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TV Series – All time favourites and recent additions

The one true indulgence I have is TV series, especially sitcoms.

After a long day’s work, when the brain refuses to function anymore, the one thing I always manage to do is plunk in front of the telly and watch an episode of whichever TV series I am addicted to at the moment.

The recent writers’ strike at Hollywood forced me to widen my horizons and look beyond my usual favourites. As a tribute to the stress they have helped me relive, the one-liners that made me smile as I sat through boring meetings the next day, the complications of the soap-opera like lives that made mine seem so much sane even on the longest of days, and most of all for making me laugh like there is no care in the world, I compile a list of my favourites, in alphabetical order:

After I watched the first episode of Dexter, I swore I will never see it again. It was the perfect symbol of a degenerating society, where a serial killer is the protagonist of a series. No matter how handsome he looked, no matter why he became a serial killer, no matter how he chose his victims, a serial killer is a serial killer. Period. And he should not be portrayed as a hero. Double period.
I still stand by the first statement. But I have sort of relented on the second. The series is definitely one of a kind. The characters are so carefully crafted, the action is so well-balanced, the story lines are so gripping and complete in each episode, you have to, if you haven’t yet, give this a try.

For those of you who are not familiar with this series, here’s a snippet from Wikipedia:

Dexter is an American television drama series based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay and adapted for television by Emmy Award-winning screenwriter James Manos, Jr. The show premiered on the premium cable network Showtime on October 1, 2006. The show has been renewed for a third season. Set and produced in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan, a serial killer who works for the Miami Metro Police Department as a blood pattern analyst.

What would my life be without F.r.i.e.n.d.s? For one, I am not sure I would have passed all my engineering examinations. Ironic as it might sound, F.r.i.e.n.d.s was the one sitcom that let me burn the midnight oil when the exam gods were growling from very very near. F.r.i.e.n.d.s on the University LAN was a fad when I was in college, perhaps, due to the addictive nature of a typical teenager, this is the one sit com I have watched over and over and over again. So much so that even now when KLM plays a Dutch version of the sitcom in their short haul flights, I mute the channel and mouth over the words. And yes, still watch it. If you haven’t watched it, well, I don’t quite know what to say. Actually I do, but this blog has some standards, though not much, so I will refrain. But sadly, all things have to end. But this I am sure, there will never be a sitcom in the same league as F.r.i.e.n.d.s

Gilmore Girls
Fast talk, beautiful women, and obscure pop references – I discovered Gilmore girls rather late. I watched an episode in the fourth season quite by accident, and then went and bought DVDs for the three seasons and got converted into a hard core fan by the end of the fourth season. And I assure, I shed many a tear when Rory and Lorelei and Emily finally bid adieu to us. My only tiff was that Lorelei ended up with Luke. Somehow I just liked Christopher so much more. I kept wishing they would return for another season, they never did.

Grey’s Anatomy
Grey’s anatomy is entertaining. And it has a huge fan-following, which I am not quite sure it deserves. But throw in many pretty faces, give some of them names like McDreamy and McSteamy, mix up adrenalin-pumping hospital drama with even more adrenalin-pumping sex-at-work, you are bound to have a winner TV series. By peer pressure and then just pure inertia and eventually just because of the ease in which I get addicted to TV series, I never miss an episode of Grey’s anatomy.

Speaking of hospital dramas, this one featuring the oh-so-sexy Hugh Laurie( I think he is so much more fabulous than McSteamy and McDreamy and all other kind of McBurgers rolled into one), is a must watch. There is just one thing that carries this show through, and that is more than enough — Dr.Gregory House’s exceptionally well-conceived character played by Laurie, a master performer.

An old favourite, Monk features the obsessive compulsive detective, Adrian Monk, played masterfully by Tony Shalhoub. Many things make this show a must-watch — the pure joy of watching a crime show that doesn’t have the gaudy glitz of CSI where understated intellect takes precedence over the over-hyped gadgets, an amazing array of characters from Monk to Captain Stottlemeyer to Natalie, and the slow emotional journey that we see Monk going through that is as moving as it is gripping. If you are into old fashioned detective work, if you are into real human characters, you should at least give Monk a try.

New Amsterdam
A recent addition into my list, I must admit I have only watched the first six episodes of this series, and yet I feel strongly enough about it to include it in this list. Sometimes, you just have to watch one episode and you know you are going to like it. Well, in this case, I was already biased just hearing about the title and the plot.

Here is the plot from Wikipedia:

The main character is John Amsterdam (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), a brilliant New York homicide detective who is immortal. Amsterdam was a Dutch soldier in the year 1642 when he stepped in front of a sword to save the life of a Native American girl during a massacre of her indigenous tribe. The girl in turn rescued Amsterdam by weaving an ancient spell that conferred immortality upon him. It was also prophesied that he would not age until he finds his one true love, and only then will he become whole and ready for mortality.

How much more cool can a TV series get?

Sex & the City
I cannot complete the list without mentioning Sex & the City. Apart from F.r.i.e.n.d.s, this is the only series where I own all the episodes of all the seasons. And I have watched them multiple times. There is something so timeless about this series — every time I watch a rerun, I think this would be the last time I watch this series – I feel so sure that I am getting to too old to watch this series any more, too mature to enjoy the trials and tribulations of single women, too intellectually snobbish to admit that I admire Manolo Blahnik just as much as I admire Camus (well, no, not to the same extent — that would be treason of the highest order), may be as much as I admire Margaret Atwood — but then again, ever so often I find myself nostalgically searching for a specific episode of SATC to watch again. SATC is a classic and will always remain one.

So, here, dear readers, I conclude my list. I am running out of good TV series to watch, and before I settle down to watch the likes of Big Bang Theory (which actually is quite fun) and Battlestar Galactica, I would appreciate suggestions, if you have any.

Posted in Entertainment on April 6, 2008

10 Responses

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  1. Grace says

    All of your selections are GREAT!
    I ADORE Hugh Laurie and think he is AMAZING in HOUSE. I NEVER miss it, it is my fav tv show now.
    My all-time fav tv show is SIMON & SIMON and my all time fav tv actor is GERALD MCRANEY.
    This takes me to JERICHO. CBS has canceled it, but I am hoping that another network will pick it up.
    And I can’t leave out Will & Grace.
    Megan Mullaly and Sean Hayes just made me laugh out loud too many times. I miss them and the show.

  2. Kristen says

    I wanted Lorelei and Chris to end up together too. Are we the only ones? Came late to loving Gilmore Girls. Started renting DVDs. Started with Season 7 and working my way back. I love Christopher and think he is perfect for Lorelei….

  3. Surya says

    Grace, thanks for your suggestions! I haven’t watched Simon & Simon yet..must give it a try!

    Kristen, thanks for your comment. Am glad someone agrees Lorelei should have ended up with Chris! Enjoy the series, if you haven’t finished yet.


  4. Chakli says

    I haven’t seen so many of the shows you’ve mentioned. Where have I been??

    I too love Friends, Monk, House, SATC. What about Desperate housewives? Have you seen that one? I think you’ll like it. My latest favorite is ‘Dirty Sexy Money’. I am totally hooked to that show. And ‘Cashmere Mafia’. Don’t bother watching ‘Lipstick Jungle’ – total waste of time.

  5. Surya says

    Hey Chakli,
    Nice to finally see your comment here! :)
    I like DWH too – waiting for them to restart after the break..
    Am gonna try Dirty Sexy Money. just read the synposis..sounds nice.
    Cashmere Mafia sounds fun too – is it a bit like SATC? Doesn’t look I can convince S to sit through it..will have to find some alone time..;)

  6. Pramod says

    Hi Surya,

    Two things I find surprising…one the fact that there are such sitcoms around. And second that you watch them :D

    Wonder which channels do they come in. Perhaps the hazards of living in a country like Switzerland where the only English channels one gets without going through mega hazzles are BBC World and CNN – not the places to look for them.

    Will check out some of these when I am travelling – hopefully the hotels would have some channels.


  7. Surya says

    Hey Pramod, good to hear from you! are you back in CH – thought you are in SG?

  8. CANASTASI says

    Here’s some good ones… (unless you already watched them)

    1. Fringe
    2. Six feet under
    3. Chuck
    4. My name is Earl (Good one for when you are sitting at home and your brain doesn’t feel like functioning) :)

  9. Sienna Richardson says

    well, what can i say, the girls on Gilmore Girls are just damn pretty’..

Continuing the Discussion

  1. TV Movies Soaps » TV Series - All time favourites and recent additions linked to this post on April 6, 2008

    […] Surya put an intriguing blog post on TV Series – All time favourites and recent additionsHere’s a quick excerptDexter is an American television drama series based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay and adapted for television by Emmy Award-winning screenwriter James Manos, Jr. The show premiered on the premium cable network … […]

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