So far I’ve been making good on my summer viewing plan, watching a total of 253 episodes of TV (outside of my regularly scheduled programming). A breakdown is below:
Sports Night 2 seasons/45 episodes I’d never seen Sorkin’s first foray into television and was initially thrown off by this not-actually-a-sitcom sitcom (there is no need for that laugh track, which, fortunately, they realized and did away with as the show progressed). It follows the same formula that all of his shows do, and while it isn’t as good as The West Wing, it is certainly a step above The Newsroom.
Louie 2 seasons/26 episodes After hearing so many great things about this show, I decided to catch up before the third season premiere last month. It definitely doesn’t follow a prescribed formula and where convention might dictate that it go one way, it usually takes a completely different (and ultimately more revelatory) route. To call this simply a brilliant comedy would be selling it short.
My So-Called Life 1 season/19 episodes Teenagers are just the worst. This show? One of the best. My love for Rayanne Graff, Brian Krakow, Sharon Cherski (especially Sharon Cherski), Angela Chase and her whole family knows no bounds. Even Jordan Catalano. Though it only lasted for one season, it’s easy to see that it left an indelible mark on the TV landscape and why it has been so cherished since its demise.
Doctor Who 6 seasons/90 episodes Janna has been on my case to watch this show for years but, while I do trust her taste, I put it off because I just wasn’t into the idea of a sci-fi case-of-the-week show with sub-par effects and horrible prosthetics (sitting through the first two truly terrible seasons of Torchwood had given me pause). I was wrong, just as anyone making the same argument against watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer would be (yes, it’s that good). I plan on going into it in greater detail in another post, but this show is definitely one of my favorites of all time.
The LA Complex 1 season/6 episodes My friend Marissa told me that I absolutely had to watch this show. There were several red flags: a) her recommendation (I kid, but this is a girl who loves Twilight), b) its Canadian status (by no means a hard and fast rule, but I haven’t been thrilled by most imports from our neighbors to the north) and c) its stateside debut had numbers that were low even by CW standards. All that aside, I was shocked by how deliciously soapy it turned out to be — the first episode alone has unprotected sex (and a surprisingly glib, by broadcast television standards, trip to the pharmacy for an “abortion pill” the next morning), strippers, topless girls who aren’t strippers, conniving washed up actresses (Jewel Staite!), and corporate espionage. And there are cameos by Paul F. Tomkins and Mary Lynn Rajskub! At one point, while complaining via text about a plot line that was annoying me, I told Marissa that the only way I’d come around was if they made a completely over the top and ridiculous move — and then they did and turned it into a season long arc. Bottom line: this show is so much better than it has any business being.
Another part of my summer viewing has been making Danny watch shows I consider required viewing that he had never seen before, or that I knew he would love. We’re working our way through Veronica Mars at present and have already completed the following:
Avatar: The Last Airbender 3 seasons/61 episodes Yes, it’s a Nickelodeon show aimed at tweenagers, but trust me when I say that it also happens to be a fantastic example of genre storytelling — perfectly blending character development, plot, and mythology in a way that many shows produced for older audiences don’t even come close to achieving. It’s this commitment to quality that makes Avatar more than just a kid’s show (and what makes M. Night’s travesty of a movie adaptation even more excruciating) and turns it into something that can be considered quality on any level.
Sherlock 2 seasons/6 episodes Danny doesn’t usually like shows where the main characters seem to know everything just by glancing around a room, but he ultimately warmed up to this one (even if he wasn’t a fan of the second season finale — I was, however).