I hope you all enjoyed my friend and colleague Paul's Guest Author entry. It may not be directly linked to the goal of the Hopkins Insider blog -- a behind-the-scenes look at admissions at Johns Hopkins -- but during the stressful times of applying to college we all need a break. And that break continues now ...
See I am inflicted with the same illness that Paul has -- an overwhelmingly addiction to television. Nearly every afternoon you can find me in Paul's office discussing something that occurred last night on television or what we are looking forward to on tonight's TV line-up. We read the same TV-gossip blogs, my favorite being Watch with Kristin on E! Online whereas Paul prefer's The Ausiello Files on EW.com. When our colleagues walk by they just roll their eyes and move on because they are just casual TV watchers. They are not part of the small fraternity of severe TV addicts. Some have suggested we seek professional help, but does anyone have the phone number for a good TV therapist -- I heard Dr. Melfi from The Sopranos is retired.
So for the last few days I have been considering how to respond to Paul's post. I booted up my laptop, powered up my TiVos (yes like Paul I work with multiple DVRs), dusted off the abacus, located my past journals, and even went back to a blog entry I wrote back in October 2007 on a similar topic. After listing all the shows I am currently committed to watching, I began the endless process of organizing and categorizing. After 46 sleepless hours (just kidding), I think I have finalized my January 2009 Thesis on What Television Shows You All Should Be Watching. Enjoy, and please don't judge me.
MUST SEE TV - Shows I Must Watch Live
I attempted to put these in order, but honestly the order changes each day. Pretty much these --- shows are the best television has to offer currently.
(1) LOST - Greatest ... Show ... EVER. There is so much I could say, but those three words pretty much sum it up.
(2) 24 - Jack Bauer is finally back, and I am so excited. Yes, Day 6 was not the best and yes there are some past story lines that are ridiculous (i.e. Mountain Lion chasing Kim during Day 1), but this still is one of the most innovative TV shows ever.
(3) Friday Night Lights - Re-reading the entry I posted in October 2007 I have FNL listed as a show I might catch up on through DVDs. Well my Mom continued to pester me and over three days I watched every episode of seasons 1 & 2. No exaggeration ... this is the best family drama on television now and may be in the top 2 or 3 of all time (along with Family Ties.)
(4) Dexter- A serial killer to love. Season 2 struggled a bit, but adding Jimmy Smits for Season 3 was a perfect choice. Next up, Dexter as a Dad ... wow!
(5) Rescue Me- This show is what cable television was made for. Dennis Leary is a genius, and I guarantee when this show ends (which I hope is in a very very long time) it will go out with one of the most memorable endings ever. It is one of the only forms of entertainment that has ever dealt with post-September 11th issues in a respectful and realistic manner.
MUST TIVO TV - Shows That I Must Watch Within 48 Hours of Airing
Once again I am trying to keep these in a particular order, so the ones at top are the closest to move into the Must Watch TV category.
(6) House, MD - Hugh Laurie is amazing, especially since he is British!!! One thing I don't get, how can Doctors get some many things wrong before getting it right -- that scares me.
(7) Fringe- I never have been a huge fan of sci-fi TV shows (yes I have heard Battlestar Gallactica is a great show) and didn't really get the X-Files, but this new show has hooked me with great acting, an unusual central plot, and some of the best filming on network TV currently.
(8) Privileged - Laugh all you want ... this is the best show on the CW (yes it blows Gossip Girlaway) and JoAnna Garcia is amazing, and my newest crush!!!
(9) Entourage - I want to be Turtle, especially now that he is hooking up with Meadow Soprano (Jaime Lynn Sigler). A fast and fun 30 minutes, with one of the best characters on TV - Ari Gold.
(10) Life - In my opinion, the best procedural police/crime drama on TV currently. Charlie Crews is one of the most complex characters out there. Damian Lewis who plays Crews is an excellent actor ... if you don't agree just watch him in Band of Brothers.
(11) Numb3rs - What Fringecan do for science, this show does for math. Nerds are cool especially teamed with the FBI. Plus, I will watch any show with Peter MacNicol ... well except for Ally McBeal.
(12) Heroes - In Season 1 this was one of my top 5 shows ... but then a disjointed Season 2 came and the introduction of too many characters dropped it for me. I am still on board and hoping they get back to the original "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World" days.
(13) Chuck - Zachary Levi is just plain clever and funny ... Yvonne Strahovski is gorgeous (and what a name) ... and this is one show where the supporting cast carries a lot of the show.
TIVO FOLDER-ED SHOWS - Shows That I Record and Watch in Bunches
I already have 13 shows I watch weekly so this second tier of shows I may not watch when they actually air. I have "season passes" to all of them and typically ever month I will "catch up" by watching a mini-marathon of new episodes.
(14) 30 Rock - Tina Fey is a genius ... is there anything else to say.
(15) Law and Order: Special Victims Unit - Benson and Stabler have amazing chemistry ... and I love a show with Richard Belzer (I miss Homicide: Life on the Street).
(16) Flight of the Conchords - I am not sure what it is, but every time after 30 minutes my chest hurts and I have tears in my eyes. Unusual comedy.
(17) Little Britain USA- Another HBO comedy that leads me to laugh uncontrollably. YouTube search "Carol Beer" and watch all the clips ... you will thank me. "Computer says Nooooooo."
(18) Secret Diary of a Call Girl - I love British people ... I love shows with the main character as a narrator ... I love risky TV shows ... and oh yeah, Billie Piper is great too.
(19) The L Word - I know what many people think when a heterosexual male admits to watching this show. But honestly the character development over the seasons has been ground-breaking.
(20) Saturday Night Live- Obviously the election made SNL relevant again, but I watch for the Digital Shorts each week.
(21) Scrubs - One of the best comedies on TV -- thank you ABC for saving this show -- and another with a great main character narrator.
(22) My Name is Earl - A great premise ... good characters ... and The Crab Man.
(23) Law & Order - The original L&O still delivers occasionally. And if I don't like the new episode I can turn on pretty another cable network (TNT, USA, TBS, etc.) and see an old syndicated episode.
So you probably think I am done after listing 23 shows ... well if you think that you don't understand my addiction. There is more ... much more ...
NEWLY CANCELED SHOWS THAT I WILL MISS
Sometimes I just don't understand TV executives. These shows get canceled while shows like Medium, The Ghost Whisperer, and Knight Rider are still on.
Prison Break- Just canceled this week. I knew it had to come to an end but I am going to miss Michael and Lincoln. I don't understand why Fox canceled it ... this is one of Stephen Kings's favorite shows. STEPHEN KING!!!
Dirty Sexy Money - The one soap-opera style show that I watched. You the plots were over-the-top, but I do love Peter Krause. Plus, the show had another one of my TV crushes -- actress Zoe McLellan. Google her.
The Riches- Eddie Izzard. Minnie Driver. Travelers. Why FX, why did you cancel this very different, and extremely well scripted show?
SHOWS THAT I WATCH WHEN I GET HOME FROM WORK / WAKE UP IN THE MORNING / GO TO BED
Pretty much whenever I am home my television is on. When I get home from work, I have to play with Soze, cook dinner, clean-up, etc. and these are the shows that I scan through each day. When I wake up in the morning and get ready for work, yup the TV is on. And yes, I go to sleep with the TV on.
Pardon the Interruption- Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon have great chemistry and this is an easy way to catch up on the day's sports news.
Cash Cab - The best trivia show on television ... EVER. I love Jeopardy, but come on ... trivia in a New York taxi cab. Plus, the host - Ben Bailey - has one of the best voices on TV. His voice will be in the hall of fame with James Earl Jones, Keifer Sutherland, Alec Baldwin, and Howard Cossell.
Simpsons / Family Guy- From 6 - 8pm, in Baltimore you can turn on a number of channels and catch these two animated comedies. Mindless humor is always nice after a long day at work.
Mike and Mike in the Morning - My morning show -- while I get ready for work. Then I listen to the show on my drive to work.
The Daily Show with John Stewart & The Colbert Report - I got to bed with Stewart and Colbert ever night. And yes I will confess, this is where I get my news of the day.
FOOD NETWORK AND DISCOVERY CHANNEL SHOWS THAT ROCK
These are the shows I watch when I want to consider a career change. You can to live vicariously through some amazing chefs, fishermen, and Mike Rowe.
Dirty Jobs - Mike Rowe is amazing. (Another one of the hall of fame voices.) The jobs are disgusting, but somewhat beautiful as well when presented by the Discovery Channel -- especially in HD.
Iron Chef America - I would give up almost anything to taste one of the meals that is completed during this cooking competition. My only complaint -- Bobby Flay competes too much. We need more Mario, Cat, and Symon battles.
Deadliest Catch - After watching nearly every episode during the Thanksgiving break, I became hooked. I love me some crabs -- hey, I live in Baltimore -- and this show glorifies the crab.
Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives - Guy is awesome ... and the joints he introduces us to are so unique. I actually have been to a few of the places he has visited in Baltimore, and yes the food is amazing at each place.
THE ONLY REALITY TV THAT I WILL WATCH
When reality TV first started I was hooked. Survivor, the Real World, Road Rules, the Amazing Race ... I loved them all. Then the reality TV craze began and I swore off anything that would fall into this category. However, there are still three shows I stuck with. (((Now there is Celeb-reality TV on VH1 ... and since the weekend marathons are one of my guilty pleasures in life ... they don't adhere to my disdain of reality TV programming.)))
American Idol - Yes it can be annoying at times. Yes it is more popular than it should be. But it is addicting, and they do find a lot of people with talent. Plus, Simon is always right.
So You Think You Can Dance- Actually I know I can't dance, but that is why I love this show. These kids have SOOOOO much talent. Plus, Cat Deely is a great host.
Big Brother - Guilty pleasure ... and usually there is not much to watch during the summer.
NEW SHOWS I WILL BE WATCHING THIS SEASON
I am always adding to the lists above. It used to be new shows only premiered in the fall ... now we get new shows all year round. Woo hoo. Here are the ones I am most looking forward to.
Dollhouse - Joss Whedon is another genius. After Buffy I will watch anything this man creates. I am hoping that all the negativity that has surrounded this show doesn't hurt its chances of sticking around for a while.
Lie to Me - I have seen the pilot episode and I am hooked. Tim Roth is great, but the show has a unique premise and I look forward to learning how to tell is people are lying.
The United States of Tara- The story of a pretty normal suburban family, except for the fact that Mom suffers from multiple personalities. I think Showtime has done it again.
Eastbound & Down - I got hooked on Danny McBride from his recent movies - The Foot Fist Way, Tropic Thunder, and Pineapple Express. Add to that it is on HBO, and I am hoping for big things.
Kings - Not really sure about this one, but the guy from Deadwood is in it and early reviews have been positive. We shall see.
I could continue to share more lists such as:
Shows That Are Gone That I Want Back Now:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sports Night, The Sopranos, Freaks and Geeks, Homicide: Life on the Street, Mad About You
Shows I Plan to Catch-up On Via DVDs
The Wire, Arrested Development, Nip/Tuck, The Shield, True Blood
Shows I Will NEVER Watch
Gossip Girl, 90210 (the new one), Grey's Anatomy, Medium, any show on MTV, Hannah Montana, every show on CBS (except for Numb3rs), any show with CSI in it's title
I could go on, but it is late. And I have TV shows to watch,
Don't worry, I'll get back to blogging about more relevant topics in my next entry. I hope you did enjoy this distraction and I know Paul and I would enjoy reading your feedback in the comments section about our TV preferences.