Thursday, June 19, 2008

Favorite Television Shows

Television, more than any other medium, has become my go to thing for the last few years. I much prefer short form serial storytelling like comics and television to long-form stuff like novels, especially since working, and working out. Television also feels more social: Sara and I CAN read a comic book together, but watching TV together is much easier. I used to have hours to read alone -- now I prefer having something 40 minutes long lined up to coincide with blocks of time as they appear. And like comics, once you find something you like, you are set for a while -- seven seasons of Buffy and five of Angel is a lot of television. Television, more than movies, is a writer's medium, which I think makes for more consistent quality and the idea of a show-runner means I get quite a bit more of Whedon than say, Soderbergh.

On of my criteria of television is the ability to watch it over and over and not get bored. But part of this is that certain television shows have become comfort programming (when I am working or getting ready for bed), at least one guilty pleasures that I would not necessarily recommend to others, but that I have to admit I love.

As always, the list is personal, and subject to revision (help me remember anything I have forgotten). And as always, your own lists in the comments will be appreciated.

The Cartoons

Golden Age Looney Tunes, especially Duck Amuck and Duck Season/Rabbit Season

Samurai Jack


Batman: The Animated Series

Invader Zim

Venture Bros.

Frisky Dingo

Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Home Movies

The Simpsons (Seasons 3-8)


Lost and Battlestar Galactica: I have very mixed feelings about these two. I loved them as they went by, but the endings were very bad, and unlike, say, Buffy, a lot hung on how the shows wrapped up, because so much of the interest in the show was -- how will all this be pulled together in the end? Basically it is very weird to feel like a show should be on my favorites list, while also leaving me with the feeling that I never want to see an episode of wither again, and I would not recommend either to others.

Buffy (admitting the weakness of season 1, 7, and the end of 6), Angel (heretically, I prefer Angel to Buffy overall), and Firefly. And Dollhouse: the end turned me around.

Quantum Leap

Twin Peaks

The Sitcoms


Arrested Development

30 Rock (Season One)

Sports Night



Dr Katz


Third Rock from The Sun

Andy Richter Controls the Universe


The Shield



The Wire

West Wing (The Sorkin Years)


Breaking Bad

Pushing Daises and Wonderfalls




Murder One (based on a distant memory)

The British Stuff

Quite Interesting

Green Wing

The Mighty Boosh


The IT Crowd

No Angels


The Guilty Pleasure

24: Season 5 -- every season of 24 just repeats. Season 5 was the one where it worked the best.


The Unit


Voice Of The Eagle said...

Why don't you like the second season of 30 Rock?

Geoff Klock said...

too litle Tracy Morgan insanity

scott91777 said...

Oh, come on... the finale had him making a porn vide game in a story line that mimmicked Amedeus! That's not enough insanity for you?

scott91777 said...

Ok, all time favorite Show:

The Simpsons (Geoff, the general consensus is that seasons 3-8 were the 'golden age' of the show with a very gradual decline in quality beginning around 9 or 10)

Current favorite show:

The Office (30 Rock is closing in though)

Other sit-coms (in no particular order since this will be the longest list)

30 Rock
My Name is Earl
Scrubs (the first 4 or 5 seasons)
Arrested Development
Newsradio (still really good after Hartman died actually just kind of tainted)
Night Court
Soap (Freshman year, thanks to comedy central, I think I went throught the whole series in about 2 weeks)
Mad About You
Friends (say what you will, great ensemble cast and Matthew Perry was the bomb)
Fresh Prince of Bel Air
The Cosby Show
A Different World
Mad About You


Looney Tunes
South Park
Batman: The Animated Series
Justice League/Justice League Unlimited
Robot Chicken (it has the random humor of Family Guy without trying to tack it on to a plot)
Family Guy (it makes me laugh)
Sealab 2021
Star Wars: Clone Wars
Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist
Space Ghost Coast to Coast
and Aqua Teen is really starting to grow on me.

Drama(I don't watch a lot of drama... at least not on a devoted basis):

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (best trek ever!)
Star Trek: The Next Generation
ER (up until Anthony Edwards left)
Space: Above and Beyond
Chicago Hope

Sketch Comedy (no love for the sketch comedy, Geoff?):

SNL (it goes through it's valleys but somehow it always keeps me entertained)
Kids in the Hall
Chapelle Show

Late Night:

The Daily Show
The Cobert Report
Late Night With Conan O'Brian


Mythbusters (Carrie is a hot redhead who blows shit up; what guy can NOT like her?)

Guilty Pleasure:

CSI (just the original)
Law & Order: SVU & Criminal Intent
... and pretty much everything else that I watch.

Geoff Klock said...

Scott. Re: 30 Rock. No. It made me smile, as did alot of the second season of 30 rock. I can see that it is funny and why. But the second season did not make me laugh out loud in a spit things through my nose kind of way -- for examples you have my post of Tracy Jordan.

Casey Malone said...

With the exception of Frasier (which I cannot stand), your television taste is eerily similar to my own. This includes the preference for Angel over Buffy.

However, I can help but notice the lack of Batman: The Animated Series on your list?

The first three years are impeccable, doing a very dark, moody, and character-driven series. They abandon that for the final and fourth season, going instead for a beat-em-up action fest similar to the Superman series, but even that season is notable for the episode that animates a section of The Dark Knight Returns.

Have you not seen them, or do you not care for them?

scott91777 said...


Was the bit where Jack played every member of Tracy's family in a therapy session in season one or two?

That was awesome!

So, maybe less Tracy Morgan insanity and more Alec Baldwin insanity in season two... either way, I'm good!

Geoff Klock said...

Casey -- good point. Batman Animated has been added.

Frasier is a show I did not like that much at first. But two episodes are on every night and Sara and I watch it -- and it has really grown on me.

Marc Caputo said...

Vote me in for Angel over Buffy, too.

Geoff: How are you liking Battlestar?

My list by decade:

Sesame Street/The Muppet Show
SNL (through to the present)
The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Hill Street Blues
Pee-Wee's Playhouse

Twin Peaks
Homicide: Life on the Street
Sports Night

Battlestar Galactica
The Shield

Defense ready on request

Jason said...

Great list, Geoff. I posted a top-ten on my blog a while back, as follows. (I mention that I already did this a while ago so it doesn't seem as if I'm copycatting. There's a few overlaps ...)

Arrested Development
Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist
Home Movies
Sealab 2021
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Strangers With Candy
Thundercats (the childhood favorite)

Other favorites include Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sports Night, Everybody Loves Raymond, Smallville, The Muppet Show (Marc's list reminded me of this one).

Also, in the golden-age animation, a shout-out to classic Popeye from the 1920s and 1930s. After my dad and I saw Hulk the other day, we went home and watched five or six of shorts from the recent Popeye DVD release of the classics. I was struck immediately at how much more dynamic, creative, clear and exciting the fight scenes are between Popeye and Bluto than was the one between Hulk and Abomination.

Mikey said...

Off the top of my head:

South Park (season 3 onwards)

Garth Marenghi's Dark Place

Father Ted (Geoff - did you ever catch this when you were over here?)

The entire run of the 60s Pink Panther show

Bugs Bunny (post-war)

Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Sealab 2021


The X-Files

Murder, She Wrote (I am not joking)

The Simpsons (the usual run)

Beavis and Butthead (music videos only - I would give anything to have the entire run of music video segments on DVD, as opposed to the narrative/plot bits that interrupted them - who cares about those?)

I'm sure the Wire would be on there if I'd ever seen an episode (American serials are often amazing but require commitment I can't provide). I've seen one episode of The Unit and I'm sure that would be on there as well.

jen said...

A few years ago, I did a top 50 sitcoms list. I'll have to dig that out...

I find it interesting that you list the US Office, but not the original BBC Gervais/Merchant one. Any reason for that?

I'd also love to see a psychoanalytic analysis of the order in which you listed genres.

And please... explain the choice on Pocoyo. (I've flipped past it a few times since I moved over here, but have yet to watch it.)

David Golding said...

Doctor Who (1963, 2005)
The Prisoner
Mysterious Cities of Gold
Star Trek: The Next Generation [season 3-4]
Twin Peaks [haven't seen season 2]
Babylon 5
Xena: Warrior Princess
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Battlestar Galactica (2003)

The Simpsons [season 2-8]

DAAS Kapital
D-Generation: The Late Show
The Adventures of Lano and Woodley [season 1]

Press Gang [season 1-3]
Red Dwarf
Fawlty Towers
Blackadder [season 2-4]
Drop the Dead Donkey
The League of Gentlement [season 1-2]

Between The Lines [season 1-2]

David Golding said...

Oh, hey, and The Maxx. How could I forget The Maxx? I seem to remember you liked the cartoon adaptation too, Geoff?

Geoff Klock said...

Marc -- I finished season two of BSG today and I thought it was AWESOME. The actress who plays Six is mezmerizing when she plays the "non-sexy" versions of herself.

Mikey -- I did see Father Ted in England. My favorite scene was when they did a fair and had a tarot reader and Ted says to Doogan that he disapproves of that kind of witchy stuff as it goes against the church. Doogan: oh, your not supposed to take it seriously, its like all that stuff they taught us about christ and the resurrection and heaven and all that. Ted: Doogan, you ARE supposed to take that seriously. Doogan (after a beat): Are you now, Ted?

Also, Mikey -- I totally invite you to submit a defense of Murder She Wrote

Jen -- the BBC one has NO HEART.

The analysis of the order of the genres would have to be done by someone other than me -- I thought I was doing it at random.

Pocoyo is just the most beautiful, simply designed thing I have seen in ages and it is narrated by the wonderful Stephen Fry who Sara and I simply worship. Plus the duck is HILARIOUS.

David: Oh! The MAXX. I did love that. But I think it is redundant from the comic and I am going to pick the comic over the show. But I do wish there were more comic book adaptations that were more like the Maxx -- just a moving, well voiced version of the comic book I already read.

Geoff Klock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sara d. reiss said...

i deleted the above cos i was logged in as geoff.

it's DOUGAL not doogan. geoff knows this, he was just playin' (or having a senior moment... is that even possible at his age??)

pocoyo is indeed beautiful. and pocoyo, who is the the little boy in the show, has an infectious laugh.

charlie & lola rocks and is my favorite AND my best!!

Marc Caputo said...

Geoff: Tricia Helfer IS great and gets even better over season 3 and the half of season 4 that's aired.

I envy that you have episodes still to watch.

scott91777 said...

I thought I'd take a moment before it's too late to note that The animated Batman is my favorite version of Batman ever. I've always felt it managed to synthesize the best elements of all the versions of the character into a single, iconic interpretation.

Also, don't count out the fourth season, not only did it have the Miller reference but a lot of other great stories as well (Mad Love anyone?) In addtion, they simplified the character designs a bit which resulted in the animation being even better.

Another thing, I think we should recognize one of the unsung heroes of the DCAU... Andrea Romano, the voice casting director. The voice acting was really top notch on all those series, Especially when compared to, say, the 90s X-men cartoon which was more typical of voice acting of action cartoons and, by comparison, pretty awful. It pretty much set the standard of all action cartoons that were to folow.

Mikey said...

I cannot believe I forgot Peep Show. I actually forgot my favourite show.

My favourite bit of Father Ted. Ted doing a slide presentation to the island's Chinese community after being mistaken for a racist. "In conclusion, the Chinese: a great bunch of lads."

I'll gladly write a defence of Murder, She Wrote. It's a game I like to play, something to do with the glib but successful invocation of certain tropes that I find fascinating to watch. See for example, any episode where Jessica goes to the urban hell of New York and meets Tee Vee actors. Versus her base in Cabbott Cove in Maine, where she lives a platonic relationship with Mr C. off Happy Days. Meanwhile, people keep getting murdered.

Also - King of the Hill. The more I watch, the smarter and more likeable I find it. The funniest show about family and friendship ever, I think.

scott91777 said...

In regards to King of the Hill...

I always thought a really awesome topic/title for an academic paper would be "King of the Hill, Flannery O' Connor and Southern Anti-Intellectualism." Unfortunately, I know nothing about any of those topics... but someone who does... please steal freely!

angelina ballerina said...

ever checked out a british show called 'coupling'? judging from your comedy section, it's right up your alley.
and god bless sports night.

Mary Hamric said...

With respect to animation: I'm a rabid fan of Dexter's Laboratory. They run it on Boomerang every night @ 9:30pm. A DVD set is hard to come by but I think I've found a source. I think it's highly superior to Genndy Tartakovsky's Samurai Jack. I don't know why he left his baby Dexter for the samurai but whatever. :-) The quality declined after he left Dexter's Lab.

And King of the second favorite show ever (next to Seinfeld). Some of the smartest social commentary out there.

hreeves said...

Top Fifteen (the shows that for some reason I will always watch even if I tell people I hate them/they're trash)
15. Sex and the City
14. Samantha Brown- Passport to Europe
13. Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern
12. Family Fued
11. The Ed Sullivan Show (reruns on PBS)
10. The Carol Burnett Show
9. The Muppet Show
8. Doug
7. Delightful Girl, Choonhyang (A Korean drama)
5. 30 Rock
4. The Hills
3. Full House
2. America's Next Top Model
1. Oprah

hreeves said...

oh.. and Futurama