Lately all I seem to do in my spare time is watch TV shows. I’m an addict, its true, capable of watching an entire season of one show in one day. At a certain point the clicking of the next episode becomes automatic and I leave my bed only when really forced to. My other favorite activity, apart from watching lots of TV, is telling other people what shows they should watch. So here’s a list of my top ten picks, in order, for those days when you have nothing better to do than follow my advice.
10. Modern Family Since I’ve been going through a phase were I only want to watch funny things…I’ve fallen in love with with this show, which is your basic sitcom but without the painfully awkward scenarios or the cookie cutter characters. For those of you living under a rock…the show comprises a gay couple, an interracial and intergenerational (can I say that to mean she is 20 years younger than him?) couple, and a ‘traditional’ nuclear family. The ‘traditional’ family is, of course, the most dysfunctional, and the characters are all complex. Plus the writing constantly self-consciously pokes fun at the usual stereotypes.
9. Game of Thrones This show is not without its problems, and often loses the complexity of the books, but is still a pretty knock-out fantasy show. The sets and costuming alone are enough to make viewing worthwhile, and the armor is especially fantastic.
8. Parks and Recreation Another comedy. This one is by the creators of The Office, and features Amy Poehler as an ambitious member of a small town’s administration. This show is great for its amazing cast and the quirky characters they portray, including Ron Swanson, the bacon and whiskey loving head of the department, a libertarian, who’d love nothing more than to see it shut down.
7. The X-Files I don’t recall exactly at which season The X-Files become complete crap, as it’s been quite a while since my marathon viewing of almost all the seasons, but its somewhere around 5. Before then it is an amazing conglomeration of paranoia, the paranormal, and a skeptical and badass female agent who gets stuck with a nutjob partner.
6. Veronica Mars If you like your detectives young and sassy, Veronica Mars is for you. It’s rather reminiscent of ’90s teen dramas, and it does spend a lot of time in high school hallways but the content is a lot darker and more mature than you’d expect, focusing on date rape, incest, and of course, murder.
5. Firefly First things first. I. Love. Joss. Whedon. Lately I find myself becoming a rabid fan in a way that hasn’t happened to me since Star Wars. Ok, not true, but close to true. Joss Whedon’s shows (namely Firefly and Buffy) have recently thrown me into an obsessive tailspin. I watched Firefly for the first time a year ago only to immediately watch it over again. It is that good. And if you are a sci-fi geek like me…well it’s irresistible. The dialogue and characters are genius, it’s funny and heartfelt, and of course, there is a supergirl. Although unfortunately her true superabilities only come to light in the fairly disappointing movie follow-up Serenity.
4. The Wire This show takes you into the lives of Baltimore cops and drug dealers, from the powerful to the peons. My favorite character is Omar, the ghetto Robin Hood who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. He stalks around town in a black trench-coat and a bulletproof vest, wielding a sawed-off shotgun. Omar also happens to be gay, and is featured in several spicy sequences with other men. The show is incredibly complex and realistic, with a wide variety of characters who shift and change throughout the five seasons, and fills all the gaps usually glossed over by gangster rap and crime TV shows, illustrating the devastating realities of life patrolling or working the corner.
3. Justified This is a glimpse into the real America, the one rarely shown on TV. The show follows a quick-draw US Marshall who gets exiled to his home state of Kentucky where he encounters family and friends from the past before his shiny days shooting mafiosi in Miami; OxyContin; trailer parks; mineshafts; and lots of guns.
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer I have too much to say on this one. Click here to see my entire exciting post about it.
1. Deadwood The best and most complicated of them all. Deadwood is a western set in a lawless town in South Dakota run by a tavern owning pimp whose authority is threatened by the arrival of Wild Bill Hickok and an unknown ex lawman from Montana. The three seasons follow the evolution of the town and the power conflicts that occur, both big and small.