Friday, July 01, 2005

Some TV shows I love

OK, Pettrichordates, I know it's been a while, but hey, I did write a book and it won a prize, so I hope you will forgive me.

But if you've waited patiently, here is some more useless information about me.

10 TV shows that I love

1. Dharma and Greg: I've been rewatching these on Fox and this may be the best sitcom in history. Very funny and genuinely human.

2. The West Wing. Best drama TV has seen since I've been watching. Sure, it's had its ups and downs, but how many shows really address serious social issues like the West Wing. How many other shows can you name that have debated the merits of an international court? Seriously.

3. M*A*S*H. Like much great art, MASH defies categorization. Call it a sitcom if you want, but at its best it dared to go where no sitcom had gone before and none has gone since.

4. WKRP. This show was designed to feature tired stereotypes because the network thought they would be funny: ditzy blond, stoner, black dude, nerd, shy girl, sleazy salesman and so on. But the cast and rewriters refused to allow them to be the cliches and the result was a unique TV comedy.

5. Sportsnight. Though only on for 2 seasons, Sportsnight was doomed by its very intelligence. Women didn't watch because it looked like it was about sports and men didn't watch because there wasn't enough sports. Do yourself a favour, get the DVDs and watch, watch, watch.

6. The Greatest American Hero. This was one of my favourites when I was a kid. It had the best theme song ever (Look at what's happened to meee-eee...) and the funniest premise too: a superhero who's lost the instruction book to his own powers.

7. The White Shadow. Another friend of my youth, and I have a feeling that if I watched it today, I might cringe, but what can I say, I love inspiring mentor stories. A washed up pro basketball player takes a coaching job at a high school as a favour to an old friend and becomes a friend and mentor to his players (he's white and he's always behind them, get it?)

8. House. This is new, so if you haven't been watching it, tune in this fall. One of the best main characters in a show since Archie Bunker. Greg House is a brilliant physician burdened by chronic pain, drug addiction, and, oh yeah, a hatred of people. The genius here, though, is that the producers cast British comedian Hugh Laurie who somehow makes House likeable.

9. Monk. Tony Shalhoub is a genius. So there.

10. The Daily Show. Jon Stewart is the hope of the USA. First of all, he does what Mencken said good journalists must do: comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. He also does what great humourists must do: he holds the ridiculous up to ridicule.

I'm afraid no Canadian shows made the list. Sorry gang. Rick Mercer at his best might make it, but he does too many bits in too few episodes. Get some help, Rick! Also, I like Pop Cultured but only when Laurie Elliot is on it. And I don't know who the hell is watching Corner Gas.

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