Monday, September 20, 2010

Television Blogfest

The FABULOUS Alex Cavanaugh is holding a blogfest for our TOP 10 EVER TV shows. Now I was a latch key kid... I watched a LOT of television when I was little (most of it syndicated reruns on channel 11 from Seattle). I loved Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch best in those early years, but my look back on television takes on quite a different flavor. In chronological order...


ALL MY CHILDREN: In the spirit of this site being CONFESSIONS of a Watery Tart, I will admit to you NOW that via YouTube, I keep up with the three ABC Soap Operas. Honestly, All My Children ANYMORE is my least favorite of the three, but it is the one that hooked me on this ridiculous genre. When I was in 7th grade I lived next to the Jr. High (RIGHT next to it). I went home for lunch. My neighbor Melinda, a year older said, 'well you should watch All My Children at lunch (it was on at noon) and so I turned it on (me and several friends, usually)...7th and 9th grade I had 5th hour lunch (12:20-1:05 or some such thing) and so saw the last half. 8th grade I had 4th hour lunch (11:45-12:15) so only caught the beginning—but opening my house to friends with a different lunch hour meant we could piece together all but about 10 minutes when we had PE in the afternoon. I've been hooked ever since, though high school, my later college and early years working there was no way to see it except vacations... but in my restaurant years I saw at least a few days a week, and by the time I finished grad school, 'summaries' were available online. STILL, I am very happy for YouTube. THIS is my guilty pleasure.


SOAP

This appeared at a PERFECT time in my life. I was in a tiny town, experiences were limited, humor was often adolescent (though I did have some Monty Python exposure)... Soap was FABULOUS. My mom didn't get it, but then there is a lot she doesn't get where humor is concerned... in fact she seems to be almost completely lacking one.... I loved the slapstick approach to what, at the time, were considered controversial issues. I loved the over the top situations, played down as perfectly normal. Jessica was my favorite character... there is so much nobility in being too dense to be mean about anything.


Twin Peaks

I think hubby and I were cohabitating at this point. It is the first show I remember that was serial... as in the story kept building... that was dark, twisty murder mystery instead of prime-time soap. So MANY things to love here... Kyle MacLachlan (an Oregonian, by the way), David Lynch (who is one twisted dude, and I almost always love his bendies), David Ducovny in drag... The end of the series could have been thought through better, but this really was TVs first serious mind f*#k. I LOVED it.


Northern Exposure

This show depicts my humor perfectly. I like things subtle and based on inconsistencies. It also coincided with my time pushing beer and I had 2 coworkers who ALSO worked shorts on Monday night and we'd often get off work, go in the back room and drink good beer and chuckle about the show together.

X-Files

Mind bendy is my very favorite thing. TOTALLY my favorite thing. I love the whatiffyness of this show--it inspired my first dalliance into loving the idea of reincarnation from a fictional perspective "you and I were only meant to meet in passing in this lifetime, but I miss you so much". I love Mulder. I love Scully. I love the double entendre motto of 'The Truth is Out There'. Everything about it fed my imagination and deep love of conspiracy theory. It really is probably my favorite of this whole list...


Homicide, Life On the Streets

I have always liked detective, mystery solving TV. Everything from Murder, She Wrote to CSI entertains me (though I rarely watch any of it besides Castle, anymore). But this show was a grittier, darker version that added the 'ongoing' layer, the character development... the questionable choices sometimes made (does the end justify the means?). It helped that Andre whatshisname is HOT, but mostly I just loved that it made it all seem 'darker' than most television, and that is how I like my fiction.


Lost

Yes... mind bendiness at its best... I love all the boundaries this show pushed, and the suspension of our disbelief we had to offer up. In a way, it shows one of the complications with a series of undetermined length—you can't plan the ending when you don't know how many seasons you'll have... but at the same time, they seemed to adapt and ratchet it up well. And they showed the power of sacrificing a favorite. I think the most powerful episode of the series was Charlie sacrificing himself for everyone else. I also loved Kate's triangle though—do you love the person who makes you want to be the best you can, or the person who really gets you deep down because they've been to as dark of places as you have and love you anyway?


Alias

My friend BrioNI was in love with this well before it occurred to me to watch it, but when I finished DENIABILITY, my fourth book, and said I needed some spy material for revisions, she said I needed to watch this. Thankfully, my local library has the series, and it is FABULOUS. The spy TECHNIQUE stuff worked really well,  (though the book still needs to be edited). The BIGGIE though, as a writer, is this is the first place I noticed the beauty of 'one mystery within the episode, but several ACROSS episodes'--I have a YA series planned and intend to include this plotting technique... And I'm SORT of using it even within the cozies. I think it is a great way to bring people back again and again and to up their engagement.


Veronica Mars

Recommended by my friend Alix. This is a GREAT one for a mystery writer. Veronica, daughter of a private eye (who USED to be sheriff, until...) helps her dad and ends up with plenty of cases of her own often in, first her high school, then her college. I like the situational set-up—formerly IN, now OUT of the popular crowd... has made friends with a really odd batch... I LOVE the friendship with the 'gangster' (Weevil) in the highly tense 'I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine' come friendship, but sort of lacking in trust. This just has so much great stuff.


Grey's Anatomy

My daughter introduced me here and I love the collection of characters. The medical cases are only minorly interesting to me, but the flawed personalities are very well done... they try to change, it works for a while, then they fall backward and this strikes me as very real. I think my favorite RELATIONSHIP is the Callie/Mark friendship... sexing your way into a deep, meaningful friendship strikes home on a couple levels but now they are really there for each other. I also really like watching Alex alternate between fighting and embracing his demons. Strikes me as far more honest than a lot of TV.



Honorable Mention: Friends:

Hello, Naked Thursday (not Naked Wednesday either) “Pick a day!” Joey, between going commando and naked Thursday, has a place in my heart. I also adore Phoebe, but she didn't push the nakedness, so Joey, this ones for you...

49 comments:

Roland D. Yeomans said...

ALIAS was the show I kept telling people about that they went back to after they got hooked on LOST.

DEXTER is the show I have everyone addicted to at the blood center at which I work. My DVD's of the show stay missing from my shelf from lending them out.

FRINGE is not as good as the X-FILES, but it is by J J Abrams.

BURN NOTICE makes me laugh and smile and truly enjoy each episode. The voice-overs and Bruce Campbell are the icing on the cake.

LIFE, the story of an honest cop convicted of a murder he didn't commit, turning to Zen in order to find some hold on sanity -- then, being proven innocent and going back as a detective -- each episode linked to another. I miss it. "You don't have to understand here to be here."

BABYLON FIVE, a five year Sci_Fi series with a planned start, middle, and ending. Just great.

I'm looking forward to the release of the 2nd season of THE MENTALIST, a show that twists the police procedural on its ear. WHITE COLLAR's not bad either.

This was fun. Roland

Old Kitty said...

Twin Peaks and Soap!!! Twin Peaks was complete gaga of the highest order - I LOVED it - and there's so nothing like it or ever on telly now. It was complete visual and sensual craziness that really messed with my head big time! Yes, the ending was totally ?!?!?!?! but hey! It's David Lynch and he's not of this world...

and Soap just made me roar with laughter!!!

Great list - and what fab personal associations with each one too!

Take care
x

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I liked the X-Files, too...not so much later in the show, but earlier. I was in college during Twin Peaks, so never caught on to that one (and it was too convoluted to figure out later on). And I was a Lost fan, too. :)

Lisa said...

More evidence that we'd definitely be hanging together!

I have fond memories of Gilligan's Island and Brady Bunch after school, while eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Our mom didn't get home until after 4pm and that was a great time as long as my siblings and I weren't fighting.

Soap, All My Children yes! I never missed Soap.

I loved Twin Peaks and Northern Exposure. I remember watching N.E. the night I went into labor with Chloe.

Homicide was great! Loved that show.

Add to this list Homefront, a short-lived show on ABC about life in the U.S. during WWII, M*A*S*H, Seinfeld, The Simpsons, As the World Turns (got me through some boring pregnancy bedrest), Law & Order.....and then sometime around 2000, I stopped watching most commercial t.v. Now it's PBS Mystery and Dr. Who. Oh, and Phineas and Ferb.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

X-Files! You are one cool Tart for that mention. Thanks for participating in the blogfest!

Renae said...

I forgot all about Alias and Homicide. Too many great shows to choose from. Love your list!

Mason Canyon said...

Well, I got hooked on All My Children too for a time. But then it seemed they were taking all the older actors off and replacing them with teen-agers so I haven't seen it in awhile. Big fan of the X Files.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Carolyn Abiad said...

Forgot about All My Children! I did watch that once upon a time ago...Now I'm glued to a different screen, though ;)

Cold As Heaven said...

Twin Peaks was cool in the beginning. Got tired of it after a few weeks, though. Same with 6 Feet Under

Cold As Heaven

Hart Johnson said...

Roland-I will have to check out Dexter--this isn't the first recommendation I've seen. And I've seen a couple episodes of Fringe--I like it--not love, but enough to want to see more. Mentalist also sounds appealing.

Jenny *high fives* Thank you!

Elizabeth-you can find Twin Peaks on line and watch it in order--definitely recommend it, though part of the thrill was the WTF water cooler convo about it.

Lisa-love the common ground! And I also watch nearly NO TV, but I DO check out videos from the library and catch my online shows. teehee.

Alex-teehee--thank you! This is a fun blogfest! I will have to check out the other responses.

Renae-Hey, welcome! Thank you!

Mason-they DO try to keep casts young, which is annoying--Brook when she was a reporter is one of my favorite characters ever--I just like a woman who is smart and mostly good but makes mistakes.

Hart Johnson said...

Ha! Sneaksies!

Carolyn--yeah, computer is addicting, too. At home my desk top and lap top are next to each other, so I often play something, half attending, while I do my other stuff.

CaH--a couple WEEKS? I loved at least the whole first season! I've been debating 6 feet Under... library has those, too...

Stephen Tremp said...

X-Files seems to be the most popular so far in my journeys today. Gilligans Island almost made my Honorable Mention list. Thought of the Brady Bunch too. Great list.

Stephen Tremp

Gregg said...

Well, your list provides me with two more great shows I forgot, Northern Exposure and Soap. Both were hilarious. I think this list show have been our top 40 shows. There are some great ones out there.

arlee bird said...

Good list since it has Twin Peaks on it. I never watched the other shows, though I really would have liked to have gotten into Lost-- maybe someday on DVD.
In 1980, I used to watch All My Children, but only because it came on before General Hospital which was during the Luke and Laura scandal. I worked evenings and going through some marital turmoil before my first divorce-- soap operas were a perfect escape.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Jennee said...

Great list. I forgot about Alias! How much do you wanna bet that most of the people doing this post have pulled out some TV DVDs and started marathons?

Deb and Barbara said...

TWIN PEAKS! I forgot that one. So good.
B

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Cheers for X-Files!!!! Made me want to seek out the truth... And Soap - it's been years since I saw that show.

Emily White said...

Ooh! Veronica Mars was a GREAT show! Good choices!

Mara Nash said...

Ooh! Northern Exposure. I totally forgot about that show, but I loved it! There are so many great ones to choose from. Your list is awesome!

Hart Johnson said...

Stephen-I've been surprised, actually, how many love the X-files... and here I thought I was the twisted one!

Gregg-I think you're right--seeing what everyone else include, I could definitely at least double my list.

Lee-Oh, the Luke and Laura controversy! Luke is still on GH... teehee--the things we get sucked into, yes? and YAY Twin Peaks!

Jennee--totally making a list of all the series I now have to watch!

Barbara-yeah, right?!

LDW-I actually have a Harry Potter parody based on SOAP... that's how demented I am...

Emily-thank you! And welcome!

Mara-Welcome to you, too!

Clarissa Draper said...

Great choices. I want to see some of them again.

CD

Jessica Carmen Bell said...

I am a HEOOOOGE fan of Grey's and Lost! Lost only recently because I missed it when it aired here in Greece, so I bought all the DVDs and watch 2 or 3 ep's in a row. Yesterday I just watched the Season 3 finale! OH MY GOD!!!!!! I think my obessession with lost has just outweighed my obsession with Grey's!

Budd said...

Veronica mars was so good. I can't believe it got cancelled.

Karen Peterson said...

Northern Exposure was definitely a good one. One of my almost-made-its.

Ellie said...

Fun list; something for everyone seriously~
I loved quirky Northern Exposure; I was a General Hospital fan, back in the days of Luke n' Laura!

I will have to check some of these out!

BryStearns said...

Poor Friends, it didn't make your list. Too bad. It was such a great show. Am I the only one that finds themself saying "I have no "Friends" now!" Too much?

Summer Ross said...

I haven't seen "alias" yet- but its one I really want to watch

Jennie Bailey said...

X-Files made my list! Northern Exposure fell off it even though I have every season on DVD. That's the hubster favorite show. It would have made honorable mention on mine! And SOAP - completely forgot about that show! What a fun tv program that was. Now I want to go back and watch some episodes!

iZombie said...

such great choices, so many to choose
:)........
iZombie

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I used to absolutly love Soap and was sad when it finished. I know Twin Peaks and the X files.
Alas the others I don't know but I enjoyed reading about them.

Yvonne.

Ellie said...

Twin Peaks - now that was one weird show! Great choices.

Top Ten TV Blogfest

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Oh, yeah, SOAP. That one never even crossed my mind but it was definitely a funny show. I was actually on it one time (in a lifetime far, far away) - I was an altar boy during "the big marriage" episode.

Yeah, SOAP was good stuffs. I should put some of those discs in my NetFlix queue. (Thanks for the idea!)

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

aspiring_x said...

i'm always hearing great things about veronica mars. i'll have to watch that one some day! cool list! :)

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I like your eclectic choices. I haven’t thought of Soap in years, yet it was a favorite of mine - as was Twin Peaks. I haven't heard of Veronica Mars, but will check it out.

Karen Walker said...

Soap was so much fun. Never heard of
Veronica Mars. And I still miss Friends.
Karen

Jemi Fraser said...

SOAP!!! I loved that show!! I also really enjoyed Alias and Friends a lot!

Hart Johnson said...

So many fabulous people stopping by! I love it!

Stephen-I can't believe you got to be ON SOAP! How cool is THAT!

Kelly said...

Great list!
I remember watching Soap when I was young and thinking it was so funny!

Lee said...

I went MIA for a time with TV watching so some of those shows just don't ring any bells, namely SOAP and TWIN PEAKS. The 80's were my decade of lost music and lost TV programming as I had my head too deeply concerned with making it up the ranks of corporate do-do as a super Yuppie.

LOST has got to be the best show ever though. I got sucked in bad.

Hannah Kincade said...

Twin Peaks and Veronica Mars? Great picks!!

RaShelle said...

Hi Hart - I loved Alias and I do like Grey's too. Bailey is my fav character on the show.

ps: I'm sure you've already discussed this and I missed it, but what is a cozy???? You keep saying stuff about the "cozy" your writing and I really have no idea what it means. Ah, nevermind. I googled and now know that "Cozy" has to do with being a mystery writer. Didn't want to delete because I feel so smartical now. LOL. xoxo Smartical in Salt Lake City

Ishta Mercurio said...

I agree with you about Grey's. I think it's very well written, and the actors are superb. Chandra Wilson as Bailey and Jim Pickens as Chief Weber are just superb. And Patrick Dempsey has such an ability to transmit his emotions through his eyes - it's all right there. And yes, the characters feel very real to me, too.

I really need to go watch Alias now and see what's so good about it!

Angela M. said...

My husband told me I needed to watch Soap. He watched it often when he was younger. I never really heard of Veronica Mars until a waitress in my favorite 24-hour diner said parts of it were filmed there, and the studio was next door. Crazy. Hubs told me to watch this show, too. Yep, list growing...

Lynda Young said...

Oh yes! I'd forgotten about Northern Exposure. That was great! All great shows on your list (although I'm not familiar with Veronica Mars)
Lyn
W.I.P. It: A Writer's Journey

Cruella Collett said...

I read this in the wee morning yesterday, but I completely forgot to comment. So here is my make-up comment (that in no way includes mascara): I LOVE NORTHERN EXPOSURE!!! They aired it late, late (like, after ten!) on Saturday nights when I was too young to stay up late, late, so I never really watched it. But I always wanted to. Fortunately they started sending re-runs early, early (like, before eleven) Sunday mornings when I was a little older, so I eventually discovered that I not only loved this show from afar, I also loved it up close.

Great choice!

Journaling Woman said...

Ahh, yes Twin Peaks and Northern Exposure--totally forgot those two. I love a girl who loves a good soap even if it's called Soap.

Teresa

Cheeseboy said...

Northern Exposure, Lost and Friends are all some of my all time favorites too! Some of the others though... you know, not really for men.

Lola Sharp said...

I loved Twin Peaks, X-Files and Northern Exposure...and, of course, Friends.

I got into Alias late in the game, but I did enjoy it. I love women kicking ass. :)

Geof said...

Very nice list Hart! Soap, Peaks and Homicide are all great shows. The former two were very odd shows for the time they were on the air that made them even more wonderful. As you know, Peaks made my list too!