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.
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.
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…
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.
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)