A Slice of Fried Gold

Favorite TV Shows

Monday, June 2, 2008

This week on "Sheri and David Present: Our Favorites" we have our favorite TV shows. This time, the rules are laid out like so: any type of show applies (meaning mini-series count), the show must have run at least 3 seasons or have been cancelled before it had a chance to complete its run, and once again, this is not best tv show. It's favorite.

TV is a fun subject because it was something I didn't watch a lot of when I was younger. Well...I did, but I didn't watch it like I do now. We're in the era of appointment television, although thankfully appointments that we can reschedule thanks to DVR's and DVD's and the internet. After all of that came together, I became far more into television, as you can likely tell from the period of time my favorite shows come from.

Here is a link to Sheri's blog - make sure to check her's to get a fun comparison of where we stand as people. I'll give you a hint - we're hugely different. No less, on to the list...enjoy!

1. Battlestar Galactica (Sci-Fi - Still airing - Midst of season 4)

I think I may have mentioned this show a few times (specifically here), but I just want to reiterate: I love this show. Sure it's Sci-Fi and is oft misconstrued as massively dorky (it's the name I swear), but secretly it's the best show on television - now or ever. With the most brilliant ensemble cast on TV (led by personal favorite James Callis), the best music (sorry Michael Giacchino, I choose Bear McCreary over you), and the most interesting story/writing, it's hard not to choose this as my favorite.

Which is why I did.

Get on this before it's all over, as we're in the middle of the last season. You'll want to be there when the last episode shows and we find out if our heroes make it to Earth.

2. How I Met Your Mother (CBS - Still airing - Headed into season 4)

Buh wha?! I just started watching this? How could this be my second favorite? What about Arrested Development?

What I love about this show is it is everything AD is but it also has a warm heart without getting sappy, it has characters who genuinely seem to like each other, and it has a very relatable story behind it - young people in search of love and happiness. As a young person who is nearing the same place these characters are, it's hard not to love watching it.

Also, it's absolutely hysterical, as the rapport between the cast leads to hilarious situations, fantastic banter, and comedy without words. Simple looks between the cast can lead to huge laughs. To note as well, this show secretly is the best on TV at picking songs that fit the situation they are in. That's a huge plus in my book.

3. Arrested Development (Fox - Unceremoniously cancelled after 3 seasons)

Just because I went with HIMYM as my second favorite does not mean I don't love AD any more. By all means, it absolutely does not. Arrested Development is the funniest show ever made, with whip smart writing, go for broke plot points (road trips to Iraq? having one night stands with blind women? hooking up with cousins? this show will go anywhere), and my favorite cast of any show ever.

It also features one of my favorite characters ever - George Oscar Bluth, also known as Gob. This role is played by Will Arnett, and the man crafted one of the best and strangest characters in television history. He simply appears on the screen and I start laughing. Everything he does, from giving himself a roofie so he would forget that he has a son, to his puppet Franklin, to traveling everywhere on a segway, is comic gold.

These are some of the reasons why I love the show so much. Now with the likelihood of a movie increasing every day, I'm getting more and more excited every day and may have to revisit my DVD's soon to get back with the Bluth family, as it has been too long.

4. Lost (ABC - Still airing - Headed into season 5)

Oh Lost. You're so enigmatic. I'm sure that would make Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse (the showrunners) very happy to hear, but that is both the reason why it's so high on the list and why it finishes behind the other 3. It's high points are as high as any other shows, but the frustrations behind never receiving answers and constantly receiving new questions takes its toll.

With that said, it's one of the most well acted shows on television, featuring two of the most top notch performances on television today by Terry O'Quinn (personal favorite Locke) and Michael Emerson (is he good? is he bad? do we care?...Benjamin Linus) and one of the best scores on television by up-and-coming composer Michael Giacchino. The massive plot is perpetually intriguing, and every hint of an answer we get is absolutely delicious. Also, the direction (especially by Jack Bender) leads to one of the best looking shows around as well as one of the most cleverly shot ones.

I just wish we could get more answers, and I wish I had a better feeling about where the show is going as it heads into season 5. I grow increasingly concerned that they may have painted themselves into a bit of a corner, but that remains to be seen. I have faith, but they have two more shortened seasons to tie up a lot of loose ends. Good luck to all involved.

5. Band of Brothers (HBO - mini-series)

Band of Brothers was a mini-series created by Saving Private Ryan cornerstones Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg that told the story of Easy Company of the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army. It follows the entire company from basic training before World War II all the way to the completion of the war, and it is the greatest war story ever told in my opinion.

It's everything Saving Private Ryan gave us, with incredibly visceral scenes of war, very faithful depictions of the comraderie between soldiers, and haunting recreations of the settings of the war, but extended to a ten episode series. With a cast headlined by de facto main star Damian Lewis (whose Winters is the heart and soul of the series), this is an absolute must watch by anyone and everyone.

6. Seinfeld (NBC - 9 seasons, lived a full life)

I think perhaps the most amazing aspect about this show (besides perhaps the hilarity and its effect on pop culture) is the fact that this show about "nothing" can be used in relation to so many situations in so many people's lives. I regularly have conversations with people at work about how things in our lives sync up so well with the Seinfeld crew.

No less, this really is a show about nothing. All it is about is the day to day lives of four friends who live in New York City, where they live out their lives as massively self-absorbed and generally loathsome people. Loathsome, but hysterical representations of the id in everyone as they do and say everything we want to - we just don't because we're not as quick witted or malicious. Legendary, to say the least.

7. Veronica Mars (UPN/CW - Unceremoniously cancelled after 3 seasons)

Another of my favorites that suffered an untimely and early death, Veronica Mars is a show famous for a few things. Season long mysteries? Check. Incredibly self-reliant and amazing lead? Check. Dense plots weaving many threads together, from many different sources in terms of characters and time? Check.

Regardless of what others say, this is a show you can enjoy without watching the whole thing. It's just highly preferable that you don't go that route, as the central mysteries provide the driving force behind the series. Well, that and Veronica herself, as played by Kristen Bell. Bell is the show, as she appears in nearly every scene and is one of the best characters ever in my opinion. She's funny, smart as hell, and always a step ahead of everyone - including the audience.

It's funny and ridiculously intriguing, and this is a mystery based show that I can assure you provides answers. Satisfying ones at that.

8. Wonderfalls (Fox - Unceremoniously cancelled after...part of a season)

This one was axed faster than every other show on my list. Truth be told, I think it only showed four or five episodes before being killed. However, the creator of the show Bryan Fuller (of Pushing Daisies and Dead Like Me fame) and the cast had made most of the series already and wrapped it up in a very satisfying fashion, all in 13 episodes.

Probably the most bizarre series ever, it's about a girl named Jaye (Caroline Dhavernas) who starts seeing inanimate objects come to life. Not only that, but they tell her to do things. Not evil things of course, but things that end up being helpful to those around her and ultimately helpful to herself (even if they don't seem that way at first).

No less, it's ultimately a very funny and touching love story with a wonderful ensemble cast (especially the ridiculously precious Dhavernas and Lee Pace as her brother), and in my opinion is Fuller's best work. Once again, this just goes to prove that people need to give shows more of a chance. Maybe if they did, we could still be watching this show instead of trash like the Moment of Truth.

I'm just saying.

9. Firefly (Fox - Unceremoniously cancelled after...part of a season)

I can't believe it! Another awesome show cancelled too soon by Fox? It's like there is some sort of trend here.

This show was created by geekdom's reigning king, Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame). It's best described as a sci-fi western, and within its 15 episodes Whedon manages to create a dense and full 'verse for our very eyes. Our guides to that 'verse are the crew of Serenity, a ship perpetually on the run from Alliance forces and consatantly in turmoil, all of whom are very well acted and well developed within the series.

My favorite (and hopefully your favorite) is Captain Malcolm Reynolds, as played by Nathan Fillion. This character personifies the show as a whole, a scoundrel in the vein of Han Solo, he's the ultimate badass with a heart of gold type. He's another of my all-time favorites, and that character single handedly made me a huge fan of Fillion.

The show is an extremely entertaining romp following the crew as they try to survive and to help solve the mysteries they've inadverently gotten involved in. This show was cancelled extremely early as well, but at least we received some resolution within the movie Serenity and the comics Whedon has since written. Still, another one that went away too early.

10. Futurama (Fox - Unceremoniously cancelled after 4 seasons, straight-to-DVD releases still coming out)

Matt Groening's greatest creation.

I said it.

Better than the Simpsons, this cartoon about a normal guy from today who inadvertently is cryogenically frozen for 1,000 years is one of the funniest shows ever created and maybe the most rewatchable one as well. It also is strangely heartfelt as well, as the episodes about main character Fry's dog (Jurassic Bark) and what happened with his brother (the Luck of the Fryrish) are still very funny, but also beautifully sad.

No less, stellar show that is on Cartoon Network constantly and is still having straight-to-DVD movies released, so it still technically lives. But it was killed before it was done by Fox, although it did get four seasons out of the deal.

Honorable mentions:

Sports Night: Cancelled after three seasons, this was the last cut of the list. Aaron Sorkin's best work in my opinion, very funny, very smart, and hits the drama in all the right parts. Plus it's about a Sportscenter like TV show. I mean come on...how can you go wrong there?

Jeopardy!: Favorite game show ever. It's all about trivia, which I absolutely love as well. I even tried out for it last year, but to no avail. Apparently I'm not intelligent enough for it...yet.

The Office (USA): I'm talking about the version with Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson that is heading into its fifth season on NBC. This show captures the workplace very well, although it enhances it quite a bit with the sheer insanity of the work by the two aforementioned actors, and the Jam situation - aka the relationship between Jim and Pam (John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer). Makes it better than the average bear, for sure.

Freaks and Geeks: Judd Apatow and Paul Feig's creation is genius in dramedy form, and it features an absolutely incredible ensemble cast (Jason Segel, James Franco, and Seth Rogen...feel free to bow). Captures what it's like to be in high school very well, while also giving us a very funny slice of life of the outcasts of the world.

The Price is Right: I haven't watched this since Drew Carey took over, but when Bob Barker ran the show, this was a daily watch for my friends and I in college. I'd kill to play Plinko, although when I went down I missed my opportunity. Maybe someday...


Patty said...

I am surprised that Sheri and you had so many of the same favorites, including your secondary list.

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