Praising: My Favorite TV Shows

I’ve found that lately this blog has mainly focused on film more than any other form of entertainment, so I thought I would throw in a TV post.

When I was growing up, the TV was the centerpiece of my family’s life. We would plan our nights around whatever favorite TV show was on and more often than not, we would eat our dinners on TV trays in front of the screen. I know this sounds terrible, especially to those die-hard dinner-table families. But it wasn’t terrible. It’s not like we were zombies just staring mindlessly at the television without acknowledging each others’ presence.

My family watched a variety of TV shows, from medical dramas to cop dramas to reality TV. But, like the good reality TV, like Survivor and Amazing Race. (I know some of you, my husband included, would argue that these shows are anything but reality, but they were entertaining to us so don’t make me feel bad about it.) Some of my favorite family memories are my parents and I eating dinner in front of the TV Thursday nights, mesmerized by the latest episode of Survivor and discussing the amazingness or idiocy of the contestants.

However, when I went to college, I stopped watching TV as much. This was mainly because I had a roommate who watched things on her computer and because I had no idea which channels showed what shows, as I had moved from Colorado to Arizona. Therefore, I lost touch with a lot of my favorite shows, Survivor included. However, I still have some favorites that I hold near and dear to my heart and re-watch as much as possible whenever I can. Some of these I discovered recently, while others I have watched for years.

P.S: I also have this weird belief that if I get too in-love with a TV show it will inevitably get canceled, as is the case with four out of the five listed here. If these were one of your favorites, I apologize for being a jinx and loving good TV.

1. Pushing Daisies

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Sometimes it feels as though nobody has even heard of this show, it was on the air so briefly. But luckily I discovered a cult following online and a petition to bring the show back, so hopefully that leads to something!

Pushing Daisies is the story of Ned, the pie-maker, who has the incredible ability to bring the dead back to life with the touch of his finger. However, if he touches them again, they will be dead forever. And, if the dead remain alive for more than one minute, something else must die in its place. Now, knowing all of this, the first episode sees Ned’s childhood sweetheart, Charlotte “Chuck” Charles, murdered. Ned attends her funeral where he intends to bring her back to ask who killed her, but ends up keeping her alive. The rest of the show follows the duo, along with Ned’s P.I. partner, Emerson, as they continue to solve murders with the help of Ned’s abilities.

This show is such a refreshing change from a lot of the TV shows currently on the air, mostly because of it’s entire tone. A lot of current TV is very dark, dealing with difficult topics like death, betrayal, relationships and ethics. And Pushing Daisies deals with all of these themes as well, but with the perfect touch of lightness and humor that almost makes fun of the topics while discussing them seriously. And also, this show is just gorgeous. The directors were inspired by the colorful style of Amelie, while combining vintage style, Broadway techniques (like giving each person their own entry music) and having a narrator guide the viewers through everything. The characters are so unique and colorful and each actor is perfectly suited to his or her part. I mean how can you not love Kristin Chenoweth? Okay, I’ll stop now. But if you haven’t seen it, go watch it.

2. Warehouse 13

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I have never been one for science fiction or fantasy or anything of that nature. Usually I need stories grounded in reality because I just have a hard time picturing things that come from someone else’s imagination. I feel like I need them to tell me exactly what they are thinking, one on one, for me to be able to picture it or accept it properly. This is why you will find a serious lack of this genre in my reading. But I am really trying to work on it.

However, when my aunt introduced me to this show on the SyFy Channel, I was instantly hooked. Granted it took me two tries to watch the first episode because I accidentally fell asleep. But then I was hooked.

Warehouse 13 is the story of two Secret Service agents, Pete and Myka, who are suddenly given new assignments at a warehouse in the South Dakota desert. They soon learn their job is to “snag, bag and tag” dangerous artifacts that are threatening to destroy the world. These artifacts have magical properties, but also have a dark side that can cause major problems for the user and those around them. Examples of artifacts are: Lewis Caroll’s mirror where Alice Liddell is trapped and always looking to escape; Beatrix Potter’s teapot that nearly makes your dreams reality; and other simpler ones like Marilyn Manroe’s hairbrush, which will turn your hair blonde.

I think the reason I love this show so much is because it combines history with magic. Being a huge history buff, I really enjoyed the way the show weaved history into the hunt for each artifact. This show is one of those ones that perfectly combine humor with the more serious drama. The characters are wonderfully nuanced, whether you’re talking about the silly, young genius that is Claudia Donavan, or the crotchety old teacher, Artie, they all have their redeeming qualities and their pitfalls. I seriously wish this place were real and that I could work there.

3. Parks and Recreation

 

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This was a recent discovery for me, as I was a little weary about watching it while it was on the air. I had watched The Office with my parents and, while there were parts I liked, the humor in general just wasn’t my thing. So, I assumed that the humor in Parks and Rec would follow the same lines and I just wasn’t interested in that.

Boy, was I wrong.

For those of you who aren’t familiar: Parks and Rec is the story of a small-town government, specifically the team that makes up the Parks and Recreation department. The department members run the gamut from the anti-government director, Ron, to the dark and disinterested intern, April, to the overly passionate deputy director, Leslie. The show mainly follows Leslie’s work in the department as she handles various government projects while always working to build an amazing new park on an abandoned lot for her best friend, Ann.

I decided to give this show a try when it first came on Netflix, and I’m so glad I did. It did take me a while to really get into it, but I soon fell in love with the characters. Especially Leslie Knope. She is such a badass and so passionate, hard working and doesn’t ever take no for an answer. I so wish I could be more like her. While all of the characters may seem one-dimensional in the beginning, they slowly come into their own and the show really becomes a story of true friendship. The humor in this show, while similar to The Office, is definitely more toned down (so I don’t feel like cringing every two minutes). Definitely more my style. I really can’t say enough good things about this show, other than you should watch it while you still can on Netflix.

4. Bob’s Burgers

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Okay, before you say anything, just hear me out. Unlike many people of my generation, I do not like shows like South ParkFamily Guy, or many other adult animated shows. Again, like with The Office, the humor is just too much for me and often walks the line between satirical humor and grossly offensive. Therefore, I was reluctant to watch Bob’s Burgers as it was kind of clumped together with Archer and Bo Jack Horseman. 

I don’t really remember why I decided to watch it (probably something to do with Tumblr), but I watched it and soon I was hooked. Like all new shows, the first few episodes were slow, testing the water until they really came into their own in the second and third seasons, which are my favorites of which I have racked up probably thousands of views by now.

Bob’s Burgers is the story of Bob Belcher, a burger man, and his family as they try to keep their struggling restaurant afloat in their coastal town. Bob and his wife, Linda, run the restaurant with the help of their three kids who range in age and personality. I’m finding one of the key factors in whether or not I like a TV show is character development. All of the characters in this show hold their own while also playing off of each other’s energy so well. My favorites by far are Linda and Tina. Not only is this show, billed as a comedy, hilarious, but it is also the story of a family that sticks together through anything. It’s about friendships, good parenting and growing up. I can’t get enough of it and I need the new seasons on Netflix, like, yesterday.

5. Castle

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While this is one of the TV shows I lost touch with when I left for school, it is still one of my absolute favorites.

Castle follows the story of famed mystery-novelist Richard Castle as he begins to shadow NYPD detective Kate Beckett for a new series of books. Castle begins to consult on Beckett’s cases, often providing unique theories and often helping to solve the murders. Beckett becomes the inspiration for his new novels’ protagonist Nikki Heat. Throughout the show, we see their relationship grow more intense and more complicated as Castle begins to poke around, looking for answers, to the murder of Beckett’s mother.

I could say so much more but I don’t want to give anything away, just in case. I love this show because Nathan Fillion brings the perfect amount of seriousness and comedic relief to the subject of murder. The cases the team works range in type from copycat crimes following Castle’s books to magician tricks gone wrong, to vigilantes and more. The writers were definitely creative in coming up with crimes for the team to solve, and I really loved seeing what new world they would fall into each week. My favorite by far, is an episode half-set in the 1940s that deals with cursed jewelry, mobsters and private eyes.

Again, the characters in this show become more and more complex as the show goes on, especially Castle and Beckett. I also really loved the way they handled the way each character deals with the aftermath of a particularly sensitive case. This is a cop-show done right.

What are your favorite TV shows? What shows that may have been canceled, would you recommend? What do you think of TV’s place in our current society? Let’s talk. 

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