My Favorite TV Shows

As I logged on to my dashboard and dusted away the tumbleweeds on this blog I tried to think of something new and refreshing to post. But then I realized that I had nothing new and refreshing to say, and all I wanted to do was talk about my new favorite TV show.

So here goes! Favorite TV shows!

*–Means that at least some of the seasons are available on Netflix streaming.

The Best Show Ever. Ever. Ever ever ever ever.

*Friday Night Lights (NBC, starring Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Taylor Kitsch)

No, it’s not just because I live in Texas. And I don’t even like football. This show, ended earlier this year, is one of the finest examples of what well conceived television can be. From the writing to the acting and the creation of place (Dillon, TX) FNL was always, above all else, honest to its subject matter: a working-class rural western Texas town, full of love, friendship, secrets, grief, betrayal, humor and, most of all, the love of a game.

My Replacement for Friday Night Lights

*Sons of Anarchy (FX, starring Ron Perlman, Katey Sagal, Charlie Hunman, Maggie Siff)

What happens when you put together Hamlet and an outlaw motorcycle gang in a working class California town? You get Sons of Anarchy. J and I just started watching it Friday on Netflix and have powered through the first season and most of the second. We just can’t stop watching. The first few episodes are intriguing but definitely shaky. By the middle of the first season the plot and writing tighten up, and layers upon layers of a complicated story begin to unravel. Until I watched season 2 episode 10 last night (“Balm”) I was convinced that the end of the first season had some of the best episodes of television, ever (“The Sleep of Babies” and “The Revelator”).  But “Balm” had me crying for ten minutes after the show ended. For a show to keep hitting hard like that, it’s impossible not to be addicted.

The Show That is Always Improved by a Few Glasses of Wine

True Blood (HBO, starring…whatever, you know.)

True Blood. Perennial favorite, right? It’s funny, kitschy, sexy and unexpectedly poignant (sometimes). I wouldn’t say it’s well acted, and sometimes it’s not even that well written, but when I’ve had two glasses of wine and I’m in my pink terry-cloth robe, what do I care? It’s fun, and that’s all I need on a quiet Saturday night at home.

The Show I Don’t Want My Husband To Know I Actually Enjoy

*Battlestar Galactica (FX (?) starring Edward James Olmos, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, many, many more)

J started watching and I could do nothing but scoff. It didn’t help that I was pregnant and the first episode has some cyborg lady snapping an infant’s neck. Disgusted, and frankly tired out by his previous Soprano’s marathon, I stopped watching.

Until…interesting things happened. And really riveting scenes. And, you know, the douche-assholery of Starbuck (one of the biggest fight’s J and I ever had I hurled the ultimate insult at him: “You’re acting like Starbuck!”…Big. Trouble.)

In the end, I liked the show, quiet a bit. It’s an excellent sci-fi series, but more so, a well-done drama about people living on the edge of existence.

I Watch Because I Love the Books…And I Can’t Get Enough Jon Snow

Game of Thrones (HBO, starring Boromir, incestuous siblings, angry bastards)

Okay. Lots of people really loved the TV show. I liked it well enough, but if you’ve read the books there is just so much that even a generous HBO show can’t cover. Unfortunately, to me, the show felt rushed. But I loved watching the title sequence every episode, the acting was excellent (Hello, Tyrion Lannister! Emmy snub of the year!) and detailed sets really transported me to that fictional land of Westeros. It’s always tricky converting a literary experience to the screen (see: the first two Harry Potter films, most other adaptations) but I think HBO gave it its best shot, and on the whole, succeeded.

The Show I Follow Even Though It’s Gone Down the Crapper

*Bones (Fox, David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel)

Bones, when it started, was a pretty unique forensics show. Take a socially-inept brilliant scientist and pair her (ooo, twist! as Tracey Jordan would say) with a charismatic, handsome FBI agent. There you have Booth and Bones, the heart of the show. Add in a quirky team of genius scientists, some puzzling murders, a heap of sexual tension and you’ve got a really good show.

And it was. For about the first four seasons. It started to go down hill when they wrote out Zac (I believe the actor had to leave for personal reasons?). He was the perfect foil for Brennan/Bones, and without him gone the show lost a lot of heart. Then the writers overextended Bones and Booth getting together, and the murder cases stopped being poignant and started trying to be…I don’t know, goofy?

So, I watch the show because I love what it used to be. I care about the characters. I want the story to end well. Sigh. I hate when a show dies off, don’t you? (Hello, The Office.)

The Because I Sometimes Want to be British Show

*Downton Abbey (Masterpiece, starring Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, many other fine actors.)

I don’t know what to say about Downton Abbey besides that it’s a spectacular drama. The set, the costumes, the acting, the score, the story, the upstairs/downstairs aspect, the coming of the first World War–I mean. I can’t explain. I really hope they do a second series (I want to see Bates and Anna together!!!)

The Show I Hate with a Passion

The Sopranos (starring: don’t know, don’t care.)

I really hate the show. A lot. Sure, tell me it’s well written. It is. And well acted. That, too. But I hate it. I can’t stand the violence, cynicism, callousness and just…Jesus! I like a show with a good redemption, all right? I don’t mind bleak, but bleak for its own sake doesn’t make a well told story in my book. Every time an episode ended I just felt oppressed and gross.

And so we don’t end on a Negative Nancy note…

The Show I Only Watch Sporadically but Always Laugh til I Cry

Modern Family (ABC? I don’t know…)

I don’t watch this show much. Every once and awhile J and I will see a current episode on Hulu and oh man. It’s hilarious. That’s all. Watch it if you have 20 minutes to spare (but, don’t most people in America already watch this show? Whatever. If you have some time, it’s worth a look-see).