Monday, July 28, 2008

10 DVD "Must Owns" - TV Shows

One of the greatest inventions of the last 20 years has got to be the DVD. Granted that would mean DVD players would have to be on the list too, but I really don't want to count it. I mean without DVD players we would still be using VCR's (VHS because I'm an American and not techophile enough to be a fan of Beta), and we'd be reminded to be kind and rewind.

Those little silver disks are a reminder of advancing technology and really bad Dolph Lundgren movies (if you haven't seen "I Come In Peace" you are missing a classic in aliens and cops and why DVD's are awesome weapons).

So I watch a lot of television and there have been some amazing shows out there for everyone to enjoy. I know we each have our favorites and sometimes tastes do not cross very well, but I think that there are some shows that could appeal to any audience, provided they can overcome the initial resistance of "genre" love.

I mean how many NFL football players will admit that they watch "The Gilmore Girls"? Actually I wouldn't be too surprised to find out that Terrell Owens is all about Rory's love life. I've watched a few episodes myself and found them interesting. Maybe I need to make that a thing to get into. Besides the mom on that show is kinda nice to look at.

Okay so here are my Top Ten TV Shows to own. Some of them are "genre" shows but I think the quality and writing transcend those barriers.

1) Babylon 5
J. Michael Straczynski created a show that was intended to run for 5 years then end. In a day of television uncertainty, Babylon 5 made each episode important to the story that was being told throughout those 5 years. Everything effected everything. Amazing sub plotting, plotting, foreshadowing and exposition. And it had space battles, weird aliens, mysterious cults, and psi cops. Also no one gave a speech like John Sheridan. Except Ivanova's "God sent me" moment, but who's keeping track. I can see how having to wait 5 years may have driven several people insane (Braun I'm talking to you). Watching them back to back is easier on the soul and sanity.

2) Angel
I didn't add Buffy to this list for two reasons. One I think that Angel was a far better show overall and two, I find it hard to still publicly admit I watched every episode of Buffy and like everything except Season 1 and Season 4. (Season 1 was the show was still learning what it was going to be. Season 4 just plain sucked.) Angel on the other hand, got it right and kept it going that way. Joss Whedon caused an intense session of "man crying" with the Season 1 episodes "I Will Remember You" and "Hero". Talk about kicking a guy in the gonads and then stomping on them when he's on the ground throwing up. I love you Joss. Really, I do. So guess what? At the height of this show's success, it being one of the highest rated shows it was canceled by FOX. I just hope Angel got to fight his dragon.

3) Firefly
Cowboys in space. Gritty science fiction. Ron Glass as a preacher. Joss Whedon proving once again that he should be made a saint. There is no word that can describe the awesomeness of this show. Maybe I'll make one up. How does "fanfriltastiawesomazingohmygawdarn" sound? Hey if Walt Disney can make up words why can't I? Anyway the show is about flying around in space, doing your own thing, while avoiding the totalitarian regime in charge. Hey maybe that's why FOX canceled it. They were afraid that people would see the Bush Administration as a bunch of "purple bellies" trying to take away individual freedom in exchange for false hope and utilitarian thinking. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it, maybe somebody at FOX is simply a retard.

4) Space: Above and Beyond

How can you go wrong with space Marine pilots battling alien invaders? It had all the workings of a typical sci-fi t.v. series. Characters that were heroes, but not superhuman. Bad guys that were Evil (note the capital "e"). Romance, mystery, suspense. And they weren't afraid to rip your heart out and kill a main character. Pathos the likes of Shakespeare. But alas, poor Horatio, the show was canceled in its second season. A casualty of the FOX programing genius'. You may begin to notice a trend.

5) Dr. Who (the new series)
I was never a big fan of the original run of Dr. Who even though I watched pretty much every tom baker episode. There was something unbelievable about the show, but not in that "amazing" way. The special effects were horrible, the stories were too simple. I wanted more. Jump forward two decades (I write things like that and realize just how old I am. Not good) and along comes the new Dr. Who series. It is exactly what Dr. Who should have always been. Yeah, part of it is the special effects budget grew from $12 to millions of dollars. I'd like to think that the writers of the show understand that the fans they are writing for aren't stupid and instead create a show that appeals to our intelligence. It also doesn't hurt that the good Doctor has some rather attractive companions in Rose and Martha. I mean the last time he had a cute girl as a sidekick his name was Adric.

6) Heroes
My biggest weakness is all things superhero related. There is something reassuring about people who risk their lives to protect normal people. Besides I wear glasses and so does Clark Kent. No, Lois, I'm not Superman either. Heroes is like a comic book written by Chris Claremont and Kurt Busiek, in other words, beyond amazing. There are so many great characters it's hard to know who is better. I identify with Peter and Hiro in a geeky, outcast sort of way. Emo and Geek, does that say something about me? Oh no, time for therapy. Watch the show, understand that you will be left wanting more every second, own it on DVD and you can do without the commercials. They are evil.

7) Stargate SG-1

Indeed. I could stop right there and assume you're hooked, but somehow that would be a cop-out. This show originally appeared on Showtime based on the movie "Stargate". It took a while to get into stride, a lot of good shows needs some room to run. Remember that FOX Programming Director. Once underway it became a thing of beauty. The great thing about the show was that it never took itself too serious, like some sci-fi shows tend to be. Ten seasons of action, excitement and adventure.

8) Law & Order (all of them)

This show has been on for around 100 years. It's so good it pre-dates television. Between the four shows (yes there were four shows, one of them lasted only one season because of the death of Jerry Orbach). The cast list is huge, the stories intriguing, the acting always above the expected.

9) Scrubs
I had never heard of this show until a young lady who Rocks! clued me in on the utter hilarity that ensues every episode. Everything about the show is done well, from the music, the stories and just plain silliness. And it handles the seriousness of hospitals very well. I'd rather go to Sacred Heart and let J.D. be my doctor before I let Dr. McDreamy and the staff of "too-busy-diddling-each-other" get their sexy hands on me. (Really i wouldn't want either near me because they're both fictional. If I had a real hospital emergency I would want a real doctor, though I will admit Sarah Chalke could take my temperature anytime she wants to.) They even have a musical episode. How can you deny the greatness of Scrubs. A. Musical. Episode.

10) Coupling
Anyone with half a brain knows that British comedy is typically better than American comedy for several reasons. One because they actually aren't afraid of being raunchy for the sake of a joke. Two because they don't care who laughs. And three because they have accents. Anyone with an accent is just plain funnier. (This is a truth understood by anyone from Michigan, the lower part, where accents do not exist. We can, however, hear everyone else's very clearly. I mean everyone else, even you dirty people from Ohio.) Coupling is about six attractive friends and their interactions with dating, sex, drinking, sex and sex. Sort of a "Sex in the City" for both genders. The show was so good they tried to make an American version that lasted for 3, count them, 3 episodes before being canceled. (NBC this time. FOX dodge a bullet.) And for you "Pirates of the Caribbean" fans out there, a certain non-pirate actor plays the main character in Coupling. (No not Orlando Bloom or Johnny Depp you drooling, crazy women!) Learn about "the Sock Gap", "the Giggle Loop" and "Crazy Jane". It's Brilliant!

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