Monday, September 20, 2010

On television and addiction

So I wasn't going to do this... When Alex hosted the Dirty Dozen Movie blogthingie I participated and loved it. When he announced a second Dirty Dozen - this time for television shows, I decided not to join, because I didn't have the time. And I don't. Plus I do my blogging on Tuesdays and Fridays at the moment, so a Monday was just not it.

But then the entries started showing up, and I couldn't help but make a mental list of shows that would be on my list. And before I knew it, I had written the entire thing*... So, I might as well participate. In no particular order:

I have seen every single episode of every single season at least once (most of them four or five times). Friends was my religion from I was too young to get it properly, through middle- and high school, it was the only thing I bothered using the common room tv for in my first student apartment. It was a major point of bonding in Japan (the library had all the seasons on DVD), it was the first show I ever streamed online (since I didn’t have a tv at the time), and it was the first show I ever bought on DVD for myself. 
And it’s still one of the few endless re-run shows I never switch channels for. 

How I Met Your Mother
This show always amused me, but it was only when I made a point of watching it in sequence that I got how well-made it actually is. The concept – a father telling his kids the (seemingly endless) story of how he met their mother – is simple enough, but there are so many details and jokes you only get after having watched every episode chronologically, and it is one of the shows I know that stays the most true to their storyline. No random detail is too small to eventually show up again, so it is worth paying attention while laughing your, ahem, bagpipes off. (I love how the dad sensors his language for the kids)
And Barney is LEGEND – wait for it – DARY!

Big Bang Theory
This is just so clever. And funny. And clever. I adore the characters (especially Sheldon, of course), and I adore the concept. Plus I think it makes me smarter. I had no idea before watching this that M-theory is string theory in layman's terms.

I love the Simpsons, but Futurama has always been closer to my heart. The clever thing about Futurama is that if you love sci-fi, you’ll love it, because there are a lot of spaceships and aliens and such. But if you hate sci-fi, you’ll also love it, because it is the most hilarious parody of everything that is bad about sci-fi. Either way, the possibilities of the concept (a guy from the 20th century is frozen for a thousand years and wakes up in year 3000) gives Groening et al the freedom to be even wilder than with the Simpsons. It’s brilliant.

Various BBC mini-series
This made it to the list partly because I am painfully aware that the list otherwise would be almost exclusively American, and also because the mini-series individually rarely manage to make devoted viewers like a regular TV show would, but combined I’m loving these as much as any of the others on this list. Prominent examples are “Pride & Prejudice” (1995), “Jane Eyre” (2006) and “The Forsythe Saga” (2002).

Speaking about BBC… I love Blackadder. Rowan Atkinson as anything else than Mr. Bean is marvelous, and this series is definitely one of the highlights. In addition the show has Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in recurring parts. The only thing that could make this any better was if they did a Christmas special where Colin Firth played William Shakespeare, the inventor of the ballpoint pen. Oh, wait, they did.

This is one of the shows that are ridiculously funny, at the same time as it never fails to acknowledge the heart-wrenching background – the Korean War. Captain Hawkeye Pierce is one of our time’s great philosophers.

Grey’s Anatomy
I watched the first half of the first season directly before I went to Japan, and it almost kept me from going that I knew I wouldn’t get to watch the rest. Thank Digressions for DVDs… While I liked the show from the beginning, the main reason I continued liking it probably was the ritual way in which my roommates and I caught up with this show when I came back from Japan.
I eventually fell off, though. No idea what happened after season 3. 4? Not sure.

The Extras
Ricky Gervais is quite possibly the funniest man alive. He certainly makes the top-ten list. I never got into “The Office” for some reason, but “The Extras” – where famous actors are extras in the story about a couple of struggling actor wannabes – is incredibly funny (and terribly embarrassing. God it makes me cringe sometimes…). My favourite is the Orlando Bloom episode, where… You know, just watch it…

House, M.D.
I mainly love this show because of Hugh Laurie, but also because of, you know, Hugh Laurie. But really, the rest of the cast is also alright. And watching too many episodes in a row turns me into a terrible hypochondriac. Good thing they have Hugh Laurie.

True Blood
What draws me to this show is the Southern feeling. Not that I've ever visited the US South, but if (when) I do, I'll be sure to stay away from the vampires. Except, you know, the viking one... (Another good thing about Sweden..) 

This barely made the list, because I only really watched the first season. It got LOST, if you know what I mean... But the first season was gold, gory and beautiful all at once. 

There you go. Interestingly I only picked English language shows, and most of them American. I guess this says something about my TV-habits (or the availability on the Norwegian market). Oh, well...

*Yes, sometime after having written this and before having read all the other entries did I realize that this blogfest wasn't another dirty dozen, but rather a top ten... Huh. I guess I could have edited out a few... (most likely the two last mentioned, but then I'd have to edit out Eric too.... Ack! So instead I decided to proudly display my mistake)


M.J. Nicholls said...

You forgot Monty Python. You must paint our Latin motto 100,000 times across the blogosphere!

Boonie S said...

Interesting list. I prefer more the Mandarin, nature, adventure, biker, documentary, game show style of programme – although we don’t get too many such programmes where I live on account of there being no mains electricity.
Interesting post. Thanks.

Cruella Collett said...

Mark - I didn't, actually. I've never really watched the Flying Circus - only bits from it (but good bits, of course). The movies I love (though honestly - probably not as much as I should), but the show never made the cut. Thus I oppose the Romans and refuse to graffiti the wall!

Boonie - if it ain't fiction, I won't watch it. I prefer my shows the way I prefer my books (and I've never read a game show book).

Renae said...

Great list! True Blood is amazing! I forgot to add it to my own list but there are just so many to chooose from!

Liz said...

Love Futurama! Excellent choice! :)

Jules said...

Nice list C! I like many of the PBS series as well and House.

Glad you decided to join in. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Mason Canyon said...

I got hooked on House for a couple of years and then lost track for some reason. I'll have to check back and catch up.

Thoughts in Progress

Carolyn Abiad said...

I've never gotten hooked in by any series really. I even switched off cable this year(gasp!) I watch PBS or Castle sometimes.

Cruella Collett said...

Renae - there is, isn't it (I cheated, unknowingly, so it made it to my list...)

Liz - I only wish they would make more of it. I've already seen most of the movies-to-be-shows that are currently aired.

Jules - I figured it was silly not joining once I had written it...

Mason - it's a good show, but it gets repetitive. If it hadn't been for Hugh Laurie, I probably would have stopped watching ages ago.

Carolyn - lucky! Don't tell me you're also one of those (mythical) people who don't like chocolate? ;)
I actually don't have a TV at the moment, but I have internet...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

MASH and The Big Bang Theory - great choices! Glad you decided to participate, Cruella.

Hart Johnson said...

Love that you included the BBC miniseries! teehee--TRUE, that... and very 'Mari' of you to have gone that route. I like Futurama and True Blood, too--at least what I've seen of them.

Jennee said...

Great, great list! I can't believe I forgot to add some of those to my own.

Deb and Barbara said...

True Blood, Friends, The Extras -- they'd be on my list too!

Michelle Gregory said...

always fun to read other people's lists of tv shows.

Karen Peterson said...

I do love Friends, HIMYM, and Big Bang. Some of the others....not so much. But good list!

Clarissa Draper said...

Great shows! Love it.

Clarissa Draper from Listen To The Voices

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I know a few of your programmes Mash of course is one, As we live across the pond I guess we don't watch the same shows. but it's an education for me to see what I am missing and vice versa.

Have a good day.

Powdered Toast Man said...

I challenge you to a game of Friends Scene It or Friends board game.

I will bet my giraffe african mask.

Hannah Kincade said...

Friends: Love it! I've seen every episode too!! Yay!


Big Bang Theory: Great times although I didn't start watching it until the second season? I think.

Futurama is so so funny. Cracks me up all the time. Definitely on the top ten sitcom list.

Grey's Anatomy is an addiction but not an enjoyment. I feel FORCED to watch it, you know? The season finale blew my mind in a very unpleasant way.

Hugh Laurie is genius.

True Blood is such a guilty pleasure. I loves it.

Heroes could/should have been much much better. It makes me angry just to think about it.

Jen said...

Seriously I think so far all that I have visited yours has been the closest to what mine would have been had I paid attention to this blogfest!!!

I adore Ricky Gervais and just recently watched him in Ghost Town which had me cracking up hard core!

Cruella Collett said...

Alex - how could I not, when you once again hosted such a wonderful blogfest :) So thank YOU!

Tami - yay for BBC, right? I just love anything with long dresses and true love... :P

Jennee - I know, I've had many such moments today too..

Barbara - I knew you'd like the Extras. It must be extra (no pun intended) interesting to see it from an actor's point of view.

Michelle - it does make me feel slightly guilty displaying my addiction online, though...

Karen - I might as well admit it: I'm a sitcom girl...

Clarissa - yay :)

Yvonne - different places, different shows, I guess. We get many of ours from the US, as my list indicates.

Jamie - you're ON! What's the colour of the girls' apartment? :P

Hannah - sorry, didn't mean to make you angry ;) And now that I think about it, I'd totally exchange Heroes for Glee any day. I just forgot... And I absolutely get what you mean about Grey's. I probably would have still watched it if it wasn't for the fact that when I left for the US last fall you guys were a season ahead, so I got lost. Fortunately, I guess ;)

Cruella Collett said...

Jen - didn't see you there. *high five for matching lists*
Ricky Gervais is the best. I love Ghost Town, and also The Invention of Lying. And I adored his part in Stardust.

Kelly said...

I enjoyed reading your choices. The only one listed that I've watched with any regularity is M*A*S*H, although I've enjoyed House the few times I've seen it.

I don't watch True Blood, but I have read all the books. I live in the area it takes place so that's a big part of the appeal to me. And yes, I do like Eric....

Clarissa Draper said...

I didn't like Castle when I first watched it but as the episodes went on, I began to love it more and more. But, I am a sap sometimes.


AlexOngNYC said...

Seeing everybody else's lists makes me realize I forgot so much! But we only had 10 to pick so I'm sticking to it!

Breakfast Every Hour

iZombie said...


Cold As Heaven said...

Yes, of course; Black Adder! How could I forget to put that on my list. It was a Hell of a cool series, in particular the first one, from the Medieval times.

I watched Big Bang Theory tonight, for the first times. The title gives good memories form my student days. Cool series, but doubt I will watch it regularly. And I found astrophysics a little boring, just computing equations of state for white dwarfs and black holes. But elementary particle physics was really cool, so I'm looking forward to the series titled Quark Theory, or something like that. Maybe I have to write it myself >:)

Cold As Heaven

Pat Tillett said...

Friends! Darn it....
obviously one of my all time favorites, why I didn't think of it for my list, I'll never know!

Meika said...

You have a lot of the same shows on your list! And you're right, Barney is legen...dary!

Jennie Bailey said...

I'm going to tune in to Big Bang Theory this week. I can't believe how many people have it listed in their top ten! I can't wait to see what draws you all in! True Blood and House should have made my list. I love them both too much!!

arlee bird said...

Other than a few episodes of MASH and Friends I haven't seen any of these.

Tossing It Out

Cruella Collett said...

Kelly - ooo, you're a local, huh? I have a friend who has actually been to "Fangtasia". Love that!

Clarissa - hey, I'm a sap too! I guess one reason why I didn't love Castle at first sight was that I've seen him in other parts (most prominently "Two Guys, A Girl and A Pizza Place") and it often takes some readjustments to get used to seeing actors in new parts.

Alex - it was tough, wasn't it? As you can see, I picked twelve... (but by accident, so I figure it's okay)

iZombie (iToo!) - :} + :} = :D

CAH - the first season is actually not my favourite (in fact, it's probably the opposite), I prefer the third or fourth seasons. The WWI one gives me some of the same feeling as M*A*S*H - tragic, yet funny.
And you should write the Quark Theory! (Though the BBT is about much more than just the Big Bang Theory - so perhaps you need to give it another chance...)

Pat - it's hard to remember them all, isn't it? My biggest emission was Glee. Now how can I call myself a Gleek?

Meika - *high fives fellow Barney-fan* Yay!

Jennie - yeah, I feel the same way about several shows I've seen on various lists through this blogfest. Definitely some I need to check out.

Lee - I guess our TV-taste is quite different, but nevertheless, it's fun to read other people's choices :)

aspiring_x said...

my hubs watches futurama all the time! there are a ton of futurama episodes! fun list you have here!

Ellie said...

House. Hugh Laurie. Enough said. Though I wish I could go back in time 20 years and tell me I'd one say think he was hot, because back then he was NOT hot!

Great list!

Top Ten TV Blogfest

Kelley said...

I love your list! the Black adder is hilarious!

Cruella Collett said...

aspiring - your hub must be a smart man, then ;) And yes, I guess there are a ton of episodes, but not nearly enough!

Ellie - this is true. While he always had a certain charm about him, the 2000s and 2010s have done much more for Hugh than the 1990s ever did. He's aged into hotness!

Kelley - Blackadder is definitely a gem. I just love how they manage to combine seemingly random comic elements with a surprisingly coherent plot.

baygirl32 said...

You have some intresting choices on there... picking a top 10 was hard.

Lynda Young said...

I love your list, especially Futurama and Blackadder. I would have put MASH on my list if I'd remembered it.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wow, I had no idea so many people joined the top ten tv fav's...

I love True Blood and Grey's Anatomy!

Cruella Collett said...

babygirl32 - it sure was hard! I keep running into shows I missed on other people's lists.

Lynda - I forgot a bunch of favourite shows too. Maybe we'll have to convince Alex to host another blogfest? ;)

Sharon - I know, what a turn-out! I guess television is something a lot of people can relate to.

Nick said...

You might enjoy my interview with some of the BBT cast. There's a link to it on my blog.

Cruella Collett said...

Nick - oh, thanks! How cool that you got to interview them! :)

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