Looking for some new TV? There are three lists of my favorites to choose from. 1) The best written (and acted) series on TV; 2) The “Jo saw the edited for TV versions and doesn’t believe the quality suffered because of it” list; and 3) The light hearted, easy to watch and delightful list
1)The Best written (and acted) series on TV
30 Rock– An off beat comedy from the genius that is Tina Fey. Liz Lemon tries to appease her corporate boss while wrangling the writers and stars of a sketch comedy show. No need to catch up if you just want to watch on NBC’s Thursday night lineup.
Arrested Development– Three seasons of the most off the wall hilarious comedy which Fox managed to kill. Michael Bluth tries to navigate his certifiable family and business after his father’s arrest. Who am I kidding? I can’t do justice to describe it. This is one of those shows that is so good that awesome shows in its wake will continue to reference it.
Battlestar Galactica– Don’t be fooled by title and genre. This dark and deep drama parallels our modern moral questions as the last survivors of the human race search for Earth. Top notch writing and acting. Want just a taste? Watch the 4 hour miniseries followed by S1E1 called “33”. Avoid anything made before 2003.
Firefly– A one season space western which was killed by Fox, which is sadly a two strike start for Joss Whedon’s best work. Lots of action and hijinks crammed into an intriguing futuristic ‘verse. Captain Malcolm Reynolds takes whatever work he can manage while fighting the man with his sarcasm and Browncoat philosophy. Follow it up with the Serenity feature film. You’ll never get the theme song out of your head.
Freeks and Geeks– NBC’s one season wonder about stoners and outcasts in the 1980s. This is the beginning of the Apatow empire. Linsday Weir tries to break away from her geek past and drifts to the freaks, much to her family’s dismay. There are a lot of recognizable faces but the writing is true to life, except much funnier. I have one love and his name is Bill Haverchuck.
Friday Night Lights- Based on the movie that was based on the book, a heartwarming tale of a small Texas town bound by the love of high school football. Coach and Tami Taylor, TV’s most loving and realistic couple, balance work and family. Football is just the metaphor. Unbelievably talented acting which is heinously overlooked by award givers.
Gilmore Girls– Pop culture references will zoom past your head in this dramedy about best friends who happen to be mother and daughter. Lorelai and Rory Gilmore learn about life and love by navigating in and out of their wacky small town and the blue bloods of New England. For quality reasons, I’d stop after season five.
The Office– If it were your job, you’d be miserable too. But since it’s not, it’s the most hilarious mockumentary ever made. Watch the employees of Dunder Mifflin keep their sanity in the face of the world’s most frustrating office. Best season finale cliffhangers EVER. I’d marathon seasons 1 and 2 if you need to get started. Just realize, it’s okay to laugh whenever you want.
Veronica Mars– Three seasons of TV’s smartest mystery hidden by tiny networks and the “teen drama” label. Spunky and damaged detective Veronica Mars searches for her best friend’s killer, her own rapist and whatever answer a fellow classmate is willing to pay her for that week. It’s dark, twisted humor and so cleverly written and you’ll be hooked once you find yourself gasp “WHO’S AT THE DOOR?!”
Wonderfalls– A one season wonder tragically demolished by Fox. Jaye Tyler, the ultimate Gen Yer- snarky, cute and apathetically going no where- suddenly is given guidance by talking toy animals. Is it God or craziness? A Brilliant cast and sharp, hilarious writing.
2)The “Jo saw the edited for TV versions and doesn’t believe the quality suffered because of it” list
Dexter– A serial killer who only murders other serial killers. A little creepy, very smart, great dark humor. A Showtime series that was cleaned up for CBS and I really hope CBS keeps it around because the season one finale was incredible.
Dead Like Me– A short lived HBO series (with a movie version coming sometime) about a Grim Reaper’s life. From Bryan Fuller who is also the genius behind Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls. Sci Fi Channel airs cleaned up reruns and has frequent marathons.
3) The light hearted, easy to watch and delightful list
How I Met Your Mother– Delightful, funny, random, Great Running Gags. Swarley, Slapbet, Robin Sparkles. Seriously, why aren’t more people watching this show.
Psych– A (fake) psychic detective solves crimes. It’s procedural, but it’s got more 80s references than a Saturday watching VH1.
Robin Hood (BBC 2006) – A clever action adventure based on the old myth with a modern twist. And an unbelievably dreamy actor in Robin. American casting directors take note.