I hear it’s a little draggy in the fourth, but I get sucked into their little dramas. Alison was a bitch – just saying. I love the Mona plot and honestly, I don’t have a clue who A is yet, but god, they need to wrap this up soon. And then end the show. Let’s not Twin Peaks it, guys.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Another cancelled Aaron Sorkin drama. This one only got one lonely season. A behind the scenes look at a Saturday Night Live style show. It’s damn smart. I loved it. And it’s where I discovered Sarah Paulson. Love her. She was a huge part of what made this show great – although it had a hugely successful cast, a lot of who had previously starred in The West Wing. Unlike Firefly, this is a one season show that’s been largely forgotten. Most people don’t know what it is. Lots of people don’t want to watch a show knowing that it’s going to end quickly –especially when it’s really good. There was no reason for this show to be cancelled. It just couldn’t find its audience and that is a crying shame.
I really like shows that are no longer on the air. American Dreams was the story of an average middle class family in the 60s. Dad owns his own store. Mom stays at home. Kids go to catholic school. But the times, they are a changing. The show starts with the assassination of JFK and how it rocked the American people. Meg – the oldest daughter – becomes a dancer on American Band Stand. This is the major draw of the show. It’s what made it different from other dramas. It mixed ABS footage with new footage. Musical acts were recreated by modern musicians: Michelle Branch as Lesley Gore, Usher as Marvin Gaye, LeAnn Rimes as Connie Francis, Third Eye Blind as The Kinks, Fountains of Wayne as The Hollies. It all came together to make something was actually intriguing enough to watch. Then the plot began to develop and follow the women’s movement, the end of segregation, political upheaval, the church’s involvement in the family. It was a really good show. Only season one is available on dvd. That makes me insane! I’ve watched the remaining seasons in really crappy youtube versions, but I’d rather own them all.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I promised a second Whedon entry and here it is. There’s just something about Buffy that makes me happy. I’ve already talked about my love of the show in these two posts. I’m not going to go crazy about it here. Buffy has weirdly connected me to a lot of people I now hold as dear friends.
And that’s the list. There are others I could have chosen. There are a lot of good story tellers out there.